Scatter graphics: Championship, 5 Oct 2019
Now that a meaningful number of matches have been played this season, another update to the scatter graphics seems justified. 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 are out in front once again as the most dominant side, having created around twice as many chances as they’ve allowed. Stoke also look pretty healthy here despite sitting bottom of the table, so perhaps their luck will change. Huddersfield‘s disastrous start is plain to see, and Charlton have also spent a lot of time on the back foot despite their impressive return to the division.
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:
Barnsley and Brentford remain the most wasteful finishers in the division but both are gradually improving. Leeds have also found it difficult to convert the huge number of chances they create, with Reading and Stoke also suffering for their profligacy. Preston have been the most ruthless side in front of goal, which is just as well considering that only three clubs have created fewer chances so far.
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:
Both Swansea and Nottingham Forest have allowed significantly more shots at their goal than the average team so far, but have dealt with them capably. Charlton and Bristol City also owe their top half positions to their ability to absorb a lot of opposition chances. QPR and Stoke are in the opposite situation, having allowed their opponents relatively few attempts but struggling to repel them.
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:
When we adjust for shot quality, Leeds look incredible and streets ahead of anyone else, with their attack in particular setting them apart. Derby‘s poor start appears to be down to their permissive defence, as they’ve looked fine going forward. Barnsley look to be in the most trouble so far, while Reading and Stoke look capable of avoiding a relegation battle.