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And here lies the problem (well part of it at least)


Davefevs
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This guy did the early Covid graphs….seems like he lies his football too.

23CE5906-D2CD-4B26-B232-B2B6DFDF1F43.thumb.jpeg.5d74c1550594382b6af8c06e274b93be.jpeg

The worst pressing team in the Champ.

Second worse passes completed per shot.

Okay, it’s not all defining, but if you were overlay a third metric like number of shots or number of passes it would show a bit more.

No wonder NP wants a fitter, more athletic team.

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21 minutes ago, milo1111 said:

Our results have exceeded performances for years. I was never convinced by LJs brand of busy bee football bar the 6 month high press when we beat Utd etc etc and how the hell we stayed up this season I’ll never know. We were the worst side in the league from December onwards by a country mile.

This. ⬆️

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5 hours ago, Malago said:

So how come Wycombe and Rotherham, both of whom are in the top right quadrants for high press and low number of passes per shot, were both relegated?

The only statistic that matters is how many points you got at the end of the season compared to the other teams, which I think is probably your point!

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7 hours ago, Malago said:

So how come Wycombe and Rotherham, both of whom are in the top right quadrants for high press and low number of passes per shot, were both relegated?

Because although they pressed a lot they didn’t have the quality to do anything with the ball when they got it and perhaps they didn’t have many passes to start with - hence the high shot %?
The chart is powerful but doesn’t tell the whole story - although it would indicate that all other teams gave more effort / energy than ours.

Edited by Cardy
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7 hours ago, Malago said:

So how come Wycombe and Rotherham, both of whom are in the top right quadrants for high press and low number of passes per shot, were both relegated?

They were mainly released because of their low budgets and consequently lower standard of players. Even with the financial constraints they both managed finish above Sheffield Wednesday and only a point or two behind Derby who, on paper had better players. Even if you remove Sheffield Wednesday’s 6 point deduction they were only 4 or 5 points behind 

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9 hours ago, Davefevs said:

The worst pressing team in the Champ.

Second worse passes completed per shot

The FT graphs guy is great @Davefevs - but at the moment there is any number of stats at which we are dead last in the division. There really are so many categories. We are a statistical outlier and our final position is a bit of a miracle.

I honestly think people are far too kind to Dean Holden too - this whole "if it wasn't for his start" is ridiculous. He prepared the squad for this season, underlying stats were poor from the start, injuries didn't have to dictate manner of play.

This was always a very basic, grind out results team that overachieved for a few games but was largely one dimensional at both ends of the pitch, apparently with very little continuous improvement or Plan B, resulting in huge regression.

The complete collapse of key metrics like this didn't just start a few weeks before Holden left. Even allowing for injuries he setup a team and plan that grew more and more laboured. Hugely over-promoted, coaching impact clear to see.

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8 hours ago, Malago said:

So how come Wycombe and Rotherham, both of whom are in the top right quadrants for high press and low number of passes per shot, were both relegated?

People won’t want to hear this but we were high up for goals scored per chances created.

Both Wells & Diedhiou (until he stopped playing) were converting a decent percentage of very few.

We all know this but we have to improve significantly to avoid being in danger next season, our squad was packed with underachievers & of course we had horrendous injury issues.

Anything above 16th would be real progress.

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42 minutes ago, Snufflelufagus said:

Only 13 teams are labelled. The others have the grey circles but who are they? Only half a story here.

Not really as we are discussing just how shit WE  have been. No need for the other names as pretty much everyone else is better.

10 minutes ago, Olé said:

The FT graphs guy is great @Davefevs - but at the moment there is any number of stats at which we are dead last in the division. There really are so many categories. We are a statistical outlier and our final position is a bit of a miracle.

I honestly think people are far too kind to Dean Holden too - this whole "if it wasn't for his start" is ridiculous. He prepared the squad for this season, underlying   (1) stats were poor from the start, injuries didn't have to dictate manner of play.

(2)This was always a very basic, grind out results team that overachieved for a few games but was largely one dimensional at both ends of the pitch, apparently with very little continuous improvement or Plan B, resulting in huge regression.

The complete collapse of key metrics like this didn't just start a few weeks before Holden left. Even allowing for injuries he setup a team and plan that grew more and more laboured. Hugely over-promoted, coaching impact clear to see.

(1) From memory, weren't we up near the top for shots/shots on target over the first few games. May be wrong.

(2) From that spell around the cup run, we went backwards steadily. Johnson looked to have no affect on the style or quality of the team, he just changed shape or formation, or just threw players at it. By luck it seemed to work away, which papered over cracks, but watching this team over 2 1/2 years has been hard.

I felt sorry for Holden, given a poison chalice . Such a big job, though I wonder if Lansdown realised or Ashton cared, it should never have been given to another novice.

I don't take a great deal of notice of stats, 35 shots in a game could mean the attacking team can't get close and resort to long shots that never trouble. I saw Brum win a game with 30% possession 4-1. Stats can give you an idea but depends how you translate them, but. 
The worst pressing team in the Champ.
added to,
Second worse passes completed per shot.
added to
Worst shots per game.
added to
18th for possession 
added to
Most shots conceded
added to
Worst shots on target per game 
(Stats from whoscored.com )

All add up to a sorry story, and IMO the culmination of 2-3 years of poor leadership. 
Holden wasn't the right man, far too early, but I'm holding on to the hope that this is a perfect storm. New experienced manager, mass clear out of players and staff and potential for fresh ideas. We get the backroom sorted to go with Nige, then with luck the right players follow. Hard to think we can be as horrible to watch next year, but I'm not getting ahead of myself.

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10 hours ago, milo1111 said:

Our results have exceeded performances for years. I was never convinced by LJs brand of busy bee football bar the 6 month high press when we beat Utd etc etc and how the hell we stayed up this season I’ll never know. We were the worst side in the league from December onwards by a country mile.

This is absolutely bang on! 

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9 hours ago, Malago said:

So how come Wycombe and Rotherham, both of whom are in the top right quadrants for high press and low number of passes per shot, were both relegated?

Because football is about balance. The two teams who were promoted were both higher pressing, the teams in the play offs too, however they were less direct than Wycombe and Rotherham. There is no point in pressing high of you're going to be so direct, it just means you end up chasing the ball for 90 minutes which causes fatigue. 

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Football is such a simple game but we always try to over complicate it with science.

The recipe is pretty straightforward.

A manager who can communicate to players in their language and who can motivate them.

A spine of quality players

Leaders

Fitness

Be tough to breakdown first 

Win the first ball and if you can’t do that bloody well win the second.

Score more goals than the opposition

Never try to defend a 1 goal lead as you end up dropping deep and inviting the opposition to come at you.

Play to win

Any other stats don’t win you promotion

Too often we have played to run the clock down going nowhere. A sideways pass or a back pass isn’t clever nor entertaining, it’s lazy.

1974, Eastville. Cashley big punt, bounces once, Keith Fear dispatches it in the bottom corner. Took about 4 seconds.

It ain’t rocket science.

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36 minutes ago, Spike said:

Because football is about balance. The two teams who were promoted were both higher pressing, the teams in the play offs too, however they were less direct than Wycombe and Rotherham. There is no point in pressing high of you're going to be so direct, it just means you end up chasing the ball for 90 minutes which causes fatigue. 

Better teams hold on to the ball, move the opposition around, create opportuunities for them to make mistakes, then pounce. Teams that can't do that are forced into going more a more direct route. Or not bothering at all ...

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1 hour ago, Sleepy1968 said:

Better teams hold on to the ball, move the opposition around, create opportunities

We saw some of the supposed weaker sides , that didn't play possession football, pass us off the park.

We ended up not playing a press, as we couldn't do it as a team. We didn't play possession, as we didn't pass and move. Not sure how to describe what we ended up, wasn't attractive or effective though. 

Edited by 1960maaan
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11 hours ago, Malago said:

So how come Wycombe and Rotherham, both of whom are in the top right quadrants for high press and low number of passes per shot, were both relegated?

Because we done them no favours by winning our first 4 matches.

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14 hours ago, Davefevs said:

No wonder NP wants a fitter, more athletic team.

This is one of the revelations that has really shocked me in recent weeks. Behind the scenes we seem to have been so far off the basics.

Pearson coming in and firmly stating we're nowhere near the fitness levels required is a real indictment of our dreadful prep for the season.

Add that to the article that came out the other day on our "Head of Sports Science" whose experience consisted of a few months at Stevenage.

Seems we've been being run by amateurs.

 

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5 hours ago, 1960maaan said:

(1) From memory, weren't we up near the top for shots/shots on target over the first few games. May be wrong.

 

It was better, but I am not sure we'd have been "up near the top". Depends on where you draw the line for the "first few games" as well.

A top team will, over a season, average about 15 shots, 5 of which will be on target, per game. Simultaneously they'll allow about 10, of which 3 will be on target, against them.

Holden's first 10 in full time charge saw us average 10.6 shots for, 4.2 on target. We allowed 12.5, with 3.3 on target. So better than the season averages, but not what you'd look for in a "top" team. Therefore you could say that after 10 games it was looking likely that we would not sustain the play-off challenge.

5 hours ago, 1960maaan said:

35 shots in a game could mean the attacking team can't get close and resort to long shots that never trouble

And this is the problem that xG seeks to solve. By giving each shot a value you can compare a team that has 35 long-range shots against a team that takes 10 penalties in a match.

Again, in Holden's opening 10 games we did ok, averaging 1.4xG per game. That is solid enough, not spectacular, but solid. However, from then onwards we dropped to 0.8xG as the rough average for the rest of the season - Pearson and the caretaker games included. 0.8 is dire, it suggests that in most games you're not generating enough attacking quality to merit even a single goal.

We were better in Holden's openers, so you are correct on that point. But we were far from true "top" play.

15 hours ago, Davefevs said:

This guy did the early Covid graphs….seems like he lies his football too.

23CE5906-D2CD-4B26-B232-B2B6DFDF1F43.thumb.jpeg.5d74c1550594382b6af8c06e274b93be.jpeg

The worst pressing team in the Champ.

Second worse passes completed per shot.

Okay, it’s not all defining, but if you were overlay a third metric like number of shots or number of passes it would show a bit more.

No wonder NP wants a fitter, more athletic team.

Dave, does it not make sense that a team that presses high then also has a low number of passes per shot. That's what we expect isn't it? I defer to deeper tactical knowledge but isn't the point (or one of the points) of a high press that you win the ball high up, pass it once or twice into the box, and shoot. 

Watford are the curious team surely? Pressing higher than anyone, but then still taking tons of passes per shot. I guess that could be explained if they combined playing from the back and controlling midfield, and thus piling up the passes, with a switch to a high press if they did lose the ball in their opponents half. 

The graph is interesting, but I feel needs a lot of context and complimentary stats to really mean much.

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12 minutes ago, ExiledAjax said:

And this is the problem that xG seeks to solve.

The problem with XG, it doesn't take into account defenders, only position of the chance. Like anything it has value and drawbacks. 
I think you need to take several stats and use them all to give an idea of what is happening.

 

18 minutes ago, ExiledAjax said:

I feel needs a lot of context and complimentary stats to really mean much.

Absolutely right and that's why I added the list on my earlier post. Comes as no surprise after watching us that we don't keep possession, we don't win the ball high, we don't get shots away so they can't be on target. Not a season that we come out of with any credit, apart from Bentley who was in constant use.

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7 minutes ago, 1960maaan said:

The problem with XG, it doesn't take into account defenders, only position of the chance. Like anything it has value and drawbacks. 
I think you need to take several stats and use them all to give an idea of what is happening.

 

Absolutely right and that's why I added the list on my earlier post. Comes as no surprise after watching us that we don't keep possession, we don't win the ball high, we don't get shots away so they can't be on target. Not a season that we come out of with any credit, apart from Bentley who was in constant use.

I'll give one other piece of credit. We retained our ability to clinically finish the few chances we did create. In general the one stats table we are high in is goals per shot. But quality is rarely enough without a modicum of quantity to go with it.

On xG. Not all xG figures are equal. Some are basic as you say, but some models are getting more sophisticated and do actually take account of the proximity of defenders or goalkeeper positioning. They get more sophisticated every season. When I quote an xG figure I am quoting an average of three sources that I use for xG, in an attempt to distil the figure into a more accurate one.

Edited by ExiledAjax
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1 minute ago, ExiledAjax said:

I'll give one other piece of credit. We retained our ability to clinically finish the few chances we did create. In general the one stats table we are high in is goals per shot. But quality is rarely enough without a modicum of quantity to go with it.

It's why I wasn't calling for changes in strikers all the time, we didn't make enough chances to miss any so you couldn't;t really judge them. Lack of opportunities is bound to lead to players snatching when a rare chance comes along. Fam got praised for defending, Wells was doing a job wide, Semenyo looked good running from deep. Oh for the days of Johnsons box entries 🤣

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16 hours ago, milo1111 said:

Our results have exceeded performances for years. I was never convinced by LJs brand of busy bee football bar the 6 month high press when we beat Utd etc etc and how the hell we stayed up this season I’ll never know. We were the worst side in the league from December onwards by a country mile.

You are spot on...for the past three seasons statistics were showing we were over achieving points wise. The stats showed we were riding our luck and we could also see it with our own eyes. 

We have been on a downward spiral statistically and in the way we have played. We often rode our luck and didn't deserve points. Our trajectory was downwards, but points won didn't show that in the table...the red lights caught up with us.

On the flip side... Brentford were the opposite for years. Statistically great, watching they looked good too. They just didn't have that luck. Stats and visually proved they were on an upward spiral. This season that caught up with them too...but in a positive way.

People knock stats...but over seasons they generally show which way your teams trajectory is.

Alarm bells have been ringing for seasons like you say.

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2 hours ago, ExiledAjax said:

It was better, but I am not sure we'd have been "up near the top". Depends on where you draw the line for the "first few games" as well.

A top team will, over a season, average about 15 shots, 5 of which will be on target, per game. Simultaneously they'll allow about 10, of which 3 will be on target, against them.

Holden's first 10 in full time charge saw us average 10.6 shots for, 4.2 on target. We allowed 12.5, with 3.3 on target. So better than the season averages, but not what you'd look for in a "top" team. Therefore you could say that after 10 games it was looking likely that we would not sustain the play-off challenge.

And this is the problem that xG seeks to solve. By giving each shot a value you can compare a team that has 35 long-range shots against a team that takes 10 penalties in a match.

Again, in Holden's opening 10 games we did ok, averaging 1.4xG per game. That is solid enough, not spectacular, but solid. However, from then onwards we dropped to 0.8xG as the rough average for the rest of the season - Pearson and the caretaker games included. 0.8 is dire, it suggests that in most games you're not generating enough attacking quality to merit even a single goal.

We were better in Holden's openers, so you are correct on that point. But we were far from true "top" play.

Dave, does it not make sense that a team that presses high then also has a low number of passes per shot. That's what we expect isn't it? I defer to deeper tactical knowledge but isn't the point (or one of the points) of a high press that you win the ball high up, pass it once or twice into the box, and shoot. 

Watford are the curious team surely? Pressing higher than anyone, but then still taking tons of passes per shot. I guess that could be explained if they combined playing from the back and controlling midfield, and thus piling up the passes, with a switch to a high press if they did lose the ball in their opponents half. 

The graph is interesting, but I feel needs a lot of context and complimentary stats to really mean much.

No, no, you’re right.  It’s a bit of a weird chart, because it contradicts in equal measure.

- Barnsley top right - playoffs

- Wycombe / Rotherham top right - relegated

I think it shows that a style of play doesn’t necessarily mean success or failure, it’s how you execute it.

I only posted it because it summed City up….passive with and without the ball.

It needs more dimensions to see the true picture.  Would be more useful if you overlaid the size of dot with possession, or number of passes made for example.  You might then see why Barnsley are better than Wycombe for example.  But you can’t tell just by the x and y.

I think the bit you mention about press is very valid.

I hear people mention about high press and low block.  On BBCRB I heard one caller say City played a low block in the first half v Brentford.  Yes they did, but only as a result of Brentford either beating our first press (which might’ve been ineffective) or Brentford winning the ball in a position where the high press wasn’t an option.  As the half progressed we actually started to pinch ball higher up the pitch.  That wasn’t a low block.  It wasn’t really a high press either, more good compact distances, hard work and communication to work as a team.  But it sounds trendy if you use terms like that.

Barnsley are incessant.  They never gave us a second on the ball at AG.  They were great to watch in a sick kind of way!

But go back to the away game.  For 15 mins we were rabbits in the headlights, but then we gradually started breaking the lines and they realised they couldn’t press the ass out of us, so then had to retreat.  We got more into the game.  They then used fouls to break our flow.

Its a good debate though.  The Holden dozen games (end of last / start of this) was so different, and encouraging.  It fell off a cliff though.  Three key things…injury to Mawson, stopped our play from the back, our ability to control the tempo. Injuries to Pato and Weimann….energy and threat, and winning balls higher up.  Finally, too many system changes.

 

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First 10 were quite good, was it quite as high as our League position? No but it was in the right kind of range.

Since then though performances have very much been outstripped by results- they were still outstripping them in say the first 10, then but not by as much- off a cliff. Injuries have been far from helpful, both the numbers out and at times the sheer decimation in certain positions.

I posted it before, may look for it later but we were only outstripping Results a bit in the first 10. It is also worth pointing out though that post Birmingham away we slipped into safe but going nowhere, blooding young players- experimentation mode etc which of course will have played a role.

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1 hour ago, Davefevs said:

That wasn’t a low block.  It wasn’t really a high press either, more good compact distances, hard work and communication to work as a team.  But it sounds trendy if you use terms like that.

On this particular point that I have quoted I think you see it in the graph. Brentford and Norwich sit plum in the centre. The graph suggests, although does not confirm, that these teams have a nice balance to their play, and a re able to be flexible in their approach. Thus they don't sit as an outlier, even though they are clearly adept at gathering points. My biggest draw from this particular graph is that there are multiple ways to skin a cat, and multiple ways to cock up said skinning of said feline.

In order to get out of this division in the correct way we need to figure out a style, or a method that works for the players we have - and get good at it.  That is different than copying Brentford, or Barnsley, or Watford. If we can do that, and execute it consistently across 46 games (or even across 30 if those 30 are very very good) then we stand a real chance of a top 6 finish. Far easier written than done of course, but that's why I am a muppet on a forum and not a part of Nigel's coaching team.

Otherwise, I agree with pretty much all that you wrote, and I have made no secret of my admiration of Barnsley this season or last, they took what they were good at in 2019/20 and even through a change in management managed to refine and improve it to great effect. Exciting football that was effective against 90% of the other teams in the division.

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