League Two Rankings: The strength of each team’s attack after 17 games

After the defensive rankings, today we look beyond the ‘goals for’ column on the League Two table as our Attacking Rankings return.

Taking into account a broader range of statistics to analyse Accrington to Torquay United, the five attacking assessments provide an indication of the relative strengths and weaknesses – home and away – of League Two after 17 games.

Shots On Target Per Game

By far the most busy team generating shots at goal is Crawley Town with 14.2 per game. This comes as no surprise for a team that has scored the joint highest goals in the division, having scored 34 along with Morecambe. However, as Morecambe show, they’ve scored the same total from 11.5 shots per game, so the Shrimpers are considerably more efficient in front of goal.

Within the ten sides who’ve made the most shots on goal we find Dagenham & Redbridge sitting 7th with an average of 11.7 shots, but with the 3rd fewest goals (15) scored. Heavily hinting at an awful strike rate…we’ll come to that later…

On the opposite scale, Port Vale have hit 32 despite an average of 9.5 per game, but it is the Valiant’s disparity between just 6.9 shots per game at Vale Park compared to 12.4 away that partly explains their more consistent away form this season.

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Percentage of Shots On Target

Having criticised Port Vale for lacking the shooting instinct, their limited number of shots certainly find the target with 58.4%, the highest in League Two, testing the opposition ‘keeper. Despite the 6.9 shots at home, 66%, or 2 in 3 test the ‘keeper at Vale Park, again the best in the division, home or away. It’s therefore a big surprise Port Vale didn’t manage to score against Swindon considering their 5 shots on target…perhaps Wes Foderingham is that good…

With Swindon sitting 20th with only 47% of shots on target it’s clear here is one area where Paolo Di Canio must improve, particularly when League leaders Southend have 53%, Gillingham 57.9% and Oxford 50%.

However, second worst Crawley Town show they can hit the heights of 2nd in League Two and be the division’s hot shots despite hitting 41.7% shots on target. Given their excessive number of total shots (14.2) they are the most inefficient attacking side who need as many shots as they can get to eventually test the ‘keeper.

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Overall Strike Rate – Percentage of Goals From Shots

Again Port Vale show that you don’t need to keep aimlessly punting the ball towards goal at every opportunity to score.

After having one of the lowest average shots per games and the best percentage of shots on target, the Valiants score nearly 1 in 5 of their shots, which is by far the best rate in League Two. The Vale attack is therefore the very definition of efficiency, yet if only they generated more shots per game and they’ll be a real promotion threat in 2011/12.

Swindon sit 8th with a 14% combined strike rate. But it is our 18% home performance which is propping us up following an awful start to our away games leaving us with 9.7% on our travels. Swindon are similar to Oxford’s performances, where the ‘U’s’ are significantly stronger at the Kassam.

Four of the bottom five teams; Accrington, Northampton, Plymouth and Hereford need 10 shots at goal to find the net, a woeful rate considering none manage 10 shots per game. As for Dagenham & Redbridge, a fair amount of total shots (11.7) and an average rate of shots on target (48.7%) mask their ‘couldn’t hit a barn door’ finishing with just 7.5% of shots scored.

Burton and Northampton have performed better at shooting efficiency on their travels, as both sides have been twice as effective on their travels.

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Corners Won Per Game

Dagenham result here suggests the more corners you win doesn’t guarantee you goals. The Daggers benefit the most by winning 8.3 corners per game, including a massive 9 at home, yet they’ve scored the third lowest number of goals in League Two, and as we’ve seen above, fail to test their opponent’s ‘keeper or score from these set pieces.

Swindon perform identically home and away with 5.2 per game, but find themselves well below average along with some of the division’s weaker teams. Importantly we’ve only scored 2 of our 27 goals so far direct from a corner and both of those were in the same game.

Bradford City have won only 3 corners per game, so this is yet another reason not to watch the Bantams if you want to see goalmouth action.

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Possession Won Per Game

As this is the opposite of the possession against published yesterday you could’ve guessed the results.

Swindon, Aldershot, Shrewsbury and Southend lead the way by winning the most possession on average, however there is still no ‘Barcelona’ in League Two with a greater than 60% average possession won.

Can anyone explain why Port Vale have won 48% at home, while 54.8% away from Vale Park…?

There’s not as strong a correlation this time around to suggest that the more possession will lead to a higher average of shots or corners per game. Dag & Red show that possession isn’t all, after achieving the highest corners won per game and the 8th best shots per game average.

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Attacking Score and Ranking

The top grouping here generally reflects the attacking efficiency through goals scored. Southend, Gillingham, Crawley, Port Vale, Morecambe and Rotherham have all scored 30 plus goals and are chasing promotion, however Oxford and Shrewsbury have scored less, yet as their attacking efficiency shows are worthy of their current league position.

With only 20 goals to their name, its a shock to see Barnet and Northampton above average and within the top ten attacking sides. Both sides perform at or just above average in 4 of the 5 attacking assessments, however this shows they are let down elsewhere on the pitch, as we’ll find out in the overall rankings.

Swindon are nowhere near as strong in attack as in defence. A ranking of 12th and score of 112 is 52 worse off than our defensive score. There are two factors at play here. Firstly our awful start on our travels, mainly because of adjusting to the rigours of League Two football, hits the ranking hard with just 1 goal in 7 games reduced the strike rate and percentage of shots on target. Secondly, Di Canio has yet to find his perfect striker. This seems obvious as he’s been banging on about it since the moment that he first arrived, so this fully justifies Paolo’s seemingly everlasting search for that powerful front man who’s not only capable of putting himself about, but someone who will score a few goals.

It’s no shock to see Plymouth (195), Bradford (194, Accrington (180) and Hereford (175) propping up the Attacking Rankings as their lack of punch in front of goal has shown so far this campaign.

Of those sides with a significantly better home attacking threat, Macclesfield are a score of 26 better at Moss Rose, this is despite picking up more points per game on their travels.

Port Vale have the biggest swing in favour of playing away from Vale Park, with a division high score of 26 secured on their travels compared to 63 at Vale Park.

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Strength of Opposition Goalkeeper Faced (Opponent Save Rate)

To put each team’s attack and the strength of goalkeeper they’ve faced in some context the below graph details their opposition’s save rate in the 17 league games.

Morecambe have faced the ‘easiest’ ‘keepers who’ve saved 64% of shots on target.

Crawley and Southend have taken advantage of the ‘poor’ ‘keepers faced with their excellent attacking rankings.

AFC Wimbledon should’ve performed significantly better, above their attacking ranking of 18, after facing the 5th weakest goalkeepers this season.

League Two bottom teams Northampton, Dagenham, Plymouth and Hereford have come unstuck against some of the best goalkeepers with an 80% plus save rate.

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Tomorrow is our Overall Rankings and summary for all teams in League Two.

How are these rankings worked out?

Each of the 5 defensive measures are ranked 1 to 24. Three assessments are made for each measure; home, away and a combined overall rank.

Each of the 5 measures are sorted (above) by the combined overall rank.

The overall defensive ranking is created by the sum of the 5 home rankings and the 5 away rankings for each defensive meaure.

The best score possible is 10, being a 1st place in each of the 1 x 5 home and 1 x 5 away ranking sets.

The worst score possible is 240, being a 24th place in each of the 1 x 5 home and 1 x 5 away ranking sets.

Where is base the data from?

Data is collated from the Press Association statistics published by the Football League.

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