Final 3rd analysis – more follow ups


Thanks a lot for all the feedback and discussion regarding the final third analysis. Here are a few follow-ups on the feedback.

Feedback: The correlation between goals scored and passes in the final third is driven by the top 5 goal scoring clubs. If they are removed from the data set, the correlation might be weak.
This was brought up by @WillTGM & @Chumolo

Follow-up:

  • The correlation is not nearly as strong if the top 5 (goals scored) are removed. However, 5 teams constitute 25% of the sample space. If we cherry pick the top 5, it is not surprising that the correlation becomes much weaker.
  • I did an experiment choosing 15 clubs randomly from the 20. In several such experiments, the correlation was strong and significant. R2 varied between 0.56 and 0.87. The regression was significant. (F-test)
  • On a similar note, if outliers like Liverpool and Newcastle are excluded, the correlation becomes much stronger.

Feedback: Significance of the regression

@rui_xu brought up a great point about the importance of the significance of the regression and how just R2  might not tell the whole story.

Follow-up:
I did the F-test for all the regressions with the following results

  • However, when I did the same analysis using data from all the 380 games of last season (760 samples), the correlation was weak (as observed for the 38 games of Man City) and the regression was significant for the larger sample space.

Please keep the feedback coming!

Follow-up analysis: Final third passing and Goals scored per game


This is a follow up to my post regarding the strong correlation between completed in the final third and goals scored.

Question

Is there a correlation between the final third completions & goals scored at the game level?

Analysis

I investigated to see if this correlation exists at the game level using the #MCFCAnalytics data set. I plotted the completions in the final third vs. goals scored for Manchester City in all their 38 games of English Premier League.
Blue = Away
; Orange = Home

Manchester City Goals vs. Pass completions in the final 3rd on a per game basis

Findings:

  • Linear regression had an R2 of 0.04  implying that there is no correlation between passes completed in the final third and goals scored at the game level.
    I did the plot for a few other teams and got similar results.
     
  • Arsenal – Away and Liverpool – Home. In both cases, Manchester City had very little success completing passes in the final 3rd. However, they lost 1-0 at the Emirates and won 3-0 at home vs. Liverpool.
    Against Liverpool, City had 6 shots on target and 2 off target.
    Against Arsenal, City had 0 shots on target and 3 off target.
  • QPR – Home and QPR – Away. City scored 3 goals each against QPR home and away. However, they had a season high 326 completed passes in the final 3rd at home vs. just 74 in the away fixture.
    Shots vs. QPR Away – 5 on target & 10 off target.
    Shots vs. QPR Home – 15 on target and 10 off target.

The City – QPR fixture was that crazy season finale. City fell behind and they threw everyone forward to go for the win and the Premier league title. QPR was a man down from 55th minute and they defended at the edge of their 18-yard box for most of 2nd half. This explains the unusually high number of completed passes in the final third.

The above examples underline the rarity of the “goal” event. In any given game, there could be factors like bad shooting, luck, the opponent’s goalkeeper having a great game etc., which could influence the # of goals scored. However, over a season those things seem to even out.

In the next step of analysis I will add a 2nd variable to the model and analyze.

Manchester City vs. QPR : Opposition analysis #CityOppostion #MCFCAnalytics


This is an “Opposition analysis” of QPR, City’s opponent on Saturday 1st September at the Etihad Stadium. I used the #MCFCAnalytics Lite data set to do this analysis.

Picture courtesy : @srands_analyst on twitter

QPR – Offense

Goals scored 16th
Headed goals 10 – 4th in the League 24.4% of their goals are from headers
Poor shooting efficiency from outside the box 3rd in # of shots taken from outside box but 15th in shooting efficiency (goals scored/{shots on target + shots off target from outside the box}
Long pass efficiency 7th
Final 3rd passing 13th in final third completions

 

QPR – Key attacking players

Goals Jamie Mackie (8 goals  at 26.7% shooting efficiency) and Djibril Cissé (6 goals at 31.6% shooting efficiency) were the most dangerous  goal scoring threats.
Shots 56 – Adil Taraabt took the highest # of shots in QPR

50/56 shots are from outside the box

Taraabt also had 32 of his shots blocked, 27 of them from outside the box

Assists Wright-Philips, Traore, Taraabt and Barton were the top assist providers with 3 each.
Final Third passing Joey Barton (435) had the maximum completions in the final 3rd. They have a great replacement for him in Esteban Granero, who is much better than Barton technically but he might need a few games to find his gears in the Premier League

Taraabt (322), Faurlin (288) and Wright-Philips (215) are the next 3 in this category. All with an passing completion rate of over 70%.

Other interesting aspects Taraabt (90 – 42%), Wright-Philips (96 – 37.5%) and Mackie (91 – 27.5%) are the top dribblers of the team.

 

QPR – Offensive summary

QPR seem to be very direct in their attack. They tend to defend deep and hit on the counter. They scored 10 goals from headers. Adil Taraabt is a very dynamic player but his decision-making is questionable. He takes too many shots from outside the box, many of them either off-target or blocked. Their average of less than 1 goal per away game highlights their trouble scoring away from home.

Joey Barton was one of the key cogs of their attack last season. He will be replaced by the excellent Esteban Granero, a product of the Real Madrid youth system.

The key players for QPR on the attack are Mackie, Wright-Philips and Taraabt.
Granero will be a part of this list as he gets used to the Premier League

Esteban Granero is technically much better and has none of the disciplinary issues of Barton. Granero is very adept at running the game from the midfield and has great technique and touch. His best seasons were at Getafe (on loan from Real Madrid) when he played a key role in taking the the small club from the suburbs of Madrid to within inches of the semi-finals of the UEFA cup 2007-08. He moved back to Real Madrid in 2009 and have not had a lot of playing opportunities since then. He must be eager to have a go at QPR and I expect him to have similar impact at QPR as the other Spanish midfielders are having at their respective Premier league teams. However, I doubt he will have a big impact in the game at Etihad Stadium.

QPR – Defence

Goals conceded 3rd highest in the league
Shots conceded 4th
Corners conceded 2nd
Clearances 2ndAlso 2nd highest headed clearances and highest proportion of headed clearances  among total clearances
Ground duels wining % 2nd
Aerial duels winning % 16th
Tackles winning % 17th
Red-cards 9 – 1st in the league

 

QPR – Defensive summary

“A train-wreck waiting to happen” – Is how I would describe the QPR defense of last season in 5 words. They seem to defend deep and it is likely that their back four is slow. Opponents  complete about 10% more passes in QPR’s defensive third on an average compared to their league average. The # of corners conceded and headed clearances tell me that the QPR defence is in a “hurried” mode when the opposition is in QPR’s defensive third.  This means they are a fraction too slow to be in the right place at the right time. They are forced to make clearances with no time to think about placement. They are ranked 17th in tackles won. Some of it is probably due to them being fraction late on the tackles.

QPR – Goalkeeping

Goal keeper metrics Standing among the peers
Goals conceded overall 17th in the league
GK distribution efficiency  – Kenny

(Successful GK distribution/Total GK distribution)

60% – 13th out of 18 GKs with 29 or more starts
Short passes completion – Kenny 80% – 15th out of 18 (league average 90%)
Long passes completion – 39% – 11th out of 18  (league average 39%)
Proportion of Long to short passes – Kenny 90% – 3rd out of 18 (league average 76%)

 

QPR – Goalkeeping summary

Patrick Kenny is not with QPR anymore. Robert Green was not  any better in the first two games. They have signed the veteran Brazilian keeper Julio Caesar a few days ago. He is an upgrade over Green. However, I am not too sure if their GK distribution strategy would change much. I think that is the key problem – Too much emphasis on long balls and very poor completions rates even with the short passes.

City should enjoy a lot of success if they try to pressure and hurry the QPR keeper.

City vs. QPR Head – to – head 2011-12

  1. 2 of the 4 goals were headers – a strength of QPR
  2. All 4 goals from inside the box, 1 from a set-play and  3 from open play
  3. One of the goals was a quick counterattack
  4. Scorers : Cissé, Mackie, Boothroyd, Helguson
  • How did City score vs. QPR?

 

  1. All 6 from inside the box
  2. 2 were headers
  3. 5 from open play and 1 from a corner
  4. Scorers : Aguero, Dzeko x 2, Yaya Touré, Zabaleta, Silva

Final word

City should win this game. QPR defence had too many issues last season and  based on first two games of the Premiership I am not convinced that they have addressed them. On the other hand, City has a potent offence despite the absence of Aguero. However, QPR did score twice at the Etihad in that crazy season finale. If City defence can keep a tab on Mackie, Wright-Philips and Taraabt, QPR’s chances of scoring would go down dramatically.

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