Tagged: League Table

Getting Better as a Youth Soccer Coach

When I was a Soccer Youth Head Coach, in England and America, I sometimes struggled with how to manage the well-intentioned, high level of energy, that parents and/or guardians brought to the Soccer pitch.

At that time I hadn’t concieved my Possession with Purpose analytical approach, but if I had, I would certainly have followed it.

Why, because I think and feel there is great value in understanding some of the basic activities of soccer, mesauring those activities, and using those results to drive improvement.  And the earlier in the development of soccer the better in understanding that while this game is measured by wins, draws, and losses, it isn’t just about scoring goals – it’s about preventing them too.

If you’re an aspiring soccer Head Coach, new or old, I think this approach in leveraging parents/guardians to help you help the team is a great step towards getting better.

If that resonates with you, or even if it doesn’t, I think it’s worthy you take a few minutes to consider what I offer.

Before digging in, you should know up front, this entire approach works from my Strategic Possession with Purpose Family of Indices; the same analysis offered up at the 2014 World Conference on Science and Soccer.

And the same analysis used to evalute professional team performances within Major League Soccer, the English Premier League, the Bundesliga, La Liga, World Cup 2014 and the UEFA Champions League.

The End State is to measure team performance – ignoring results (points in the league table) in order to track and trend (analyze) individual and team performance with the intent of driving towards improvement.

In statistical terms the relationship (correlation) of my analyses (the Composite PWP Index to Points in the League Table) without counting points is (R2) .86.

In other words 86% of the time my own Index reflects the outputs in the League Table without counting points.

AND…. 86% of the time the winning teams execute the steps within PWP better than the losing team!

With that said here’s what to do.

  1. Split the pitch into thirds and place one parent at the entry point into your own defending final third and one at the entry point into your opponent’s defending final third.
  2. Next, place two parents at the middle of the pitch.
  3. Then place one parent at or near the end line on your defending side of the pitch and then one parent at the same position on the opponent’s defending side of the pitch.
  4. Give each parent a clipboard and pen (waterproof if necessary) and have them begin to count and keep track of certain ‘team’ data points.
  5. The two parents in the center of the pitch are to count and document (all) passes attempted and passes completed for each team (throw-ins and free kicks included) across the entire pitch.  If you have four parents then have two track passes attempted and two track passes completed, one for each team.
  6. The two parents at the entry to the defending final third are to count and document passes attempted and completed (within and into) the defending final third for each team. This also includes all throw-ins, crosses, corners and free kicks that are not specific shots taken on goal.  If you have four parents/guardians then have one each track passes attempted and passes completed separately for each team.
  7. Finally, the two parents on the end lines are to count and document shots taken, shots on goal, and goals scored for each team.

At the end of the game you will have a complete data base (by volume and percentage) that gives you the information to identify your team’s possession percentage, passing accuracy, penetration per possession, ability to generate shots per penetrating possession, what percentage of those shots taken were on goal and what percentage of those shots on goal that scored goals (your team attacking).

And since you collected data on your opponent you will also have all the data on how well your opponent did in those same categories against you (your team defending).

Pretty much meaning you’ve just captured the ENTIRE bell curve of activities I use to measure team performance at the very highest level in the World.

With that data you can now determine, analyze, and document/chart/track ways to improve your attacking as well as defending team performances.  And as each game occurs you continue to build a data.

This information is then used to help you develop new training plans that look to help the team improve where weaknesses exist.

I do not recommend keeping track of individual performance unless you have enough parents and players who are mature enough to deal with individual weaknesses.

This approach should have application at any level of soccer – to include premier, as well as select, recreational, ODP or elsewhere.  As a matter of opinion, I’d offer the closer you are to a higher level of play the more important this approach becomes.

Outcomes from this approach give data to set targets for improvement and the ability to measure the success in that improvement.

In addition, this approach also reinforces that Youth Soccer Development is not all about winning, it’s about getting better while trying to do the things teams need to do in order to win.

If any team wishes to take on this challenge, as a youth club, anywhere in America, send me your data and I will give you one month of analysis that includes preparing products I develop in my analysis of professional football clubs.

I may even publish those products, as examples, for others to learn from in future articles.

And if you are located in the Portland or Beaverton area send me a note and I will make every effort to visit a training session, and or game, to help better explain this approach.

Finally, my general analysis may also include some recommendations on what training plans/programs may help focus your team on key areas to improve.

Bottom line at the bottom:

There is value in understanding and tracking the basic activities that occur in a game of soccer.  It not only helps the players understand their larger role in this team game it also helps the parents understand the greater detail and responsibility you have as a coach to help others get better as a ‘team’.

In case you missed it; this year four Head Coaches from teams who finished near or bottom on the CPWP Strategic Index have already been sacked in MLS:

CPWP Strategic Index Week 31 MLS

And last year five of the six worst teams in performing the PWP steps had the Head Coaches sacked!

End of Season 2013 MLS Coaching Changes

Pretty compelling evidence that teams who perform better have Head Coaches who last longer… if you want to have success as a Youth Head Coach then I strongly suggest you adopt the measurement methods and analysis associated with PWP; with or without using Parents/Guardians.

If there are every any questions please feel free to contact me through Linked-in or through twitter; my twitter is @chrisgluckpwp.

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT, All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark.

Expected Wins Five – Europe

In my previous series on Expected Wins Four – probably more appropriately entitled “Expected Points” – I’d taken a look at how the general tendencies of four primary Leagues in Europe (England, Germany, Spain, as the UEFA Champions League) compare to Major League Soccer – Is European Football Really Higher Quality than Major League Soccer?

This time I’m focusing strictly on Europe and offering up how things stand in PWP with the season coming to a close soon.  But before digging some things to share about PWP to date:

A reminder – PWP is about two things:

  1. The End State in that the final Index comes as close as possible to the League Table without using points earned in any of the calculations, and
  2. Recognizing that soccer is a game that is played in a free flowing environment – picture two amoeba fighting against each other in a confined space…. There is attempted control by the Head Coach that includes tons of preparation to set the stage for ‘an approach’ to earn three points – and then there is the game itself where there is but one time out (halftime) – no namby pamby huddles or official stoppages of play between possessions.  Meaning these guys play a full-on, in your face (sometimes literally), non-stop, constantly thinking and reacting to the game that can literally see the ball go in any direction at any time… not purely random but close.

Given that, PWP attempts to tone down all that volatility and parse out general tendencies that fall within the bell curve of activities – it’s not perfect – but it’s bloody good… and yes – I have made a few mistakes along the way (if you don’t work you don’t make mistakes).  The latest has been a technical mistake – the relationship of CPWP to the League Table is not an R Squared number (Coefficient of Determination) it is an R number (Correlation Coefficient).

For the stats followers that may be an issue… but even with the Modernized TSR (read here) the CTSR “R” is still generally lower (team to team) and certainly lower (table to table) than CPWP – meaning there still remains room for both statistical analytical approaches in a gmae that is played across the world…

Also, my thanks to some great research by Rob Lowe, a mate with the same passion for footy, who has asked to collaborate with me in the future.  He has done some additional regression analysis on the data points of PWP with respect to goals scored and points earned.  I should point out that his results show that not all six of the data points in the PWP equation independently-directly relate to goals scored or points earned.  For me that is okay – and actually great news for a few reasons…

  1. Both of my two new statistics (Passes Completed in the Final Third per Passes Completed across the Entire Pitch – Step 3 of PWP) and (Shots Taken per Completed Pass within and into the Final Third – Step 5 of PWP) did statistically relate to Goals Scored and Points Earned (independently).  Meaning those new statistics are relevant – both within the context of PWP and outside the context of PWP.  It’s this statistical regression type information that should solidify these two new statistics in the world of soccer.
  2. For both Possession (Step 6 of PWP) and Passing Accuracy (Step 5 of PWP) – as you will see a bit later – those two derived data points were never supposed to directly (independently) relate to goals scored or points earned as a matter of course I have advocated for quite some time that they shouldn’t.  PWP was built with the intention that the six derived data points only needed to relate to each other in a stair step relationship recognizing that in every game a team needs to possess the ball, move the ball, penetrate the opponent’s final third, take shots based upon that penetration, put them on goal, and score goals – all while preventing the opponent from doing the same thing.
  3. Another view on the outcome that Rob has noted – it’s unreasonable to analyze a game of soccer without taking those activities into account.  Rob’s positive feedback was that both possession and passing accuracy act as a “smoothing agent” within the Index – I agree but with beginning to learn the nuance of writing an Academic Paper I would put it this way.
  4. Possession and Passing Accuracy stats have limitations when vewing overall regression analysis relative to goals scored and points earned – but those limitations actually give the overall analyst of soccer a much better understanding about the context of activities that occur when a team is performing better than another team.
  5. In addition, Passing Accuracy statistics provide a coach a great measurement tool for how well some players may develop and progress into higher levels of competition – to exclude data of this import really ignores some of the most fundamental training aspects a team needs to do in order to improve.
  6. Also, there is excessive volatility in the percentages associated with Shots on Goal versus Shots Taken and Goals Scored versus Shots on Goal – if I only look at those two things then evaluating a game is all about (pass-fail) – granted winning and losing is pass-fail.  But to develop a “winning culture” a grading system perhaps more appropriate is A-B-C-D-F – in other words there are levels of success above and beyond pass-fail – especially when you are a team that isn’t at the very top of the league.
  7. By having Possession and Passing Accuracy in the equation you get a much larger (explanatory) picture on the culture of success – and as things appear to take shape, the Index itself, gives better clarity to that level of success for teams that are mid-table as opposed to bottom dwellers or top performers…

Now for the grist in Europe – first up – England: 

Note that the first two diagrams (in each four diagram grouping) highlight where the highest quantity and highest quality occurs within each competition – after some growing pains (earlier Expected Wins measurements) all four competitions now see the teams that win having the highest averages, in all categories, for both quantity and quality… proving (for the most part) that more is better and more results in more…

Barcleys Premier League PWP Data PointsBarcleys Premier League PWP Derived Data PointsEnglish Premier League CPWP IndexEnglish Premier League CPWP Predictability Index

All told the correlation, at this time, remains very strong – note that the “R” has replaced the “R2” in my third and fourth diagrams.

If I remove Possession and Passing Accuracy from the CPWP Index – the R value drops to .78 – statistically reinforcing that the Index, itself, better represents the standings in the League Table by including Possession and Passing Accuracy data.  Proving yet, another way, that goals scored and shots taken simply do not provide adequate depth on what activities occur on a pitch relative to earning points in the League Table!  And if you’ve read Moderning TSR this doesn’t mean ATSR/DTSR or CTSR doesn’t have value – it does…

As things stand today Chelsea take the League and since Man City, Man United, and Arsenal round out the top four (different orders) in both CPWP and CPWP-PI I’d offer it’s those four that advance to the UEFA Champions League next year.  The bridesmaid looks to be a two horse race (Spurs supporters may argue that) between Liverpool and Southampton.

Note that Southampton edges Liverpool in CPWP but that Liverpool edges Southampton in CPWP-PI – meaning when excluding Goals Scored – Liverpool has better quality than Southampton – so for Liverpool it’s more about converting Shots on Goal to Goals Scored – while for Southampton it’s more about getting clean sheets and scoring at least one goal; at least in my view – others may see that differently?

In retracing the earlier discussion on the data within the six steps of PWP – as you can see in both the first and second Diagrams (for all competitions) the Exponential Curve (Diagram 1) and well as Power Curve (Diagram 2) the stair step relationship between the data – point to point – are incredibly high…  Even more intriguing is how close those “R2” numbers are for both winning, drawing, and losing… really driving home the point, in my view, just how small the margin of error is between winning, drawing, and losing.

For goals scored (for or against) we really are talking about 5 or 6 standard deviations to the right of the bell curve…

Germany:

 Bundesliga PWP Data PointsBundesliga PWP Derived Data PointsGerman Premier League CPWP IndexGerman Premier League CPWP Predictability IndexPerhaps the most intriguing issue this year isn’t the FC Bayern story – it’s the lack of goal scoring in Borussia Dortmund – when viewing the CPWP Predictability Index clearly Dortmund is offering up all the necessary culture the team needs in order to succeed – with one exception – goal scoring…. wow!

Another surprise may be Wolfsburg I’d pick them, and Bayer Leverkusen to finish two-three in their League Table – both show pedigree in team performance both with and without considering goals scored…

Spain:

La Liga Premier League PWP Data PointsLa Liga Premier League PWP Derived Data PointsSpanish Premier League CPWP IndexSpanish Premier League CPWP Predictability Index

Barcelona and Real Madrid are locked in for the top team battle – my edge goes to Barcelona.  I’d offer more here but I’m simply not up on the La Liga as much as I’d like to be…

UEFA Champions League:

UEFA Champions League PWP Data PointsUEFA Champions League PWP Derived Data PointsUEFA Champions League CPWP IndexUEFA Champions League CPWP Predictability Index

The top eight teams that advanced are identified above – given the general success of CPWP relative to the top eight I’d expect FC Bayern Munich, BArcelona, Real Madrid, and Juventus to advance to the semi-finals.

In Closing:

My first of at least 4-5 Academic Papers is soon to be published – my thanks to Terry Favero for helping me work through this new experience – his support, patience, and knowledge in navigating all the nuance associated with writing an Academic Paper has been superb!

All four European competitions show more gets you more – this was not the case for Major League Soccer last year:

Major League Soccer Expected Wins FourWinners Expected Wins PWP Data Relationships Four

When more gets you more in MLS then I sense MLS has reached the BIG TIME – until then I think it’s a great breeding ground for Head Coaches that simply can’t get a job with a soccer club that has huge pockets of money.

Put another way – and many may disagree… I think a Head Coach who really wants to challenge their intellectual grit against another Head Coach can have greater opportunity to do that in MLS than they can by Head Coaching most clubs in Europe.

Why?  For at least one reason – a Head Coach in MLS really has to do more with less…

Errata – the first MLS slide indicates 654 events – the correct number is 646 events…

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT – All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark

English Premier League – Possession with Purpose – Week 2

Two weeks in and Manchester City pretty much throws the gauntlet down against Liverpool and walks away with a dominating win.

Three other teams have also begun the season with six points (Spurs, Swansea, and Chelsea) but do those four teams show the most consistency with purpose in possession, penetration and creation of shots taken that result in goals scored?

And, do those same four teams show the most consistency in preventing their opponents from doing the same thing to them?

What about the early season dogs (QPR, Burnley, Crystal Palace, and Newcastle) – where do they fit?

I’ll try to answer those questions without too much detail given the season is just two weeks old.

So to begin; here’s the Composite PWP (CPWP) Strategic Index after Week 2:

CPWP EPL AFTER WEEK 2

Observations:

  1. A quick look at the table sees the top four in the Index as being the top four in the Table – not specifically in order but there it is.
  2. In looking at the bottom end of the Table the bottom four teams in the Index match exactly the bottom four in the Table.
  3. I doubt very much the level of accuracy will match the League Table that well throughout the year.
  4. Of note is that Arsenal, Hull and Aston Villa are next up in the Table but Villa seems to drift down a bit in the CPWP; perhaps the APWP or DPWP might explain that drift compared to Arsenal or Hull City?
  5. As a reminder – the End State of the Index is to provide an objective view of team performance indicators that don’t include Points in the League Table – in other words it’s a collection of data points, that when combined, can provide value in what team activities are occurring that are directly supporting results on the pitch – sometimes results on the pitch don’t match points earned…
  6. In leveraging this Index last year in the MLS it was very accurate in reflecting why certain Head Coaches may have been sacked – in a League like the EPL (where everything is expensive) perhaps this Index might have even more value to ownership?
  7. Movement in the Index – in the MLS, this last year, I have seen teams move up as many as 12 places and down as many as 11 places – after the 4th week – so the Index is not likely to stay constant – there will be changes.

I do not quantify Index outputs specific to individual player acquisition or performance – there is no intent to do this.  It’s my belief, good or bad, that even with individual star performances a team is a team is a team – you win as a team and you lose as a team… but this Index isn’t intended to stop others from doing that.

I leave that individual analyses for others who are far better at digging into the weeds than I – for the EPL I’d imagine many folks gravitate to @statsbomb or other @SBNation sites – I respect their individual analyses as I hope they respect my team analyses.

Whether the consistency of value shows itself in assessing team performance in the EPL like it has in Major League Soccer I have no idea – we will follow that journey, in public, together…

Now for Attacking PWP (APWP):

APWP EPL AFTER WEEK 2

Observations:

  1. In recalling Villa’s drift (it is still early) perhaps it’s an early indication that Villa are playing slightly more direct (given past indications analyzing Major League Soccer) – or with a greater lean towards counter-attacking and quick transition?
  2. In taking a quick look at their average volume of passes per game (305) compared to the rest of the EPL (456) it would seem to indicate Villa are playing more direct football.
  3. The team with the highest APWP while falling below the average number of passes attempted, per game, is Leicester City; they average 308 passes per game compared to the 456 average of EPL.  For me that’s an early indicator that they are making the best use of a direct attacking scheme – others may have a different view?
  4. The team with the lowest APWP while showing higher than the average number of passes attempted, ~(500 per game), is Stoke City – that might indicate the Potters are looking to possess the ball more with the intent to possess it as opposed to penetrating with it.  Folks who follow Stoke a bit closer might be able to add to that as I’ve yet to see them play this year.
  5. In terms of early form, relative to the six team performance indicators, Chelsea are tops with Everton, Arsenal, and Man City close behind.
  6. With respect to bottom feeders QPR are bottom in CPWP and bottom in APWP as well; most figured they’d be early favorites for relegation – the PWP Indices seem to lean that way already as well…
  7. Perhaps the early surprise in APWP is Newcastle?  Not sure about that one – last time I lived in England Alan Shearer was their striker and probably the best one in the country at that time…  others will no better about what Alan Pardew is up to…

Next up Defending PWP (DPWP):

DPWP EPL AFTER WEEK 2

Observations:

  1. Leaders here include Spurs, Man City, Swansea and Newcastle – is this an early indicator that Newcastle has experienced bad luck already?  Not sure but three of the bottom dwellers here are three of the four bottom dwellers in CPWP.
  2. Although not real clear here it might be easy to forget that Arsenal had a blindingly great first game and then eked out a draw against Everton in the last ten minutes; in considering that this data still just represents two games…
  3. Recall Stoke City – and the potential view that they might be possessing the ball with an intent to possess more-so than penetrate – even with just 1 point in the League Table their DPWP exceeds West Ham, Liverpool, and others who are further up the table.
  4. Man City showed great nous last year in winning the League and it reaffirmed for many of us the importance of defending – Liverpool were close last year given an awesome attack – players have changed but it’s likely the system/approach has not varied that much.  And after two games Liverpool are embedded firmly in the middle of the DPWP pack.
  5. Can they push higher up the DPWP? And if so, will that climb in the DPWP Index match a climb in the League Table; or vice versa?

In Closing:

Far too early to look for trends but these first few weeks will provide a baseline for future trends.

As noted in my most recent articles on Possession – the more accurate soundbite on whether or not a team is more likely to win has more relevance with respect to Passing Accuracy (>77% in MLS usually means a team is more likely to win) and not Possession.

The margin of winning and losing in MLS is far to muddied when looking at Possession – so as the EPL season continues I will also make it a point to study what ‘soundbite’ has more relevance; Passing Accuracy or Possession.

Other links that may be of interest to you include:

Possession with Purpose

My presentation at the World Conference on Science and Soccer

New Statistics (Open Shots and Open Passes)

Thanks in advance for your patience.

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT, All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark

MLS Soccer – Fouls in the Defending Third; their potential influence in DPWP and Points in the League Table

As part of my continuing analysis on Major League Soccer, with respect to Possession with Purpose, here’s an interesting view on the relationship between fouls committed in the Defending Final Third versus Defensive Possession with Purpose (DPWP), Points in the League Table, and Composite Possession with Purpose (CPWP)…

Fouls made in the Defending Third

Fouls made in the Defending Third

Teams are ranked from most to least fouls in the defending third with their DPWP, Sum of Points Taken, and CPWP article.

Note that three of the four teams with the fewest points in Major League Soccer also commit the most fouls in their own defending third; Portland, Chivas, and Montreal – and a team that has been taking a slide in the league standings of late, FC Dallas, are also in the top four.

An issue with this table is that the number of games played is not equal – it is what it is.

Note the teams in the bottom half of the table; LA Galaxy, New England, Colorado, Sporting, and Seattle are teams that come to mind who are doing well this year in minimzed fouls as well as good standing in the league table – an odd one out is New York.

Perhaps their lower points total and lower PWP Index ratings are more to do with having average players who are more disciplined in not fouling but less disciplined in good position play?

In other words they are so far out of position that they can’t get close enough to foul in order to shut down their opponent; or, they are so disciplined in not giving away a set-piece/penalty they would rather rely on their keeper to try and make a save or rely on the opponent to ‘miss’?

I’d probably support the later more than the former – but since their back four has been a mish-mash of starters throughout the whole year it’s pretty hard to tell…

In looking from a different point of view; fouls made versus PK’s conceded, Opponent Goals Scored and Goal Differential the overall data still remains compelling – fouling your opponent in your Defending Final Third will negatively impact points in the league table…

Fouls made in the Defending Third with PKs conceded

Fouls made in the Defending Third with PKs conceded

In looking at Portland in particular; clearly the number of fouls conceded in the final third relates to the average number of PK’s conceded this year… (4.21 to .64).

Three other leaders (if you will) in this area are Montreal (3.17 to .33), Houston (2.87 to .40), and New York (2.29 to .43).  Of all these teams all three have negative CPWP Index numbers, (-0.2345 for Montreal), (-0.2741 for Houston), and (-0.0416 for New York).

The odd one out, by a slim margin, is Portland who sits on 0.0616 CPWP; a testament, if you will, in their ability to score goals…. if only they could prevent goals better.

The most compelling evidence to me however, is not pictured, the Correlation of Fouls committed in the Defending Final Third to Opponent Goals Scored is .6146 and the Correlation to Goal Differential is -.5267.

In other words there is a strong relationship between fouls committed in the Defending Final Third and Goals conceded…

Of interest for me is that the relationship also translates back to DPWP and CPWP; the correlation of Fouls conceded in the Defending Final Third to DPWP is .5495 while the Correlation to CPWP is -0.4853.

Not as strong as the league table correlations but enough of a correlation to reinforce that the PWP Indices have relevance to points in the league table without including (points) in the analysis that creates the Indices of team performance.

In closing…

Fouling your opponent in your own back yard hurts – it not only hurts team performance it also hurts in the league standings…

Those teams that do this regularly don’t appear to do well (based upon both views of data – quantitative and qualitative) in Major League Soccer…

Best, Chris

Catching up with Europe…

It’s been a bit since I last offered anything on Europe – sorry – just a whole lot going on to include putting together an Academic Paper, or five, on Possession with Purpose.

Since it’s been awhile here’s the primary Composite Index for all four areas covered – I’ll try to offer some more insight into the specific competitions a bit later – for now I appreciate your patience and hope this scratches the itch for a wee bit.

Oh – and a surprise at the end about Total Shot Ratio…

La Liga:

La Liga CPWP Index Week 26Clearly Barcelona is now firing on all cylinders – it’s a two horse race with Real Madrid while the next battle looming appears to be Valencia and Atletico Madrid.

Bundesliga:

Bundesliga CPWP Index Week 24Does anyone really think anybody is going to beat out FC Bayern Munich?  Probably not – but the other top three in the League Table are also the other top three here – the leader here appears to be Wolfsburg – and if a betting man that one seems a worthy gamble on them finishing second…

English Premier League:

English Premier League CPWP Index Week 28

 

I wouldn’t say it’s a runaway yet – still some games to be played but the real battle seems to be who finishes fifth – the bridesmaid as some say?  As for Everton – well……….  I’d be very surprised to see Martinez back next year – how can a team so dominant in possession completely lack the ability to finish?  It’s called possession with no purpose – and it may not just be all about their strikers….

UEFA Champions League:

UEFA Champions League CPWP Index After Seven Games

Was anyone not surprised with Monaco defeating Arsenal?  In considering how things are developing it probably should have been foreseen a bit better…

In Closing:

I’ll try to offer up the Predictability Indices later this week in preparation for the Weekend.

By the way, when putting together the Academic Paper on PWP I have had to create two new Total Shot Ratio indicators…

As things have stood so far TSR has merely been an indicator viewed with attacking team data only and it’s never been flipped to see how the opponent behaves in TSR with respect to the other team.

Well I’ve fixed that, if you will.

Now like Attacking PWP, Defending PWP, and the Composite PWP I’ve taken TSR – renamed it to Attacking TSR (ATSR), and created Defending TSR (DTSR /// what the Opponent’s combined ATSR’s are against you), and CTSR – the difference between ATSR and DTSR…

I’ll be offering up more about that in my upcoming paper – you should know now that CTSR has a higher correlation (R^2) to Points Earned in the League Table than the old TSR…

In case you don’t know what TSR is – here’s an explanation pulled (DIRECTLY) from Statsbomb:

“TSR – Total Shots Ratio
A ratio to explain how teams fare against their average competition in the shots battle. Ex: If Manchester City has 20 shots in the match and Newcastle have 10, City’s TSR for that match is .67, Newcastle’s is .33.

James Grayson has written about this frequently on his website here. We care about TSR for teams because it has a reasonably strong correlation to points and goal difference.

In hockey, this is called Corsi.”

So What I’ve done is taken the same approach as what I did when creating Possession with Purpose – I’ve also created a Defending TSR (how the Opponent does against you) – so you have your teams Attacking TSR but also the Opponents Attacking TSR against you – called Defending TSR.

Composite TSR is created by subtracting DTSR from ATSR…  note that CTSR is higher than ATSR with one exception – in other words the difference between the two TSR’s gives you a better picture and better correlation to points earned in the League Table than just plain TSR…

All told though – CTSR does not exceed the R^2 of CPWP – again with but one exception and that exception varies from week to week…

And TSR gives you no objective evidence on team attacking and defending behavior leading up to shots taken or goals scored…  this is not to be critical of TSR – it simply points out the technical weakness in the ratio compared to PWP.

Here’s a snippet of what I mean:

Competition

CPWP to Pts Earned APWP to Pts Earned DPWP to Pts Earned ATSR to Pts Earned DTSR to Pts Earned CTSR to Pts Earned

MLS 2014

0.85 0.79 -0.68

0.74

-0.54 0.75

UEFA

0.87 0.8 -0.76 0.64 -0.4

0.65

EPL

0.92 0.9 -0.85 0.86 -0.35

0.76

Bundesliga

0.92 0.83 -0.81 0.53 -0.41

0.68

La Liga 0.91 0.88 -0.88 0.88 -0.77

0.92

The number in bold is the one with the highest R Squared to Points Earned – at least this week…  and the numbers are those R Squared with respect to the League Table – not indicative of what the CTSR is for each team on a game to game basis – I will publish those a bit later this week… hope that clears up any confusion and appreciate your patience.

As of the 12th of March I have published that additional article speaking to TSR and the recommended changes to the overall effort… it’s here:  Modernizing TSR

Best, Chris

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Real Madrid and Barcelona – Two Horse Race

For me, it’s not the top two that peak my interest this week, it’s the prime movers from mid-table – downwards while looking at the League Table from Week 12 to Week 19.

Here’s how they stand comparing Week 19 to Week 12:

La Liga League Table Through Week 19The teams highlighted in Green and Red I”ll get to in a bit, for now note the positional changes have been significant for many teams in and out of the lower half.

For those interested the CPWP Family of Indices continue to have strong correlation to the League Table without using Points Earned in the calculations.  Here’s how the Indices show things from a team performance standpoint through Week 19:

CPWP Strategic Index Week 19

APWP Strategic Index Week 19

DPWP Strategic Index Week 19Overall the CPWP Strategic Index has an R2 of .89; while the APWP sits at .89 and DPWP sits at -.81.

For those new to the Indices here’s an explanation on how they are created.  No other publicly created set of Indices comes any closer to the League Table – not even Expected Goals – a popular Predictability statistic.

I should point out that these Indices are not Predictability Indices – they are not built to predict the future based upon past data – but……..  this Index, developed from the PWP Process is a Predictability Index:

CPWP Predictability Index Week 19The caution I offer in using it as a forecasting tool is this – when developing a forecasting model you need at “x” amount of samples to reach 95% Confidence Level in your data and its ability to represent trends for the future.

The “x” amount of data needed for this Index is at least 15 games — since games is the primary sample point.  The twist is that since teams behave, for the most part, somewhat differently at home versus on the road you need 15 games of data at home and 15 games of data away from home.

Since this is only Week 19 that threshold has not been reached to substantiate that this predictability portion of this Index hits the 95% Confidence Level limit…

But, you say, the R2 is .77 – agreed – so yes, I would venture that those who like to gamble might want to rely on this tool to help them pick a winner – I did a test run in Major League Soccer, where the home and away statistics are notoriously different and my test run varied in success – straight CPWP PI # of one team compared to another.

That success ran as high as 75% to as low as 30% week to week for about 8 weeks – your choice…  By the way – the Predictability Index created from PWP is simply my Index outputs minus (missing goals scored for or against)…

Back to the movers in La Liga these last seven weeks…

Recall the teams Espanyol (+6), Real Sociedad (+7) (Nice one Moyes!!!), Cordoba (+6), Levante (-6), and Granada (-6)…

In reviewing the APWP Index for each team, from Weeks 1-12 and Weeks 13-19, only one team has seen their Attacking Index increase, Cordoba – all the other teams have seen their overall attacking performance drop slightly during those two time-frames.

Why has Cordoba shown an increase?

It’s down to improved accuracy in Scoring Goals based upon Shots on Goal – all others have experienced slight decreases in quality; either with respect to percentages of Shots on Goal, Shots Taken per Penetration, or Goals Scored from Shots on Goal.

In reviewing the DPWP Index for each team, from Weeks 1-12 and Weeks 13-19, two teams have seen their Defending Index decrease, Levante and Granada – all other teams have seen their Defending Index improve , with Cordoba seeing the most improvement by as much as 11%.

Cordoba’s improvement in Defending comes from Opponents having less quality in putting Shots on Goal from Shots Taken and Goals Scored from Shots on Goal.

Clearly Cordoba has improved on both sides of the pitch, while with the others it’s slightly more difficult to pin down a specific area…

A few interesting notes here are:

  1. Cordoba were bottom of the table, and even after having to play Barcelona, Villarreal and Eibar during this stretch they still gained 6 places, and
  2. The CPWP Index had Cordoba rated 12 best after Week 12, and that Index rating has not changed through Week 19 – meaning it is likely the CPWP Index really did a great job of accurately representing the true team performance of Cordoba compared to other teams in La Liga…
  3. Finally, the CPWP Predictability Index (PI) had Cordoba rated 12th best, after week 12 as well… (perhaps??) an independent data point to substantiate that the predictability nature of  the CPWP PI has value???

In Closing? 

Cordoba showed improved performance on both sides of the pitch while the others didn’t…  (perhaps???) this means that some of the new positions, for these teams, are as much a function of how others have gotten better, or worse, as it is a function of how those teams have, themselves, gotten better or worse…

Meaning position in the League Table, even when seeing changes by as much as six or seven places, may not mean that individual team is playing better – it may mean that other teams, with less noticeable drops in position are playing worse…

Reinforcing again that predictability is not solely associated with goal scoring – it’s also a function of not scoring because some teams are doing better, however slightly, with improved defending but not improved attacking…

If you are a writer for any team in the Bundesliga, La Liga, Barcley’s Premier League, or Major League Soccer and you’d like to use outputs from my Possession with Purpose Family of Indices in your articles please let me know…

I can provide a broad range of support that may help you better tell the story, (explain) to your readers, what or how well your team is doing compared to others… or even itself given certain time-frames (before and after a coach gets sacked, player gets injured, etc…)

If you’d like an example of the type of support I can provide please read this latest article by @7amkickoff.

Best, Chris

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You can follow me on twitter @chrisgluckpwp.

 

Chelsea and Man City Lead the Pack

The headline is Capt. Obvious; especially when the League Table sees both these teams beginning to separate themselves from the others.

The question for most is who qualifies for Europe in positions three and four while Man City and Chelsea go toe-to-toe for the League Championship.

Too early you say?  Not for me.

By Week 19, the Composite Possession with Purpose Index, in Major League Soccer had already nailed the League Champion, LA Galaxy, as being best in overall team attacking and defending performance.

Of course that didn’t translate to the Supporter’s Shield winner, but, then again, Major League Soccer doesn’t have an equal schedule, so the only real measurement to go by is the Champion crowned after the Playoffs are finished.

With that said, there were some teams who did move up and down in the CPWP Index (and MLS League Tables) after the halfway point.  So I suppose it’s possible Man United, Arsenal, or someone else could close the gap, and make it a three horse race?!?

In moving on though I’m not seeing that – at least not yet.  Why?  Well given my CPWP Index after Week 17, just below, it seems pretty clear both Man City and Chelsea are performing much better than the others:

CPWP Strategic Index Week 17

Given that my main focus today is sorting out the picture for the two remaining spots for next years UEFA Champions League.

I’ll call them my Bubble Teams (lacks creativity most likely, but hey… it’s late).

I see five with a chance.

Manchester United, Arsenal, Southampton (really?), West Ham (really?), and Spurs (really?).

At this stage, all five of these teams are within five points of each other at near the half-way point.

Others like Liverpool, Everton, Newcastle, and Swansea aren’t shut out (yet)…  but I sense those teams probably need more than one player to give them that edge and Everton blew their chance this weekend in getting thumped 3-nil by Southampton…

As for Liverpool – they need more than a striker in my opinion (they need another defender too) and I just don’t think they have the money to upgrade.

Brendan Rogers can go on all he wants about his team getting their form back – but in my view – he’s giving lip service to save face after that debacle in signing Balotelli.

So with that said – three new diagrams for your consideration; the first being the Game to Game CPWP Index outputs for the five teams under consideration:

CPWP AMBER BUBBLE BAR TEAMS THROUGH WEEK 17First off – my apologies if there are too many lines here – I tried to stay with team colours – hope you don’t mind…

The diagram itself – you’ll probably be seeing more of these (with just one or two teams more likely in the future).  You can click to enlarge.

The line graphs – most should know by now the CPWP Index is the difference between the Attacking PWP Index and Defending PWP Index.  As is always the case with the CPWP Index – Higher is Better.

Note the frequency of change from game to game in some cases.  To get a better understanding of how much variation there is for each team, week to week, I calculated the Standard Deviation.

Those numbers are provided at the bottom – in this case the lower the number the better.  In other words the lower the number the less deviation a team had, from week to week, in how they performed (in total).

I’ll not offer that Lower = Better Team; at least not yet – but in this case I am going to assume that lower means more consistency.  Sometimes being more consistent doesn’t mean better.  Chivas USA were one of the most consistent teams last year – sadly that consistency was centered around consistently losing…

With that being the case; West Ham is most consistent (.36) with Spurs next (.52), than Man United (.54), followed by The Arsenal (.58) – then Southampton (.67).

Next up the Attacking PWP Index for my Amber Bubble Bar Teams – I suppose that is a goofy name – I’ll change it next week…  suggestions are welcomed!

APWP AMBER BUBBLE BAR TEAMS THROUGH WEEK 17As with the CPWP Index, higher here in the APWP Index is better.

It’s interesting to note that all five of the teams here are pretty much even at this stage – trending up is Southampton (after that lull for three weeks) while Man United seems to be taking a bit of a dip.

From a consistency standpoint – West Ham again lead the pack here (.24) while Arsenal sits at (.29), Spurs at (.31), followed by Man United (.34) and Southampton, again the least consistent, sitting at (.40).  Again – lower is better…

With APWP – I tend to believe that consistency in attacking is a good thing; especially given that rotation of home and away games – for me that shows a team is comfortable in how it attacks.

But…. the drawback here is that consistency in attack also sometimes means a lack of vision in changing things up a bit to play less predictable.

A great example of that this past weekend was The Arsenal going into Liverpool and almost taking three points while playing to an attacking style most would normally attribute to Sam Allardyce…

Moving on to the Defending PWP Index:

DPWP AMBER BUBBLE BAR TEAMS THROUGH WEEK 17

In the case of the DPWP Index – Lower is Better; to remind those – this number is the Attacking PWP number of the Opponent as they attack you – if higher is better when you attack – then it stands to reason a good defending team performance means a lower number.

After Week 17 it would appear all but The Arsenal are near each other  – that two goals conceded against Liverpool no doubt had influence.

With respect to consistency West Ham (AGAIN) lead the pack in being most consistent (.27); with Spurs next (.37), followed by Man United and The Arsenal tied at (.41) and last (AGAIN) Southampton at .47.

For me, consistency here is good, very good, provided points are being earned in the League Table.

By the way – it’s this deviation or consistency that I also look for in viewing Home and Away games to see if a team changes it’s style.

For example the Standard Deviation for West Ham in Away games is .18 while for Arsenal it’s .42 – indicating that Wenger will change their tactical approach depending upon their opponent while Allardyce won’t.

Since all five of these teams are within five points – it seems reasonable that all these teams are getting points.

So what, in the end, are my thoughts after taking this info in?

Before offering that here’s my traditional Indices starting with the APWP Index:

APWP Strategic Index Week 17

Quick observations…

Spurs are consistent in attack – but not consistent in being strong.

Southampton are not consistent in attack – and they are dropping back further and further compared to about 5 weeks ago.

Man United and Arsenal remain dangerous in attack – and remain consistently dangerous as well.

West Ham continues to remain high up this Index – a challenge to be sure – but what bodes well is they are also consistent in that attacking performance.

Now the Defending PWP Index through Week 17:

DPWP Strategic Index Week 17

A few observations…

While Southampton is not very consistent in team defending – at least for now they are not very consistent in a good way – what happens if that inconsistency begins to swing towards the opponent performing better?  A likely slide I’d expect.

West Ham are not only consistent – they remain consistently good – again can that pattern hold?

The Arsenal and Man United remain near the best in team defending performance – quite an achievement given the new approach in Manchester and the injuries in London…

Like in APWP, Spurs lack in overall performance compared to many teams lower in the league table.  The real test comes when they entertain Man United and Chelsea at White Hart Lane, on short rest, just after Christmas.

In Closing:

I think all of these teams will be in the mood to shop for a player, two, or three come January.

Who do I think each team looks to add – from an individual, player standpoint, I haven’t got a clue…

But from a team standpoint here’s my initial expectations:

West Ham looks to add another midfielder and another defender – they are solid and the Allardyce style is working – but do they have the legs to compete the entire season?  I don’t think so – at least not without at least one more defensive thinking/positioning type player given the Allardyce style of football.

Man United looks to add a defender – most probably a center-back who can handle playing 3 or 4 at the back.  But can they afford to?  Lots of money spent already but I’d expect at least one new signing during the transfer window.

Southampton looks to add some more firepower by adding an attacking winger and/or striker – goals will need to be scored to keep them afloat if their defending remains inconsistent.  I also think they could do with another defender if they really are intent on making a run for Europe.

Spurs – hmmm… tough one here – I could see them adding a defender (maybe two?), and a midfielder/forward – they have points in the league table but their team attacking and defending performance lags far behind many other teams with fewer points.

Arsenal – I’ve already opined I think Arsenal need a new Central Defending Midfielder – I also think they need another Center-back and perhaps some more depth at Fullback.

Finally, I will take another look at the bubble teams in about 3 weeks time – there are plenty of games this holiday season and at least a nine point swing could occur.

Best, Chris

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You can follow me on twitter @chrisgluckpwp

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

Terrible Start for Borussia Dortmund

Is Borussia Dortmund really that bad?

Doubtful, but it’s results like these that are a nightmare for supporters, members of the Coaching staff and Front Office types alike.

So with the ability to evaluate team performance (outside of just results) what better team to run through the Possession with Purpose grinder?

(Edit) – Latest sees them lose to Eintracht Frankfurt 2-nil!!!!  Really – oh my!

To begin – my weekly update on the CPWP Strategic Index:

CPWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Week 12

So… third worst in the League Table Dortmund and sixth worst in the Index.

Not much difference.  So perhaps Dortmund is experiencing more than just bad luck?

The first place I’ll start is team Attacking performance compared to others; here’s the APWP Strategic Index for your consideration:

APWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Week 12Since they average just 1.17 points at home and .67 points on the road I won’t peel back how they perform home and away – no point – there are poor in team performance either way.  For now the PWP key indicators:

Possession Percentage:

Overall 57.51% (2nd highest in Bundesliga).  Can you say this team has no possession with purpose?

They are 2nd best overall in possession and tied for sixth worst in overall goals scored!

Now a game is not won or lost solely on possession – there is more to PWP, and the game, than that.

Passing Accuracy:

Overall 76.95% (4th highest in Bundesliga).  So with strong possession numbers they also have significantly higher passing accuracy percentages.

In other words they do a great job of passing the ball overall.  Oddly enough that passing accuracy of ~77% is still 1.25% below the average for teams in Major League Soccer.  I wonder… are the majority of players in MLS just as skilled in passing the ball as those in the Bundesliga?

Montreal Impact – who finished 4th worst in the MLS CPWP Strategic Index had an average passing accuracy of 76.90%; only .05% points different than Borussia Dortmund.

Is this an early indicator that the team performance in attacking IS as bad as it looks?

Percentage of Penetration per Possession:

Overall 24.19% (5th highest in Bundesliga).  It should be noted that a partner, at that position, is Werder Bremen, they sit just behind Dortmund at 23.90% and are just one point behind them in the League Table.

So it doesn’t necessarily mean a good thing to penetrate at a high frequency – sometimes lower penetration percentages yield good results.

For example Wolfsburg, who are 2nd best in the League Table, are 12th best (20.49%) yet their average goals scored is 2.00 per game.

Of note, Dortmund’s passing accuracy within and into the Attacking Final Third is 60.76%; that average is still 5th highest in Bundesliga – so it’s not the drop-off in passing accuracy causing issues in attack.

Shots Taken per Penetrating Possession:

Overall 17.57% (12th highest or 6th worst).

So a remarkably high percentage of penetrating possession yet a lower, than average, percentage of shots taken drops off considerably.  Again, this is not necessarily bad.  For some teams this number is lower, for example Bayern Munich has the lowest percentage of shots taken per penetrating possession (13.27%).

And Wolfsburg, who sits 2nd in the League Table sits at 21.26%.

I would submit Dortmund is getting shut down easier as they penetrate the opponents 18 yard box – meaning, for me:

  1. A lack of vision, by a midfielder or two, in creating cutting passes that open up the angles to take better shots, and
  2. A striker, or two, who simply fail to take advantage of time and open space when they find that time and open space.

Shots on Goal per Shots Taken:

Overall 31.28% (6th worst in Bundesliga).

Speaking again to this team not executing well enough to create the appropriate time and open space to take quality shots.  Recall that Bayern Shots Taken per Penetrating Possession was 13.27%; their overall Shots on Goal per Shots Taken shoots up to 40.54%.

Even Wolfsburg, who are 2nd to Bayern sit at 40.31% in this indicator.

Reinforcing, in my opinion, the need for Dortmund to do a better job in creating time and space!

Goals Scored per Shots on Goal:

Overall 18.41% (2nd worst in Bundesliga).

Not much to offer here that hasn’t already been offered – the striking partnerships and attacking midfield support is simply not good enough to work their way past a packed 18 yard box… the quality needs to get better – and perhaps that quality gets better by slowing down the overall volume of passes and penetration.

In other words play the defense back-four a bit deeper in order to lull the opponent into over-committing a bit more…  a typical counter-attacking strategy used by many in the Bundesliga already.

Attacking Summary:

By the way – even Montreal Impact, in the MLS sits at 35.83% when it comes to scoring goals based upon shots on goal!  And no single team in MLS was worse than 19.53% – with the average at 32.81%.

If supporters who follow Montreal Impact are disappointed given how poorly that team performance was I can’t even begin to imagine how disappointed the entire family of Borussia Dortmund is at this stage of the season.

Some significant progress really needs to be made in team performance if this team is to get better results!

In moving on to Defending team performance and the DPWP Strategic Index:

DPWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Week 12

Borussia Dortmund are 5th worst in the Index – so not strong in attacking nor defending team performance!

Opponent Possession Percentage:

 Overall 42.49% (2nd lowest in Bundesliga).

Noted, but as we’ve seen in all the leagues I analyze possession percentage, alone, is not a good indicator.

Opponent Passing Accuracy:

Overall 69.63% (3rd lowest in Bundesliga).

Given what I feel is a higher amount of counter-attacking football in Bundesliga this percentage is not surprising.

What is more surprising, however, is that the opponent’s for Dortmund have just a 49.33% passing accuracy within the Dortmund Defending Final Third.  That is alos 3rd lowest (best) in Bundesliga.

Basically what this means is the opponents of Dortmund really don’t pass the ball very well – or – they play longer balls or offer quicker play given Dortmund attackers being caught out of position during turnovers (anywhere).

For me, this speaks to Dortmund playing somewhat deeper and somewhat less aggressive in attack – in this case give up the idea of trying to emulate FC Bayern Munich and instead look to play more counter-attacking more often.

Opponent Penetration per Possession:

Overall 18.25% (2nd lowest in Bundesliga).

In adding up the details so far, Dortmund yield the 2nd lowest amount of possession, play opponents who are 3rd worst in passing accuracy and 2nd worst in penetration, yet they give up 1.58 goals against per game!

Wow…

Opponent Shots Taken per Penetrating Possession:

Overall 20.42% (6th highest in Bundesliga).

Again, the numbers are showing a very poor pattern of team performance.

Opponent Shots on Goal per Shots Taken:

Overall 44.85% (2nd highest in Bundesliga).

Goals Scored per Shots on Goal:

Overall 43.69% (2nd highest in Bundesliga).

Defending Summary:

Complete bollocks is what I would offer; their overall team performance really is as bad as their results!

Borussia Dortmund play against opponents who are downright terrible in possession, passing accuracy, and penetration, yet…

When it comes to Defending their own Final Third the opponents are downright SUPERB when it comes to taking shots, that end up as shots on goal and goals scored.

In Closing:

I did some analyses on the Portland Timbers this year – and their early pattern of defense showed the same results as Dortmund.

In the end, after at least two tactical adjustments in defending, the Timbers finally got squared away.  From a tactical viewpoint the corrective action was to drop deeper, roughly 10 yards deeper, and clog the 18 yard box a bit more.

In turn, this adjustment led to an increase in goals scored and a reduction in goals against.

Both of those articles on the Portland Timbers can be found here (Defense) and here (Attacking).

Perhaps this is a reasonable tactic that Dortmund take as this year continues?

I’m not sure, but another diagram to consider is the CPWP Predictability Index shown below:

CPWP Predictability Index Bundesliga Week 12

In looking at the Predictability rating it shows Dortmund’s position excluding goals scored and goals against.  By all accounts this Index tends to support that Dortmund should be doing much better than they are.

One way to interpret this Index is to say that performance, outside and leading into the Final Third (on both sides of the pitch) is solid, where the weaknesses show themselves are in 1) the final creation/finishing, and 2) the final defending/goal keeping.

If that is reasonable then their current issues are not just down to one or two players; it’s more systemic.

Best, Chris

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You can follow me on twitter @chrisgluckpwp

EPL – Charting progress after 12 Weeks

It’s been a couple of weeks since I checked in with the English Premier League so here’s a quick fly-by on who’s leading the league in team performance, exclusive of the League Table.

That’s not to say I’ll ignore the League Table – in summary here’s the top six and the bottom six respectively:

  1. Chelsea, 32 Points
  2. Southampton, 26 Points
  3. Man City, 24 Points
  4. Man United, 19 Points
  5. Newcastle, 19 Points
  6. West Ham, 18 Points
  7. Swansea City, 18 Points

Bottom Six:

  1. QPR, 8 Points
  2. Burnley, 10 Points
  3. Leicester City, 10 Points
  4. Hull City, 11 Points
  5. Aston Villa, 12 Points
  6. Crystal Palace, 12 Points

Now for my Composite PWP Strategic Index:

CPWP Strategic Index EPL Week 12

 

In comparing the top six in the League Table to the top six in my Index Chelsea, Southampton, Man City, Swansea City, and Man United are all in.

Everton and Arsenal continue to ride high in this Index – whether that continues or not is yet to be seen.

The question I have is this — is it the results that end up catching up with the team performances, or is it the team performances that end up catching up with the results?

In Major League Soccer the team performances usually seemed to lag when compared to the results – if that is the case here then I’d expect Everton and Arsenal to drop further in the League Table if there are systemtic attacking or defending issues.

On the other hand – like Newcastle – the team performance lags the results and both Arsenal and Everton should begin winning more games…. more to follow…

As for West Ham, we already know they will be on the shorter end given their more direct style of play but the surprise mover is Newcastle; especially since in Week 5, where they were 6th worst in the Composite Index (see below).

Clearly team performance has improved considerably – not only in results but in team performance; that’s a good thing when considering the viability of the Index.  Besides, I don’t read too often anymore where Alan Pardew’s head coaching status is in question.

CPWP Strategic Index EPL Week 5

As for the bottom six; well we have QPR bottom in both, with Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Leicester City, and Burnley all in; the odd one out is Hull City.

Might that mean Hull City are more on the ‘lucky’ end of results than their team performance indicates?

I’m not sure but when we peel back APWP and DPWP we might be able to see where the general weaknesses and strengths are that help Hull City stay outside the relegation zone as the season continues.

Attacking PWP Strategic Index:

APWP Strategic Index EPL Week 12In considering the top six teams in the League Table it appears to me that the Attacking team performances for Chelsea, Man City, Southampton, Man United, and West Ham are a strength more than a weakness.

Defending PWP Strategic Index:

DPWP Strategic Index EPL Week 12Given that the DPWP for Newcastle is stronger than the APWP, I’d offer that it’s the Defending team performance that is helping to push Newcastle near top of the table.

Not to be missed though is that Southampton, Man City, Chelsea, and Man United are also all in the top six.

The lone wolf, in defending, is West Ham.  But we already know from previous analyses that Sam Allardyce likes to play more counter-attacking football – so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see them in or around the middle.

It’s when their DPWP starts dipping below the halfway point that those forever blowing bubbles should be considered.

In Closing:

Southampton continues to find success; granted their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa was probably disappointing, but with that 80th minute goal they were able to scratch out at least one point against Villa.

The surprising result to me, and probably most everyone else, was the 3-1 pasting Liverpool took against Crystal Palace.

The most amazing statistics for me out of that game was seeing Palace offer up 15 shots taken with just 71 completed passes in the Liverpool Defending Final Third – and of those – 15 shots were taken with five of them were on goal!

I guess that shouldn’t be surprising to the average stats person given that winning teams in the EPL average just over five shots on goal with at least two goals scored.  In this case Palace got three goals.

On the other hand, with 519 passes offered, 460 which were complete, and 96 of those were completed in the Palace Defending Final Third, you’da thought Liverpool would end up with more shots taken and more shots on goal.

They didn’t.  What is even worse is they had five of those 12 shots come from prime locations and only one ended up on goal!

For me, this means reinforces two things:

  1. Time and open space has great value when considering the quality of shots taken, regardless of location, and
  2. Liverpool have yet to find a striker who can take shots and put them on goal.  I would expect Liverpool to be in the market to buy a top striker as soon as possible!

If you’re a betting person; here’s the latest CPWP Predictability Index.  This does not yet to into account the differences between team performance on the road versus at home.

It should be noted that teams playing at home, in the EPL, have taken 182 points – versus teams playing on the road have taken 143 points.

In terms of a ‘rough estimate’ that means 56% of all points earned are earned at home games.

Not much of an edge – but – if you’re a team like Crystal Palace, playing a team like Liverpool, who is clearly shaken – and not stirred – there will always be the chance of an upset!

CPWP Perdictability Index EPL Week 12

Best, Chris

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