Scatter graphics: Ligue 1, 2016/17
Now that all of the main European domestic seasons are at a close (barring a few play-offs), I thought I’d compile a full-season set of scatter graphics. Each of the three graphics is explained briefly below but there’s a longer explanation here.
First of all, here is how the number of shots taken by each club compares with those they face in return. The average number of shots taken per match is on the horizontal and the average number faced is on the vertical, so bottom right (take plenty, allow few in return) is good while top left (take few, allow plenty) is bad. The stripes are like contours: the greener the stripe, the better the performance (and vice versa for red).
It’s not a shock to find PSG and Monaco in the bottom right corner and – while Lyon are creating marginally more chances – nobody came close to the top two at preventing opponents from shooting.
In the opposite corner we can see that Metz spent plenty of time on the back foot, having created the fewest chances and allowing far more than anyone else. It’s impressive that they were able to avoid relegation with this sort of record.
It didn’t surprise me to see Nice‘s title challenge fade given their modest balance of chances created and allowed, but finishing a comfortable third is a significant achievement.
Now let’s look at attacking alone. The horizontal axis stays the same as in the graphic above, but now the vertical shows the average number of shots needed to score each league goal. Therefore bottom right is good (taking lots of shots and needing fewer efforts to convert) and top left is bad:
Starting with the elephant in the room, we can see that Nice were more clinical in front of goal than anyone except free-scoring Monaco, which goes some way towards explaining their lofty league position.
Both PSG and Lyon also look pretty handy up front – certainly more so than Angers, who struggled to convert the impressive number of chances they created.
The bottom two of Nancy and Bastia are adrift from the rest of the division in the undesirable top left, so their relegation isn’t that surprising.
Next let’s look at the defensive situation – basically take the above chart and replace the word “taken” for “faced” on both axes. Now top left is good – facing fewer shots and able to soak up more per goal conceded – and bottom right is bad:
Nice‘s overachievement is even more profound in defence: they’ve soaked up more shots per goal conceded than anyone else despite only two sides allowing more shots.
PSG and Monaco look by far the most comfortable overall, while it’s hard not to feel a bit sorry for the likes of Montpellier and Lorient. Both allowed a respectable number of efforts at their goal but conceded around twice as readily as the top two.