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Thursday
Jan262012

EPL Table Visualization: A Different Perspective

After the positive comments and interest in the scoreline visualization chart I posted last week, I decided it would be interesting to do another type of data visualization. Processing, the software I've been using for these visualizations, lets you do some cool stuff with making the visualization interactive. This week, I decided to make a more complete and informative visualization of the English Premier League table. 

I tried to make it as stand-alone as possible. In other words, I wanted people to understand it just by looking at it without other information. One point: its interactive in that you can scroll your mouse over a club's circle and it will give you information on them. If you are interested in more analysis and how I created it, read below. My site doesn't allow embedded code, so I have to post it on a different site. Here is a link to the visualization.

What is wrong with the normal EPL table? Well, nothing exactly, but it is a bit boring. It is also hard to get a handle on the true distance between teams because the points are only listed as numbers. It is hard for the human mind to visualize the differential between clubs represented by numbers. A much better way is to represent all the clubs on an axis. This way, we can see how the difference between 6th and 7th (1 point) is much smaller than the difference between 2nd and 3rd (5 points). To do this, the y-axis in my visualization is the current points total of each club.

This is nice, but not complete. Tables also display the goal differential of a club, so I also wanted to display that. A similar problem as above exists with goal differential. It is hard to visualize the difference between two clubs' goal differential. To deal with this, the x-axis of the visualization is goal differential. This way we can compare the true distance between two clubs in goal differential.

What is a way to get even more informative than the average EPL table? I decided that including shots on target per game (data taken from http://www.whoscored.com/) might provide some interesting insight. To do this I changed the color of the circles representing the clubs based on their shots on target per game. In other words, teams that have more shots on goal per game are darker, and teams that have less are lighter.

With all the high spending recently, I thought including net transfer spending as another metric represented in the visualization would be interesting. To incorporate this, I made the area of the circles represent their net transfer spending. On my last post, a reader pointed out that using the radius of a circle to represent a metric is misleading because people naturally look at areas, and in this case the area does not represent the exact relationship. This time I made the areas represent net transfer spending.

Finally, I made all of this interactive. If you scroll your mouse over a circle it will tell you the club, the points they have, their net transfers, their goal differential, and their shots on target per game.

I think the graph gives a lot of interesting insights, and packs a lot of information in to one. It is also very intuitive in that you don't have to think about comparing numbers. The visualization is just there, and you can compare without even thinking.

References (4)

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    Fantastic Web site, Stick to the wonderful job. thnx.
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    SoccerStatistically - Blog - EPL Table Visualization: A Different Perspective
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    SoccerStatistically - Blog - EPL Table Visualization: A Different Perspective

Reader Comments (2)

I think the concept is really good.

The next problem to solve is creating an immediate understanding of what it's displaying. Bring it into the realm of football. Can be a pain without the copyright for badges and what not.

I work a lot of visualising football data, we create the match reports and player data for the Arsenal and Spurs yearbooks and also have our own development site at www.kickoff.co.uk love to hear any feedback you have.

February 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKickOff

One metric which as far as I can see has not been covered very well is goals scored / conceded

A graph showing goals conceded by teams at home and away - with a comparison when they the big 6 would be interesting as some teams do better than others

Also a sort of fixture tracker showing which teams concede most goals at home / most goals away => also which teams score most at home and away

At a glance you could use this information to determine which teams would be better when making substitutions instead of just looking at easy or hard games as the season ticker does on fantasy football geek . co . uk

I am happy if you want to email me to discuss this :)

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter1967 Lisbon

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