Greenwich Gull

A League 2 blog with an overwhelmingly pro-Torquay United bias

Quantifying attacking efficiency in the Football League

Prepare yourselves for a monster of a graph. All 72 league clubs ranked on how many shots on average it took for them to score a goal this season, colour-coded by which division they were in:

Looking at how the colours are clustered, I think it’s pretty uncontroversial to conclude that it’s a lot harder to score goals in the Championship, presumably due to there being a lot of defensive players with Premier League experience that the weaker sides don’t have the personnel to break down. Only one of the top 12 most efficient attacks belonged to a Championship side, while 4 of the most profligate 5 reside there (or at least did until their recent relegation).

Overall there’s a broad correlation between how efficient a team’s attack is and their final placing in the league table, with a few notable exceptions. Millwall are quite close to the bottom despite finishing a respectable 9th in the Championship while Watford, Sheffield Wednesday and Northampton all place higher in this list than their modest achievements this season would suggest.

With Clayton Donaldson set to move on, Crewe will struggle to maintain what is statistically the most efficient attack in the Football League, while at the shameful end of the list Coventry may even top this dismal showing next season if they’re unable to adequately replace Marlon King.


6 comments on “Quantifying attacking efficiency in the Football League

  1. H
    June 18, 2011

    To be fair, although he was top scorer in the division, Donaldson missed a lot of chances. Therefore, I wouldn’t count on him leaving making a huge difference to Crewe’s efficiency.

  2. GreenwichGull
    June 18, 2011

    Just had a look on Football League website stats: ClayDo had 60 shots on target (presumably including the 28 that went in) and 44 off target, which gives him a personal rating of 104 / 28 = 3.7 shots per goal. I also saw him miss a fair few so am a bit surprised by this, which would suggest they’ll notice the difference.

    For comparison, Ryan Lowe of Bury (CD’s nearest challenger in the scoring charts), scored 27 from 70 shots on target and a further 62 off, making his rating 132 / 27 = 4.9 shots per goal.

    This obviously assumes that the FL stats are correct, which I’m not 100% convinced of.

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This entry was posted on June 18, 2011 by in analysis.
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