Attack breakdowns: Championship, 17 Dec 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

QPR‘s Matt Smith hasn’t featured all that regularly this season but he’s looked very dangerous when he’s been on the pitch. The closest player to him in expected goals terms is Brentford‘s Lasse Vibe, although he hasn’t been able to turn his opportunities into goals all that regularly.

Ipswich have been overachieving against some very modest numbers this season and all but one of their main attackers has been scoring at a faster rate than you’d expect from the chances they’ve had.

Derby‘s Matej Vydra and Sheffield United‘s Leon Clarke have also enjoyed a hot start to the season, so I’d expect their goalscoring rates to cool off slightly as the season progresses.

On the flipside, Barnsley’s Tom Bradshaw and Lee Gregory of Millwall are two players that the data suggests should start to find the net more regularly – both get on the end of a decent volume of chances but haven’t been scoring in line with these.