Scatter graphics: Championship, 29 Sep 2018
With the majority of EFL clubs now having played 10 matches this season, it’s time to switch the scatter graphics back on in full. These compare the attacking and defensive performances of every team in a division. Each of the four graphics is explained briefly below and at length 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).
Leeds and Brentford have been the most dominant teams in raw shot terms, with Aston Villa and Derby also both bossing matches in a way that’s more encouraging than their league positions would suggest. West Brom are the division’s entertainers so far, with an average of almost 29 shots in each of their matches compared to the relatively dull 21 or so you’ll have seen in Swansea games. Sheffield Wednesday and Bolton look worryingly off the pace here.
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:
While Sheffield Wednesday aren’t rattling in a lot of shots, they’re making their relatively low number of efforts count: only free-scoring West Brom have been more clinical so far. QPR are having a nightmare in front of goal, as despite creating a respectable number of chances they’ve been almost twice as wasteful as the average Championship side.
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:
Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough are breaking the graphic at the moment, with an insane 29 shots faced for each goal conceded: pretty much three times the league average. Swansea’s own miserliness at the back is also very impressive, although I’d expect both teams to drift back towards the average a bit over time unless something really special is going on. Bottom side Preston haven’t actually allowed opponents that many opportunities, but have struggled to keep the ball out of their net.
Finally here’s an attempt at correcting the first graphic for the quality of chances created and allowed, using the same “expected goals” values that power my shot timelines (explained here). The reason for doing this is that the results tend to correlate more strongly with performance than when we treat all shots equally:
Despite a few recent setbacks, Brentford still look to be the most impressive team in the division overall, with honourable mentions going to Leeds and Sheffield United who also look pretty strong at both ends of the pitch. While West Brom look to be playing an attacking style that leaves them open at the back, Derby appear to be doing the exact opposite.