Hyundai A League Scoring Patterns after 9 Rounds
I am interested in the predictability of events in football because I think we should be able to learn from patterns of behaviour.
I have been identifying scoring patterns in the Hyundai A League and this time I have compared a number of aspects after the completion of 9 Rounds in the past three seasons. I have included several charts to show the data collected, which indicate consistent trends. I have also included the data of the top three teams in the league to compare their data with the average figures for all teams, which show some similarities and several differences.
Similarities in Scoring Patterns
The chart in Figure 1 shows a consistent pattern with a slight increase in the number of goals scored in Open Play, rising from 64% to 77% this season. The number of goals from 5 passes or less is very consistent ranging between 75% and 78% as is the number of goals scored inside the penalty area, which has only varied by 1% over the three years.
Figure 1. Scoring patterns in Open Play with number of passes and location of shot.
The trend of scoring most goals from regained possessions in the Middle Third is consistent with a range between 44% and 52%. The trend of regaining more possession in the opponents half of midfield compared with the own half of midfield is consistent, but this season is identical at 26%. Slight variations can be seen each year in Figure 2, between the number of goals from regained possession in the Back Third compared with the Final Third but a ‘ball park’ figure of 25% is a good guide.
The number of goals from passing the ball behind opponents is consistently higher than the percentage of goals from Other Methods, but only slightly and the number of goals from Crosses is consistently much lower than the other categories and with considerable differences over the three years ranging between 7% and 21%.
Figure 2. Scoring patterns from regained possessions in each Third of the field and the categories of goals.
Figure 3 Comparison of top three teams for goal scored in Open Play, the number of passes and location of shot.
If the top three teams are compared with each other and the league average for each aspect of scoring there are some interesting differences. Sydney has scored 90% in Open Play, higher than MCT (80%) and MVT (76%) and well above the league average of 77%. Figure 3 shows Sydney have also scored 89% of their goals with 5 passes or less, which is higher than MCT (58%) and MVT (31%) who are both well below the league average of 78%. Conversely, MCT and MVT have scored more goals from longer passing sequences of 6 passes or more, 42% and 69% respectively, compared with the league average of 22%, with Sydney at 11%.
All three teams are above the league average of 86% for the number of goals scored inside the penalty area.
Figure 4. Comparison of top three teams for goal scored from regained possessions in each Third of the field and categories of goals.
The percentage of goals from regained possessions in the Back Third show quite a difference between Mel City (33%) and Mel Victory (15%), while Sydney are close to the average for the league at 22%. All teams scored the majority of goals from regained possessions in the Middle Third but with considerable differences in each half of midfield. Sydney (6%) and Mel City (17%) had low figures from regaining possession in their own half of midfield compared with Mel Victory (46%) and the league average (26%). The trend of scoring more goals from regained possessions in the opponents half of midfield continued with Sydney (50%) and Mel City (25%) who were close to the league average. The percentage of goals from regains in the Final Third ranged from 22% to 31% where Mel Victory had the highest number.
Sydney (50%) and Mel City (67%) scored more goals from playing the ball behind opponents than Mel Victory (31%), who scored the majority of goals from Other Methods (38%) and from Crosses (31%), which was much higher than Sydney (who didn’t score one goal from a Cross) and Mel City (8%) and the league average (13%).
Sydney (89%) and Mel City (58%) scored more goals than Mel Victory (31%) from 5 passes or less and both teams scored more goals from regaining the ball in the opponents half of midfield, 50% and 25% respectively, than Mel Victory (8%).
Sydney and Mel City scored more goals from playing the ball behind opponents than Mel Victory, 50% and 67% compared with 31%. To do this teams need space behind the defence for players to make forward runs and pass the ball. However when teams win the ball in the Final Third fewer goals are scored from passes behind the defence.
Mel Victory regained more possession in the Final Third than Sydney and Mel City, and scored more goals by Other Methods. If we consider that Mel Victory scored more from regained possessions in their own half of the field 61%, compared with Sydney and Mel City, 28% and 50% respectively, it is not surprising that Mel Victory scored more goals from sequences of 6 or more passes.
Another consideration to explain the differences in the way Mel Victory scored their goals compared with Sydney and Mel City is the opportunity to attack quickly once possession has been regained. More goals are scored with fewer passes because teams attack quickly when opponents are exposed or vulnerable, which is another reason why more goals may be scored from regained possession in the opponents half of midfield than from inside a team’s own half of the field.
What I have learnt from doing my research is not to assume anything so the only safe way of explaining outcomes is to go back over the video and establish the real causes of events. Another interesting aspect of comparison for the top three teams would be to analyse the number of goals from regained possession in each Third of the field and the number of passes made in each sequence. I can confirm that not one goal of the 96 scored in Open Play started with a short goal kick.
Finally I think it is worth comparing the top teams with the average figures for all teams in the competition to identify differences as well as common factors, because there is not one way of doing anything in football. Analysis of this type can help coaches determine if they are actually scoring goals according to their game plans.