Thursday, 16 July 2015

2014/15 Player Numbers By Field Position

A simple question:

Well the answer for the 13/14 Premier League is here, along with the conversion rate for defenders and midfielders. There's tons of other stuff too.

Anyway, let's answer the question (and repeat last years study) for the 14/15 Premier League season.

All players who played at least a single minute in the 14/15 Premier League are included here.


Shooting% = goals/shots
Shot Assist Sh% - assists/shot assists
On-Field Sh% = goals+assists/shots+shot assists
Shot Contribution = shots+shot assists p90

Count Position Goals p90 Assists p90 Points p90 Shots p90 SoT p90 Shot Assist p90 Shot Contr p90 Shooting% Shot Assist Sh% On-Field Sh% Sc% SoT% Passes p90 Fouls p90 Fouled p90 Ave Mins
173 Defenders 0.03 0.04 0.07 0.48 0.12 0.48 0.96 6.25 8.56 7.40 24.73 25.28 39.95 0.85 0.70 1544.6
213 Midfielders 0.12 0.12 0.24 1.45 0.45 1.36 2.82 8.37 9.01 8.68 27.08 30.90 47.82 1.27 1.24 1368.2
101 Attackers 0.35 0.11 0.46 2.81 1.04 1.15 3.97 12.41 9.94 11.69 33.64 36.89 29.08 1.50 1.48 1195.5

Some quick thoughts below.

Goals, Assists & Points

I think the trends between defenders, midfielders and forwards is pretty intuitive. Forwards score than midfielders; midfielders score more than defenders.

There's less of a gap between the positions when looking at assists.

Add goals and assists together to get points and we see a nice uniformed decline from forward to midfielder to defender.

Shot Volume & Shot Contribution

Midfielders have a shots p90 rate that is around 3x that what defenders post. Forwards post 2x the shots p90 volume of midfielders.

Midfielders post the best shot assist p90 numbers and this is pretty intuitive: midfielders (the data I am using groups wingers and attacking midfielders in this group) are often the setup men for for the shots that forwards take.

If we add shot volume and shot assists volume together, we get shot contribution p90. Forwards are easily posting the best volume by this metric.


Forwards post the best number (12.4%) by this metric and distance from goal when the shot is taken is likely a big factor here.

Defenders have a shooting% that is roughly half that of forwards. Distance in open play shots may well be one factor. Shot type and how the shot is created - think of headers from set pieces and corners - may well be another.

Shot Assist sh%

Fairly small spread between the positions by this metric. I am open to thoughts as to why this is? Compared to shooting% does shot assist sh% contain more luck/non-skill in having the chances a player creates converted into goals?

Passes p90

Midfielders, naturally, post the best pass volume. Defenders pass the ball more times p90 than forwards do.

No surprise here.


The average minutes played for defenders is 1544. For forwards this number is 1195. Forwards are often rotated from game-to-game and are more than likely to be subbed within the game, hence the lower average minutes played. Defenders aren't rotated or subbed off at anywhere near the same rate as forwards. 

All told, I don't think any of this information is new or revolutionary. It simply confirms - using data - some of the basic ideas we have about how each position on the field contributes to offense.