Tuesday 4 December 2012

Goals from Midfielders vs. Forwards (and Defenders too!)

The first chart here is a quick look at goals scored by each team split by whether they were scored by midfielders,  forwards, or defenders, and then a look at the same split but by goals conceded - which teams have concede the most goals to forwards compared to midfielders and defenders?  

At this stage in the season there will be some variance from the opposition each team have faced but after comparing all team's actual data vs. opponent adjusted data I am fairly confident that this variance is minimal.

What can this tell us?  Firstly, looking at Swansea at the bottom of the chart with the least goals scored by Forwards and the most by Midfielders it's obvious this is due to Michu, classified as a midfielder but playing up front. Chelsea and West Ham too, both have just one orthodox striker in Torres and Carroll.  So this doesn't tell us anything that we don't already know.  

However, these teams are not the only ones playing with just one striker.  Everton, Stoke, Tottenham, Arsenal, Norwich, Sunderland and  Liverpool are too.  Maybe there is something to figure from this.  To be brief though, I think this kind of trend is driven by the team itself, and therefore does not add anything we can't determine simply by looking at a teamsheet, so let's move on to the goals conceded.


I'd like to think this does add value but it would involve a good deal more thought and time than I have right now.  Why would one team (Man Utd) concede a lot less goals against forwards (~20%) than another (e.g. Swansea - ~70%).  

I like to use Stoke as the benchmark defensive team when I begin a new analysis.  Seeing them near the top in terms of most goals conceded to forwards makes me want to assume that this means they are not easily broken down or caught out, hence not allowing midfielders to get chances from counter attacks or balls slipped through to midfield runners.  

I want to put teams like Norwich, Reading, Everton and City into this category too.  I wouldn't typically class Swansea in this category though, but perhaps they are, and it's just my opinion getting in the way.

I feel there could be some value in this, either as a defensive style or performance indicator, or just as another factor to bear in mind for Fantasy Team selection.  It's certainly in need of a lot more analysis though before anything can be gleamed for certain.

If you have any ideas or possible theories then let me know in the comments.  Thanks!

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