With the end of the Swedish football season I’m now on vacation, and thus have time to do some writing. I haven’t written anything for a while and have especially avoided football since I’m biased with my work involving taking bets on the Swedish leagues. If I say Team X is underrated and should have a good chance of picking up some points in the future, why would you believe me, when I profit from your losses? Once the new season starts I’ll likely crawl back under my rock again, but for now, let’s get to it: Allsvenskan 2017 Summary!
Before we start though, I’d like to point out two things: a) most of the graphics shown below are very much inspired by (or more or less copied from) the great Ben Mayhew at Experimental 361, and b) the data used is from my good friends at Stratagem, for which I used to cover Norwegian Eliteserien and collect stats watching matches. You’ll find more information about Stratagem and their products at the bottom of this piece.
So, Allsvenskan 2017 it is then. First let’s have a look at the final table, once again topped by Malmö who managed to defend their title from last season, making it their 5th since 2010.
To my own personal joy, Djurgården finally returned to the top 3 for the first time since 2007, grabbing the last European qualifier spot in the process. Much hyped Östersund also managed to climb from last season’s 8th place, at the same time adding a very impressive run in the Europa League. Häcken have also improved (with new manager Stahre now leaving for the MLS), while Norrköping, IFK Göteborg and Elfsborg have all dropped somewhat. Of the three newcomers, only Sirius managed to stay up, reaching an impressive 7th place after a strong spring and a weaker autumn. Besides Halmstad and AFC Eskilstuna, Jönköpings Södra were also relegated via play-off against the 3rd placed team in Superettan, Trelleborg.
Let’s dig deeper by looking at some scatterplots (note: as I now use data from Stratagem, shots have turned into chances as this is what they collect. For more info, read this blog by Dave Willoughby).
Right away we can see part of why Malmö have dominated the season, as they create far more chances than the rest while at the same time keeping a tidy defense and facing fewest chances in the league. There’s quite some distance to the other top teams and interestingly IFK Göteborg seems to have done better chance-wise than the table suggests.
At the other end of things, AFC Eskilstuna stands out as a really poor team with the lowest number of chances created coupled with the highest number of chances faced per match. Jönköpings Södra also stand out a bit, with quite low numbers on both scales indicating some very boring matches (which I can confirm).
Looking at attacking effectiveness we see how the top teams were efficient with their many chances created, while bottom teams like Sundsvall and relegated Halmstad both struggled to create and to capitalise on their chances. A curious case is Elfsborg who were the most efficient scorers, needing less than 7 chances per goal, while at the same time failing to create enough chance volume to compete with the top teams.
When it comes to defensive effectiveness, AIK and Häcken really stands out with around 13 chances faced per goal conceded, compared to the league average just under 9. Followers of Allsvenskan won’t be surprised to see AIK in the top here as a tight defense has been a cornerstone of the club for a long time. Häcken though, have really been transformed from a care-free attacking-minded side under Peter Gerhardsson, to a more cynic and well-structured defensive side under departing (and former AIK manager) Mikael Stahre. It will be very interesting to see who replaces him and what direction the club will take in the future.
Another interesting point to make is that as affective as they are on the attack, Elfsborg are equally ineffective when defending. With the third most goals scored and most conceded, the Borås side have certainly been entertaining to watch this season.
When it comes to Expected Goals, champions Malmö are closely followed by AIK, with Östersund and Djurgården some distance away. AFC Eskilstuna and Elfsborg were the two poorest defenders with around 2 xG conceded per match. I wonder how Elfsborg would have done without their effective scoring?
Rating the teams by Expected Goal Difference sees really how close AIK were to Malmö, whose ability to win close matches seems to be a big factor in their title win this season. At the bottom AFC Eskilstuna clearly deserved to be relegated with the worst xG difference, as did Halmstad while Jönköpings Södra maybe deserved a better fate than to be relegated via play-off.
That’s it for now, next up I’m hoping to have a look at individual player’s performance.
This article was written with the aid of StrataData, which is property of Stratagem Technologies. StrataData powers the StrataBet Sports Trading Platform, in addition to StrataBet Premium Recommendations.