We sometimes have a look at shooting and scoring stats here, but one thing we rarely do is factor in actual possession of the ball.
If we look at things on a per game basis we’re missing half the story. If I tell you that Fulham are averaging 2 goals scored a game you’re impressed; if I tell you they’re averaging 2 goals a game despite only having the ball for 10 minutes out of the 90 you’re even more impressed (or are you? In any case, it doesn’t matter because the numbers are made up. But it’s more texture isn’t it?)
Let’s just get on with it.
The following shows how each team ranks in terms of:
- how many minutes of possession between shots taken
- how many minutes of possession in between shots on target
- how many minutes of possession in betwen goals
It also shows the same thing in reverse:
- how many minutes out of possession between shots allowed
- how many minutes out of possession between shots on target allowed
- how many minutes out of posssession between goals conceded.
As befits our new, exciting approach to graphics, I have colour coded the results. Green means one of the best five teams in the league, red means one of the worst five.
What can we see?
- Despite what I had expected, Fulham are actually quite efficient attacking, but porous in defence. This isn’t what I thought I’d seen with my eyes, but makes sense when we figure that we’re been playing five attacking players on occasion this season, at least three of whom don’t really defend. We’re relatively very effective at creating shooting chances, and relatively ineffective at stopping them. That our F/A totals are about where they normally are suggests that our defence and goalkeeper have been doing surprisingly well and our attack hasn’t been as efficient as it should be, which does correlate with what we’ve seen with our eyes.
- Blackburn’s figures again emphasise the Yakubu (terrific)/Robinson (poor) effect. They are scoring more often than almost everyone per minute of possession, but conceding more frequently than almost everyone, too, despite fairly ‘normal’ shots for and against numbers.
- Man City are best at scoring and not conceding, at least in possession terms. Impressive.
- Villa seem to have their balance all wrong. They are effective at stopping the opposition from shooting but not at transitioning into counter-attacking opportunities.
- Stoke seem to be in the same boat, although probably in different ways.
- Spurs take less time in possession than anyone between shots. This fits with their super-quick attacking play I guess.
- Wolves seem bad at stopping shots and at creating them. Oh dear.
- Swansea’s numbers may be misleading because they keep the ball so well.
- Everton are fantastic at stopping opponents from shooting (see raw data).
Again, this is all based on time in possessionl. When I’ve done this before it’s been per 90 minutes, but for this I’ve taken the average possession per game and used that instead, so if City have the ball 60 minutes and therefore don’t have it 30 minutes we use these two numbers for their calculations. I appreciate that the ball isn’t in play for 90 minutes but it’s a fair assumption to make, I think.
Possession data from whoscored.com.
Here’s the raw data in minutes: