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It feels like a massive change this season in our playing style away from possession based football. I checked and the stats bear this out perhaps even more than I was expecting.  Is such a huge difference that you’d think it must be a deliberate strategy by LJ?  
 

19/20 possession table so far

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18/19 season possession table

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Edited by TinMan's left peg
Typo

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https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/championship/ballbesitz/wettbewerb/GB2

https://www.fctables.com/england/championship/2018_2019/

had to use 2 different sites for the different seasons so that introduces some error but the trend is significant I think.  Also it’s not a case of playing differently just in away games, we’re well down the table for possession at home too. 

Edited by TinMan's left peg

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It’s been an obvious tactic in some matches - we struggle to break down sides who defend so we have defended ourselves and hoped to hit on the break...even at home.

Not sure if that tactic will get us into the playoffs and it isn’t exciting generally at home. It also relies on a watertight defence. 

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That site is suspect for example possession stats, Transfermarkt but it's clearly an average of below 50%.

Been on a downward trajectory last season and even more so this season. 2017/18 season was the last time we had a reasonably possession based ethos, at home more so.

Edited by Mr Popodopolous

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6 minutes ago, Mr Popodopolous said:

That site is suspect for example possession stats, Transfermarkt but it's clearly an average of below 50%.

Been on a downward trajectory last season and even more so this season. 2017/18 season was the last time we had a reasonably possession based ethos, at home more so.

Yeah Im also not sure the actual figure is correct but it’s more the trend over time and the percentage relative to the rest of the division I was interested in.  It seems a strange direction to take your team assuming it is deliberate especially as LJ previously praised possession focussed teams like Man City.  

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1 minute ago, TinMan's left peg said:

Yeah Im also not sure the actual figure is correct but it’s more the trend over time and the percentage relative to the rest of the division I was interested in.  It seems a strange direction to take your team assuming it is deliberate especially as LJ previously praised possession focussed teams like Man City.  

I fully agree- it is a good indicator of direction of travel, and definitely seems a strong break with LJ's past ethos.

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Can anyone answer why most teams look so much technically better than us on the ball. The pass and move quicker than we get close to doing. And this isnt just the tops teams I'm talking about. Wigan, Birmingham, Barnsley....I could go on. Its quite worrying.

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Good stats. I knew we had relatively low possession but am surprised it’s so low. I suppose this only proves that we are better on the counter attack, hence drab at home. 

The question though is - is it by design ?

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49 minutes ago, Alex_BCFC said:

It’s been an obvious tactic in some matches - we struggle to break down sides who defend so we have defended ourselves and hoped to hit on the break...even at home.

Not sure if that tactic will get us into the playoffs and it isn’t exciting generally at home. It also relies on a watertight defence. 

The funny thing for me is that I don’t think one side (maybe Forest the exception) has come to Ashton Gate and just men behind the ball this season.  I think they know if they get the first goal, there’s a good chance they’ll take something if not all 3 points from the game.

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25 minutes ago, TonyTonyTony said:

Good stats. I knew we had relatively low possession but am surprised it’s so low. I suppose this only proves that we are better on the counter attack, hence drab at home. 

The question though is - is it by design ?

I think so. Looking at that table we have the LOWEST possession away from home in the entire league and the second best away record. The team has been built and set up to soak up pressure, wait for “triggers” out of possession as LJ describes it and hit teams hard on the counter. It clearly works away from home where teams come at us and we are able to play our game.

The issue I have is we are also in the bottom 6 of that table at home and our record reflects that. Teams are able to dominate possession at the Gate with the difference being they don’t have to be as gung ho as they might be expected to at home and can simply pass the ball around at will until an opening appears, just like Birmingham did (and Derby less successfully). We are not able to change our game and go at the better sides to counter this.

Presumably for our home approach to change we need another three transfer windows to bring in the players to effect that!!!!

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40 minutes ago, BCFC Grim said:

Can anyone answer why most teams look so much technically better than us on the ball. The pass and move quicker than we get close to doing. And this isnt just the tops teams I'm talking about. Wigan, Birmingham, Barnsley....I could go on. Its quite worrying.

We have players like Paterson and Eliasson who are not great technical players for 90 minutes but can do technically great things in one off situations and this sees us through.

We don’t possess great passers of the ball and our movement is, again, great in one off situations but generally poor. Therefore we don’t control the football in any game against good opposition but we are able to compete because we score goals out of nothing. Our first goal against Derby being a prime example......decent cross, great touch back by Dasilva and bang, goal out of nothing.

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Possession counts for little, it's what you do with the ball when you have it that matters.....

Sadly,  with WeeLee's set up I haven't thought this through.

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23 minutes ago, BTRFTG said:

Possession counts for little, it's what you do with the ball when you have it that matters.....

Sadly,  with WeeLee's set up I haven't thought this through.

Agree and disagree. 

Clearly sides can have pointless possession. We've seen it in the past, back in the days that we ourselves had possession to excess and perhaps almost too much of it.

However, without it, it really can leave a side vulnerable and the higher up the pyramid a side goes, the more apparent this can become. Possession can give a side crucial breaks from fatigue, resting in possession. Relieve some pressure on a defence.

Also if there is a central 3 say and the ball can be controlled quite well this has potential to reduce injuries, aiding the recovery time and again comes back to resting in possession. 

I'd say it's actually quite important in the modern game at decent levels, let alone above. The Championship most certainly counts as a decent level IMO.

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Perhaps someone can / will correct me, but I'm sure I read possession on most sites is just a conversion of the number of passes a team makes - it's not a measure of how long a team has retained the ball?

I thought most managers didn't really care about this stat - until you start to break it down into areas of the pitch?

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As others have said, possession doesn’t necessarily mean much, it’s what you do with it. I think our problem comes when we manage to go ahead , we can’t kill games off with possession. QPR &Reading are good examples, got battered for the final 10/15 and could easily have dropped points. I think it’s also part of the problem at home, because we tend to go more direct (or look for killer balls, you decide) we concede a lot of possession and give the away teams a chance to boss the game. 
personally, I don’t think we will make a serious challenge until we can retain the ball better, and dominate games more.

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We do seem to have lost the ability to pass when we have the ball. At Leeds when Bentley played the ball out we seemed to manage a max of two or three passes before losing the ball. 

It seems like we a) don't get players moving into space to give the man with the ball an option b) get bullied off the ball far too easily. I don't know if it is all tactical or just a result of a lack of quality in our midfield. Perhaps being constantly outnumbered in midfield is a factor too when playing 4-4-2?

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29 minutes ago, robin_unreliant said:

We do seem to have lost the ability to pass when we have the ball. At Leeds when Bentley played the ball out we seemed to manage a max of two or three passes before losing the ball. 

It seems like we a) don't get players moving into space to give the man with the ball an option b) get bullied off the ball far too easily. I don't know if it is all tactical or just a result of a lack of quality in our midfield. Perhaps being constantly outnumbered in midfield is a factor too when playing 4-4-2?

The opposition deserve much credit for that. It’s what  LJ refers to playing well ‘off the ball’. In other words restricting the opponents passing options when they’re in position. Tracking back is just one part of it. 

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8 hours ago, Mr Popodopolous said:

Agree and disagree. 

Clearly sides can have pointless possession. We've seen it in the past, back in the days that we ourselves had possession to excess and perhaps almost too much of it.

However, without it, it really can leave a side vulnerable and the higher up the pyramid a side goes, the more apparent this can become. Possession can give a side crucial breaks from fatigue, resting in possession. Relieve some pressure on a defence.

Also if there is a central 3 say and the ball can be controlled quite well this has potential to reduce injuries, aiding the recovery time and again comes back to resting in possession. 

I'd say it's actually quite important in the modern game at decent levels, let alone above. The Championship most certainly counts as a decent level IMO.

Movement!

Cliched I know but passing teams work harder off the ball. I don’t think we do enough for the man in possession. 

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1 hour ago, 1960maaan said:

As others have said, possession doesn’t necessarily mean much, it’s what you do with it. I think our problem comes when we manage to go ahead , we can’t kill games off with possession. QPR &Reading are good examples, got battered for the final 10/15 and could easily have dropped points. I think it’s also part of the problem at home, because we tend to go more direct (or look for killer balls, you decide) we concede a lot of possession and give the away teams a chance to boss the game. 
personally, I don’t think we will make a serious challenge until we can retain the ball better, and dominate games more.

Possession doesn't necessarily mean goals...but you save a lot of energy in possession. When out of possession you expend far more energy both physically and mentally. It takes its toll over time.

Edited by spudski
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1 hour ago, robin_unreliant said:

We do seem to have lost the ability to pass when we have the ball. At Leeds when Bentley played the ball out we seemed to manage a max of two or three passes before losing the ball. 

It seems like we a) don't get players moving into space to give the man with the ball an option b) get bullied off the ball far too easily. I don't know if it is all tactical or just a result of a lack of quality in our midfield. Perhaps being constantly outnumbered in midfield is a factor too when playing 4-4-2?

It's not the be all and end all but it surely doesn't help.

1 hour ago, Davefevs said:

Movement!

Cliched I know but passing teams work harder off the ball. I don’t think we do enough for the man in possession. 

Agreed. You need both for sure- on the flipside, a lack of the ball can make a side need to work harder too which is good but not necessarily to productive ends, just constantly scrambling to plug the gaps in some ways.

 

10 minutes ago, spudski said:

Possession doesn't necessarily mean goals...but you save a lot of energy in possession. When out of possession you expend far more energy both physically and mentally. It takes its toll over time.

Agreed. Wonder if our injury list could be linked to a mix of high workrate- physically and mentally- and a lack of possession over time.

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16 hours ago, TinMan's left peg said:

It feels like a massive change this season in our playing style away from possession based football. I checked and the stats bear this out perhaps even more than I was expecting.  Is such a huge difference that you’d think it must be a deliberate strategy by LJ?  
 

Look at how City are setting up, its use of wingers, counter attack, the centre backs , replacement for Pack and an increase in long balls. 

That is Mr Johnsons intent.

 

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8 minutes ago, Cowshed said:

Look at how City are setting up, its use of wingers, counter attack, the centre backs , replacement for Pack and an increase in long balls. 

 That is Mr Johnsons intent.

Nonsense  Cowshed - it’s not that simple. LJs ‘intent’ is far more complex to the point where he can over complicate the game.

Eliasson is near or top of the assist table so he essentially picks himself and you’re not giving any consideration to whoever the opposition are. 

 

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11 hours ago, Mr Popodopolous said:

I'd say it's actually quite important in the modern game at decent levels, let alone above.

It's true the higher the standard the more important possession becomes and perchance you're elite it's essential, though clearly that's in our dreams.

Warnock and Cardiff best demonstrating the point. However much he may be disliked he constructed a squad and formation that nigh on came bottom in possession and positive passing stats in The Championship yet easily won promotion. Problem being next level up that wasn't good enough. Unlike Warnock WeeLee wishes to retain and play the ball, save the squad he's assembled are crap at doing so. No surprise we play better away from home on the break.

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5 minutes ago, Robbored said:

Nonsense  Cowshed - it’s not that simple. LJs ‘intent’ is far more complex to the point where he can over complicate the game.

Eliasson is near or top of the assist table so he essentially picks himself and you’re not giving any consideration to whoever the opposition are. 

 

How do you counter attack with lots of possession?

Bristol City use of low/medium blocks will mean less possession.

Wingers generally will mean less possession. 

Pack has been replaced by replacements who have nor forged relationships on the pitch with the CB's leading to less receive and retain.

Webster has not been replaced leading to less possession, worse angles, the CB 's do not step into midfield.

I could make points regarding the way the CB's split and full backs show for the ball from Bentley as receivers but I think you will with respect avoid the point and points being made.

I do not have to give consideration to the opposition. City's possession % has significantly dropped. Its a fact. An average over the season.

Possession based football is a simple decision of intent. 

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As more and more teams adopt possession based football with high pressing the need to counter it is clear.

One way to do this is to play the ball over the press which can mean a loss of possession and looks a bit ‘ agricultural ‘ but is effective . 
 

 

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9 minutes ago, BTRFTG said:

It's true the higher the standard the more important possession becomes and perchance you're elite it's essential, though clearly that's in our dreams.

Warnock and Cardiff best demonstrating the point. However much he may be disliked he constructed a squad and formation that nigh on came bottom in possession and positive passing stats in The Championship yet easily won promotion. Problem being next level up that wasn't good enough. Unlike Warnock WeeLee wishes to retain and play the ball, save the squad he's assembled are crap at doing so. No surprise we play better away from home on the break.

Newcastle are steady in and around midtable though slipping with the least possession and surely low in positive passing stats. Burnley are surely towards the lower end in the PL in this respect- depends on aims. Ironically he (Warnock) actually had a bit of scope to have a bit more possession last year IMO...Arter, Camarasa, Gunnarsson and Reid, now all departed give in certain games a bit more of a platform- a bit more of a mix may have made a difference but I digress,.

I think it's how LJ sets us up too...I'm convinced of it, if we played a central midfield 3 which doesn't include one of Paterson, Palmer or O'Dowda that extra man alone would give us a bit more security, control. This would enable the chance for more possession...Nagy, Massengo, Henriksen and if he can refind his old form Smith, 3 of these 4 have decent potential to make a decent 3 IMO. Certainly to have more of the ball than we frequently do.

Lack of movement as mentioned by @Davefevs earlier is also important. Still think we have the players to play with more of a possession based game than we do though!

@Cowshed Thought Benkovic showed good signs in terms of a ball playing CB on Wednesday tbh- of the existing personnel him and Kalas would I think be our best hope in terms of a high medium to higher block/line. In medium term, Kalas and Moore...Williams once was a distinct possibility but he's too old for it now, see the Brentford game and his straight red as a good example. Hypothetically speaking, could see footballing possibilities with say Moore, Kalas, Benkovic in a back 3, maybe.

Edited by Mr Popodopolous

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