The Relationship between Final Third Passing & Goals so far 12/13

The Relationship between Final Third Passing & Goals so far 12/13

Please note that Sunderland and Reading have only played 8 games and all other teams have played 9.

If you look at the table at the bottom of the page you will see that Arsenal have attempted the most final-third passes 1599(FTP) so far this season, have completed the most final-third passes (FTP C) and have the highest % completion of final-third passes (FTP C).

Fulham are the most accurate and in their 9 games they have averaged 1 goal per 43.57 final-third completed passes. (Goal/FTP C).

QPR are the least accurate with 1 goal for every 104.85 final-third passes completed.

With the data it is possible to draw a scatter diagram with a regression line drawn in to see if there is a relationship between final third passes completed and goals.

An R2 near 1 indicates that a regression line fits the data well. In this case we see that R2 is 0.452 so not a great result but not a bad result and we should not conclude that there is not correlation between final third passing completion and goals without looking deeper into the analysis.

What we can see is that teams above the line have scored less goals then expected which includes Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton and Man City.

All the teams that are below the line have scored more goals then expected which is even more true for Stoke, West Brom, Newcastle and Fulham.

Man UTD and Chelsea are right on the line and if every team was on the line of regression then we would be very excited and we would be saying that there is correlation between final third completed passes and goals.

Click on Graph to enlarge

I do not have all the answers but there are other variables we must consider.

  1. Does a team play the long ball like Stoke do? Teams who play long balls as their strategy will have a lower pass completion so the regression line is unable to identify this. Stoke score goals but do not spend as much time in the final third as some other teams.
  2. Not all teams have played the same quality of teams so the sample size is very small so possibly too early to draw conclusions. Aston Villa are having a poor season and are still to play Man UTD and Man City who you would expect to restrict their final third pass completion.
  3. Final third passing has many other variables which we have not considered such as the conditions of the pitch. Was the pitch muddy so that passing was difficult or was it windy for example.
  4. Another interesting variable that we cannot link into the data is how good the final third pass was in terms of the possibility of a goal. Was it for example a 3 on 1 position making a goal likely from the pass or was it a long ball into the box which is easily defended.

Sometimes it is very easy to ignore in terms of analysis and assume there is no validity without checking all the variables, but I cannot say if there is a correlation between final third passing or not at this stage.

What is clear is that data is readily available to have a look at which must be a good thing.

Final third passing is certainly an interesting topic and we can only hope that we will understand it better as more detailed data  is made available to us. Fo now here is the data that I have collected from the 4-4-2 StatsZone iPhone App manually.

The final column represents final third passes per goal – you can click on the column headers to sort the data. Enjoy!

[table id=85 /]

Please do leave any comments below.