Malaga and Almeria – Two Teams going in Different Directions?

My next installment on La Liga takes a look at Week 12 and compares how things have progressed or digressed for teams since Week 6.

If you’ve not followed my Possession with Purpose analyses in the past here’s a quick link to an Introduction.

Some movers to be sure, so to give the Index some context here’s a quick look at the League Table after Week 12 alongside Week 6:

La Liga League Table Week 6 and Week 12The biggest movers up the League Table have been Malaga +8, Athletic Club +7, Levante +5, and Real Madrid +4.

On the down side both Almeria and Granada CF dropped six places, while Real Sociedad (and their new Head Coach David Moyes) dropped four, and Celta de Vigo, with Espanyol dropped three.

Now for the CPWP Strategic Index after Week 12; followed by how things looked at Week Six:

CPWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 12

Now Week Six:

CPWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 6

As a reminder, the CPWP Index does not react as quickly as team changes in the League Table – it’s a wee bit slower and more subject to change based upon a consistent change in team performance.

That being said Malaga (who moved up eight positions in the League Table) is 6th in the CPWP Index after Week 12 compared to 11th after Week six.

On the negative side Almeria (who has dropped six places) was 10th after Week six but is now 16th in the Index.

A solid indicator, again, that the Index will keep up with team changes in the League Table.

So what has happened, PWP wise, for Malaga and Almeria that may help us better understand their significant moves in the League Table?

To narrow the scope here’s the APWP Strategic Index for Week 12 followed by Week Six:

APWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 12

APWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 6For Malaga, Week six indicates their overall APWP was 18th worst – now in Week 12 it indicates Malaga’s APWP is 8th best.

A shift of ten positions – it’s likely some attacking indicators have improved – but I’ll check the DPWP too before choosing which to peel back.

As for Almeria, Week six shows them 13th best, while Week 12 shows them 16th best.

Not that much of a change, so perhaps it’s the DPWP key indicators?  Let’s see.

DPWP Strategic Index after Week 12 followed by Week Six:

DPWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 12

DPWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 6For Malaga they were 5th best in Week six and are 5th best after Week 12; clearly the change in team performance rests with the attacking side of the game.

For Almeria they were 8th best in Week six and are now 14th best, for me that means it’s their DPWP key indicators that have taken a nose dive.

So the grist for Malaga in the APWP Key Indicators:

Possession Percentage:

Week 12 48.46%  /  Week 6 48.84%  (no real change)

Passing Accuracy:

Week 12 73.76%  /  Week 6 72.09%  (about 2% increase in Passing Accuracy)

Penetrating Possession:

Week 12 27.53%  /  Week 6 25.46%  (about a 2% increase in Penetrating Possession)

Shots Taken per Penetrating Possession:

Week 12 16.65%  /  Week 6 19.07%  (about a 3% decrease in Shots Taken per Penetrating Possession)

Shots on Goal per Shots Taken:

Week 12 31.02%  /  Week 6 25.68%  (about a 6% increase in Shots on Goal per Shots Taken)

Goals Scored per Shots on Goal:

Week 12 37.40%  /  Week 6 16.67%  (about a 17% increase in Goals Scored per Shots on Goal)

Attacking Summary:

I’d offer Malaga are playing shorter, quicker passes in order to gain penetration – while at the same time they are taking a wee bit more time to be selective in their shots taken.

The resulting outputs clearly indicate that this tactical change has led to more shots on goal and far more goals scored!

And given that the percentage of possession has not changed – I’d offer they have not dropped deeper to cede possession – they’ve simply decided to be more patient in their penetrating attack.

It will be interesting to see if this pattern continues to hold true through the next six weeks.

In moving on to Almeria – a team I’ve looked at a few times this year; here’s how their DPWP key indicators show what’s changed:

Opponent Possession Percentage:

Week 12 53.89%  /  Week 6 52.95% (about 1% increase in opponent Possession)

Opponent Passing Accuracy:

Week 12 76.35%  /  Week 6 77.92% (about a 1% decrease in opponent Passing Accuracy)

Opponent Penetrating Possession:

Week 12 24.34%  /  Week 6 23.96% (about a 1% increase in opponent Penetrating Possession)

Opponent Shots Taken per Penetrating Possession:

Week 12 19.40%  /  Week 6 20.44% (about a 1% decrease in opponent Shots Taken per Penetrating Possession)

Opponent Shots on Goal per Shots Taken:

Week 12 33.96%  /  Week 6 28.20% (about a 5% increase in opponent Shots on Goal per Shots Taken)

Opponent Goals Scored per Shots on Goal:

Week 12 33.43%  /  Week 6 22.69% (about an 11% increase in opponent Goals Scored per Shots on Goal)

Defending Summary:

There are minor changes in how the opponent performs against Almeria leading up to Shots on Goal and Goals Scored – at that point the success rate of the opponent jumps 5% and then 11%.

While that might not seem like that much of a change, leading up to Shots on Goal and Goals Scored, there are many times in this game where it only takes four or five more passes, that are accurate, to change the outcome.

Given that I’ll also take a look at the volume of opponent activity as well.

What stands out to me is this:

  1. In the last six games the opponent has averaged five more completed passes within and into the Almeria Defending Final Third.
  2. In turn, even with the exact same number of Shots Taken per Penetrating Possession, it’s led to the opponent averaging 5.67 Shots on Goal compared to 4.17 Shots on Goal the first six games.
  3. That change in volume of Shots on Goal as led to 1.50 Goals Against in the last six games compared to .83 Goals Against in the first six games.
  4. Another example, like what we’ve seen in Expected Wins, where the difference between winning and losing can be very small indeed.

Of course, what hasn’t helped is playing Barcelona two weeks ago – that being said – Almeria also gave up two goals to Elche, Villarreal, and Levante in this same six week span  – so it’s not just down to playing Barcelona!

Best, Chris

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You can follow me on twitter @chrisgluckpwp

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