Premier League, Match Week 2 – Stats to Know

Another game week has passed, which means we have a new cumulative set of statistics for you to check out. In the last post, we introduced many of these stats for match week 1 and didn’t make clear they will be cumulative and not for just that game week.

Over time, as each match week passes, you the reader will have the opportunity to see a bigger picture take shape, notice patterns and anomalies easier, which is exactly what we’re trying to do here at Football Purists – give the most incisive statistics to you, the thinking supporter. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

Total and Successful Passes: This week, we see five of the “top six” teams (Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, and Manchester United) logging over 1,000 total passes over the two games played. Unsurprisingly, correlates pretty closely to the style of play run historically at Arsenal under Wenger, Tottenham under Pochettino, and more recently City under Pep, Liverpool under Klopp and United under Mourinho. Stoke and Bournemouth are also league leading passers, passing the same 1,000 total passes as the other leaders through week 2.

What’s interesting is looking at Chelsea, who underachieved in week 2, logging just 788 total passes. Largely depressed by a historical low in total passes vs. Tottenham (271), a game which they won at Wembley, giving 68% possession away to Spurs. Only West Brom with 9 in behind the ball at all times & offenses largely under construction (Leicester City & Crystal Palace) completed fewer passes last week. Conte clearly still figuring out distribution in a side featuring so many new faces in its spine with Morata in the 9, Alonso in midfield, and Bakayoko defending.

Each team are hovering somewhere in the 70-85% passing success range, historical baseline for those in the top 6. Outliers in this field being West Bromwich Albion (61%) who again play a very different style from the others, particularly those in top 6 and Tottenham Hotspur (87.4%) in an offense largely built for intense distribution.

Total Passes per Field Location: This is an extension of “Total and Successful Passes”. Here we break down total pass data further to see how many passes were completed in opposition half and final third of the field – see if it tells us a different story.

These numbers more than likely can be correlated with several types of attempts or goal data. Over two games, Arsenal lead in both completed passes in the opposition half and final third of the field (715 and 346 respectively). On the other end, West Bromwich Albion logged the fewest passes completed in the opposition half and final third in two games (121 and 62 respectively). Each of these owe largely to the style of play implemented under Wenger & Tony Pulis at West Brom.

Bad Touches and Possession Lost: Bad touches are one the primary reasons for loss of possession. Lost possession is one of the first metrics we look at as a reason for teams to concede goals. This isn’t always the case (see Chelsea away at Spurs), but it certainly makes sense at a macro level across the Premier League.

Liverpool have a suspiciously high correlation between bad touches and lost possession (31 and 32 respectively), especially for a team under Klopp that is so intent on winning the 2nd ball. Chelsea for instance lose possession on 38% of their bad touches, Manchester City 50%. Liverpool with all the creativity lacking in the midfield absent Lallana & Coutinho certainly taking a toll, along with Georginio Wijnaldim not holding the ball as well as he did in 16/17. Arsenal and Spurs both give the ball up more than Liverpool from bad touches (well over 100% lead to lost possession), so it is safe to say that if each team cut down on bad touches, possession will not be lost.

Other teams in the league have somewhere between 15-20 times possession was lost and a little bit higher number of bad touches, usually between 25-30.

Chances Created: This statistic is important because it can be a direct correlation to how many goals a team scores or, how many they don’t score. The numbers are broken down to how many chances are created on the left, center, and right side of the field. In the two gameweeks so far Arsenal created 42% of these chances coming from the left and 37% coming from the center of the pitch, their threat looks to be weaker on the right side. Southampton created 34 chances and 50% of these chances were created from the center of the park feeding Gabbiadini directly in the middle.

Minutes Per Chance: This is another attack minded statistic, however, instead of being related to the amount of goals a team scores, these numbers are more concerned with how quickly (or slowly) a team has been scoring. So far Arsenal have the highest chance per minute at 4.3, which is interesting as they lost to Stoke 1-0 (Welbeck missing loads of chances).

Shot Conversion: Shots are clearly important to scoring goals, so here we show shot accuracy, successful shots, and the percent of shots that lead to goals for each team through week 2. You can see Manchester United’s circle is massive and when you drill into it more you can see they had 38 shots, 13 on target, and 8 goals giving them a 34.2% shot accuracy. They haven’t had the strongest opponents but we will keep an eye on this as the season goes on.

Successful Corners: Corners can be a valuable opportunity for teams to score goals, especially if that team is facing Liverpool. The set piece creates confusion in the box and there are so many bodies to get through that when a goal does go in off a corner, it can raise an entire fan base out of their seats. A successful corner happens when the team taking the corner gets an attempt on goal directly from that set piece.  Out of 20 corner’s taken from Southampton, 35% have been successfully turned into attempts.

Total Successful Crosses:  Which side of the pitch is the threat coming from? This chart allows you to drill in and see how many total crosses have been made and which zone (right or left) it is coming from.  Where is the majority of the threat coming from? Look at Southampton,  61 total crosses, 16 successful, 62% of these crosses coming in from the right zone.

Crosses Conceded: Crosses conceded are an important defensive statistic because, as explained above, many teams can have good scoring opportunities when a cross is successful. Preventing these passes are just as important as succeeding at them.  Take Palace for example, 28 conceded from the right and 8 from their left (right back and right side of their defense has struggled more).