How Well are Luton Performing?
This article featured in the official Luton Town matchday programme for the game against Coventry City (29/9/21), in the 'Dylan's Diary' column.
It’s been a decent start to the season for the Hatters, particularly given the difficult injury situation and the recruitment of a host of new players over the summer who need time to grow and bed into their surroundings.
With Luton hitting the tenth game mark this evening, I wanted to look beneath the results to understand how Luton are performing in terms of creating chances and denying their opponents.
Not all chances lead to goals, but creating a high number of dangerous opportunities does give you the best chance of consistently scoring goals throughout the season. A metric called “expected goals” (xG) is often used to measure the quality of the chances that teams create by calculating the likelihood of a shot leading to a goal, measured on a scale of 0-1.
For example, Danny Hylton’s last minute equaliser at Bristol City was given an xG score of 0.62, a very high number since it was a tap in from close range and he was extremely likely to score.
So, what do the numbers say so far about Luton’s ability to create dangerous goal scoring opportunities compared to the rest of the Championship?
The numbers are very promising. As of before Saturday’s game against Bournemouth, Luton had scored the 6th most goals from open play in the Championship (9). But look beneath that number at Luton’s ability to create dangerous opportunities, they have an overall xG score from open play of 11.8, which is the 2nd highest in the division behind Fulham.
So, Luton so far have created a comparatively high number of dangerous chances, which is very promising moving into the rest of the season.
Luton so far have created a comparatively high number of dangerous chances
Luton have conceded the 5th highest number of goals in the division from open play (9, with 2 more from set pieces), however nearly half of those came in the 5-0 defeat to Birmingham City. Looking at their xG against, the Hatters rank 15th in the Championship from open play with a score of 8, which is just above the Championship xG against average (7.3). So again, the Town are performing reasonably well but albeit inconsistently so far this season.
Data in isolation never tells the full story but these numbers are very promising moving forward. They show that overall Luton are performing well in terms of creating and stopping chances, which stands the Hatters in good stead for the remainder of the season. With a fully fit squad, there’s no doubt that Nathan Jones’ side can push on in the remaining parts of the season and become a force to be reckoned with in the Championship.