The importance of ball possession in Bolton Vs Manchester City (21/08/2011)

28-10-2012 14:27

    MCFC Analytics advanced Data was released a few weeks ago and many bloggers has worked on, particularly I liked the work developed by @jburnmurdoch and @plenaghan  they have developed with tableau public a way to facilitating the visualization of game actions for other blogger´s. Also @SoccerStatistic and @analyFooty made  ​​excellent papers about the Man. City momentum in game against Bolton Wanderers (2011-08-21). Inspired by these bloggers I decide to write about the subject, using they conclusion, to help me decode the Manchester City “Team DNA”. 


What I mean with “team DNA”?

    I usually use the term “Team DNA” or “Princípios de Jogo” in Portuguese to refer the way the team plays, more specifically the rules how defining team behavior; the character of the team, like I explain in the previous paper “The data base sense”; with scenario and possible answer  given by our team to resolve problems. Defining the way the team play is it enough? Actually not; the opposition team has a crucial role in the way our team plays, they can change our team behaviors through the pressure made. 

So we can say the game progress is a “fight” to impose each team its “DNA” and the crucial moment is actually the moment of interaction between the two teams like wrong passes, tackles or a shots; so if we identify why occurs wrong in these interaction moment we can  increase our team performance. 

According to @analyFooty Manchester City has dominated possession; so maybe they impose the style of playing1, for @SoccerStatistic the first 3 goals of the game were scored when there was relatively no momentum. So we can said the ball possession is not directly associate to goals, that is evident if we remember, teams can scores using the counter-attack or taking advantage of opponent errors near of  box.

To understand what happened in this moment I used the graphical representation made by @jburnmurdoch to identify errors:

  1. Bolton 0-1 Manchester City: The goal was scored by David Silva 26´, so to find what wrong happened for Bolton team I tried to find them action before the goal. Paul Robinson made a incomplete pass (24:28´); after Dzeco made a key pass to Micah Richard (25:11) and assist David Silva. Manchester City use only 2 passes to score (figure 1 and 2), so the ball possession wasn´t useful for Man.City. 
           Figure 1  
           Figure 2
Bolton 0-2 Manchester City: The goal was scored by Gareth Barry 36´ in a corner situation execute by James Milner (figure 3).
figure 3
Bolton 1-3 Manchester City: The goal was scored by Edin Dzeko 47´ before the goal Bolton made two Incomplete pass (Ivan Klasnic 46:32´; Zat knight 46:32´) after James Milne made a pass to Edin Dzeko and Scores, one more time Manchester City use only a few pass to score (figure 4 and 5).
Figure 4
Figure 5
Ball possession wasn´t really useful for Man.City score?
    Actually is very important try having the ball possession even when the team scores
by opponent errors or counter attacke once this errors and counter attack can happen from pressure made by Man. City when they try have back the ball possession. For some teams having more ball possession, result to a better defense once the opponent team doesn’t have the ball to attack and have a poor counter attack or can´t take advantage from opponent error. For this match I think the key situation” are the situation happened before goals. The goals (David Silva 26´and Edin Dzeko 47´) result from 2 Incomplete pass made by, Paul Robinson, Ivan Klasnic 46:32´and Zat knight 46:32´this two situation must be analyze to try what happened wrong in the pass. 
So like @SoccerStatistic I conclude the location data of passes can give us a good proxy for momentum, a share also the same opinion about  the momentum: this momentum doesn´t seem directly matter in terms of scoring goals. While the first 3 goals of the game were scored with seemingly no momentum for either team.

1 We must have careful when we talk about the style of playing or “Team DNA”, to define the style of game is essential analyze a few games and identify the trend movements, to filter out random movements.