Attack breakdowns: League 2, 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

Coventry’s Duckens Nazon has been in and out of the team lately but has set the standard in League 2 so far – he’s the only player to make the cut for these graphics with over half an expected goal per game’s worth of output.

Barnet don’t really look to have many options beside Shaq Coulthirst at the moment – although with John Akinde seemingly back to full fitness this could soon change – and it looks like Forest Green are similarly reliant on Christian Doidge.

At the other end of the spectrum, the likes of Colchester and Lincoln are spreading their attacking load over a far larger number of players.

Jon Stead is enduring the mirror image of the hot streak that he began last season with at Notts County, but fortunately for the Magpies Jorge Grant seems to have inherited it.