Charting the Arsenal (2007 - 2008) (R)

Discussion in 'Arsenal' started by Val1, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Just because I am trying to understand this game a little bit better, I charted today's Man City game, looking at how many touches each player had and how many turnovers they had. Turnover is not the right term as I am perhaps overly strict, but I want to measure who keeps control of the ball and who doesn't. For the purposes of this game, and it may change, a turnover is anytime a player touches the ball that it then changes hands. For example, Gilberto makes a great header away from a driven clearance and it goes out of bounds for a corner, that is a turnover. Great play, but Man City still have the ball. Obviously this happens to defenders a lot. Another turnover would be the fine van Persie through ball into Ade making a good run that gets picked up by Schmeichel as the ball was just inches ahead of Ade. Dangerous ball and good run, but in the hands of the opposing keeper. An attacker who gets caught offside has created a turnover. I didn't count throwins or freekicks as possessions, but if you hit the ball into a one-man wall as both Cesc and van Persie did, that is a turnover. Way strict, but I was consistently strict across the board.

    Man City
    25 August, 2007
    1-0 Arsenal at The Grove -- Cesc scoring the game winner
    Silva plays in the back 4 when Phil hurts himself in the warmup:eek:

    Silva...................44 possessions/11 turnovers
    Sagna................13/4 Bacari comes out in the 18th minute
    Toure.................39/7
    Clichy.................52/8
    Hleb....................61/12
    Flamini................50/5
    Rosicky...............52/7
    Adebayor...........40/12
    van Persie..........37/7
    Cesc......................65/11
    Denilson..............51/11
    Eduardo..............9/1
    Song.....................2/1

    For the first time in the 4 or 5 games that I've counted, Cesc has more possessions than Hleb, and I didn't think Cesc had a great game. But I think this due to the presence of Denilson who is much more likely to pass to Cesc. Silva is much more likely to swing the ball out wide. Had I known that Gil was going to play in the back 4 and that Denilson would have gotten as much playing time, I would have charted who each player passes to.

    And no surprises, Ade has the worst turnover ratio on the team, but he was lacking fitness, he runs hard to put himself in contention for questionable balls, and his first touch is not good.
     
  2. Highbury

    Highbury Member

    May 13, 2006
    Philadelphia
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Song is incredible.
     
  3. impalemeplz

    impalemeplz Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Sydney
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    first of all, great work. looks like you put alot of effort into this.

    secondly, i think this type of analysis would be great in the champions league because turnovers and possession are a bigger factor on the continent. my suggestion for EPL matches would be turnovers to possession in the opponent's box(or near it) because, imo, that is one of our biggest problems when we have the ball.

    once again, great work and repped.
     
  4. lazyasian

    lazyasian New Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Netherlands
    Wow! Great work! That must've taken a lot of counting. Are you planning on doing this for future games, cause that would be great. While you can never really tell how good a player is by simple numbers, this is certainly helpful. I was surprised, however, at Flamini's great numbers. I wasn't able to watch the game because I was away, but did Flamini do well in defense? He's not a great tackler so I wouldn't have thought that he'd do too well... Anyway keep up the great work and thanks a lot!

    -Lazyasian http://lazy-arse.blogspot.com
     
  5. DoctorK

    DoctorK New Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    NorthBank, Riverbend
    Really helpful analysis. Would be nice to see this further broken down by thirds of the pitch, but that's certainly asking too much!!!
     
  6. kanonier

    kanonier Member+

    Nov 7, 2005
    Bloomington, Ind.
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Val,

    Great work! I'm wondering, though, if you should count it as a turnover for a defender (or anyone for that matter) if the team didn't already had possession.

    For example, the Gilberto header you mentioned. Arsenal didn't have possession in the first place, so is it really Gilberto turning the ball over?

    Just food for thought. I enjoy this though, thanks!
     
  7. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I started doing this, however amateurly, because I am starting to get serious about coaching and I want to see how I can better analyze games for my youth team, and because I was curious about the hatred that Hleb was getting. It was only when I tallied the total number of touches that I realized that Hleb is the engine that is driving Arsenal right now. Doing something like this has become sort of habit for me now, though trying to tallly every possession was a bit of a drag. I may not do that for any more Arsenal games, though a Chelsea or Man Utd game for comparison purposes.
    Good point, iti is certainly not a turnover, but the methodology is still a work in progress. Maybe one game I'll look at defensive headers/clearances and see where they go to: out of bounds, to our team, or to the opposition.
     
  8. antifan

    antifan Member+

    Aug 14, 2004
    The Scottie
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Couldn't you tell that just by looking at the number of goals he's scored and created in the last few weeks?
     
  9. revelationx

    revelationx Member+

    Jun 5, 2006
    London
    Interesting work, Val1. How exactly do you keep track of this during a live game? Sometimes turnovers happen so quickly that it must be tricky to see who lost possession, write it down and still the follow the action. Unless you record the match and replay it. Are you keeping track of how many goals result from a turnover? And how many passes after a turnover a goal usually occurs?

    I think that more turnovers will occur in advanced areas - as it is easier for a CB to pass to a team-mate than a striker. Also when a striker shoots then unless they get a corner or a lucky deflection this usually results in a turnover (including when a goal is scored).

    The Telegraph have some similar stats although not for turnovers. They breakdown the passes a player makes (from who and to whom) during a match.

    See here (NB you must allow scripts)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/08/26/sfgars126.xml
     
  10. thebigman

    thebigman Member+

    May 25, 2006
    Birmingham
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    the phrase turnover should never EVER be used with the beautiful game
     
  11. alain_9510

    alain_9510 New Member

    Nov 26, 2006
    Seattle
    Interesting stuff, great work Val :)
     
  12. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Actually, it started for me last year when the Hleb hate was reaching full steam. Look at the criticism he got for vs Man City for not driving the ball across the goal along the touch line, instead of what he normally does, which is pull the ball back.

    I'm almost at the point of thinking that Hleb is more critical to Arsenal's success than Cesc. Almost.
     
  13. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Thanks for the link to telegraph. Do they do this for every game? I'd much rather read their stats than have to do my own, because it was very difficult to track every player's possessions, and for the record, all of these reported possessions may be underreported because it was hard to keep up with the flow of play by myself.

    I am intrigued by the Telegraph's good pass/bad pass metric and I'll have to dig into that more because I think that is the issue at looking who is most competent.
     
  14. revelationx

    revelationx Member+

    Jun 5, 2006
    London

    The Telegraph appears to compile their stats for each Prem match.
     
  15. RealMadGunner

    RealMadGunner Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Good idea Val .. Will contribute whenever possible ..
     
  16. thebigman

    thebigman Member+

    May 25, 2006
    Birmingham
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    i honestly think stats can be a bit misleading

    just cus hleb has made more passes and had more touches than other players doesnt make him better

    for instance he couldve had double that and say without toure we concede 2 oals and lose

    football isnt just about stats its about individual 'instances' and what the player chooses to do when an opportunity arrises

    i mean van persie could constantly give the ball away for 80 mins as well as having shots on goal and then score 2 in the last ten minutes

    i personally dont think hleb losing possession is his main wrong doing, more his decision making in the final third when played out wide
     
  17. antifan

    antifan Member+

    Aug 14, 2004
    The Scottie
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Am i wrong for thinking the majority of our goals so far this season have come from Hleb dribbling into the box. Do people really want him to go down the line and bang in crosses when he seems to get hauled down in the box at least once per game?
     
  18. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I agree completely that stats are misleading, and I used to be an economist. Stats don't tell the whole story in baseball, and that is the easiest sport in which to get discrete events (i.e. a pitch, a swing, a hit, etc) and stats don't tell the whole story there.

    And I agree wholeheartedly that football, or any sport, is about what a person chooses to do. I just am trying to figure out a way to quantify what it is that a person does. Is there some pattern that maybe we miss on first or second vieiwing?

    I noted that Ade's high turnover level was partly the result of his trying to get more balls and putting himself in more congested space because he is trying to force the action, which is exactly what he should be doing.

    No, I don't think you are wrong. I have come to love how Hleb plays, and I've come 180 on this. I was a Hleb doubter two years ago even as we made our run to the CL finals and then the constant barrage of hate that enveloped last year (on this board at least) made me start to watch him more carefully. My criticism is not so much for Hleb as for other players on the Arse who haven't realized how Hleb is going to deliver the ball: to their feet with pinpoint control; and they're going to have to provide the momentum themselves.

    So just looking at stats, here's my way-too-early prediction: but this side is going to be much better with Denilson in it than with Gilberto (and I love Gilberto, I want him taking PKs and I wanted him to be the captain) but stats show that Gilberto doesn't pass the ball to Cesc, and Cesc is our world beater, our best player. The more you put the ball at the feet of your best player, the better you play. Denilson is going to do that more, and we'll find our possession game improves dramatically with Denilson.

    Of course, in the words of Gregg Easterbrooke, all predictions guaranteed, or your money back.
     
  19. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
    Staff Member

    Bayern München
    Germany
    Jul 23, 2004
    Karo Viertel
    Club:
    FC Sankt Pauli
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    I don't agree!

    Everytime anyone posts decent analysis, you get a chorus of "stats are misleading" or "stats can be manipulated to show anything"

    of course every single one of those posters would prefer their own opinion which is usually never based on any objective data at all.

    So while I agree that interpretation of statistical data is a minefield, the data itself can never be misleading.

    IMO one of the major problems with discussion on this site, is that it is seldom based on realities.
     
  20. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
    Staff Member

    Bayern München
    Germany
    Jul 23, 2004
    Karo Viertel
    Club:
    FC Sankt Pauli
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    there was a great quote from wenger himself this weekend about how Hleb's role is to try and try to play the killer ball or crack the defence. So many times the play is not going to come off. I think your stats are going to struggle to show this :), but wenger himself is willing to accept a certain failure rate.

    So when everyone is raving on about how Hleb ought to be shooting from distance :rolleyes: actually he is following the coach's gameplan.
     
  21. TheImposter

    TheImposter Member

    Jun 15, 2002
    Centerville, OH
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Surely I can't be the only one who has assumed this to be the case all along. It amazes me how so many people see these obvious, glaring faults in our play that could be fixed if our obtuse, blind manager would only notice them and tell the players to do it differently!
     
  22. thebigman

    thebigman Member+

    May 25, 2006
    Birmingham
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    u talk this and then say stats are misleading in your following post

    regardless of stats or not, football is all subjective, wenger will have diff opinions to fergason and mourinho etc but they all set their individual tactics and gameplans for instance

    and we all have diff thoughts about players

    some prefer a direct approach, others more build up play and a deep offensive pass from the middle or hleb just off a striker etc

    so jitty stats are misleading sometimes and not always the complete 'reality' of the situation
     
  23. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
    Staff Member

    Bayern München
    Germany
    Jul 23, 2004
    Karo Viertel
    Club:
    FC Sankt Pauli
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    I didn't say they are the complete reality. But they are far from misleading. If one is mislead by them then one has misinterpreted them.

    The thing you miss is that coaches like Mourinho in particular make use of stats in their decision making. But it is merely a part of the mix, as there is no stat that can give you the complete picture.

    Again what I take issue with is people making blanket statements about players, which are actually based on nothing more than watching some games on telly. It becomes completely rediculous when people are then prepared to draw up comparisons between players based on occassional viewing.

    For instance if you ask posters on these board who is better lampard or gerrard, most neutrals opt for gerrard.

    yet if you ask them to bet money on who will have most goals and assists in a season, i suspect you'd get rather a different answer.

    Is it seriously your contention that lampards figures are misleading us?

    I'd say they are bankers.
     
  24. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
    Staff Member

    Bayern München
    Germany
    Jul 23, 2004
    Karo Viertel
    Club:
    FC Sankt Pauli
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    In the last few years Arsenal have led the league in generating shots from close range. Shots close in have higher chance of scoring.

    So is the problem that arsenal are "trying to walk the ball into the net" or is it the problem that this team is simply not as good as Pires and co, at opening up defences?

    I'd argue that Wenger continues to pursue the same game plan which has brought great results. The problem is the team execution thereof.
     
  25. Silva 5

    Silva 5 Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I see it as some supporters being impaitent with the team. For the most part we've been second best so to speak for the last three seasons and people are starting to crave results so badly that they would love to Arsenal revert to a more direct style. It's clearly evident when you see people crying out for Wenger to buy traditional wingers and how some rate Bendtner higher than Eduardo, based on nothing other than the fact that Bendtner is tall and can head the ball.
     

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