Attacking Quality: The Best Teams | Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City Stats

Attacking Quality: The Best Teams | Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City Stats

With third of a season already gone, the Premier League table seems to be split into two halves. All of the top nine teams are still, at worst, within touching distance of the Champions League places. Quite obviously, being strong offensively is one of the most important requirements if a club wants to finish in the famous top 4. Actually, it may be more important than ever before, as with so many strong teams going head-to-head, a goal difference may be the only way to separate winners from losers when the end of a season comes.

Attacking Quality

When analysing teams’ attacking stats, people usually compare their shooting accuracy, number of chances they create or percentage of those chances being converted. You will not be able to read about it in this article. Why? Because this piece is about trying to look at attacking statistics a bit differently, focusing on quality of both shots on goal the teams take and the chances they create.

Click on the table to enlarge it

Click on the table to enlarge it

The table above is an overview of all the stats that I’ve been using while writing this article. You don’t have to analyse it in detail if you don’t want, as scrolling down you’ll find the more ‘friendly’ tables that will also give you a nice understanding of a subject.

Chances quality

First, let’s focus on the quality of chances each of the compared teams’ passing creates. We’ll do so by checking what percentage of each team’s chances are clear-cut.

As you can see in the table above, Liverpool create the best chances of the entire compared group, with Manchester City being a close second. Arsenal sit third, not too far from standard set by Brendan Rodgers’ team. Southampton, Newcastle and Manchester United have something to worry about, as less than 10% of chances they create are clear-cut ones. Chelsea, Tottenham and Everton are the most average trio, though Jose Mourinho side is noticeably better than the other two teams, having 1,2% advantage over next Spurs.

Shooting quality

Similar to the previous tables, the one above contains the shots on target per goal ratios from the overall table at the very top of an article. Of course, all the ratios have been sorted from the best to the worst. As you can probably see, all the clubs in this shooting quality ranking may be diverted into 4 groups.

The first group contains the teams that are the most deadly with their shots on target. Manchester City lead that group, as Manuel Pellegrini’s men are scoring a goal every 2,67 shots on target. Arsenal and Manchester United aren’t far from that standard, though.

The second group is made of Liverpool and Chelsea. Both of those teams are doing moderately well, with Liverpool scoring every 3,17 shots and Chelsea finding a net every 3,3 shots. Third group are Everton, Southampton and Newcastle. All of those teams seem to look rather average in terms of their shots deadliness, with Toons being slightly worse than the other two sides.

Perhaps the most interesting group in this ranking is the last one. Actually, it’s hard to call it a group as it contains only one club – an absolutely dreadful Tottenham. Andre Villas-Boas’ team needs almost 7,5 shots on target to finally beat the keeper. Of course, everyone knows about Spurs’ goalscoring problems, but I think that table puts them into a totally different perspective. Most of the compared teams, with slight exception of Newcastle, would have scored at least twice firing the same amount of shots that Tottenham needs to find a net.

So now, when we know which of the compared teams are creating the best chances, and which are the deadliest shooters, let’s have a little fun and try to put those things together. I’ve awarded each team some points for their standings in both shooting and chance quality rankings. First place meant 9 points, second 8 and so on, with the last-placed team being awarded 1 point. Then, I’ve summed up all the points and created the table that contains 9 teams, but only 7 standings. Here it is:

What conclusions can we draw from this article? Well, it seems like Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are the best teams in terms of attacking quality. Newcastle and Southampton don’t seem like real contenders for the European places, at least not in terms of quality of their attacking play. Chelsea, Manchester United and, maybe, Everton could do better, but their current level of attack isn’t bad. And finally, Tottenham have a lot to worry about if they want to achieve top 4 finish at the end of the season with such poor quality on their attacks.