Back in September, we looked at the Scottish Championship through the lens of examining each team’s shot totals & how many shots it took for them to beat the goalie to determine which teams were constant threats to score & which teams were just totally ineffective in attack. We also applied the same concepts to defence. The work was inspired by Ben Mayhew, the head of data analysis for the Press Association. His blog, Experimental 3-6-1, applies this same analysis to the English lower leagues.
Now that we’re getting closer to the halfway point in the season, it seemed like an appropriate time to revisit this analytical view of how teams were performing.
Total Shots Ratio
As a reminder, this measures the percentage of all the shots a team takes in a game. For example, Rangers has taken a total of 262 shots & has allowed 96. That makes for a total of 358 combined shots that have been taken in Rangers matches this season. Of those shots, Rangers have taken 73% of them. That is a level dominance that you simply don’t normally see & is a clear indicator that Rangers really is that much better then the majority of their opponents.
|Team||Total Shots Ratio|
|Queen of the South||0.47|
- Notice that the top three teams in the league table also are the only teams that outshoot the opponents on average.
- Based on TSR, there isn’t much difference between the rest of the pack below the top three & it really makes predicting these match-ups difficult – if you were only looking at this one advanced stat.
- Then, there’s Alloa. They have been outshot 249 to 85 this season. Their shots generated are clearly the worst in the league & they trail the next worst team, Dumbarton, by 40 shots!
Elements of TSR – Shots per game v Shots Against per game
- Rangers are outshooting teams 17.5 to 6.4 on average. This is why it is comical to hear people saying Rangers don’t shoot enough. Only Hibs & Morton come close to those shot totals (& I use the term close loosely). They average 13.5 & 12.8 shots per game.
- You can see that not only are Rangers & Hibs generating the most shots, they are also the two best teams at suppressing shots. Part of that comes from simple possession – they also lead the league in possession rates per game (0.66 & 0.55).
The following looks at how many shots teams average in a game & compares it to how many shots it takes, on average, for teams to score a goal.
The teams’ categorization is borrowed from Mayhew’s descriptors:
Constant Threat: create lots of chances & effective at converting them
Languidly Clinical: create few chances, but of good quality or make effective use of them
Energetically Wasteful: create lots of chances, but either of low quality or profligate
Ineffectual: create few chances & struggle to convert them
- Again, Rangers dominance is on display. They average a goal for every 5.95 shots & get 17.5 shots per match. It’s become a given that they are going to push for three goals each time they take the pitch.
- Falkirk’s shooting rates have been off the charts this season, as they average a goal for every 5.66 shots while averaging 10.9 shots per game. Part of that success have been rooted in some clinical finishing – they covert on 41% of their shots on target (the league average is 31%). Recently, we pointed out that Bairns’ supporters should enjoy this level of success while it lasts.
- Dumbarton, Livingston, & Raith Rovers aren’t too far removed from the league average spot on this graph. However, they really struggle to create shots in matches & that leads to their scoring being a bit of a crap shoot. For example, Livingston averages 9.0 shots per game & it takes them an average of 7.94 shots to get a goal. They’re usually going to be slugging it out in low scoring matches where a break here or there will really determine the result.
- Morton run themselves into the ground in search of that elusive goal. They average 12.8 shots per match & it takes them the same amount of shots to get a goal – hence, 16 goals in 16 games. If they scored at the same rate as a team like Raith Rovers – they would have ten more goals on the season! Only Alloa has a worse shooting percentage in the league as Morton’s finishing has been woeful. The fact that only 26% of their shots come from High/Very High Danger areas (the heart of the penalty area) is a big reason for their struggles (46% of Raith’s shots come from heart of the penalty box).
- It’s time for Alloa to play the kids, because they’re getting relegated this season.
Now our examination of the stats is flipped to look at shots allowed per match & then how many shots allowed it takes, on average, to concede a goal.
Again, the descriptors are borrowed by Ben Mayhew’s work:
Formidable: allow few chances & can withstand a lot of punishment
Good but overworked: allow lots of chances but capable of repelling them
Avoiding the issue: restrict opponents’ chances but defence is easily breached
Pushovers: allow plenty of chances & struggle to keep them out
- The three best defensive teams are also the top three in the league table. Rangers, Hibs, & Falkirk are not allowing very many shots & it takes a lot of chances to beat their keepers.
- Speaking of keepers, the performances of Morton’s duo of Derek Gaston & Grant Adam has been nothing short of spectacular. Morton allows 13.13 shots per game (only Alloa is worse) & it takes an average of 13.13 shots against to concede a goal. The fact that Morton has only allowed 16 goals in 16 matches is quite remarkable given those shot totals. It also should be noted that the only two goal keepers with save percentages over 80% in the Championship this season are Gaston & Adam. Of the shots on target faced, Gaston has saved 82% & Adam has saved 86%. The next best keeper in the division is Falkirk’s Danny Rogers, who has saved 77% of the shots on target he has faced. You can find all of the goalkeeper stats on our Advanced Goalkeeper stats page.
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