Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Collection Of The Worst Shots Differential Teams On Record

The teams I will be looking at today are some of the most incompetent and downright terrible teams at controlling the shot count. Whether it was a weak offense or a porous defense all of the teams that are listed below were consistently and heavily outshot over the course of their respective seasons. Teams that are consistently outshot tend to find trouble. Trouble is defined here, at the very least, as flirtation with relegation.

The Teams

  • The mythical Derby County team of 2007/08.
  • The 7 worst shot differential teams of the Enlightened Stat Era.
  • 2 teams from the 14/15 season who are, as of game week 9, on course to become the worst and 3rd worst shot differential teams of the Enlightened Stat Era (2009 to present)

The Table


Year POS TEAM P W D L F A GD PTS Win% Points% Goal% TSR Shots +/- Per Game
2014/15 10* Hull City 9 2 5 2 13 13 11 22.2 40.7 50 34 -8.8
2012/13 19 Reading 38 6 10 22 43 73 -30 28 15.8 24.6 37.1 35.8 -8.2
2014/15 17* Leicester 9 2 3 4 11 15 -4 9 22.2 33.3 42.3 35.8 -7.7
2009/10 19 Hull City 38 6 12 20 34 75 -41 30 15.8 26.3 31.2 36.3 -7.6
2010/11 18 Birmingham  38 8 15 15 37 58 -21 39 21.1 34.2 38.9 37 -7.4
2013/14 20 Cardiff City 38 7 9 22 32 74 -42 30 18.4 26.3 30.2 37.7 -7.2
2013/14 13 West Ham  38 11 7 20 40 51 -11 40 28.9 35.1 44 38.3 -6.7
2007/08 20 Derby County 38 1 8 29 20 89 -69 11 2.6 9.6 18.3 37.4 -6.2
2013/14 19 Fulham 38 9 5 24 40 85 -45 32 23.7 28.1 32 39.7 -5.8
2012/13 17 Sunderland 38 9 12 17 41 54 -13 39 23.7 34.2 43.2 39.5 -5.7

These are the worst shots teams I could find. These are the incompetent bastards, the terrible teams who were consistently pulverized by the opposition in terms of the shots count. 

We have 10 teams on this list including two current teams: Hull and Leicester. All 10 teams had a TSR/Corsi (% of the shots count) of less than 40%. Six of the eight teams from the previous seasons were relegated and Sunderland in 12/13 should of been but for Di Canio and some luck. That Sunderland season is now known as The Costly Miracle. Why? At around Week 4 0r 5 of that 12/13 season I managed to get Sunderland at 18/1 to be relegated. Yeah.

So what does this table tell us? None of these teams were able to control the shots count and this led to pretty poor points totals, low win percentages and, in many instances, relegation. 

If you look at the Goal% and TSR column we can roughly guess at some of the PDO's these teams posted. If Goal% is noticeably higher than TSR then that team was posting a fairly high PDO. Birmingham, West Ham and Sunderland all posted fairly high PDO's and this likely helped those teams post higher points totals than their control over the shots count may have warranted.

Control of the shots count isn't the only important counting stat but it is a quick and easy was of identifying which teams may have poor processes. If your team is being outshot by the type of margins as the teams we see above it likely means that that there are issues with the ability of that team to control games. This may mean a team is unable to prevent the opposition from hemming them in their own end. It may mean a weak midfield, or a porous defense or an attacking scheme unable to maintain pressure in the offensive zone. 

In Reading's case, it meant all of these things!

What Does This Mean For Hull And Leicester?

Hull and Leicester are posting terrible Shots +/- numbers so far this season and the defense is to blame for both teams. Now, you may be sitting there reading this and thinking "Hull are 11th and Leicester are OK in 16th" and that is fine. Both teams have had decent-ish starts to the season, points are on the board, not too much to worry about. But there are things to worry about.

These teams cannot continue being butchered by the shots count to this extent and steer clear of any relegation trouble. Hull are currently being outshot by 8.8 shots per game and if these numbers were to continue then they would become the 2nd worst shots team on record (last 6 years). Leicester are being outshot by 7.7 shots per game and would become the 3rd worst shots team on record. 

These teams wont maintain good form whilst being outshot by these margins. Now, these negative shot differentials aren't really caused by score effects and shelling with an early lead (minutes winning/losing, Score Adjusted TSR) they are more likely caused by poor processes, some tough schedules and a tiny bit of score effects.

There are two likely paths that Hull and Leicester may take:

1) The shots numbers continue to be terrible but their form goes from OK to bad as their PDO numbers regress toward their individual mean. Right now both Hull and Leicester are posting PDO numbers of above 110. It is very unlikely, although not impossible, that these teams can maintain those high PDO numbers. What is more likely though is that those PDO numbers regress back towards somewhere around 100. Hull and Leicester may well be the type of teams that can maintain high scoring and save percentages (PDO) on the back of their + talent, some luck and some score effects boost from spending lost of time in winning positions, but those words don't really past the smell test. 

If the shots ratios and the inability to control the shots count remains the same and their PDO's slide back a little toward normality then their respective Goal% numbers will begin to sit around their TSR numbers, which will be around 40%. From 2001 to 2014 51 teams posted a Goal% number of less than 40%. Their average points total was 34, average goal differential was -27, and their average position in the table was 18th.

Those are not good omens.

2) Both teams stem the flow of shots against, exert better control over games and reduce those horrible shots differential numbers. This is entirely possible by the way. Teams may have a softer run of games against weaker opponents than they have generally already faced, they may have key players back from injury, the manager could tweak tactics and personnel. Offensive schemes can be fixed. The lateral and vertical gaps in bad defensive schemes can be tightened and improved. It happens. It has happened before and it can happen again.

Final Thoughts

I worry a lot for Leicester and slightly less so for Hull. Why? Well, although I think option #2 may happen and those teams will post better shots numbers going forward I still think option #1 is far more likely to happen. I am not convinced that either Leicester of Hull can maintain above average scoring and save percentages over the course of the season and couple that with relegation type shots numbers and it can only lead to trouble.

It would be mighty wise for both teams to focus on the structural or personnel reasons that lead to being outshot by such margins. We know that both teams are being heavily outshot but why is that happening? What are those teams doing poorly, what are the issues? 

Once they have been diagnosed then the how becomes the focus. How can those weaknesses be strengthened. How can the processes be improved. How can the little, almost imperceptible things that lead to such ugly shots numbers be corrected and improved.

Those are jobs for the technical personnel and the management team.

The Worst Of The Worst

The 8 worst shots teams on record (and Hull & Leicester!)

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