PLCQ: The First Three Weeks

In my last blog post, I introduced the concept of ‘chance quality’, which is a system I have devised for assessing which players and teams create the best goal scoring opportunities (read more here).

I have made the most of the two-week international break (as there was little for me, as an England fan, to enjoy on the pitch), and compiled the chance quality stats for the whole of the 2013/14 Premier League so far. Hence the name; PLCQ = Premier League Chance Quality!

It is obviously far too early to draw anything concrete from the sample available, as just thirty of the 380 matches that will be played in total this season can be included.

The following figures do however give an interesting indication of who is doing well or not already, and I suspect some of the trends will continue throughout the whole campaign.

ImageAs this is only my second article on chance quality, a quick recap on what parts of the pitch the different areas cover. Each area receives points, though they aren’t used in this piece:

Central Box Open Play (CBO), 5 points – Passes in open play that are received in the central area of the penalty box, which I define as the width of the six yard box reaching out from the goal line to the edge of the box.

Central Box Set Play (CBS), 3 points – These passes are received in the same area as the above, but receive fewer points as it’s far easier to put the ball in to a specific area when striking a dead ball with all of your opponents at least ten yards away.

Wide Box (WB), 3 points – The areas within the penalty area that are wide of the six yard box.

Central Outside Box (COB), 2 points – This zone maintains the width of the six yard box, but covers the area from outside of the penalty box out to where the final and midfield thirds meet.

Final Third (FT), 1 point – The rest of the final third essentially, meaning outside of the penalty area, and beyond the width of the six yard box.

Outside Final Third (OFT), 0.5 points – Self explanatory really; anywhere not included in the above zones.

So what can we see from the above chance quality figures? Manchester City lead the way in both CBO and CBO%, though considering they’ve played three teams likely to finish in the bottom half of the division, that’s probably not a surprise.

At the opposite end of the scale, Fulham have created next to nothing in the centre of the box, though in fairness to the Cottagers, their only home match has been against an Arsenal side who had a point to prove after an opening day home defeat, so Jol’s side may yet improve with some easier home fixtures.

Crystal Palace have fared little better so far, and I suspect their strikers could have a long season of waiting for decent goal scoring opportunities ahead of them. They might have created thirteen chances against Sunderland, for instance, but seven of them were OFT, with two inside their own half!

With my Liverpool hat on, it’s reasonably encouraging to see the Reds ranked sixth for CBO%, and joint third for CBO overall, as they haven’t had the easiest opening to the season.

Lets look at the assist data:

PLCQA 120913The samples are obviously small again, but it’s interesting that the areas I would assume to be the best have seen the most assists, and a highest conversion rate too.

Which team leads the way in the centre of the box? Swansea City, so that’s something for the Reds to be wary of on Monday night. It could be a quirk of their small sample though; they had lots of counter-attacking opportunities in that area in their last match at West Brom, for instance.

Speaking of the Baggies, along with Hull and Tottenham, they are the three teams yet to register an assist. I found it interesting that, even allowing for the six penalties and one own goal scored in the Premier League this season, there have been eighteen goals without an assist. Who created them, and perhaps more importantly, who scored them? Could be one of the same player I guess…

Going forward, I will post regular updates on the above figures on a page at the top of the site, and occasionally write articles that dig a little deeper. As with the previous article, all feedback is very welcome in the comments below.

Recent and related posts you might like:

Liverpool’s Chance Quality – Which Red has created the best chances so far this season?

Liverpool 1 Manchester United 0: Stats Zone Analysis – The first in a new series, looking at the key issues from a match by utilising the Stats Zone chalkboards.

What A Difference A Year Makes – The gulf between Liverpool’s form in 2012 and 2013 is quite remarkable…

Please check out my other articles, and follow me on Twitter or via Facebook. Thanks.

3 thoughts on “PLCQ: The First Three Weeks

  1. Andrew,

    Lies, damned lies and statistics…

    So is the CBO% and CB% or the volume of CBO and CO the most interesting and indicative factor? What does it matter to have a high CBO% if you very low volume of Quality chances created? Or if you have zero goal conversion?
    I remember reading a piece on NHL and creation of goals (I think it was a link on MixedKnuts or on StatsBomb). Can’t find it now of course but the conclusion of that story was that secret behind the Sedin brothers goal scoring was not that they were remarkably more efficient than other players, but that they were set up in a lot of high quality goal scoring opportunities which they scored from. So here volume matters.

    And then you have the general regression to the mean, which for me means that there could be the odd outlier or Black Swan (Newcastle the other year), but statistically speaking the position in the Premier League will be determined by squad quality (in turn determined by total squad cost if Paul T is to be believed). My conclusion is then that the average quality level of a team will be higher in a more expensive squad compared to a less expensive squad (in the long run and statistically speaking because of the regression to the mean factor). And the difference in average player quality will mean more created high quality chances and a higher conversion rate compared to a team with lower average player quality (i.e. less expensive squad). Which means we are back at playing the percentages…

    But if teams with similar average player quality meet, then statistically the team which creates the most high quality chances will win (since their conversion rate will be similar). So then volume matters…

    If this theory/concept is true at the end of the season your PLCQ list would more or less mirror the League table I guess.
    Would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this? I’m not sure I’m correct, I’m certainly no statistician, just a logical thinker I like to believe. But my logic could be flawed.


    Ps. I’m surprised that Liverpool had so many high quality chances created at all. I haven’t watched every minute of their games, but defensive shelling seems to have been the overall strategy (after scoring).

    • I guess ultimately volume will be the most important factor, as that will demonstrate who created the most top quality chances. Thinking about it, the % info is probably more interesting for the worst areas e.g. A team creates a lot of chances, but they create a higher proportion in the worst area than anyone else.

      This is a kind of test run for this system I guess. At the end of the season I’ll have some benchmarks for use next season. At this point, it’s hard to know what all this means really! But I agree with you that the chance quality should in theory mirror the league table eventually.


  2. Pingback: Shots On Target Against: A Closer Look | Bass Tuned To Red

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