Some stat based thoughts that are too long for tweets coming up:
Dangerzone hot and cold streaks
Using Paul Riley’s tableau shot maps and a rough approximation of the danger zone (the width of the 6-yard box, from byline stretching up to the edge of the 18-yard box), I’ve been looking at who’s taking dangerous shots. More interestingly, I’ve been looking at who’s been converting their shots.
Now, regular readers at ETNAR or my Eastbridge columns will know I like looking at conversion differences, between the % of a team’s shots converted and the % of their opponents’ shots converted.
The teams with the worst Danger Zone conversion differences after 10 games are Manchester United (-11.43%), West Ham (-9.86%), and Swansea (-9.77%). Leicester are on -7.37%, Stoke on -6.08%, and then anything much less than that seems more like the level of noise that you’d expect. But anyway, the point of this is that the general feeling seems to be that these are clubs who are underperforming at the moment, and not solely because they’ve been bad.
I establish this as a justification of Danger Zone conversion differences as a legitimate thing to look at so as to pivot to Arsenal, who currently have a conversion difference of +18.09%.
Yep. Almost a third (32.73%) of their danger zone shots are being converted into goals at the moment, with a league average rate of around 19%. Either these are chances of a consistently fantastically good quality or……
It’s not just Arsenal though; City’s DZ conversion difference is +10.3% (also driven by their own shots), and Spurs are on +9.47% (driven by a very low conversion rate for their opponents).
This is basically all stuff you might otherwise get from xG, but I don’t have that available and this seems closer a useful thing to look at alongside other types of shot metrics.
Are shot numbers sustainable?
The point of these ‘statistical possessions/attacks’ is to try and create one kind of way to look at how teams get to shooting in the first place, never mind what happens when they do. OneShortCorner was talking about how teams might not be able to keep up high xG totals.
Getting goals through scoring a high percentage of your shots may not be sustainable; but getting that many shots/chances may not be sustainable either, depending on a variety of factors.
I feel like this is a good area for further exploration, and that there’s something there within reach, in the same way as when you’re trying to think of a word and it’s on the tip of your tongue. I imagine that looking at how they got their chances in terms of patterns of ball progression would be the proper way forward for this, I’m not sure.
On a similar theme of on-the-tip-of-your-tongue-ness, I still think there’s something in clearances. I strongly suspect that they’re a measure of pressure sustained, broadly (though probably in conjunction with shots conceded).
They’re a weird thing, clearances. A defensive action that you would rarely specifically aim for or hope for a player to do, they’re generally a last resort when the defence is struggling to cope. And yet, they are a sign of coping (although for how long). On the attacking side, making your opponent clear the ball probably shows that you’re turning the screws, but at the same time they show you’re not properly succeeding in your goal. No-one’s pleased with clearances, per se (I think), but in some ways they give both sides hope.
Moving away from the curious nature of clearances and back to actual usefulness, maybe there could be something in looking at the sustainability of clearances as a way of staving off chances, as opposed to other defensive actions (my hypothesis being that it is not sustainable, but to what extent?).