The purpose of this notebook is to look at how xGF and GF compare by team--are there some teams beating the expectations more than we'd think?

Data from Corsica, 5v5 only, and adjusted (which I'll assume gives the best picture here--but it's possible it may not).

In [1]:
import pandas as pd
from pylab import *
%matplotlib inline

# Exported and downloaded 5v5 data
df = pd.read_csv('C://Users//Muneeb Alam//Downloads//team_stats_2018-01-03.csv')
df = df[['Team', 'Season', 'GF', 'xGF', 'GA', 'xGA']]

# Calculate goals above and below expected
df.loc[:, 'Goals above expected'] = df.GF - df.xGF
df.loc[:, 'Goals against below expected'] = df.GA - df.xGA

# Change seasons to numbers
df.loc[:, 'Season'] = df.Season.apply(lambda x: int(x[:4]))

# Change ATL to WPG
df.loc[:, 'Team'] = df.Team.apply(lambda x: 'WPG' if x == 'ATL' else x)
df.head()
Out[1]:
Team Season GF xGF GA xGA Goals above expected Goals against below expected
0 ANA 2007 102.53 104.35 90.54 109.55 -1.82 -19.01
1 ANA 2008 138.35 129.44 123.57 123.60 8.91 -0.03
2 ANA 2009 137.55 126.01 135.02 148.35 11.54 -13.33
3 ANA 2010 128.90 117.52 147.57 148.63 11.38 -1.06
4 ANA 2011 131.38 128.21 147.32 143.27 3.17 4.05

First, it's good to look at the distribution of goals above expected (excluding 2012-13 and the current year).

It's not centered at zero--I don't know why that is. (Maybe related to adjustments?) There have been ~1k more goals scored than expected (a deficit of ~2.5%). The median difference is ~3 goals.

It's small enough that I feel comfortable ignoring it (and the methodology I use here shouldn't need a zero-centered distribution).

In [2]:
hist(df.query('Season != 2012 & Season != 2017')['Goals above expected'])
xlabel('Count')
ylabel('Goals above expected')
Out[2]:
<matplotlib.text.Text at 0x6da2b51b00>

We can use a dotplot to go team-by-team and see if any consistently exceed expectations.

In [3]:
# Sort by sum of goals above expected
f = figure(figsize=[6, 6])
order = df[['Team', 'Goals above expected']].groupby('Team', as_index=False).sum() \
    .sort_values('Goals above expected') \
    .assign(Order=1)
order.loc[:, 'Order'] = order.Order.cumsum()
df2 = df.merge(order[['Team', 'Order']], how='inner', on='Team') \
    .query('Season != 2012 & Season != 2017')
for i in range(2):
    tmp = df2[df2.Order % 2 == i]
    plot(tmp['Goals above expected'], tmp.Order, marker='^', ls='None')
plot([0, 0], [0, 32], color='k')
ylim(0, 32)
yticks(order.Order, order.Team, fontsize=8);

Intuitively, with 30-odd teams, some will do unlikely things. (My rule of thumb: with 30 teams, you can expect an event or two with only a 3% likelihood.) But here, there are quite a few.

There are nine seasons plotted here. Let's say we expected a team to be 50/50 to be above or below expectation in a given year. That puts Tampa Bay's performance (above expectation 9 times in 9 seasons) at around ~0.2% chance. Pittsburgh and Minnesota are in similar situations, as are Carolina, San Jose, and the Islanders. That's a lot of extremes--implying that something systemic could be at play here, too.

In other words, it seems like beating your expectation seems a little sustainable--which it shouldn't be. Furthermore, the teams at the extremes match the eye test--which suggests there's something track-able that's missing from xG.

Below, I plotted the distribution of goals above expected (summed over the 9 seasons) versus a simulation. The simulation works like this: pick nine team-seasons randomly from the blue histogram above and sum them up to get one simulated goals-above-expected difference. If beating (or failing to beat) your expectation is sustainable, we should see "fatter tails" in the actual data.

We can see that at the top, and it's even more noticeable at the bottom.

In [4]:
# Team distributions in these nine seasons

# Simulate a bunch of teams
# Find a random integer from 0 to 269 inclusive. Take that row's goals above expected from df2. Do this nine times.
# Repeat 1000 times
reps = 9 * 1000
xgd = [_ for i in range(reps)]
np.random.seed(8)
rows = [int(len(df2) * x) for x in np.random.random(size=reps)]
for i in range(len(rows)):
    xgd[i] = df2[['Goals above expected']].iloc[rows[i], 0]

# Sum over groups of 9
tmp = pd.DataFrame({'xGD': xgd}).assign(Row=1)
tmp.loc[:, 'Row'] = tmp.Row.cumsum()
tmp.loc[:, 'TeamSim'] = tmp.Row.apply(lambda x: x % int(reps/9))
tmp2 = tmp.groupby('TeamSim', as_index=False).sum()

# Plot
hist(tmp2.xGD, label='Simulated', bins=range(-200, 200, 25), alpha=0.5, normed=True)
hist(df2.groupby('Team').sum()['Goals above expected'], label='Actual', bins=range(-200, 200, 25), alpha=0.5, normed=True)
legend(loc=1)
title('Sum of goals scored above expected')
ylabel('Normed proportion')
Out[4]:
<matplotlib.text.Text at 0x6da4d6d048>

My suspicion is that shooter, shot type, and shot location (along with some rush and rebound flagging) just isn't enough to get a good picture of shot quality. There's likely at least one, big sustainable piece missing.

Expected goals are still better than Fenwick, Corsi, scoring chances, etc, but it's worth keeping in mind that xG is still fallible and is not be as accurate as we'd like it to be. This is more and more true the finer and finer things get sliced.

There's one big gap we know about with xG models: east-west passes. Hopefully the new tool can help remedy that. I'm sure there are other "hockey" things missing from xG as well, though those could be minor. (It's hard to interpret and analyze models when they're not made fully public.)

Here's team-level information by year, with some teams I found notable bolded.

In [5]:
# List teams by old divisions--5 per plot is nice
divisions = {'ATL': ['PIT', 'PHI', 'NYR', 'NYI', 'N.J'],
            'NE': ['BOS', 'BUF', 'MTL', 'OTT', 'TOR'],
            'SE': ['WSH', 'WPG', 'CAR', 'T.B', 'FLA'],
            'CEN': ['DET', 'CHI', 'NSH', 'CBJ', 'STL'],
            'PAC': ['L.A', 'S.J', 'ARI', 'DAL', 'ANA'],
            'NW': ['VAN', 'CGY', 'EDM', 'MIN', 'COL']}
In [6]:
# Plot by division
def plot_div(div, *highlights):
    title('Old {0:s} division'.format(div))
    for team in divisions[div]:
        tmp = df.query('Team == "{0:s}"'.format(team))
        if team in highlights:
            lw = 3
            ls = '-'
        else:
            lw = 1
            ls = '--'
        plot(tmp['Season'], tmp['Goals above expected'], label=team, lw=lw, ls=ls)
        legend(loc=2, bbox_to_anchor=(1, 1))
        xlimits = xlim()
        plot(xlimits, [0, 0], color='k', lw=2)
        xlim(*xlimits)
        ylabel('GF - xGF')
In [7]:
plot_div('ATL', 'PIT')
In [8]:
plot_div('NE', 'BOS')
In [9]:
plot_div('SE', 'WSH', 'T.B', 'CAR')
In [10]:
plot_div('CEN', 'CHI')
In [11]:
plot_div('NW', 'MIN')
In [12]:
plot_div('PAC', 'L.A', 'S.J')