Scatter graphics: Championship, 7 Sep 2022

There have been just about enough matches played for a first outing of the scatter graphics. 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.

Shot dominance

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).

A trio of former Premier League teams lead the way here: Norwich, Sheffield United and West Brom have all dominated the shot count in their early fixtures.

Attacking effectiveness

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:

If you think this graphic is tall, wait until you see the next one. Preston‘s crazy start to the season has seen a total of just three goals in eight games: two scored and one conceded. Cardiff‘s own profligacy pales into insignificance by comparison.

Defensive effectiveness

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:

This one is just plain silly I know, but it was fun to make. Preston have conceded just once from over 100 shots faced, which is wild. Meanwhile poor Coventry are allowing fewer shots per match but seeing their opponents score more than one in every six.

Expected goals

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 chance quality, Middlesbrough join the dominant trio to form a quartet of impressive starters, which suggests that their more modest shot balance masks the quality of their efforts. Cardiff and Watford games meanwhile have tended to be low on quality at both ends so far.