Early Doors

Tactics Bored: Radical ‘score more goals’ tactic pays off for City

Early Doors

View gallery

.

In the last two weeks, since the last Tactics Bored, theories and technological advances have been made which means that the audience - you’re welcome - can be provided with far greater analysis, and be directed away from things such as startlingly incisive and enjoyable prose, and be given ever more numbers. These numbers are key to understanding the game.

You have, after all, the option of using your eyes and judgement when watching football, or you can follow stats as they ding-ding-ding on a live spreadsheet, be downloaded for your perusal, and then be told how to think.

People used to complain about the hassle of going to a game, and they were right to. The basement flat is the ideal living station for the tactics expert. But now we don’t even have to watch it on the telly. Football is now nothing more than numbers to be analysed. This is that analysis, marching ahead digitally.

TACTICAL ANALYSIS: MANCHESTER CITY 6-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Manchester City tactically outplayed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, following, to the letter, Manuel Pellegrini’s meticulously detailed plan of scoring more than the opposition did.

Tactically speaking, Andre Villas-Boas must be disappointed that his Spurs side conceded six goals. Experts know that if you score more goals than the opposition, you win the game.

Obviously, that’s probably a little difficult for some of the non-tactics experts (plebs to a man) to grasp, so for educational purposes, a graph has been included to explain the scoreline.

View gallery

.

As you can see, the bigger the chart, the bigger the team. Sam Allardyce invented that method of analysis, by the way. (The Venn diagram, by the way, was invented in 2012).

ROBERTO SOLDADO WORKRATE

Although the Manchester City strikers scored infinitely more goals than Roberto Soldado, a lot of people might miss out that he was key for a lot of Spurs’ moves. Indeed, you can have a look at the heat map that he would drop back to the centre of play, and six times he made a short pass in the centre circle. This would, on each occasion, provide Spurs with the chance to keep possession, just moments after City had it. If the rest of the team were similarly committed to possession play, they might not have lost.

View gallery

.

Some people may argue that is because he had taken six kick-offs, but they are once again providing a very shallow reading of the game, unlike Tactics Bored.

ERIK LAMELA STRUGGLES

The winger has found it hard to adapt to the British game so far this season. There are a number of reasons for this, potentially. He’s a young man leaving one country for another which is radically different in culture. Adjusting to the wider changes in his life might affect how he able to concentrate on how he adapts to the football, and how much effort he can spend on it. For another, he has new team-mates to get used to, and it should be remembered that Spurs are also undergoing their own fundamental changes having bought six other players, and lost Gareth Bale.

There is potentially another explanation. Lamela has talent, but his dreaminess might be starting to overwhelm the rest of his abilities. You can see in this pie chart below:

View gallery

.

Lamela’s dreaminess stats are literally off the chart. Is this the best use of his effort?

GOALS ANALYSIS

Important news. After a couple of years working on the theory, Tactics Bored is able to bring a revelation. Almost every goal scored by a team, without a deflection, is scored with a shot, or kicking a ball, at the goal. Very rarely is a goal scored by anything other than a shot that goes into the goal. The theory was proved with the number of goals scored by Manchester City against Spurs. All six of them come from shots that are aimed at the goal. Evidence is required, and evidence is thus provided:

View gallery

.

PRE-ASSIST OF THE WEEK

In the last tactical analysis, it was shown that Laurent Koscielny provided an under-rated pre-assist for Robin van Persie’s goal against Arsenal. This demonstrated that although Van Persie had left the club two seasons ago, the understanding remained with his old team-mates. On Sunday, Hugo Lloris showed that pre-assists can come out of nowhere, with no explanation. But the two he made are nonetheless, tactically very interesting. Just look at his two from the match, highlighted in red:

View gallery

.

ADEBAYOR CELEBRATION

It’s worth making a comparison of the heat map between Emmanuel Adebayor’s celebration for Manchester City against his former club, Arsenal, and the one he managed against City now that he was playing for Spurs. The celebration heatmap on the left is his one for City, and on the right is the one for Spurs.

View gallery

.

GLOSSARY:

Goal - when the ball crosses the goal-line, usually converted shot on target (n.b. overrated).

Possession - when a team has the ball, they are said to be in possession. The team who spend the most amount of time in possession win the game, but only for those watching on Twitter. There is a nascent campaign to have this statistic replace the number of goals scored as the way to secure ‘official’ points in the league.

Alexander Netherton (on Twitter: @lxndrnthrtn)

View Comments