Attack breakdowns: Championship, 27 Sep 2017

Another graphic that I can justify switching back on at this stage of the season is the club-by-club attack breakdowns. These are explained in detail here, but in summary they are simple scatter graphics that work as follows:


Each graphic shows a club’s main attacking players: those who have:

  1. Featured for at least a third of their total pitch minutes in the league this season, and
  2. Taken an average of at least one shot per game.

The size of each player’s bubble is proportional to the percentage of possible minutes that they’ve played.

Each player’s bubble is plotted on a chart with the two axes working like this:

  • On the horizontal axis we have their goal threat, based on the “expected goals” value of shots taken per 90 minutes. This is effectively a measure of the combined quality of their goalscoring chances.
  • On the vertical axis we have their scoring rate, using a less abstract measure of actual number of goals scored per 90 minutes.

Both axes exclude penalties, as those can massively skew a player’s contribution away from the threat they pose from open play.

There’s a shaded “stripe” which indicates the long-term shot conversion rate of all finishers except the top and bottom 10%, so we can identify those whose performance may be unsustainable (i.e. unlikely to be repeated next season). If a player is above the stripe, they’re converting chances at a rate consistent with someone in the top 10% of finishers, and likewise a player below the line is in the worst 10%. Based on what we know about the specific player, we can therefore take a view on whether we expect their scoring rate to continue.

Club-by-club graphics

QPR‘s Matt Smith and Nelson Oliveira of Norwich are both scoring for fun so far and neither look like they’re overachieving massively. However Martyn Waghorn at Ipswich is someone whose scoring rate I’d expect to cool down over time, such is the difference between the goals he’s scored and the chances he’s been getting on the end of.

At Aston Villa, Albert Adomah is another player who may find that the goals start to dry up a bit for this reason, although his good luck is balancing out the lousy fortunes of Scott Hogan, who has yet to find the net in the league this season despite only three players in the division being presented with better opportunities overall.

Cardiff‘s Kenneth Zohore and Millwall‘s Lee Gregory are also players that I’d expect to start scoring a bit more regularly given the quality of their goalscoring opportunities.