There´s something about the start of a new season. The expectations, the new signings and that glimmer of hope that this will be THE season for your team of choice. It´s arguably the most fun part of a season.
From a statistical point of view though, you can´t really do all that much with the data from the new season yet. Samples are still tiny and all things noteworthy, such as Swanseas flying start in Expected Goals or Borussia Mönchengladbachs horrible one may still be flukes caused by variation.
Because of this, I´m still playing around with last seasons data. I took a very quick look at ”Big chances” created and conceded last season according to Optas definition, here are some of my findings:
Looking at the top 5 European leagues, the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1, there was a total of 6051 ”Big chances” spread over 1520 games which means that an average game had just over 3.3 ”Big chances” in the 2014/2015 season. When you break it down by league, it turns out that the Bundesliga had the highest amount ”Big chances” per game and the Premier League the lowest.
The top table below shows the 15 teams from the top 5 leagues with the highest amount of ”Big chances” created per game to the left, and the 15 teams with the lowest amount of ”Big chances” created to the right. The bottom table shows exactly that, the bottom 15 teams for creating ”Big chances” to the left and the team that conceded the most to the right.
It looks like Barcelona was quite the team last season. No great surprise there, but one thing that did stick out to me was to the fact that the Napoli of Rafa Benitez is in the top 15 for both chances created and fewest chances conceded. Small sides Empoli and Rennes seems to have been pretty solid at the back, at least as far as conceding big chances goes.
As a Man United fan, it is also noteworthy how David Moyes Real Sociedad is in the bottom 15 for creating ”Big chances”, together with some really poor teams.
Combining the chances created and conceded, we can create a ”Big chances ratio” by dividing the created chances by the created chances+the conceded chances for each team. These are the top and bottom 15 teams according to the BCR.
Without diving into the debate on which league is the ”best” out of the five, I think it´s pretty safe to say that Ligue 1 isn´t the strongest one out of the five, and neither is Serie A. This table doesn´t aim to show a concrete ranking of which team is better than the other, it just shows how good or bad a team was at creating and conceding chances within their own league. With that in mind, again, look at Barcelona. Some pretty amazing numbers that no other club came even close to. Again it´s worth noting Napoli finishing ahead of Italian champions Juventus in this measure and Marseille under Bielsa showing up as the 2nd highest rated team from Ligue 1.
According to this measure, Aston Villa and Hamburger SV can consider themselves very lucky to still be in the top tier, as can Levante who´s 14th place finish remains a puzzle.
Looking at this measure, we´ve seen some very expected stuff and some, a little bit more surprising stuff. But how good is this measure at explaining what´s happened, and more importantly, predicting the future? I only have two seasons worth of BC data, but in my next post (on this subject at least) I´ll try and look into the correlation with points won for the BCR and repeatability from season to season.