Chelsea converting, City creating, Arsenal conceding

Do you see  what I see? Other than the fact that I don’t have Man U on the list.

First, Liverpool are the most open of all the teams in the top six: scoring 58 and conceding 36. They create a fair number, the most shots in prime with 125 (shots inside the area between the penalty spot and goal) and second most Big Chances with 57 (shots that normally we would expect a team to score, such as penalties), but also have allowed a ton of chance; 40 big chances and 62 SiP. As a result, they score a lot and concede a lot.

But look at Chelsea for a second. They have the best defense in the League and have allowed less than one big chance per game along with just 50 shots in prime. This defensive prowess makes up for their relative lack of attack.  I’m not suggesting that they don’t attack but they have the fewest big chances created (44) and shots in prime (71).

What Chelsea are doing extraordinarily well is finishing. They are scoring on 15% of their total shots. To put that in context, average for the Premier League is 10%.  When I do my expected goals formula for them they are 18 goals above where their total shots would normally see them.

Arsenals’ big problem this season is not in creating chances. It’s in conceding them. Of this group, Arsenal have conceded the most big chances (42) allowed the most shots in prime (88) and conceded the most goals from each of those positions. Remember that there is crossover from big chances and shots in prime, in other words, many big chances are shots in prime. In fact, Arsenal’s expected goals numbers are just average. We are scoring the number I expect and conceding the number I expect.

And finally a word about Man City. They are absolute creative beasts. The British punditocracy cackled gleefully when Pep Guardiola said that his 1-1 draw at home against Liverpool was the best his team had played. “How stupid of Pep” they all laughed. Yeah, it seems weird. But looked from a different perspective: City created 5 big chances in that game and 8 shots in prime. They only converted 1, which is bad, but to create at that level is highly impressive and we would have expected more goals from City in that match.

One thing to look for this weekend is that Arsenal are the team who have conceded the most big chances in this group and City have created the most. That does not bode well for the Gunners.


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