Jump to content

Player and team statistics (and analysis)


Con
 Share

Recommended Posts

Here are two sites where you can get free statistics on the performances of Aston Villa players and statistics on players of other teams.

Whoscored.com

Squawka.com

Statistics help to provide a better understanding of an individual players/teams style and performance but I will say from the start that they always require interpretation, and fallible to coincidence when the sample size is small.


Here's some statistics to get started with.

In another thread it was mentioned Aston Villa team - of January 2013 - had become a long ball team.

I had to check this, and the statistics agreed.

Aston Villa is in the group of teams in the Premier League who pass the ball the longest, on average.

Not all of them are crap, but most of them are, Everton being the exception.



Average pass length


Arsenal: 18m
Swansea: 19m
Chelsea: 19m
Manchester City: 19m
Wigan: 19m
Liverpool: 19m
Manchester Utd: 19m
Southampton: 19m
Fulham: 20m
QPR: 20m
Tottenham: 20m

Aston Villa: 21m
Everton: 21m
Reading: 21m
Stoke: 21m
Sunderland: 21m
WBA: 21m
West Ham: 21m
Newcastle: 22m
Norwich: 22m

Comparison:
Barcelona 17m

17-18 m = Short passing team
19-20 = Mixed passing team
21-22 = Long passing team




Now are Aston Villa 17th in the Premier League because we pass the ball long or because our long balls are shit?

The data says although the Manchester Utd team that is leading the Premier League has a long ball accuracy 17% greater than Villa's (an impressive 73% to a rubbish 56%), our long ball accuracy is only 1% less than West Brom's.

If the West Brom team is as crap as Villa's at long ball passing, why do they have 34 points to our 20 (14 more than us) and lie 8th in the league, in range of the European places?

West Brom's 19 players have kicked 857 long balls this season compared to our 790 long balls over 23 matches - it can't be, unlike us, they know they are crap and are deliberately keeping their long ball kicking to a minimum.

Aston Villa's crap long ball kicking does not appear to explain why we are hovering above relegation, rather than fighting for a European place.

Even so, I've approached this question of long balls from another angle because I still believe it is relevant.

 

 

 

Edit: 24 Jan. Error - get your facepalm gifs. ready

 

The chart and following analysis contains an error.

 

Midfield has actually kicked 40% long balls. when calculating the percentage I accidentally used total midfield crosses not total midfield long balls. :blush:

 

The figure for the defence was correct. They have kicked 52% of our long balls. This is far too many, but the midfield have only kicked 3% and 9% fewer long balls than their counterparts at Man Utd and West Brom.

 

This suggests that the defence do kick too many long balls and the midfield should kick more of them (so the defence should pass to the midfield more often), but that it's not as dramatic as before the error.

 

The analysis stays the same but it becomes less important.

 

 

15now84.jpg

When you kick a ball long and you don't hit your man, you have given possession of the ball back to the opposition cheaply.

I want to know WHO in the team was crap at kicking long balls, and whether there was a difference between Man Utd, West Brom and Villa on this.

West Brom could have kicked more long balls than us this season because they had more possession.

Villa could have kicked more long balls than West Brom because our midfield is shit and the defenders want to by-pass it because they don't trust them to kick the long balls.

What is true?

I decided not to pick on individual players, instead I grouped players by their positions: defenders and midfielders.

The statistics show that both West Brom defenders and midfielders are no better than ours at kicking long balls.

Compared to the West Brom team, however, the Villa defenders kicked a greater percentage of all long balls kicked.

Since the Villa defenders are far worse at kicking accurate long balls than the Villa midfielders this is an area of tactical weakness in the side.

If only the defenders would pass the ball to a midfielder more often, the long balls would on average be more accurate, we would retain possession, and score more points.

The statistics of the Premier League leaders, Man Utd, support this conclusion.

Although their defenders long passing ability appears to equal West Brom and Villa's midfielders long passing, the Man Utd defence is still worse at long passing than the Man Utd midfield.

The Man Utd defence also seems to know it is weaker at long passing because it kicks far fewer long passes as a percentage of the whole team.

Man Utd midfielders kick 49% of all the long passes, whilst these figures fall to 43% and 27% for West Brom and Aston Villa.

Conclusion -

Teams do better when they restrict the number of long ball passes made by their defenders.

One reason Aston Villa is doing shit is because our defenders can't wait to kick it long.

Aston Villa defenders are not patient enough, they attempt to distribute the ball long far too quickly. They kick 52% of all our long balls.

The team would do better if they give it short to a midfielder, and let the midfielder decide when and if to kick it long.

Every single Villa central midfielder is better at long ball passing than our best long ball passing defender.

There is no excuse not to restrict the number of long passes made by the Villa defence, and it could be a relatively easy way to improve our performances, as West Brom who have so many more points are no better than us at long passing.

Edited by Con
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the idea of statistical analysis to dissect the team but it is easy to go down a tangent and get lost in the data.

I am not sure how much you can tell by looking at the long passes, interesting how much more accurate Man U are at them though. I wonder if it is all down to the quality of the passer or is some because of the position the receiver is taking up?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great analysis - as a stats junkie I really appreciated that. Shows it's important to get under the skin of the headline stats.

There's a fundamental issue that, if defenders are playing long balls, the passes are more likely to end up in no-man's land simply because the forwards are further away and there's more risk that the pass will go astray. Also the opposition defenders have more time to get into good defensive positions if they don't get the ball. So it's clear that long balls from the midfield have more chance of success

What we don't know is why the defenders don't pass so many short balls to the midfield. Is there a lack of communication? Our midfield is very weak so maybe they don't want to pass the ball short in case it comes straight back on the toe of an opposition forward? I'm not sure stats are going to provide those answers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What we don't know is why the defenders don't pass so many short balls to the midfield. Is there a lack of communication? Our midfield is very weak so maybe they don't want to pass the ball short in case it comes straight back on the toe of an opposition forward? I'm not sure stats are going to provide those answers.

I would guess that our midfield players are being marked so the defenders would rather go long than risk losing poseesion in a dangerous area.

One other factor to remember is that we often play with 5 defenders and 3 midfielders so that will be skewing these stats compared with west brom or man u playing 4-4-2 or 4-5-1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't play it long unless you have to is my opinion on the game. But to play it short you have to have players who can pass obviously, and players who can find space, obviously, and be organised.

What I can never ever understand, and this is a real bugbear with me, the diagonal ball into the box in open play...why??? It is never and has not ever been a particularly fruitful ball for any team in my memory, even the teams set up to play 'long ball' yet outside the top teams it happens regularly in this country. Never really see it on the continent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the idea of statistical analysis to dissect the team but it is easy to go down a tangent and get lost in the data.

I am not sure how much you can tell by looking at the long passes, interesting how much more accurate Man U are at them though. I wonder if it is all down to the quality of the passer or is some because of the position the receiver is taking up?

I was astonished how accurate the Man Utd players were.

Of the 16/17% difference between them and West Brom/Villa, I guess:

some of that will be "form".

some will be "better movement" (of the receiver)

some will be "possession dominance" e.g. extravagant cross-field ball from one unmarked fullback to another

some of that will be "better passer"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I can never ever understand, and this is a real bugbear with me, the diagonal ball into the box in open play...why??? It is never and has not ever been a particularly fruitful ball for any team in my memory, even the teams set up to play 'long ball' yet outside the top teams it happens regularly in this country. Never really see it on the continent.

Good point.

Teams performing poorly

- run out of ideas or lack patience. The diagonal into the box is the fastest way to get the ball into the danger zone, even if it has low probability of resulting in a goal

- do not control possession in the middle of the pitch. Players are forced wide, where they have to cross long from a wide position, especially if the opposition defence is solid and defending deep.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would guess that our midfield players are being marked so the defenders would rather go long than risk losing poseesion in a dangerous area.

If this is the case our midfielders need to move more, and be more demanding of posession.

One other factor to remember is that we often play with 5 defenders and 3 midfielders so that will be skewing these stats compared with west brom or man u playing 4-4-2 or 4-5-1.

True. We do more often play 1 extra defender, who will contribute more to total long passes compared to teams who play 4.

Even so, the figure of 27% for long balls from our midfield as proportion of total, seems very low and it doesn't change the point that the defenders, with their lesser long passing skill, should let the midfielders do the hard stuff.

If the midfielders, whom often only number 3, are all marked and cannot be found by the defence, then we should consider ditching the 5 defender system because they are wasting too much possession with their wayward long passes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great analysis - as a stats junkie I really appreciated that. Shows it's important to get under the skin of the headline stats.

There's a fundamental issue that, if defenders are playing long balls, the passes are more likely to end up in no-man's land simply because the forwards are further away and there's more risk that the pass will go astray. Also the opposition defenders have more time to get into good defensive positions if they don't get the ball. So it's clear that long balls from the midfield have more chance of success.

Good point.

Another good reason for the defence to make the short pass forward or sideways into midfield. It reduces the distance between the ball and the dangerzone a bit more.

What we don't know is why the defenders don't pass so many short balls to the midfield. Is there a lack of communication? Our midfield is very weak so maybe they don't want to pass the ball short in case it comes straight back on the toe of an opposition forward? I'm not sure stats are going to provide those answers.

Lack of experience. Lack of patience. Trying to do too much. The system we are playing (extra defender, fewer midfielders). Perhaps our midfielders need better movement and/or to demand possession better. It's probably a mix of many things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is the Aston Villa midfield really to blame for all our problems, or should we look elsewhere?

I've got a table here that compares the stats of all the frequently played central midfielders in the Premier League.

* Bannan is the best crosser.

* Delph has the 9th best passing percentage.

* Westwood has respectable averages on all stats.

The idea the Villa central midfield is "Championship" quality is not supported by the statistics.

fkpgro.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Con - genuine question, do you watch many games or just do an analysis on stats? Not taking the piss just interested.

There is a logic to this.

What's going wrong is not the midfield. The midfielders' stats hold up against those from other Premier League teams.

Why do we lose matches then?

The Aston Villa defence are playing too great a role in our attack.

This is what the first table showing how many long balls our defence plays shows.

Long balls are attacking passes.

Our defence kicks 52% of them. Our midfield only kicks 27% of them. The midfield should be kicking nearer 50% of our long balls (like at West Brom and Man Utd) because midfielders are more skillful.

Why doesn't our defence have more patience and give the ball to our midfielder?

What happens when the defence dominates the attack? The midfield is by-passed. Game reverts to hoofball. Passes don't reach their targets. Attack goes to shit.

Lowton is one of the worst offenders for giving away possession in our back line. He's kicked 103 long balls this season and only 49% were on target. If Lowton were to lay the ball off to Westwood, who has a 74% accuracy, then we would not lose possession so much.

Also, Lowton's crossing % is only 17%. What's the point of having this attacking defender when he ruins our attacks?

Why has Lowton played every game - is he undroppable?

Lichaj has won 9 games for Villa this year - the only 9 games we have won. I don't believe he is a great player, but I do believe there is a reason for that.

Edited by Con
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a shit midfield.

Why don't the statistics show that?

Something wrong with the statistics, or something wrong with our analytical preconceptions/bias?

Westwood has almost identical statistics for passing %, crossing % and long ball % to Sidwell, Sandro, and Carrick, but look where Villa is in the table (17th) compared to Fulham, Tottenham and Man Utd.

Delph and Bannan aren't as consistent on all stats as Westwood but with Bannan you get the best crosser in the Premier League (106 crosses is a decent sample size) and Delph 87% pass accuracy is up there with the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting stuff. With the long pass stats, I wonder what is included: e.g. if a defender hoofs the ball clear, does that count? As we have less possession than someone like Man Utd, our defenders have to do more defending & make more of these rushed clearances, where it is just a matter of getting the ball clear rather than picking a pass. That might skew the stats a bit.

Also, while the defence might be faulted for playing it long too often and not giving it to midfield, in some cases it could be because midfielders have failed to find good positions to receive the ball. this wouldn't appear in stats, you'd have to get down to analysing videos of when defenders play it long & what their other options were. I've certainly bemoaned the defence for bypassing midfield on numerous occasions this season, so I think there is something in your analysis but I don't think midfield are blameless in this matter.

Edited by switters
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why don't the statistics show that?

Something wrong with the statistics, or something wrong with our analytical preconceptions/bias?

Westwood has almost identical statistics for passing %, crossing % and long ball % to Sidwell, Sandro, and Carrick, but look where Villa is in the table (17th) compared to Fulham, Tottenham and Man Utd.

Delph and Bannan aren't as consistent on all stats as Westwood but with Bannan you get the best crosser in the Premier League (106 crosses is a decent sample size) and Delph 87% pass accuracy is up there with the best.

Have you been watching any of the games? :lol:

We are **** terrible, sometimes you have to look past the stats, this isn't American Football.

Edited by AVFCforever1991
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting stuff. With the long pass stats, I wonder what is included: e.g. if a defender hoofs the ball clear, does that count?

Whoscored.com.

There is a separate column for clearances.

As we have less possession than someone like Man Utd, our defenders have to do more defending & make more of these rushed clearances, where it is just a matter of getting the ball clear rather than picking a pass. That might skew the stats a bit.

Why do we have less possession? Because our defenders don't pass on the responsibility to our midfield.

Also, while the defence might be faulted for playing it long too often and not giving it to midfield, in some cases it could be because midfielders have failed to find good positions to receive the ball.

This is unlikely. The middle of the pitch is the easiest place to find with a pass from anywhere else on the pitch. We have had two CM in there all season.

this wouldn't appear in stats, you'd have to get down to analysing videos of when defenders play it long & what their other options were.

Not an issue the defence can pass it sideways until they find a midfielder.

They just hoof it long without bothering.

I've certainly bemoaned the defence for bypassing midfield on numerous occasions this season, so I think there is something in your analysis but I don't think midfield are blameless in this matter.

The strikers aren't blameless. Nobody is blameless. But you've got to start with the defence.

The defence has no discipline. This is shown at set pieces. It is also shown by their lack of patience hitting long balls that go nowhere, rather than passing it until they find a more skillful midfielder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you been watching any of the games? :lol:

We are **** terrible, sometimes you have to look past the stats, this isn't American Football.

Sometimes you have to look at the statistics to find the signal in the noise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

exclamation-mark-man-user-icon-with-png-and-vector-format-227727.png

Ad Blocker Detected

This site is paid for by ad revenue, please disable your ad blocking software for the site.

Â