Attack breakdowns: Championship, 29 Oct 2017

It feels like enough time has passed to update 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

Norwich haven’t had Nelson Oliveira on the pitch as much as they’d have liked this season but he’s lethal when he does appear. No other club has the same extent of reliance on one player, although Gary Hooper is clearly the main man at Sheff Wed, while Kenneth Zohore at Cardiff and Tom Bradshaw at Barnsley also enjoy plenty of service.

Ipswich‘s Martyn Waghorn struck again at the weekend but over the long run the data suggests that his scoring rate will cool off, such is the disconnect between the chances he’s getting and the rate he’s scoring at. Billy Sharp of Sheff Utd also looks to be running a bit hot.

On the flipside, James Cummings of Nottingham Forest and Millwall‘s Lee Gregory both look as though their scoring rate should improve, in line with the chances they get, while both Brentford‘s Lasse Vibe and Jonathan Kodjia of Aston Villa should really have scored by now.

Bolton and Burton‘s struggles are summed up by just how few of their players have made the cut for these graphics. Theirs have a combined total of five players while Brentford alone have nine.