With the Premier League now entering the last 10 games of the season it is the perfect time to use statistics to draw conclusions about why your team produced success/failure. Last week my focus was on chance conversion rate. This week the focus is on crossing accuracy.
The table directly below portrays the total crosses performed by each team for the current 2012/2013 season along with the accuracy percentage of these (open play and set plays combined).
Interestingly, under-performing Aston Villa top the crossing accuracy table. Barry Bannan is the greatest contributer with a massive 46% CA% from 106 attempts providing assistance for target man Christian Benteke making up 39% of headed attempts throughout the team. This clearly shows Villa are a threat from crossing situations, however, they have only attempted 509 crosses compared to West Ham’s 799. If they utilised this more often throughout the season maybe they wouldn’t find themselves facing a relegation battle so close to the end of the season.
N.B. All of the tables below can be sorted by clicking on the columns.
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The table below shows similar data to the one above, however, this time it focuses on just the open play crosses. Again West Ham attempted the most crosses with 638 showing just where Sam Allardyce’s attacking intentions lay. They also top the accuracy for open play crosses. The contributions to crossing seem to be more split between the team compared to Aston Villa. Matt Jarvis, Mark Noble and and Matthew Taylor all producing over 100 crosses each (23%, 24% and 26% accuracy) with plenty of aerial threat upfront.
Teams at the foot of the table below have the lowest crossing accuracy. Although, as most of these teams are now fairly high in the league table, it is clear that their attacking prowess comes through a more direct approach.
Stoke City, consistently renowned for their ‘ugly’ long ball football are fairly low down in terms of both crosses attempted and accuracy. Surprising, considering attackers Peter Crouch, Jonathan Walters and Kenwyne Jones are all 6 foot or above.
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Our final table of the article shows details of crosses from set plays. As shown, accuracy is increased compared to open play for all teams with the highest nearly double that for open play crosses. Aston Villa again top this table with a massive 47% accuracy clearly portraying where the threat of Barry Bannan comes in.
QPR shoot up the table to second after appearances in the bottom two in the previous two tables. Adel Taarabt and Esteban Granero have both contributed 50 crosses each from set plays so far with Taarabt having a much higher accuracy (46%) compared to Granero (24%). However, the main reason for this high accuracy compared to in open play in my opinion is due to the addition of Chris Samba and Clint Hill to the attacking aerial threat. Although yet to record a goal between them, they have contributed 33.3% of the teams headed attempts at goal.
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In summary, this article suggests that some of the teams that are struggling to pick up points in the league have high crossing accuracy. This could be used through either attempting more crosses, or just attempting to use wing play more often. In return more chances will be created, which of course will increase chances of goals.
If more clinical target men can be recruited, both for open play and set plays, the league table could start to change for the better. I’m not saying it will turn the lower league teams into title contenders, but the positives throughout the teams need to be used to their maximum capabilities to win the scrap for the remaining points available.
[box_light]All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.co.uk – Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) Check out our new Top Stats feature on the Stats Centre which allows you to compare all players in the league & read about new additions to the stats centre.[/box_light]