Pressing can also be expensive

Category: Team Analysis

Pressing is no longer new, but the way it is done is. We dive into the data to find out who presses the hardest and who presses the best.

Published:07/12/2021

Never in the history of football has the ball or the player been pressed collectively and at such an organised and sophisticated level as in the last ten years in world football. Somehow a very advanced point is being reached after a temporary process fuelled by a stream of ideas, coaches and methods that are converging now and in a multitude of leagues. In the face of physical and tactical evolution, creating and exploiting space by stealing forward has been a great opportunity to generate scoring chances.

A scatter plot is a way to visualise performance in a very direct way and with fantastic options to relate more specific game situations. A few months ago, we looked at which teams in the top five leagues were generating the most expected goals from set pieces, extracting their percentage of the total to see who was generating the most points from free kicks or corners. This time, to measure which teams are pressing well and which not so well, we can relate the PPDA (Passes per Defensive Action) metric to the shots conceded per 90 minutes. With this connection between the two we can see how hard teams press and what toll they pay for it, and we can gauge the quality of that pressing. The less PPDA and the fewer shots taken, the better that team is pressing. Among so much quantity, we look for quality.

To specify what we want to count, we will insist on the PPDA concept, which measures the number of passes that an opponent is allowed to make before carrying out a defensive action, so to know which teams press more we will look at those with less PPDA. By allowing fewer passes to the opposition, the more pressure they will be putting on them for each possession they have, hence, in the graph, the less PPDA and the fewer shots they receive, the closer we are to concluding that their pressure is superior to their opponents’ possession.

While we cannot conclude conclusively that a team is underperforming by looking at these two issues, as it may form part of their style of play by taking that risk as part of their identity, as in the case of Bielsa’s Leeds, we can get an idea of what happens in their games, at what pace the play develops and whether the pressure reflects a defensive security living away from your own goal and that aggressiveness in defending translates into few shots conceded.

The aforementioned Leeds or German Cologne – the lowest PPDA team of the top five European leagues – are two teams that put a lot of pressure on the opposition, but at the cost of conceding a lot of shots per game. By contrast, the team that comes closest to getting the most out of their pressing attitude is Manchester City, who we need to analyse in many other ways to understand their defensive solidity, but they are certainly a team that dominates the opposition without conceding many shots. Finally and in the same way, as the first graph shows, we can also look at which teams press less and which, among them, take more or fewer shots per game.

We are Driblab, a consultancy specialized in football analytics and big data; our work is focused on advising and minimizing risk in professional football decision-making in areas related to talent detection and footballer evaluations. Our database has more than 180,000 players from more than 180 competitions, covering information from all over the world. Here you can learn more about how we work and what we offer.

Autor: Alejandro Arroyo
For Team Analysis we also recommend you:

GBE: South American U-20 talents now eligible to play in the UK

There are not many U20 talents in South America who can play in the UK. We look at some of the best who can do so by meeting the requirements set by the GBE filter.

Five years of VAR: are more penalties being awarded?

We go to our database to find out what impact VAR has had on penalties awarded since its inception.

How to use driblabPRO as a team analyst

We use numerous visualisations that the Driblab team has developed over time to facilitate the work of an analyst within a club.

driblabPRO Release Notes December ‘22

In recent weeks we have improved the speed of driblabPRO to offer a more dynamic experience to our users.

Iraola’s rules on the most difficult pitch in Europe

We analyse how Rayo’s game changes when they play at home and when they play away, making their stadium the most difficult in the top leagues.

As chaves de um Benfica invicto (Portuguese)

A época do Benfica até agora tem sido perfeita. O seu talento individual e o seu desempenho colectivo têm-nos mantido invictos. Analisamos as chaves e visualizamo-las com dados.

The keys to an unbeaten Benfica

Benfica’s season so far has been perfect. Their individual talent and collective performance has kept them unbeaten. We analyse the keys and visualise them with data.

A grande evolução do futebol: a distância média de remate (Portuguese)

O desenvolvimento médio dos tiros é um dos grandes desenvolvimentos do futebol. Analisamos o que aconteceu para tornar possível disparar a uma distância cada vez maior.

Francia vs Argentina: World Cup final

We analyse all the key points of the Qatar World Cup final between Argentina and France: statistics, metrics and key tactics.

Spain and its possession, when did the problems begin?

Were Spain’s problems at the World Cup one-offs? We relate Spain’s possession to their ability to generate threat throughout Luis Enrique’s era.

Driblab

Información corporativa

Somos una empresa con sede en Madrid fundada en 2017 por Salvador Carmona y Cristian Coré Ramiro. Desde nuestros inicios nuestro trabajo se ha centrado en el análisis estadístico de datos para ayudar a los clubes en la planificación deportiva. Somos una consultora big data que ofrece servicios personalizados para cada cliente y defiende un modelo de gestión mixto y una comunicación constante para acompañar el día a día de las instituciones. Nuestro punto fuerte es la más amplia cobertura disponible en número de torneos profesionales y juveniles. Para más detalles, póngase en contacto con nosotros.

Colaboramos con:

           

Hemos aparecido en:


Talk to our speciali