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12/13: A Look at Stats


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A look at the stats, all pulled from Squawka. I apologise for the length of this post, and dont expect many people to read it haha.





We managed an average possession of 48%. This puts us 13th in the league, just below Newcastle and Fulham on 50% and just above WBA on 47%. I expected us to be a bit better in this to be honest as generally when we get going we are very good on the ball. Unsurprsingly the best teams in this area are Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Man United and Swansea. The bottom 3 being Reading, Norwich and West Ham.


We just need to keep that up, get some confidence into some positions and possibly some experience to calm things down when sometimes we panic. You can see this when we score and then concede almost instantly, you can feel it happen. I dont particularly want more experience, to be honest you can probably get around that panic with just better players. Westwood doesn't often panic like the likes of Clark and Bennett do.


Interestingly, our highest Possession was 57% when we lost 1-0 to West Ham and our lowest possession % was 37% when we beat Liverpool 3-1. I think this gives a bit of credence to us needing to find a talented CAM, somebody who can find those defence splitting passes and chip in with some goals. We can counter attack brilliantly (i.e. 3-1 vs Liverpool) but when we are passing the ball around on the edge of the box we just are not finding that last killer ball enough. Con talks about Bannan but his final ball isn't good enough, he may have good stats but he hasnt made the impact a player like that should have. A left-back version of Lowton will also be crucial to get more balls into the box.


Chance Creation

This is backed up with Chance Creation, we created 334 scoring opportunities throughout the season, meaning on average we create 8 chances a match, just under once every 10 minutes. I think we've gotten better since January we have been great going forwards and I thought we would have made many more than this. 


Bottom 3: Sunderland, Stoke and Reading

Top 4: Liverpool, Spurs, Man City and Everton


Game with most key passes: 16 in 1-1 Draw with Baggies

Game with least: 4 in the 4-0 loss to Spurs


Passing - Accuracy

15th in this too with 78%. Think we can build on this, again when we are in our element we are a very good footballing side we just still have this thing where we pass backwards without finding that killer ball, get it back to Baker or Guzan and then lump it forwards, lose possession and then defend. Where we could have just tried a more intricate pass with a higher chance of success than lumping the ball to Benteke.


Top 3: United, Arsenal, Swansea

Bottom 3: Stoke, Reading, Norwich


Best Game: 88% Villa 3 - 2 QPR

Worst Game: 66% Villa 3 - 3 Everton


Passing Style

Average Passing Length: 20m 

Backwards Passes: 15m

Forwards Passes: 21m

Long Balls: 42m


Average pass length is 12th highest  is the league, quite good in fairness. I would like to see it come down a bit because I think our long balls are just stupid at times. Benteke wins a lot of aerial duels but I'd be surprised if we keep possession much from them.


Top 3: Norwich, Newcastle, Readin (all 22m)

Bottom 3: Arsenal, United, City (all 19m)


Largest average pass length: 23m in 3-1 win over Liverpool

Lowest average pass length: 16m in 2-1 win over West Ham


We made just under 14000 passes. 7000 less than Arsenal (top) and 2000 more than Stoke (bottom). Interestingly:


Game with most attempted passes: 541 in 1-0 loss to West Ham

least attempted passes: 199 in 3-3 draw with Everton


Most completed passes: 460 in 3-0 loss to Man U

Least completed passes: 131 in 3-3 draw with Everton


Again shows that when we have all these lovely passes, we just dont have that final ball, the killer pass. Most long balls and lowest possession = beat liverpool 3-1. Most completed passes we do all season: 3-0 drubbing to United. If we dont counter attack successfully we fail. Fortunately we have this base where we can make all these passes to build from. Put in a key CAM and we could really rifle up the league.





Defensive Errors

We made 28 defensive errors this season (9th highest). 8 of those led to a goal being conceded (11th highest) fully expected us to be higher up here. Some of our errors are very basic though, it needs sorting.


Most errors: Arsenal, Newcastle, Wigan, Liverpool

Leading to goal: Wigan, Arsenal, QPR, Newcastle


Most errors: 4 in 1-0 loss to Fulham

Least: 1 in 3-1 loss to Everton


Convinced Squawka have some errors in their stats here!


Defensive Actions

Total: 2601 (1st place, 200 ahead of Spurs in 2nd)

Clearances: 1654 (3rd, 6 behind 1st place Spurs)

Blocked Shots: 177 (2nd, 1 behind 1st place Sunderland)

Interceptions: 770 (2nd, 9 behind 1st place Southampton)


Quite clear this. We are asking a lot of our defense, they are the most active defense in the league by a long way, 10% more active than the nearest defense to them. The midfield needs sorting to give them more protection. Hopefully our recent move to 4-3-3 with Gabby and Weimann protecting Bennett and Lowton has helped a bit rather than leaving them out to dry.


Least active defenses: Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool


I meant to go on a bit further with this but I cant type any more haha. There are a lot of Stats over at Squawka and it makes for quite interesting reading

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Westwood doesn't often panic like the likes of Clark and Bennett do





Interesting post. Sorry I can't read it properly and respond, half asleep. Will try again tomorrow. 


Did notice the above - don't think Bennett can usually be blamed for anything to do with possession (though his mistake against Liverpool did lead to a goal). His 83.4% passing accuracy is 3rd best among squad players who have played 15 or more games.




One reason for our low passing accuracy is Benteke, who is on 64.8%, not much better than Guzan! That's the central striker role, and the fact our midfield take a long time to catch up with our forwards, so he doesn't always have an easy pass.

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Is there any way we can compare the first and second half of the season.  It seems as soon as we switched to a more counter attacking style we became more successful.  Do we still have that mentality?  Do we not have the players to play the possession game?

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There must be a way, one of the editors at WhoScored.com is a Villa fan, might be worth asking him to have a look into it in more depth.


I think we have the basic building blocks to be able to play the possession game. You can see it there sometimes when we have confidence and in our element. 2nd half vs United comes to mind we started to play some really nice stuff and at times we pass it around brilliantly.


It's just a lot of the time we cant find that final ball. We pass it around and rely on either Benteke to make something happen or a wonder pass from Lowton. Aside from that, we havent really got a lot in terms of creating. Some players will do a bit every now and then, like westwood vs Norwich, but other than Lowton I dont have faith in any of our players to find that killer pass.


Not saying nobody else creates anything, Gabby has done well on the counter attack of late for instance, but I mean in terms of when we are passing it around the edge of the box, we can go on forever, and eventually fall back and hoof it up because we just dont have the vision in the side. Best example of this is against Bradford in the cup. Eternally passed it around and not one player on that pitch could pull something out of the hat.

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Passing - Accuracy

15th in this too with 78%. Think we can build on this


You should apply for a job with the diplomatic service.


Haha, probably not the best worded bit, just think that when we get going our passing is superb. But then sometimes we are just a calamity and make very poor decisions. Can definitely be improved but we have a good starting basis.

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Is there any way of breaking the stats down into the various stages of our season, or against different levels of opposition? I'm not sure if averages across the whole season (where our form and starting 11s changed considerably) tell us very much.

Stats are a good complement to "actually watching games" though, I agree. I was fortunate enough to be living overseas for much of the past season, so I watched most of our games live in full in HD (and sober, because of the time difference!) and I still find the stats really useful. Where your eyes tell you one thing and the stats something else, then you can go back and work out why the stats might be wrong or misleading. Benteke supposedly has poor passing accuracy, but we know flick-ons and final balls are the hardest passes to get right. But we know that defensive mids and centre halves should have very high passing accuracy, and if they don't then there's an issue.

I very much dislike long ball stats, as I think there are lots of different types of long pass, and it's very hard to separate that out into stats. I would trust your eyes on this one. We all know what a route one team looks like. For example, a low, long driven pass down the right wing to get Gabby breaking could be a very fine ball (Arsenal do this with Walcott), as would one of Scholes' diagonal passes to switch play. These are hardly comparable with Fat Sam's dreary lump it up to the big man approach (although admittedly his West Ham team can play some decent stuff at times).

All to clubs use stats to monitor their performances and inform player selection and tactics, but it's no coincidence that the best managers are the ones who also understand the art and psychology of football. Football is much harder to reduce to numbers than baseball, cricket, American football, etc. That's part of what makes it such a great sport.

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Phew HalftimePost, admire your stamina in preparing such a long post. I must admit I am truly amazed at those defensive error stats because it surely underlines how misleading statistics can be.


Well done for producing such an interesting post.

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Thanks for the post, interesting stuff. I think the most eye catching part is the defensive actions stat, 10% more than the next team is quite alarming and its no wonder we conceeded so many if thats the case. The midfield are getting better when they've got the ball IMO but off the ball, there's still a lot of work to be done

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