Friday 23 November 2012

Team Analysis - Chelsea, West Brom and Everton

I thought it worth a look at a comparative analysis for three teams that questions have been raised recently about where they really stand in the league this season.  Chelsea obviously in the news this week having sacked Di Matteo so how does their performances this year compare with their own last year and within the league this year.  Everton and West Brom are two teams who are "on the up" this season, or so their league position would have you believe, but where are they really?  Let's take a wander through the numbers.

6 weeks ago I did a Team Analysis for several of the Premier League Clubs looking at their shots and goal data in attack and defence this season in the same fixtures last season.  I also introduced some Form Indicators to try and put some context around the numbers. In a nutshell thses indicators are determined as follows but read the full post for more explanation.  I have also given each indicator a grading, A-D, to add more context to the values.

Attacking:  Creativity (total number of shots/90 min), Penetration (% shots in the Box), Accuracy (% shots on target), Conversion (% goals per SoT)
Defending:  Frugality (chances conceded/90min), Solidity (% shots allowed in box), Pressure (% shots allowed on target), Resilience (% goals against per SoT).

Note that promoted teams are ignored in the table as their is nothing to compare too.


Straight away the indicators give you an idea.  The Chelsea has attack has improved in several areas this season.  Although they have created less chances overall, they have been creating better quality chances. This has seen them score almost twice the number of goals in the same fixtures compared to last season.  This is obviously explained by the much improved goal conversion ratio (Conversion) which one would assume is driven by the increase percentage of shots taken in the box (Penetration).

In defence Chelsea have been about the "same" although have been allowing more opportunity for shooting chances in their own penalty area (Solidity).  They have conceded 2 less goals this year although their totals for Shots Conceded, Shots in Box, Shots on Target are all very similar to last year.  

Overall, you'd have to say Chelsea have improved.  I can't help but compare Chelsea's attacking numbers last season to those of Tottenham this season.  From the above fixtures I don't know exactly which fixtures AVB was in charge for but the high Creativity and low Penetration and Conversion is eerily similar to Spurs this season.  Will take a closer look at that in due course.


Everton seem to have really had a reversal in play style this season, and towards the tail end of last you'd imagine.  I think Moyes has finally added the personnel to his squad that can take a game to their opponents rather than looking to win games from a defence first policy,  Has it paid off?  Everton are certainly creating more chances this season,  a load more, almost twice as many shots in the box this year than last!  This is a massive increase and they lead the league in this respect.  However, as you can see their actual goals scored is very similar to last year.  

I'm starting to see a trend in this respect within team data.  Often teams who create lots of chances in the box tend to miss the goal with them.  It's almost as if there is a sledgehammer type approach to the play - throw the ball in the box, get bodies in there, and try and poke in a goal.   It leads too lots of shots, but not much incisiveness.  Quanity over quality.  And for team's without a lot of qulaity (i.e. money!) it's perpahs the best approach,  For further information see Sam Allardyce.   

At the opposite end of the pitch Everton's defence has suffered overall, mainly due to not keeping goalbound shots out of the net.  Looking at their shots conceded data it's very close though, so perhaps luck has just played it's part here,  they've been punished for the odd defensive error or badly sighted keeper. 

The defence this season has cost Everton in terms of result who actually -2 points off the pace than where they where last season as determined by Simon Gleave's comparative Premier League table.

For a much more in depth review of Everton's performances and tactics I strongly recommend, nay urge, you to check out the oddly named but superb Executioner's Bong - a thoroughly comprehensive and inspired Everton tactics blog.  You can learn an awful lot about football reading this.


This is a really solid improvement in overall performance from West Brom and shows why they are in the league position they are in right now.  It's bonkers really to see how they have stayed consistent in 6 of the 8 indicators here, plus a significant improvement in one of the areas that count the most - converting chances into goals.  They certainly aren't an exhilarating attacking side as shown by their C grade creativity but they are very efficient in what they do.  

How much of this is down to luck?  Hard to say of course, but I don't think a great deal - they are just converting chances at a slightly better than league average rate, rather than an unrealistic rate.or the low rate they achieved last year.  I'd love to take a closer look at their source of goals scored this season coupled with their style of play to see what drives this.  To top this all off their defence remains just as solid and reliable outfit as they were under Hodgson last season.  It's really quite impressive.  Well done Baggies.

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