League Two Rankings: Attacking and Overall After 9 Games

Following the publication of the defensive rankings yesterday, it’s time to check out how efficient each team has been in the 9 games so far this season at the other end of the pitch. Again these attacking rankings studies five key statistics covering a wide variety of attacking play.

These are then followed by the overall League Two rankings. Will these correspond to League position?

Attacking Rankings

Average Shots Per Game & Percentage of Shots on Target

Bristol Rovers, Crawley and Dag & Red are the teams to watch if you want to see plenty of shots on goal. Mind you, looking at the next graph showing percentage of shots on target, there’s a better than 50/50 chance that ball will smack you between the eyes.

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Of all the top teams with the highest number of shots on goal, Torquay United are the most effective, testing the keeper on 55.6% of their 11.56 shots.

Perhaps its the quality of Dario Gradi’s shooting practice at Crewe, that despite the second fewest shots on goal per game (5.2) they test the keeper on 57.8% of their limited shots. That’s efficiency.

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Overall Strike Rate %

Both with over 22% of their total shots scored, Port Vale and Rotherham have been frightening defences in League Two this season with their clinical finishing.

Again, similar to shots on target, Crewe make the most of their limited chances with a higher than average conversion rate of 13.3%.

Swindon need 8 shots to score a goal. This is hardly a lethal striking rate that had been expected under Di Canio, especially given his wealth of attacking options in Connell, De Vita, Magera and Kerrouche. Perhaps this provides proof Paolo is right in his seemingly never ending search for the elusive 20 goal a season forward to fire us to promotion. Also importantly, the goalkeepers we’ve faced have only performed average with a save rate of 73.5%, so we’ve hardly faced Barry Roche…

Meanwhile at the bottom, Dagenham, Hereford and Plymouth find the net for 1 in every 20 shots. Barn door and banjo springs to mind…

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Corners Won Per Game

Like the corners against per game, there is a similar, if not as pronounced, correlation between the number of corners and higher number of shots.

Dag & Red win a very high number of corners per game, however with a low percentage of shots on target and a conversion rate of 1 in 20, there are unlikely to translate this dominance of set pieces around the box into a true attacking advantage to win games.

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Percentage Possession Won

The graph doesn’t tell us anything new since it’s the reverse of the defensive possession against.

Despite Swindon winning nearly 52% possession, this isn’t translated into a similar attacking threat by generating as many shots on goal, on target and corners as Crawley and Gillingham, who both have won a similar amount of possession.

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Attacking Score and Ranking

After reading the Gills365 forums yesterday there wasn’t much hope of a high attacking ranking. Yet, their score of 25 is very impressive for the Kent side and puts them clearly the most effective attacking side in League Two. Having revisited the rankings after 8 games, before the 6-1 drubbing of Hereford, Gillingham were 4th with a score of 47. So it’s evident this big result, putting a four game winless run behind, made the difference.

Other than the expected of Shrewsbury, Crawley and Morecambe in the top ten, there are some surprises seeing Northampton and Barnet this high. Both sides defy their 20th and 21st positions to perhaps show their promise and an indication they’re unlikely to finish in the bottom half.

Swindon sit 10th, a sign of a broader attacking inefficiency of nothing more than average in all five areas studied. Despite Di Canio’s many noises about creating a controlling side with 3 players ready to attack, this hasn’t yet manifested itself in an outstanding attacking performance this season.

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Overall Ranking

Gillingham supporters rejoice! You are top of the league, well in these ranking at least. Perhaps the thumping 6-1 win at the weekend hides the frailties of your side or were you blind to an improving and effective attacking side?

Bolstered by our defensive efficiency – not said that in a while – Swindon sit 4th in this overall League Two ranking. As I see it the statistics don’t lie. Improved goalkeeping performances, organising the defence to restrict the limited chances of our opposition (that are frequently scored), creating more chances through the (slightly) dominant possession and our forwards getting sharper in front of goal are obvious areas in which we need to improve. If Paolo sorts these key weaknesses out then a return to League One will be upon us come May.

Other than Swindon, there are three teams with a massive swing between defensive and attacking efficiency. Aldershot have an excellent defensive score of 36, but their awful strike rate, shots per game and shots on target bring them down in the rankings. Accrington are average defending, but their attacking rank 23rd with a score of 91, reflects where their problems will lie this season. The third team is Bristol Rovers. The Gas struggle defensively, lacking possession and conceding corners, yet in attack if they convert more of their many shots on goal and chances from corners they’ll put to an end their current run of 1 win from 6 games.

It will be interesting to see whether these ranking more closely follow actual League Two position as the season develops. Follow The Washbag to keep up-to-date with our League Two rankings.

Do you agree with this analysis? Do these stats represent how your team has played in League Two this season?

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The data is collated from the Press Association statistics published on the BBC. Not always the most reliable source, but there’s no other…

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