Tagged: Almeria

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

COPYRIGHT, All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark

You can follow me on twitter @chrisgluckpwp


La Liga – The Comforts of Home?

In a recent article published about Major League Soccer there were clear indications (read here) where Home teams pretty much dominated the win column.

Here’s a few quick takeaways from that article to give a starting point for La Liga – whether or not the two leagues behave the same – I don’t know – we will see how that plays out together.  In Major League Soccer:

The home team won 151 times this year, had 89 draws, and 77 losses.

Home teams winning at home averaged 2.33 goals per game in those wins – while away teams winning away had to average 2.47 goals per game to win the game.

Home teams losing at home averaged .82 goals per game versus away teams losing away averaged .54 goals per game.  So even while losing, home teams still averaged nearly one goal per game.

Of the 77 games won by the away team this year only 15 were games won 1-nil.

When losing, (at anytime) the home team was only shut out 21 times, and when gaining a draw the home team was shutout just 18 times.  That’s just 39 times, out of 317 games played, where the home team was shut-out.

Meaning, on average, the home team scored at least one goal 88% of the time.

In addition, when adding up the percentages of winning (47%) and drawing (28%) – Home teams had a 75% chance of taking points in home games this year…

In other words – playing at home pretty much meant the home team started the game 1 – nil.

Now for La Liga – and yes it’s just 11 Weeks in – but for the most part each team has had roughly 5 or 6 games each way.  What may be surprising is seeing how the team performances change between the two – I’ll touch on that as well.

For now my standard Composite PWP Strategic Index for La Liga after Week 11:

CPWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 11

No surprise for who’s on top and who’s bottom but to set the stage:

Home teams have Won 44 games, Drawn 30 games, and Lost 35 games.

Not that large of a difference in this league, yet, and really not enough to consider an overall league difference.

But for some teams there may be a few differences.

Hence the next two diagrams with one team picked out who performs better at home and one who performs better on the road.

Time to move on to the CPWP Strategic Index filtered only for home team performance:

CPWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 11 Home Games

Caveats to begin:

The bright blue bar represents a team whose performance dropped at least nine places between home and away games.

The light green bar represents a team whose performance increased by eight places between home and away games.

I’ll also check to see what their Points per game (PPG), Goals per game (GPG), and Goals Against per game (GAPG) are to see what differences are shown their as well.

If nothing significant pops out I”ll peel back a bit on the PWP Key indicators to see if they tell a story.

Now for the CPWP Index for teams playing Away:

CPWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 11 Away Games


As noted; the light green bar shows which team performed better, in team performance, on the road versus at home – while the bright blue bar offers up what team performed better at home versus on the road.

Now for the grist on those two teams (Almeria & Cordoba):


(Away) PPG = 1.20  GPG = 0.80  GAPG = 1.20  (Home)  PPG = 0.50  GPG = 0.83  GAPG = 1.33

There isn’t a considerable difference in the results based performance measures; perhaps some differences appear when peeling back the PWP Key Indicators in Defending?

In looking at possession, when at home, the opponent’s possess the ball 4% more.

But this is very deceptive as it includes two games against Atletico Madrid and Barcelona – where both those teams absolutely dominated the game.

So to better understand (see) what is going on I took out the game data for Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

So now, when at home, the other fours games point towards Almeria having more possession, with their opponent’s being less accurate and with less penetration into the Almeria defending Final Third.

Sadly, that front-footed attack minded tactic, at home, actually ends up seeing the opponents’, with less possession and penetration, have increased percentages in shots taken, shots on goal that are more accurate and a significant increase in goals scored from shots on goal.

A 37% increase – shooting up from 23% for opponents when Almeria plays on the road to 60.42% when Almeria plays at home.

In away games, Almeria’s opponents are more accurate in their passing and they penetrate more – but – their shots taken, shots on goal and goals scored per shots on goal are all less.

In other words, Almeria’s tactical approach of playing a deeper line, yielding more space outside the Defending Final Third, results in less space and time for the opponent to offer up shots that actually produce fewer goals.  This has also been a successful approach employed by West Ham, Portland Timbers and Philadelphia Union.

Bottom line here is the ‘front footed attacking scheme’ employed at home (playing not as deep in defending) has seen a marked increase in goals against (1.25) against lower ranked teams like Cordoba, Elche, Espanyol and Athletic Club.

Bottom line here is the ‘front footed attacking tactic’ employed at home, is less prudent and produces worse results than a more defensive-minded tactic adopted on the road.

Leading me, and perhaps others as well, to believe that in order for Almeria to be more successful this year they need to play games at home as if they were playing on the road.


(Away)  PPG = .40  GPG = .80  GAPG = 2.20  (Home) PPG = .67  GPG  .67  GAPG = 1.17

So now the opposite for Cordoba – they appear to perform better at home than on the road – what do the PWP Key Indicators offer here?

At Home Cordoba like to possess the ball (58%) therefore their opponents average possession is 42%; when away it’s almost exactly the opposite; the opponents average possession sits at 59%.  Two completely different outputs.

The same can be said for passing accuracy as well; opponents, in away games for Cordoba have an 83% passing accuracy – versus 66.39% when Cordoba is at home.

What’s intriguing here is that’s where the differences end – when it comes to penetration, shots taken per penetration, shots on goal per shots taken and goals scored per shots on goal the overall percentages are nearly the same.  (27% to 28%), (14% to 13%), (39% to 41%), and (36% yo 35%).

What’s that mean?  Well this indicator may help – the opponent passing accuracy within and into the Cordoba Defending Final Third is 55% when Cordoba is at home and it’s 72% when Cordoba is away from home.

For me that speaks volume – in other words the percentages, for the most part, show matches – meaning the volume is the final determinant.  And since La Liga is a volume driven league (Expected Wins 3) this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

When playing away from home the average volume of passes completed by the opponent is 424, with 16 shots taken, 6 shots on goal and 2 goals scored.  In home matches those volumes are 230, 8, 4 and 1.17.  A considerable difference.

In other words, when it comes to defending at home less is better – the less the opponent offers, regardless of overall percentage, the better.  Put another way, the front-footed attacking tactic employed at home is not working on the road – i.e. even though they are ceding possession on the road – perhaps they are not ceding possession in the right place???

Perhaps Cordoba might do well to take the Almeria tactical approach on the road (i.e. playing deeper to cede possession and penetration by volume and percentage) in order to lure the opponent into a position where they can’t manage an effective Cordoba quick counter-attack.  And since Cordoba has such a low goals scored average to begin with (5th worst in La Liga) they really ought to consider that type of approach to maximize time and space needed to score what few goals they can?

In Closing:

Cordoba shows ideal team performance outputs where their home advantage of playing at home works.  That approach does not work for Almeria.

Almeria needs to employ their away tactic at home.

The away tactic for Cordoba is not working – it’s actually less effective than the approach taken by Almeria.

Cordoba should adopt a deeper line, like Almeria, and cede more than just possession, they should make it a point to cede penetration as well.

Not discussed in great detail has been the lack of goal scoring, as whole, for either team.

I’d imagine Cordoba would see good, positive, impact with a new striker, more quickly, than Almeria; especially in a quicker counter-attacking road tactic.  I’d imagine Almeria will need more than just one striker to solidify more points on a regular basis.

Finally, I’d expect to see more granularity as the season continues – how much that differs, in comparison to Major League Soccer is unclear, but for now I’m hedging that we don’t see the stark differences in La Liga that we see MLS; especially since this league seems to support the ‘more is better’ outputs we already see in Expected Wins 3.

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT, All Right Reserved.  PWP – Trademark


La Liga…. Thru Week 6; Establishing a stronger position or early signs of fading away?

Being mid-table – a glass half-full – or a glass half-empty?

Still just six weeks in, but there are trends that can be offered with six games, so for this week’s focus I’ll look in on Rayo Vallecano, Almeria (who I looked at in Week 3 also), and Granada.

Respectively those teams are 9th, 10th, and 11th in the League Table; all with eight points.

To get started here’s  my traditional Possession with Purpose CPWP Strategic Index after Week 6: 

CPWP Strategic Index Week 9 La Liga

First off – for those keeping track the correlation (R2) for La Liga CPWP, after Week 6, is (.79) to average points in the league table.

The three focus teams (Rayo, Almeria, and Granada) are not bunched up at 9th, 10th and 11th, here they are spread out – where Rayo is 4th best in CPWP, Almeria is 10th best, and Granada is 18th best (3rd worst) – quite a distinctive difference in team performance though the points remain the same.

In peeling those three teams back I’ll begin with APWP:

APWP Strategic Index Week 9 La Liga

For the leading side of APWP we have Rayo in 5th, Almeria in 13th, and Granada in 16th…

On taking a surficial glance first thoughts here, without reviewing the data, and using just the goals for and goals against lead me to believe that Rayo are doing a good job of penetrating, creating and scoring goals in comparison to the other two.

While at the same time they are also giving up goals as good as they get them… Rayo (10 for – 10 against) – Almeria (5 for – 5 against) – Granada (4 for 9 against)* (* more later on the asterisk).

So what do the internal team performance statistics offer for these three teams?

  • In taking a look at some standard statistics Rayo lead those three with an average passing accuracy of 77.12%; while Almeria is 74.47% and Granada is 73.88%.
  • With respect to penetration – Almeria lead those three in penetrating the opponent’s final third (~27% of the time they control the ball they penetrate) – while both Rayo and Granada hover around 17.5%.
  • Given that Almeria’s average possession percentage is ~47%; compared to 58% for Rayo and 41.5% for Granada I’d offer the more successful team in playing counter-attacking soccer is Almeria – while the more patient team in penetrating is Rayo and the least effective attacking team is Granada.
  • A difference maker, after considering the tactical and penetration characteristics, is obviously testing the waters on their successes in generating shots from penetration as well as how effective they are in putting the ball into the back of the net.
  • Rayo leads the three teams by a slim margin in shots taken per penetration (19%) – with the other two hovering at ~18%.

Not much difference in terms of overall success but in looking at the volume of shots both Rayo and Almeria average 12 per game while Granada average just 7 per game.

  • Meaning 19% and 18% equals 12 shots taken per game for Rayo and Almeria while 18% yields just seven shots per game for Granada; not ideal – especially when we know “more is better” in La Liga…
  • If you have read this article (Expected Wins 3) you’ll know this to be true for La Liga, while it is not true for other European Leagues I evaluate, at this time.
  • So how do the shots taken translate to shots on goal?  Almeria average the most shots on goal (4.17) versus Rayo at (3.5) and Granada (2.0).
  • As with many successful counter-attacking teams – sometimes fewer shots taken generate more shots on goal given the poor position some possession-based teams find themselves in when turning the ball over in the wrong place.

In wrapping up – greater possession percentage and higher passing accuracy don’t drive overall success for Rayo in comparison to Almeria – who posssesses the ball less, and have a lower passing accuracy.

  • I wonder what the Midfielder Player Radars, statsbomb develop, look like for Rayo compared to Almeria?
  • The November 29th match up against these two teams should provide a great contrast in attacking style – and perhaps one that is worthy to watch for teams scouting the success or failure of counter-attacking teams versus possession-based teams that aren’t as dominant in $$ and skills as a team like Barcleona.

That’s only one-half of a game though – and for those who think defense first – attacking team performance is the less influential half.  So how do these three teams compare in DPWP?

DPWP Strategic Index Week 9 La Liga

First off – I’ve altered the “y” axis scale to reinforce how much of a difference Barcelona has with the rest of La Liga when it comes to possession- based tactics.

Clearly Barcelona not only possess with the intent to score they also possess with the intent to defend…  for me this is a great example where – if the opponent doesn’t have the ball they can’t score…

Now for Rayo, Almeria, and Granada; Rayo is 6th best in DPWP, while Almeria is 8th best and Granada is 18th best (3rd worst).

  • * The more later on Granada:   At first glance I’d offer Granada has been far luckier in garnering their eight points than Almeria or Rayo – but – Granada just got beat by Barcelona six – nil.
  • Now that Goals Against is three instead of nine – for a +1 Goal Differential.
  • So where would Granada be in DPWP without playing Barcelona?
  • Granada would be 9th in overall DPWP if they hadn’t already played Barcelona!
  • Further up the DPWP than Almeria and only one place behind Rayo…  a GREAT example of how playing just one team – like Barcelona – can impact this Index so early in the season!
  • It is what it is… and while it may be fair to eliminate the Granada game against Barcelona (mix apples with apples) I won’t… everyone has to play Barcelona twice.
  • If the positive play of Granada continues, exclusive of Barcelona, then that will show up later on this year.
  • If it doesn’t, then perhaps this is an early signal that Granada are on a down slide?

However viewed; here’s some takeaways for these three teams, in defending team performance after six weeks:

  • Opponent posssession will be just the opposite as attacking possession – in other words opponent’s for Granada will possess the ball more than either Rayo or Almeria.
  • And even when removing the Barcelona game against Granada their opponent’s average possession is ~56% per game – still higher than Rayo (42%) and Almeria (52%).
  • With respect to penetration, Granada opponent’s penetrate at ~28% while Almeria and Rayo opponent’s gain entry ~24% – the takeaway here indicates that Granada will play slightly deeper than both Almeria and Rayo.
  • The difference isn’t that simple though – Almeria are a counter-attacking team given other indications so it’s likely the opponent’s 24% is more associated with the tactic of allowing penetration – whereas with Rayo – a possession-based team – it’s likely the opponent is gaining their penetration based upon mistakes in defending (not getting behind the ball) and those initial mistakes lead to more goals scored.

To test that – let’s take a look at Shots Taken, Shots on Goal, and Goals Scored for the opponent’s of Rayo and Almeria.

  • Indeed – Rayo opponent’s generate more shots taken per penetration (21.64%) to Almeria (20.44%) yet that greater percentage sees Rayo actually facing fewer shots taken (10.83) to (13.67), fewer shots on goal (4.00) to (4.17) yet more goals scored against per game (1.67) versus Almeria (.83).
  • Those Radar Charts might support this but might not – the funny thing about defensive statistics is that the sum of individual defensive statistics never quite matches up, one-for-one, with the volume of unusccessful passes by an opponent – see here
  • To quantify a bit differently – Almeria opponent’s average 72 successful passes, per game, in the Almeria Defending Final Third – whereas Rayo opponent’s average 55 successful passes, per game, in the Rayo Defending Final Third.
  • Lower volume, fewer shots faced, more goals scored against – a pattern I’ve seen in the MLS this year with teams like Portland and New York – teams that (when watching them play) exhibit the habits of teams who make defensive mistakes based upon poor positional play.
  • With respect to Granada – they not only face a much higher volume of opponent passes in their own Defending Final Third (115 per game) than Rayo they also yield only 1.5 goals against per game…
  • So again, another team with greater activity in their own Defending Final Third does a much better job of not ceding goals against.

In Closing:

If I had to offer an opinion here I’d suggest that in order for Rayo to continue to have a successful year they need to 1) get behind the ball a bit quicker, and perhaps 2) get a better defensive minded midfielders to work better with some (upgraded?) defenders in the back-four.

With respect to Almeria and Granada – finding the right balance between attacking and defending is always hard – it looks to me as if both teams have a prety good balance but could (perhaps?) to add a highly skilled midfielder, with superb vision, to try and eke out that odd goal that doesn’t generate undue risk on the defending side of the pitch…

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT, All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark





If history holds, it’s likely
Noteable for all three is that only Granada have played Barcelona – Rayo have Barcelona next week while Almeria don’t play Barcelona until November 8th.



La Liga – Week 3 – Passing Dominates Early

For those not familiar with this phrase – Passing domina temprana (Passing dominates early) – get used to it as my Possession with Purpose analyses moves to La Liga.

I’ll get to the details behind that view a bit later but first a look at the traditional analysis on PWP plus an early focus, like with the Bundesliga, on the slow starters.

To begin…

The Composite PWP (CPWP) Strategic Index through Week 3:

CPWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 3

The clear leader here is Barcelona – as noted last week a team passing Barcelona might find it difficult (both on the pitch and in the league table).

Knowing that I’ll prefer to wait on digging into Valencia, Seville, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid till a bit later.

For now, since this is a relegation league, like everyone else in the World apart from Major League Soccer, let’s take a peak at teams who’ve opened at a snails pace:  Levante, Espanyol, Cordoba, Almeria, and Rayo.

  1. Levante – bottom feeder – the worst in team performance to begin – enough said.
  2. Espanyol – while they sit on just one point they are near mid-table in CPWP – that means they are either performing pretty good in attack – or they are performing pretty good in defense – or – they are weak in both, but not REALLY weak yet…
  3. Cordoba – On two points and near bottom; Malaga have four points and are placed further down – perhaps??? the APWP and DPWP will help shine a light on that?
  4. Almeria – not quite as good in overall performance compared to Espanyol – but they are higher up the CPWP food chain.
  5. Rayo – like Almeria and Cordoba they are on two points – oddly enough they are on the positive end of the CPWP Index – more to follow on that.

 Next up Attacking (APWP) Strategic Index:

APWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 3The surprise here for me is seeing Valencia ahead of Barcelona – for me this reinforces, at least for now, that obnoxiously huge levels of passing numbers don’t over-influence the Index.

As for the bottom feeders… here you go:

  1. Levante – again – bottom of the pile.  They almost look oxygen starved given their major drop off to the right of  Villareal…
  2. Espanyol – mid-table of the Index – so not overly dominant in APWP – perhaps this means they are roughly mid-table in the DPWP Index?
  3. Cordoba – about 1/3rd the way up from bottom – nothing eye catching at the moment and certainly showing better team attacking than Malaga.
  4. Almeria – like Cordoba – about 1/3rd of the way from bottom; are both these teams showing early indications they might be better placed, in the league table, a bit later this year?  Hard to say – we will have to wait and see.
  5. Rayo – again, up near the top half – I suppose that means their DPWP leaves a bit to be desired.  Of course the other issue might be who they’ve already played so far this year…  Elche, Deportivo, and Atletico Madrid… somehow; even without watching this team play I suspect they won’t stay in the bottom third for long…  It would be interesting to hear thoughts from those who follow La Liga a bit closer though.

Moving on to Defending (DPWP) Strategic Index:

DPWP Strategic Index La Liga Week 3As expected – a team with huge passing numbers is likely to be in the top half (at least huge by Barcelona standards).  More interesting, and good stead for Villareal, is their position near the top of DPWP.

In looking at the early relegation battle here’s how the bottom five look:

  1. Levante – near bottom; and given past history on some teams in MLS – I’d say they are an early bet to get relegated – even after just three weeks; provided their defense doesn’t perform better compared to others.
  2. Espanyol – ah… here’s where things get a bit dodgy; they seem okay in attack and overall yet their defense is what is letting them down.  Does that continue?  We’ll see…
  3. Cordoba – like Espanyol – they are near bottom in DPWP – that means of course, that the opponents are not only completing good numbers of passes, but it also means they are penetrating, creating and generating shots taken that hit the back of the net – all told they’ve conceded four goals and scored just two.
  4. Almeria – a bit higher up the DPWP Index, this may provide an early indication that this team is slightly better than the two points that they have.  More to follow…
  5. Rayo – again quite good and not expected given their APWP and CPWP – those two draws against Deportivo and Atletico Madrid have done them well… as noted in the APWP thoughts; I’d offer this team may not stay in the bottom third for long.

Now for the “more to follow” on this league being a passing league – the CPWP Strategic Index for teams where they have exceeded the league average in volume of passes (415):

DPWP Strategic Index La Liga Passes Greater Than 415 Week 3In terms of overall performance it would appear that there are roughly eight teams that average more than 415 passes while also generating other positive attacking outcomes.

Note that Rayo and Levante are in this mix… In considering the poor performances for Levante so far this season is it better or worse that they are attempting to mix it up with some of the other teams who are really – really good at passing?

I wonder if Levante also has games that are below the league average of 415 passes?

To answer that question here’s the CPWP Strategic Index where teams’ passing volume has not exceeded the league average:

DPWP Strategic Index La Liga Passes Less Than 415 Week 3In answer to the leading question, yes Levante have games where their total passes fall below the league average.  And like when they exceed that figure they are near the bottom.

Only Rayo is not in the mix for the current bottom dwellers – again that seems to reinforce that Rayo may end up being a bit higher in the table as the season plays on.

In addition, note that Villareal were a better team in overall performance (positive ~.4) when exceeding the league average compared to (~-1.2) when falling below the league average.  Having played Barcelona skews that Index rating here I’m sure…. On the flip side they defeated Levante and drew nil-nil with Granada.

And of the teams that don’t pass a lot – does this show (already?) that teams like Deportivo, Eibar, Atletico Madrid, and Real Sociedad are better in counter-attacking and direct attacking than a team like Eiche, Villareal, or Athletic Club?

I’m not sure – but it sure does raise some interesting questions as PWP comes to La Liga.

Before moving on; I wonder how this Index will look at the halfway point of the season… time will tell.

In Closing…

A wrap up of sorts for the five bottom dwellers with a focus on overall passing accuracy:

  1. Levante – 3rd worst = 70% – the key stat here appears to be goals scored – they have none.
  2. Espanyol – 8th worst = 75.08% – the key stat here appears to be the opponents ability to put a shot taken on goal – 44.09% – 2nd worst
  3. Cordoba – 10th worst = 76.62% – the key stat here appears to be lack of penetration (17.27% of their possession results in penetration) 3rd worst
  4. Almeria – 7th best = 77.72% – the key stat here appears to be controlling time and space in defending – as the opponent percentage of penetration increases so does the percentage of shots taken, shots on goal, and goals scored; in other words their defending percentages get worse as the opponent draws nearer the goal.
  5. Rayo – 6th best = 78.27% – the key state here appears to an inordinately high percentage of shots on goal faced versus the 2nd lowest amount of possession, by percentage, of their opponents.

Overall, even after just three weeks and the dominant indication on how passing influences CPWP, the Index is still not overly influenced by it when peeling back overall performance.

Still early days though, and the race to avoid relegation has begun.

I’ll not ignore the top half of the table but I’ll also not ignore the bottom half.

Best, Chris

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