A good start to this season’s analytical takes having talked about Watford getting caught high up field, with space in behind the fullbacks for Everton to exploit.
I really wanted Marco Silva to stick with the same players on the flanks to give two different types of threat, the directness of Richarlison on the right and the combination play of Lucas Digne and Bernard on the left.
And he did.
And this happened in the first 10 minutes:
And the move also brings me to this week’s talking point. The language used around this being a great/amazing/incredible ‘assist’.
My take: Look how much Bernard still has to do to score the goal. This is not an amazing ‘assist’. I asked my model to show me similar key passes (passes that directly lead to a shot on goal) from this season. There have been two already that rate similarly.
First up. Paul Pogba from last week:
Second up. Dominic Solanke from this weekend:
I’m quite pleased that the model groups these three ‘key passes’ together?
Because they all leave the shooter a lot to do. They all involve the shooter going full pelt for the ball to get there. They all end with the shooter carrying the ball. They all end with the shooter having to cut inside to get the shot off.
My model says these key passes all carry a similar value. And that value is about an 8% chance of a goal. Credit Bernard with actually turning it into a goal.
So is it a great/amazing/incredible ‘pass’? Again I queried my model’s database.
It’s the first of it’s kind in the Premier League this season. No one else has even attempted one to and from those areas of the pitch. I was quite surprised by this. Surprised enough to delve further back. My passing model contains millions of passes from the top leagues.
It’s still fairly unique. Unique enough for me to mirror the pass on the opposite side of the pitch for some semblance of a decent sample size. On both sides, it gets completed 27% of the time.
A good pass, but not great/amazing/incredible. Does the end result of the move (a goal) make us overrate everything about it?
I think so, but I would. What do you think?