Down The Right Channel: An Analysis Of Chances Created And Conceded
Which Premier League clubs are most efficient on the right side of the field? A few weeks ago Stephen McCarthy took a look at the effectiveness of each club on the left side, today he returns with his analysis of right channel play.
Last time we looked at how effective Premier League teams were down the left channel both in a defensive and an attacking sense. This time we are going to look at the same statistics but concentrate on the right channel of the prospective teams.
Of course the lower the chances a team concedes the better, so the lower the number in this metric the better the team are performing, and of course the opposite is true for the ‘chances created right’ metric. I have placed some markers on the graph so it may be easier to visualise exactly where a particular team places. For example, if a team is conceding chances less than 60% of the average and also creating chances above 120% of the average then that means a team is performing extremely well in both. (See Tottenham, and the two Manchester clubs.)
Could Do Better
One of the first things that is quite noticeable when looking at the graphic is the clutter of teams in the four squares where both average lines intersect. For reference, the average chances conceded right per team in the Premier League this season has been 95.1 and the average chances created in the right channel has been 91.7. All those teams create just below the Premier League average and concede chances just above the average. So effectively, they could better in both aspects.
If you take West Ham as an example they are almost exactly average in both departments creating 88 chances and conceding 96. Newcastle, Fulham, West Brom, Swansea, Norwich and Aston Villa all fall into this area. Aston Villa aside, all those teams listed are positioned around mid-table, Swansea being highest in 8th, and Newcastle lowest in 15th. Not a huge surprise, as usually the more chances created and the least conceded, means the higher up the league you go.
The next clutter of teams, are all doing slightly better than the average in both departments. Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton and surprisingly Southampton all feature here. I say surprisingly when referring to Southampton as, unlike the other three teams, their positive stats don’t reflect their league position.
All four teams have created between 92 and 99 chances down the right channel this season, with 91.7 being the EPL average. But all four have conceded chances a nominal amount under the Premier League (95.1) average. Arsenal have only conceded 74 chances in that right zone, only 3 teams, Spurs, Man United and Man City have conceded less this season.
Arsenal have had some injuries in that department but at various points in the season both Carl Jenkinson (13 apps) and Bacary Sagna (16 apps) have operated in the right back position for them. As you can see from their average positions this season you would say Jenkinson is slightly the more defensive full back whereas Sagna’s average position is a touch further forward. The stats bear this out to an extent, Arsenal conceding 0.8 goals per game when the more defensive Jenkinson appears, compared to conceding 1.3 goals per game when Sagna is on the pitch.
Of course a special mention must go to Southampton and to both Nathan Clyne and Jason Puncheon who have operated down their right side for the majority of the season. Clyne has attempted 84 tackles this season, 20 more than any other Saints defender, and only 7 defenders in the entire EPL have attempted more up to now. Coupled with the fact Puncheon has attempted 61 shots (only 8 midfielders have attempted more this season) and scored 5 goals so far this season, makes them a pretty effective duo.
If we throw our eye over to the bottom right of the graph, and above the 120% of the average conceded marker we can see that 3 teams populate that area.
Incredibly, Reading have conceded 152 chances down their right side, that is almost 3 times the amount Spurs have conceded in that zone. Both QPR and Sunderland also need some work in that area, conceding 127 and 116 chances respectively.
It’s no surprise that the teams who concede the most chances have the poorest league position here, with both Reading and QPR propping up the rest of the league.
Conceding Few Create Many
If we move our focus over to the top left of the graph this will tell us what teams create a lot of chances down the right and also concede very few. Liverpool have created the most chances in the right zone this season (144) but are a slight anomaly when conceding chances, in that they have conceded 86. Still below the EPL average but 7 other teams have conceded fewer.
This could be partly due to Glen Johnson’s propensity to get forward and join the attack leaving spaces at the back. Johnson has had 73 touches in opposition penalty box this season, only 1 other defender has had more, and he has also had 46 attempts at goal, no other defender has had more shots at goal than him this season.
Of course Spurs, Man City and Man United are in that top bracket where they excel in both metrics. United’s solidity and attacking threat from the right has mostly come via the combined duo of Rafael and Valencia this season. Valencia’s deployment as a right full back in the past would also aid in their overall effectiveness on that side. Rafael has attempted 94 tackles, this season only 3 other defenders have attempted more, (Cameron, Zabaleta and Lowton), add in his 3 goals and 4 assists and you begin to see why Man United do so well in the right channel.
Man City are second in the league when it comes to both the most chances created on the right and the least amount of chances conceded on the right. Defensively, this will not come as a surprise to anybody who has watched some of Zabaleta’s fantastic performances this season.
In fact, City have kept 10 clean sheets when Zabaleta has played. He has also won 65 of the 116 tackles he’s attempted, of all defenders this season only Stoke’s Geoff Cameron has won more tackles than Zabaleta and he has only made 1 ‘on the ball’ error that has led to the opposition having a chance in 2128 minutes on the pitch this season. That’s the kind of consistency a lot of managers would kill for.
Top Right-Sided Duo
Lastly Tottenham have some incredible statistics in both metrics, particularly in the defensive area. They have only conceded 52 chances in the right channel all season, 14 less than any other team. In an attacking sense they created 125 chances, only Man City and Liverpool have created more in the right channel. The two players who have operated in that zone for Spurs this season are Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon.
For Lennon’s part in this, he has attempted 86 dribbles this season, more than any of his team mates, and only 10 midfielders this season have attempted more than him. He has also created 58 chances for Spurs; only 9 players all season have created more. You add in the 10 ‘big chances’ he has created (which only 5 players can better) for his team-mates then that is a pretty phenomenal contribution going forward. Kyle Walker has also excelled at the other end of the pitch. He has made 131 recoveries of the ball; only 6 defenders have made more this season, and made 63 interceptions which only 7 defenders can better.
Walker has also made 46 chances, putting him in the top 20 chance creators in the league, creating more chances than offensive type players like Wayne Rooney and Stewart Downing. Considering all of that, it would be hard to disagree that Walker and Lennon are currently the best right-sided duo in the Premiership this season.
Follow Stephen on Twitter: @SteMc74
All statistics taken from fantasyfootballscout.co.uk