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Middlesbrough's Play-style

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Posted (edited)

There was a very interesting piece in The Athletic detailing key stats on a wheel to demonstrate teams play-styles and qualities compared to the rest of the league:


Each bar represents a 10 percentile step, Bournemouth are in the top 20% for all pressing metrics in red for example. 


Going round the pinwheel:


our graph shows our possession stats (green) are good, specifically for field tilt (keeping the ball high up the pitch) and safety in moving the ball from our defensive 3rd into the opponents half. But we're about average in build up play which I'd say bears out. 


We're about average for dribbling and progressive passes but way down on switching the play. This is the disappointing section as this section show how predictable we are and is one of the biggest gripes that fans have with the team. 


Above average for chance creation, average at attacking set pieces but way down on transitioning meaning we don't take advantage of winning the ball high up the field, we often turn these situations into safe possession. 


Our pressing is really excellent, our counter press is top 20%, meaning we're excellent at winning the ball back quickly after losing it. We're in the top 10% for our starting Distance, meaning we win the ball high up the pitch. We're about middle in high pressing meaning we only press at a moderate intensity. I'd say we press smart rather than hard. 


Defence in blue, we're not great at set pieces but our defensive metrics high up the pitch are good and low defence around are own box are decent. 

I'll post a synopsis for each stat from The Athletic below. 

Looks like there's plenty of room to improve areas of our game, switching the play more to disrupt teams, better movement in the final 3rd to increase our chance creation and progressive passes, then set pieces in both boxes could use some work. Is there anything that sticks out for you guys, areas we could improve upon? 

Edited by Foogle
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Posted (edited)

Stats synopsis from the Athletic:


Build-up: likelihood that an open play possession starting in team’s own third will reach the final third

Field tilt: team’s percentage share of both teams’ attacking third passes

Safety: likelihood that team will retain possession or move the ball out of the first 60 per cent of the pitch within eight seconds of winning it there (see counter-press in the Press section)



Progressive passes: average number of progressive passes (successful, open play passes that gain at least 25 per cent of the remaining distance to goal) per possession

Switches: average number of switches (successful passes that cross at least half the width of the pitch) per possession

Dribbling: average combined number of progressive carries (carries that move the ball at least 15 per cent of that remaining distance to goal) or successful take-ons per possession. 



Transition: likelihood that a possession starting in final 60 per cent of pitch will end in a shot within 12 seconds

Chance creation: average non-penalty expected goals per each possession that reaches final third

Set pieces: average non-penalty expected goals within eight seconds of a corner kick or free kick taken fewer than 35 metres from goal



Counter-press: likelihood that team will recover a ball in the highest 60 per cent of the pitch within eight seconds of losing it there (this is the inverse of Safety in the Possess section at the top)

High press: passes allowed per defensive action in highest 40 per cent of pitch

Start distance: average starting distance from opponent’s goal of team’s open play possessions. 



High defence: likelihood that team will prevent opponents’ open play possessions starting in opponent’s third from reaching team’s third (see build-up in the Possess section)

Low defence: average non-penalty expected goals conceded per opponent possession that reaches team’s third (see chance creation in the Finish section)

Set-piece defence: average non-penalty expected goals conceded within eight seconds of opponent corner kick or free kick taken fewer than 35 metres from goal (see set pieces in the Finish section)

Edited by Foogle
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Posted (edited)

I'm looking forward to seeing those stats after a full season of Wilder and who ever we sign 😉 

Nice work, mate - Appreciate it 😉

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The Athletic posts some great stuff like this. Of course none of it really counts for anything but its nice to do some amateur analysis of. You'd imagine we have someone doing it within the club. Plenty to work on next season but plenty of positive signs too.

PS. For £1 a month for first 6 months I can't understand why anyone wouldn't subscribe to the Athletic, its just so far ahead of all other football journalism.

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