Everton v Burnley – Micro Preview

On the face of it, Burnley’s deep set defence should cause chance creation crocks Everton problems this afternoon. But I’m starting with a positive:

Burnley’s keepers Tom Heaton and Nick Pope have been massively overperforming so far this season. Burnley generally get bombarded by shots each week but their two shot stoppers have stood pretty firm. Below you’ll see the graphic showing all the possible outcomes of this according to my xG model. At some point, they’ll regress back to human levels:

Moving on to some concerns, then…

Ronald Koeman: “It is about giving the players options but we are scared to play forward. Sometimes there are not enough options for the forwards but in that case play the ball into the channels instead of the goalkeeper. We know the fans like us to go forward, not back, back, back. Then it is difficult to create chances.

Ok, so I cut some tape from the first 4 minutes of the Bournemouth game last week. This is what it looked like:

 

Enjoy the game, people, whatever happens.

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Jordan Pickin’ ’em out?

So we’ve all seen one or two of these and appreciated them on social media:

But you’ve not seen my passing model outputs which suggest Pickford’s kicking has been absolutely terrible overall this season. Like nearly worst in the league terrible.

I’ll wait for the collective gasp to die down…

Exhibit One

Pickford’s distribution map for the first three games. The red lines are unsuccessful attempts. Nearly everything beyond the half way line, then:

Exhibit Two

City away was particularly bad:

Looking back at my twitter feed, unlike most of my fellow Evertonians, I was pretty ok with the nights work and the approach:

 

 

So, confused after vizzing up those passes above, I went back to the video of the first half, mostly expecting something horrendous to appear that I’d missed watching first time round.

Turns out the football was horrendous, but in the main, the outcomes weren’t.

Have a watch. You’ll see Everton regaining possession after a lot of ping pong, City uncomfortable with it, Everton creating the odd chance with it, Everton gaining ground with it. And it led to Walker’s red card too:

I have no idea whether this was a concious tactical decision by Koeman and co in order to break the game up.

The Lessons

Measuring keeper distribution by simple success rates or even with an expected passing model like mine which takes into account pass difficulty is a business fraught with danger.

Your clubs keeping coach probably uses some bollocks metrics right now. Watch the video. Are you measuring what you think you’re measuring?

Even if you are, does it tally in with what the manager/coach wants the players to do?

Need a consultation for your club’s data processes? Get in touch: differentgameanalytics@gmail.com

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