Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ranking the Premier League's most direct teams (revisited)

In a post very early in the Barclay's Premier League season I presented a table ranking the league's teams according to how direct they played. The metric I used for these rankings was the number of short passes a team played per one long ball. The fewer short passes a team played per long ball, the more direct they were. I used this metric rather than the simpler long balls per game because long balls per game doesn't tell the complete story of how direct a team is. Teams with very low average possession statistics have less of the ball and are therefore likely to play a fewer number of all types of passes. For example, Stoke play the 11th most long balls per game but few would argue they are just the 11th most direct team in the league. They nearly always have less of the ball than their opponent and therefore play fewer total passes, both long and short.

In the table below I rank the teams by how direct they play after nearly four months of the season but this time around I've used a slightly different metric than short passes per long ball. Here I use the percent of total passes a team plays that are long balls. Total passes a team plays includes short passes, long balls, crosses and through balls [in other words my calculation was long balls/(long balls+short passes+crosses+through balls)*100]. According to this metric Newcastle are the most direct team in the league with 18.27% of their passes being long balls. Arsenal are the least direct- only 8.52% of their passes are long balls.

This table ranks Barclay's Premier League teams by the percent of passes each play that are long balls. Data courtest of