Attack breakdowns: Championship, 9 Nov 2018

With the FA Cup first round and subsequent international break creating a bit of a breather, I thought it would be interesting to take a first look of the season at 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 quarter 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

Neal Maupay of Brentford has set the standard so far as a constant menace, although Derby’s Jack Marriott deserves credit for how well he’s managed the step up from League 1. Billy Sharp’s been scoring at a breathtaking rate for Sheffield United but the data suggests that he won’t be able to sustain that pace all season unless he gets better chances – the same can be said for Kemar Roofe at Leeds, with Birmingham’s Lukas Jutkiewicz and Jón Daði Böðvarsson of Reading also potentially running a bit hot. Meanwhile Tomer Hemed of QPR stands out as a player who’s been getting on the end of better chances than his goal tally suggests, and he could therefore start scoring more regularly as the season goes on.