Ben Griffis Profile picture
Jul 5 21 tweets 19 min read
Analyzing all #BarclaysWSL teams' 1st pass after their kickoffs from 18/19 to 20/21

🔑 Takeaway: Some teams do have different tactics overall &/or for different game states

🧵 is alphabetical, so starting with @ArsenalWFC

Always more long & less accurate passes when losing!
For @AVWFCOfficial there's just the one season.

Ignore winning game states since there were only 2... but they exclusively played very long balls up the pitch when drawing, but were more conservative while losing (with some long balls as well, but not just long passes)

Now @BCFCWomen

Small sample again for winning game states. But they also changed their tactics over these 3 seasons, opting for more long passes across them. But not much of a pattern when breaking down by game state. Usually a lil less accurate when drawing tho


Brighton are fun because they typically have the same avg distance on drawing/losing states, but their completion % was always lower when drawing before 20/21, then it was the same.

Interesting, as the locations as well were similar.


I struggle to find any pattern to Bristol City's kickoffs. Have to ignore winning since it's such a small sample, but drawing/losing are always fairly similar length, accuracy, & rough locations as well.

For @ChelseaFCW we have a good sample size of all 3 game states in 2 seasons

They also changed their tactics up drastically from 18/19 to 19/20 & 20/21. From lateral to almost exclusively long boots up the field! Less than 67% accuracy for all kickoffs in 19/20 & 20/21 lol


If you take anything away from this thread... it's that Everton target the left flank right after kickoff 😂

But they have a trend: they did this almost exclusively when drawing, yet less often when losing...

Important to note for opponents

Now @LiverpoolFCW

Like their local neighbors Everton, Liverpool also targeted the left side, and also more so when drawing than losing....... Something in the water in the city?

Very interesting to see though, the difference between the 2 game states.

3 different tactics over these 3 years it looks like. 19/20 was extremely consistent, and then 18/19 was more back/lateral, 20/21 more forwards.

The 2 recent seasons, City typically passed it shorter & more accurately when drawing than winning/losing


Certainly changed tactics between these 2 seasons, aiming more frequently for their own half in 20/21 than 19/20.

Hard to see a distinct pattern among different game states, however.

Now @ReadingFCWomen

Not a great sample size when winning, but for the 2 seasons they had kickoffs while winning they were consistently pretty short & accurate, espcially compared to drawing/losing.

Drawing/losing were fairly similar to each other too

#REAWomen #Reading

Usually more aggressive & risky long passes while drawing than while in a losing state. Sadly for this supporter, only 3 kickoffs came when winning so can't see much there.

But a distinct pattern when drawing that is sometimes bucked when losing


Fairly consistent in all 3 game states overall, but overall drawing passes tended to go towards the flanks in their own half, except that changed 20/21. Losing passes in 20/21 were then much less risky & shorter than drawing on avg, so the pattern flipped!
Finally, Yeovil Town's season where they ended with -3 points after earning 7 and being docked 10.

Can't see any patterns. Really looks like both when drawing and losing, their passes were typically back & safe, but had the odd long ball in them.
Overall, my thoughts are:

1) There's not a league-wide trend, which makes sense

2) Some teams have distinctly different tactics overall, regardless of game state. These can change with seasons too

3) Some teams do exhibit tactical differences depending on game states
It looks like there's certainly some value in analyzing opponents' passing tendency directly after their kickoffs. Some teams are very consistent in what they do, either depending on the game state or just in general, regardless of game state.
I said yesterday after my Barcelona analysis that I wanted to dive deeper into a league. And the results here definitely make me think there's some real possibility here.

The biggest omission I think I have so far is that I just look at location, length, accuracy...
... And I think that's good enough to see there's something going on with some teams, but not enough.

For further work I'd love to dive deeper into what happens AFTER these passes. More than the pass itself, is there a specific tactical goal with these?
But I think that needs to be limited to just a couple teams, at least for the WSL, that have a decent sample size of all 3 states of winning/drawing/losing.

Ignoring winning or losing because there's not enough data gives less insight 😅
And here's my initial post from yesterday, looking just at 5 Barcelona seasons

When analyzing 3 seasons of a league, it looks like teams have distinctly different passing tactics at their kickoffs, some even have different tactics when in different game states of winning, drawing, or losing.

Hopefully this is just the start of a deeper dive from me

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More from @BeGriffis

Jul 5
Playing around with harmonic means in the #KLeague

Here, the darker green shows players who are both involved in attack & defense and also have a good balance between the two phases, not being exclusively involved in just one

Incheon's Kim Bo-sub has the largest harmonic mean
Harmonic means focus on both the magnitude of two numbers and also the balance between their levels.

Players involved almost exclusively in attack or defense will have lower numbers regardless of the level of their main contribution, because they don't have balance
Also something I notice:

mathematically speaking, having attacking contributions being lower on avg than defensive contributions probably bias attack-minded players who are decent in defense over defense-minded players who are decent in attack.

Something I'm working on 😅
Read 4 tweets
Jul 4
Inspired by a post by @theOptamist:

Here's a quick analysis of Barcelona's first pass after their kickoffs, from 16/17 (when the rule changed & kickoff didn't have to go forward) to 20/21. Only games Messi played in

Data: @StatsBomb open data


See 🧵 for more 📊 Graph showing the locations...
What's interesting here is that over these 5 seasons, the avg length of the pass after kickoff was typically quite a bit longer when they were winning than when they were losing...

And what's more, those passes were also much less accurate on avg as well
Let's look at each season individually.


Overall, passes when losing or drawing are fairly similar. Typically a lateral pass, medium length from kickoff receiver to the flank. 100% accurate

But passes when winning are less accurate & their length/direction more variable Image
Read 15 tweets
Jun 26
We possession-adjust defensive metrics often, but never offensive ones...

What does it look like if we try to adjust goals & assists by the number of touches a players' team has on average per match? 🤔

All info on graphs 📊, more detail in thread 🧵 ImageImage
The logic behind this:

The more possession a team has, the more opportunity their players have to both score or create goals.

Less possession typically means less opportunity.

Less opportunity will translate to fewer goals and assists, and vice versa.
A team like Valencia, with the fewest avg touches/90 this season across all 5 leagues (477.6), will certainly create less opportunity for goals than a team like Bayern, who had the most avg touches/90 this season (819.5)
Read 12 tweets
May 14
I've been researching a number of soccer data sites recently to see what their data use/scraping policies are.

Wanted to share what I've found so far in this thread.

A critical factor to consider when using third party (i.e. not your own created dataset) is use ethics & terms
.@fbref, Starting w/ probably the biggest one.


FBRef allows you to scrape, but can block you if you send more than 1 request every 3 seconds.

You will be blocked for about half a day... Enough time to add some code to 🆙 request time 😉…
Now, even more vital, @fbref data use policy

CITE!!!! This goes for all data sources

Also, you cannot use FBRef data to make a web tool for people. That's a competing product and not allowed.

You can make vizzes obv, but not something that's like FBRef
Read 14 tweets
May 13
I have some free time this afternoon, so I think I'll live tweet some of my tactics thoughts on the first leg of Luton Town - Huddersfield

I'll just keep adding tweets to this thread each time I've got something 👍

Should be 3-5-2 vs 3-5-2, will be an interesting one.

The noise coming through my headphones is nuts. Something special about low capacity stadiums
Think we know how high/low Luton's defense normally sits hahaha

Read 23 tweets
May 13
Big matches coming up in #LaLigaSmartBank today & tomorrow!

4 points between 1st & 3rd (@UDAlmeria_Eng , @SDEibar & @realvalladolidE ), 3 matches to go! Top 2 automatically promoted.

These images show simulated result probabilities & each match's scoreline probabilities

@U_D_Almeria are currently in 1st & a win here would guarantee promotion!

Most likely result is 0-1 to Almería.

Chances of Almería scoring at least 1: 79%
Chances of Real Sociedad B scoring at least 1: 55%

Chances of both teams scoring at least 1: 44%

@realvalladolid sit 2 points off 2nd, 4 off 1st. A win here & they jump Eibar even if just for 2 hours before their kick off. Putting on the pressure would be important.

However, Ponferradina need a win, sitting 1 pt away from promotion playoffs now
Read 4 tweets

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