19 August 2013

Visualized: Liverpool 1-0 Stoke

As always, match data from Stats Zone and Squawka.

I'm gonna test drive of couple of new sections this season: shot location and chance creation location. Any comments are welcome, as well as any suggestions for other sections. If it's feasible, I'll give it a whirl.

The former idea is via Dan Kennett. As Dan wrote when previewing this season's Liverpool, last season's Liverpool took far too many speculative shots, shots with little chance of going in. That wasn't the case on Saturday, with 17 of 25 shots taken inside the box, and another five from just outside the area – including Liverpool's lone goal. I'm interested to see if that continues.

It resulted in Liverpool putting 44% of its shots on target. Last season's average was 31.8%. Liverpool put a higher percentage of shots on target in just three matches last season: 5-0 v Norwich, 1-3 at Southampton, and 6-0 at Newcastle.

Meanwhile, three of Liverpool's chances came from corners, but almost everything else was created in the center of the pitch: three inside the box, nine just outside the box, and three from deep.

Liverpool's also improved its passing in the final third from last year's averages. Against Stoke, Liverpool attempted 202, completing 149, for 73.8% accuracy. Last season, Liverpool averaged 159 final third passes per match, completing 115, for 72.3% accuracy. They completed more final third passes in just four matches in 2012-13: 1-0 v QPR, 0-0 v West Ham, 5-0 v Norwich, and 1-3 v Aston Villa.

16 of Liverpool's 32 successful tackles came in Stoke's half of the pitch. Liverpool's total – 36 attempted tackles, 32 successful – so dwarfs any match last season that I'm tempted to think Opta changed the definition of a tackle event. Liverpool's highest total last season was 27 (of 30 attempted) in the 1-1 draw at Chelsea. That and the 1-2 loss at United were the only times Liverpool made more than 25 successful tackles last season.

32 tackles. But just look at that large empty area in the middle of Liverpool's half of the pitch. That's some pressing.

Stoke's statistics suggest that Mark Hughes really will try to change Tony Pulis' style. Last season at Anfield, Tony Pulis' side attempted fewer passes than Mark Hughes' side completed on Saturday. Stoke's passing totals in last season's meetings were 190 of 288 (66.0%) at Anfield, 203 of 284 (71.5%) at the Britannia; Saturday's was 337 of 417 (80.8%). Stoke had 37.6% and 36.5% possession in the two meetings last season, but 45.1% on Saturday. Hughes' Stoke took more shots, including shots on target, and created more chances than when they beat Liverpool 3-1 last December. But whether or not that style succeeds, however…

Finally, I threatened to highlight Lucas's performance in the match review, so here goes.

He'll undoubtedly have matches with more passes and a higher accuracy, but what impressed me was his running – look at how many passes were completed in the final third, especially on the right side of the pitch, moving into that space to support Johnson as Henderson and/or Aspas drifted inside – and his duels. Lucas won all six of his attempted tackles, three of his five attempted headers (which is no small matter given Liverpool's weaknesses in the air), and completed a successful dribble (just before creating a chance for Coutinho).


Anonymous said...

How about including a visual differentiator for 'clear cut chances' and regular 'chances'? And through balls, if possible?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy the new additions (especially the numbers to the goal events) and the chances created map.

Great work as always.

nate said...

Who Scored, Squawka, and StatsZone – the services that I use to compile these – don't differentiate between regular chances and clear cut chances. The only service that I know who does is EPL Index, which isn't available even for subscribers anymore – only their staff writers, to be used only on their site.

Through balls – as far as I know – is only available on Who Scored (Coutinho had 3, Aspas 1, Sturridge 1), but that's the one of the three I use which doesn't have XY data. So I'd be guessing (educated guessing, and I'd probably be right if I studied the match video hard enough, but guessing nonetheless) to which pass it was that was counted as a throughball by Opta.


Anonymous said...

LFC official website post a OPTA chalboards today. It may be helpful for your visualization.
Title: Opta chalkboards - LFC 1-0 Stoke

nate said...

Saw that, and I'll end up playing with it some more – I especially like their version of goal events; it's absolutely wonderful – but on first glance there's otherwise very little they offer that isn't replicated by StatsZone and Squawka.

skure said...

Huth, Hendo and Toure each had a shot hit the woodworks. But only Hendo got credited for a shot on target, the other two got shots off target/blocket. Is this an error or do you hade something else do determine what makes a shot on target?

nate said...

Henderson's shot that hit the woodwork was tipped – barely tipped, tipped with the narrowest layer of the skin of Begovic's fingers, but tipped nonetheless – onto the post by Begovic. Which made it a shot on target as well as a woodwork strike.

Zētētikos said...

I like the new "Locations" charts too. I wonder if there would be some way to differentiate the shot data. It would be interesting to see how many of the outside shots were blocked or on/off-target compared to the ones inside.

Thanks for the continued "visualizations". I really enjoy them.

Anonymous said...

great stuff I will be planning on coming here after each game. why does the empty tackling zone indicate pressing though? could it also be a tactical decision to not give away free kicks in dangerous area?

Thomas Ledbetter said...

Love the squad numbers on the Goal Events section. Very nice addition

JBW said...

I don't know what vizualization software you are using, but it may be cool to try to overlay the "Shot Locations" with "Goals Events."

"Tackles and Interceptions" for the week is by FAR the most impressive I have seen to date. High pressure and forcing play out wide was IMMENSE. With Stokes attack cut off from the midfield there was no one to get on the end of crosses.

nate said...


That's kind of what the "shot by shot" section is for. In that section you can find what happened to each shot taken outside the box. Of the eight against Stoke, one was a goal, two others were on-target, three were off-target, and two were blocked.

I'll think of ways I can meld the two without the locations chart getting too cluttered.


I use Adobe Illustrator for this, drawing all the sections free hand. Not quite sure what you mean by overlaying the shot locations atop the goal events, though.