World Cup 2015 Expected Goals Maps

r16_brazil_australiar16_canada_switzerlandr16_china_cameroonr16_france_southkorar16_germany_swedenr16_japan_netherlandsr16_norway_englandr16_usa_colombiar16_usa_colombia_firstgc_switzerland_japange_colombia_mexicoge_france_englandgf_brazil_koreagf_spain_costaricagc_cameroon_ecuadorgd_usa_australiaga_canada_china ga_netherlands_newzealand gb_germany_cote gb_norway_thailand gd_nigeria_sweden

Advertisements

How to Scout the Stats

Published at ESPN.

How to Use Stats to Find the Next Bargain Transfer:

Furthermore, Tadic was heavily involved in Twente’s attack beyond just attempting shots. I built a statistic for involvement in build-up play which measures how often a player contributes to the open-play attacking move that led to a quality chance. If he completes a pass or a cross, or wins the ball with a tackle or interception in the build-up to a shot, he gets credit for being involved. Tadic led the Eredivisie in expected goals chance involvement by a significant margin.

When Southampton purchased their Tadic they were not only buying a player with impressive goal and assist numbers, but a player whose underlying stats reflected his consistent contributions to his team’s attack. When scouting for bargains, this sort of well-rounded contribution to the attack is precisely what you want to look for.

The Premier League’s Mid-Table and Why It May Be Here to Stay

Published at SB Nation.

Why West Ham and Southampton Can Stay in the Race:

This year, the expected goals table shows these non-traditional powers in strong positions. So far, the underlying statistics are more impressed with Southampton, West Ham, Newcastle and Stoke than with Spurs, Liverpool, Everton or even United. West Ham have attempted 96 shots from the danger zone this season, the fourth best in the league, while Southampton are second with 99. These numbers lap those of the traditional clubs they’ve displaced. Only Manchester United is within 20 danger zone shot attempts of West Ham (they have 77) while the other sit below 70. In multiple key statistical measures, these unlikely teams have been outplaying their moneyed competitors.

This change affects the competitive ecology of the Premier League. It has been common for the league to have a glut of below average sides making up a desultory mid-table. These teams have no meaningful chance of contending for European qualification, but they should stay in the top division by taking enough lucky points off the top seven and beating up the bottom five. These sides would typically put up expected goals ratios between 0.450 and 0.500. They were below average but not so bad that they became interesting.

Why Manchester United’s Win Streak Won’t Last

Published at the Washington Post.

Manchester United Is Winning, But That Won’t Last:

In fact, over these six matches, Manchester United has conceded overall better quality chances than it has created. There was a run of time between the Southampton and Liverpool matches when United had scored four of its last five shot on target. The following graphic shows the chances created and conceded by United. Black boxes mark goals. The array of quality chances (six from inside the six-yard box) which United’s opponents have failed to put away is spectacular.

Tactical Analysis of Bayer Leverkusen

Published at SB Nation.

(The debut of gegenpressing statistics.)

The Breathtaking Rush of Schmidt’s Leverkusen:

The attack is structured to create shots as quickly as possible. Bayer Leverkusen have attempted 27 shots where the strike was the first action in the attacking move. That is, 27 times a Leverkusen player has recovered or won the ball and immediately looked to goal and taken his chance. On top of that, Schmidt’s men have attempted 62 shots from attacking moves of seven seconds or less. (To calculate these statistics, I have removed shots from set plays and shots off rebounds.) This is how those rates compare in the Bundesliga:

If you’re looking for a Premier League analogue, you can stop. There isn’t one. The side with the most shots to start an action this year is Sunderland, with 18. Arsenal lead in the seven seconds or less category with 42 fast shots. But Arsenal have fired off only 10 shots from the start of an attacking move, and Sunderland have just 21 attempts in the seven seconds or less bucket. If you want to see this style of football, you have to watch the Bundesliga. (Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund run closest, but they are still not nearly as quick to shoot as Leverkusen.)

World Cup Projections

(Note: these didn’t turn out so great.)

Published at SB Nation.

2014 World Cup Projections:

The hardest part of building an international football ranking system is dealing with strength of schedule. By raw goals ratio, the three best teams in the world over the last several years are Brazil, Spain and Germany. That sounds good, but fourth is… Iran. Without accounting for schedule, there is no way to do this sort of analysis.

Team Trends in Chance Quality

Published at SB Nation.

Shot Matrix IV: Team Trends in Chance Quality:

Now, one of the peculiarities of shot quality is that there are lots of ways, tactically, to take good shots. Arsenal are the classic example, they pass and pass, looking especially for through-balls into dangerous areas, and eventually look to “pass it into the net.” The traditional passing game is our primary model of high-quality shot-taking, but in fact it’s not the only one.

The exact opposite tactical method, the “go 4-4-2 and put crosses in” strategy, also produces high-quality shots. If your primary strategy around the box is to get the ball wide and try to play crosses into dangerous areas, you’re going to be taking relatively few low-value speculative long balls. And even though shots off crosses from close areas have lower expectation than normal shots from these areas, they’re still a lot better than shooting from outside the box or from wide areas in the 18-yard box. A bunch of those dots in the top right are Arsene Wenger’s clubs, but another good portion are Tony Pulis.