Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Macro look at the 'Defenses' in the Premier League

As we come down the stretch, I wanted to take a quick look at the shots and goals numbers for & against. Lots of times we only see the Shot Ratios (i.e. TSR, SoTR, GF%) posted but they do not give us the actual quantity of shots each team has taken and given up.

I know scatter plots can be tough to read/decipher but, for me, this is the best way to show where teams stand.

*This is the 2nd post of 3 (time permitting). The 1st post covered Attack, this one will focus on Defense and the last one will combine Attack/Defense by looking at Shot/Goal Difference.


Shots on Target Against vs Total Shots Against

Southampton! Least amount of 'shots against' and 'shots on target against'. The defensive side of the ball is why they have such high TSR and SoTR's. What they have done, defensively, is both sustainable and amazing. Soton's 'money spent vs. performance' compared to the two oil-financed clubs is very 'Oakland Athletics' like.

Manchester United and Spurs are giving up far to many shots on target. United do a good job of suppressing shots but when they do get through they seem to be hitting the target (and as we will see below, hitting De Gea). Spurs on the other hand have been quite easy to play against giving up a lot of shots coupled with a high rate on target.  

In the attacking piece I didn't mention Everton because their was nothing 'out of the ordinary' with their numbers. Now, defensively, they are having an interesting season. Martinez has been heavily scrutinized for how he sets up his team and that is fair given that they sit 12th in total shots against.
They have a lot fewer 'shots on target against' than would be expected and normally this would be a good thing, even if it is a bit fortunate, but this has not led to success. We look below as to why?

Goals Against vs Shots on Target Against

Goalkeepers are voodoo. Ask Everton. Pretty much, all of Everton's under performance in the league is down to their inability to stop the ball.  They sit dead last in save % (table below), while last season they were 2nd. Everton have been both, slightly lucky (6th lowest shots on target) and really unlucky (league low save %) this season. Both these metrics should regress but it is too late for it to matter, this season. 

On the opposite end of the voodoo spectrum, we have Man United, who are getting away with it, this season. 8th in shots on target against and De Gea bailing them out. This United team are riding the variance of their goalkeeper. Will it last? Crazier things have happened.

Another notable outlier is Sunderland. Pantillimon, since coming in to the side, has been the saviour. His performance is the reason they are not buried in the relegation places.

Here is the save% of each team (sortable).
Team Save %
Arsenal 70.0
Aston Villa 69.1
Burnley 66.9
Chelsea 72.8
Crystal Palace 64.2
Everton 59.0
Hull 68.1
Leicester 65.4
Liverpool 68.4
Man City 69.0
Man United 75.9
Newcastle 61.6
QPR 69.2
Southampton 73.7
Stoke 64.6
Sunderland 73.8
Swansea 72.6
Tottenham 70.5
West Brom 69.5
West Ham 74.2
Average 69.0
* compiled using



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