Südtirol with ‘Sky Sport Italia’: the great statistical anomaly of the year

Category: Team Analysis

One of the stories of the season in Europe’s second divisions is happening in Bolzano, in the Trentino-Alto Adige region.

Published:24/05/2023

One of the stories of the season in Europe’s second divisions is happening in Bolzano, in the Trentino-Alto Adige region. There, a newly promoted Serie C side has made the playoff for promotion to Serie A thanks to what can be called a statistical anomaly. Their style of play, their derived performances and their efficiency in certain metrics explain it.

It is unusual for certain performances over a prolonged period of time not to be corrected over the course of a season. If a team is used to taking too many shots per game and taking too few shots on goal game after game, the likelihood of long-term success is very low. A good summary is provided by the Expected Points (xP) metric. What has happened over 38 rounds with Südtirol?

Südtirol will play in the promotion playoff as the team with the biggest difference in favour between points (58) and Expected Points (44.4). That is, according to their performance in different metrics over the course of the matches, they should have scored 44, but they have scored 58:

  • They are 15th in non-penalty goals (33).
  • They are 20th in Expected Goals (32)
  • Is the 19th team in Expected Goals open play (19.9)
  • 20th in Shots per game (9.4) and 18th in Shots on Goal (3.2)
  • 20th in Expected Assists per 90′ (0.77)
  • 20th in Possession % (40%)
  • 20th team in Pressing (23.84 PPDA)
  • 20th team in Expected Threat (xT), with 1.65 per 90′.
  • 20th team in Shots Conceded (521 total, 13.7 per 90′)

Their style of play defines them as the team with the fewest passes per possession, the most distance travelled per possession and one of the four most vertical teams. Both at home and away, their main mission is to defend very close to their goalkeeper, ensuring that scoring chances are few and far between and that Giacomo Poluzzi is one of the main protagonists.

In the latest edition of Sky Sport’s ‘Football Analyst’ programme, they reflected on the extraordinary anomaly that is Sudtirol, who will try to get promoted to Serie A in the next few days, playing a one-off match against Cagliari.

Earlier this season, Südtirol drew at home to Cagliari suffering 20 shots and 3.0 Expected Goals. And it matters little that all this is so. The data reflects reality but does not judge it. Football is a game where you play it a thousand ways and find success in seemingly unsuspected ways.

Founded in 2017 as a consultancy, Driblab has driven innovation through data in all aspects of professional football. Thanks to a transversal model, its database collects and models statistics in all directions. From converting matches and videos into bespoke data for training academies to developing cutting-edge technology, helping clubs, federations and representative agencies in talent scouting and transfer markets. Driblab’s smart data is used by clubs all over the world, with success stories such as Dinamo Zagreb, Real Betis and Girondins Bordeaux among others. Here you can find out more about how we work and what we offer.

Autor: Alejandro Arroyo
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