Possession

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Possession

Postby hammer1975 on Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:18 pm

A lot of discussion focuses on better possession being the key to a better defensive record this season. I know the stats don’t always tell the whole story but thought i’d look at how well possession correlated to goals and results for us last season.

We had less than 50% possession in 28 games - winning 8, drawing 10 and losing 10. We scored 39 goals and conceded 45

We had more than 50% possession in 10 games - winning 2, drawing 2 and losing 6. We scored 9 goals and conceded 23.

Breaking it down further:

Less than 40% possession. 3 wins, 3 draw, 5 losses. Scored 15, conceded 20
40-44%. 2 wins, 5 draws, 1 loss. Scored 10, conceded 9
45-50%. 3 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses. Scored 14, conceded 16
50-55%. 1 win, no draws, 1 loss. Scored 2, conceded 4
55%+. 1 win, 2 draws, 5 losses. Scored 7, conceded 19

Looking at the home/away split...
When we had less of the ball at home we had a positive goal difference (13 games, 5 wins, 5 draws, 3 losses - 16 for, 14 against). When we had more ball we had a negative goal difference (6 games, 2 wins, 1 draw, 3 losses - 8 for, 12 against)

Away from home we had 4 games with more possession - 3 losses and one draw. Scored one and conceded 11.
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Re: Possession

Postby Rays Rock on Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:31 pm

In conclusion, we were absolutely shiite last season both with and without a football.
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Re: Possession

Postby OohAahButler on Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:32 pm

Good effort!

I’m guessing a lot of that apparently wasted possession was in our own half, fannying around and passing it sideways and backwards until somebody makes a mistake and we get punished. I’ve got no stats to back that up, of course, just a hunch from watching us play.
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Re: Possession

Postby Alan Pardew's Dad on Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:49 pm

Just goes to show that the correlation between possession and winning or losing is pretty poor.

Stats can show bizarre correlations between many things. My personal favourites are the strong link between the US consumption of cheese and the number of people who die by becoming entangled in their bed sheets, and how about the fact that increasing imports of Lemons into the US has dramatically reduced road deaths.

http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/kjh2110/the-10-most-bizarre-correlations
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Re: Possession

Postby hammer1975 on Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:53 pm

Alan Pardew's Dad wrote:Just goes to show that the correlation between possession and winning or losing is pretty poor


Agreed. So those hanging their hat on a better defensive record as a result of having more posssison are taking false comfort? Perhaps it is actually about quality of defensive players...
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Re: Possession

Postby Alan Pardew's Dad on Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:39 pm

hammer1975 wrote:Agreed. So those hanging their hat on a better defensive record as a result of having more posssison are taking false comfort? Perhaps it is actually about quality of defensive players...


Yep. Fine for the opposition to have the ball if they can't get shots away and on target and if you can break with speed and purpose when you win it back. That's how Leicester won the league.
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Re: Possession

Postby OohAahButler on Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:52 pm

Alan Pardew's Dad wrote:if you can break with speed and purpose when you win it back.

That’s the key for me, along with having options to pass to around you when you do break out. My biggest frustration last year.
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Re: Possession

Postby fjthegrey on Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:29 pm

Now that we have guys across the whole pitch who can create chances consistently, possession becomes much more important. The more you get these incisive players on the ball, the better you will do.

Keeping the ball aimlessly between blunt and ineffective players means we essentially passed ourselves into trouble and then lost it in dangerous areas where we were susceptible to counters.

As always, these things are about context.
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Re: Possession

Postby Monkeybubbles on Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:18 pm

Saw the thread title and thought Little Jack had launched a fragrance.
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Re: Possession

Postby Hawaiian hammer on Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:00 am

Monkeybubbles wrote:Saw the thread title and thought Little Jack had launched a fragrance.


I was expecting Linda Blair to post saying get more holy water.
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Re: Possession

Postby dodger on Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:37 am

The quality of possession is obviously the key factor.

However, your opponents can’t score if you have the ball, only you can.

Possession is a good thing so let’s not dismiss it. In itself it can’t win you matches, but it helps if you can keep the ball as well as use it effectively.

Name me a strong team who usually have less possession than their opponents and I’ll name you ten for whom that is not true.
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Re: Possession

Postby szola on Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:17 am

hammer1975 wrote:thought i’d look at how well possession correlated to goals and results for us last season.


Last season we had two managers, who had two different approaches and were given to different objectives.

Not being comfortable with possession, and not being able to make that count, gives an indication of the quality of the squad, imo.
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Re: Possession

Postby Patito on Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:32 am

hammer1975 wrote:Agreed. So those hanging their hat on a better defensive record as a result of having more posssison are taking false comfort? Perhaps it is actually about quality of defensive players...


It's not just down to one thing though it's down to a number of different factors.

As you quite rightly say, quality of defensive players is one of those. I think we have improved in that regard.

Improving your ball retention is another factor. Going off pre-season and the type/calibre of player we've brought in I think that will be massively improved this season as well. (Just my prediction)

In a fair few games last season we just could not hold on to the ball and gave it back to the opposition time and time again which just heaped pressure on ourselves and allowed the opposition to mount attack after attack.

It's not as simple as more possession = less goals conceded but a combination of factors, including better ball retention, will lead to a reduced 'GA' column this season (imho).
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Re: Possession

Postby YorksHammer on Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:11 am

dodger wrote:The quality of possession is obviously the key factor.

However, your opponents can’t score if you have the ball, only you can.

Possession is a good thing so let’s not dismiss it. In itself it can’t win you matches, but it helps if you can keep the ball as well as use it effectively.

Name me a strong team who usually have less possession than their opponents and I’ll name you ten for whom that is not true.


Whilst I think your point here is completely right, just to pick out an example I can think of immediately:

Atletico Madrid: Averaged 48.1% possession last season (12th for the league), so regularly less than their opponents. Ended the season second in La Liga.
Las Palmas: Averaged 53.8% possession last season (6th for the league), so regularly more than their opponents. Ended the season 19th in La Liga.

Doing a bit more scouting around, Burnley only averaged 45.1% possession last season, ended up 7th.

Shalke: 47.9% possession, 2nd in the Bundesliga.

Lille: 52.9% possession, 17th in Ligue 1.

I would guess there are probably 1 or 2 teams per league that prove the exception to the rule, and those are the ones that either play very well and incisively in possession, or snuff out attacks comfortably. I imagine, for example, that if you look at most Atletico games they're not letting many teams get into the final third and create something positive, despite ceding posession.

To tie that back to us, I don't think we have had much confidence defensively to support a game that relies on playing deep and then nicking the bal and countering over the past couple of seasons. So for us, not having possession is, or has been, dangerous.

Remains to be seen whether Pellegrini will have resolved that.
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Re: Possession

Postby miles on Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:22 am

John Lennon was not a fan for sure.
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Re: Possession

Postby Burnley Hammer on Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:38 am

Depends on where you have that possession too. If we can improve possession in the opponents half, it forces them back, penning them into their own half. This is what teams did to us a lot last season. It would relieve a lot of pressure on our usually overworked deep midfielders.

Passing the ball around between defenders and deep midfield can be a good tactic if you're actually wanting opposition players to commit themselves forward and open up some space behind. Unfortunately, I don't think we were good enough to think like that last season. We generally passed it around at the back because we were awful at the transition between defence and attack. After a spell of pointless possession, it generally ended up back with a central defender or the goalkeeper to hoof.
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Re: Possession

Postby woodford on Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:43 am

miles wrote:John Lennon was not a fan for sure.


i'd imagine not
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Re: Possession

Postby Cuenca 'ammer on Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:25 pm

We might want to re-title this thread:

Where you give up possession.....

that has a lot more to do with winning and losing imvho....

continually give up possession in the attacking third and it isn't the be all

continually giving it up in the defending third (or even up to the halfway line) and it might well be
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Re: Possession

Postby hammer1975 on Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:43 pm

So possession in of itself doesn’t correlate to win/loss or goals for/against. Quality of player is important.

Quality of possession is important - especially not losing posssession in your own half.

Does it therefore not worry people that we could be max 3 injuries/suspensions away from a back 6 of Cresswell-Ogbonna-Rice-Zabaleta-Noble-Obiang?
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Re: Possession

Postby OohAahButler on Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:08 pm

hammer1975 wrote:
Does it therefore not worry people that we could be max 3 injuries/suspensions away from a back 6 of Cresswell-Ogbonna-Rice-Zabaleta-Noble-Obiang?

Not excessively. We’ve signed 3 new players for our back line, so of course if all 3 got injured or suspended at the same time we’d be back to what we had last season (minus Kouyate, the weakest link IMO), but that’s bound to be the case unless we replace everyone - which isn’t going to happen in one window.

Also, I’d hope our improved attacking line up would also give the opposition a bit more to think about, and more options for an out-ball too.
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