Lots of excellent points brought up in Timmy’s post (and the comments that followed) this past Sunday regarding possession. Our front six at West Brom looked like this:
Dembélé - Kamara Dempsey - Greening - Baird - Gera
Then, at home v Wigan:
Dembélé - Dempsey Davies - Greening - Murphy - Gera
That’s Murphy for Baird, Dempsey for Kamara, and Davies for Dempsey. L and Chopper pointed out in the comments that our forward combination of Dembélé and Dempsey helped improve our ball retention. I put together a table showing each player’s total touches on the season, total “negative possessions” (where the ball is given away – misplaced passes, shots off target, balls gone out for opposing corners, etc), and possession success rate (percentage of touches that weren’t given away):
|Player||Min||App||Touches||Neg Poss||Poss Success%|
|Riise, Bjorn Helge||17||1||14||4||71.43%|
Much of this is going to be dictated by a player’s style and tactical usage, so I don’t want to read too much into it, but it does explain some things. Clint Dempsey is a significant improvement over Diomansy Kamara. Further, Simon Davies has controlled the ball more effectively than Dempsey, making the impact even greater. It would appear that the observations were right on.
Of course, this isn’t to take anything away from those at the bottom of the list (we expect attacking players to lose the ball more often), but that’s another discussion.