I posted an image on Twitter earlier in the week, which showed how many assists each Premier League team has got this season against their expected assist rate from my Chance Quality system.
As the top two overachievers meet at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime, I thought it was worth taking a closer look at their figures to see if either side has an edge in any particular area of the pitch.
Here is the picture in question (you may need to click on it to get a better view):
I think it would be fair to say that both Arsenal and Liverpool have exceeded their pre-season expectations in 2013/14 so far, and the table included here gives a good indication as to why.
Both the Gunners (with twelve extra goals) and the Reds (with ten) have got around fifty percent more assists than average conversion would have got them, based on the location of their chances. To my mind, this fact goes a long way to explaining their higher-than-expected points tallies.
Let’s take a look at how many chances the two teams have created in each zone.
It’s no surprise to see that they’ve both created lots in open play inside the penalty area, with Arsenal ranked second and Liverpool ranked third in the division for this in 2013/14. Of the Premier League’s top thirteen players for accurate through balls (e.g. those with a minimum of 0.3 per game), four play for Liverpool and five play for Arsenal, so these will have lead to chances galore in opposition boxes.
As we know from the image at the start of the article, CBO chances have the best conversion rate by far, and that is reflected in the figures here. Let’s now compare the expected with the actual assist figures.
We can see that whilst Arsenal have particularly excelled at converting open play chances in the centre of the box, Liverpool have proven particularly adept and scoring set play chances in the same zone. Four of the fifteen goals the Gunners have conceded away from home this season have been from set pieces, so perhaps Liverpool can find some joy here on Saturday.
To finish, lets take a look at the chance quality figures for Liverpool at home and Arsenal on the road.
It would be wrong to read too much into these impressive numbers from a ‘Pool perspective, as no team has played more home games against the bottom half of the table than Liverpool have so far (eight). But the Reds are certainly in good form at Anfield, so should provide the visitors with a stern test in the first match of the weekend.
Recent posts you might like:
Liverpool, Shots On Target, and The Top Four – I revisited an old article on shots on target to see if the findings apply to 2013/14. It turns out they do, which is good news for Liverpool.
When Is A Chance Not Really A Chance (Or Even A Shot?) – One for the football analysts amongst you. I spotted a discrepancy in some match stats, and investigated further…
West Brom 1 Liverpool 1 Analysis – A look at what West Brom did, and Liverpool didn’t do, to ensure a stalemate at The Hawthorns.
Henderson and Comolli – An in-depth look at Jordan’s creativity in his final season at Sunderland. Was Comolli right to rate it so strongly?
Solid Foundations – Whether Liverpool finish in the top four or not this season, I think they’re well set for another challenge next year, and here’s why.