Where are the Gains?

This week in gratuitous visualisations with little or no analytic value, I thought I’d show where each team’s passing gains are coming from this season. Below you can see, for each EPL team, the proportion of gains coming from passes into the left, centre, or right thirds of the pitch – so just to be clear, a long ball from the right hand side to the left is notched up as a gain on the left. Ignore units for now, it’s the relative sizes that I think are interesting.

Passing Gains

You’ll immediately note a few things:

  • Man Utd and Spurs in the aggregate make backward passes to the middle of the field. These are the teams most obviously utilising a pivot, as they recycle possession from wing to wing probing for an opening.
  • Arsenal’s Sanchez-powered left wing has made more gains than any other attack in the Premier League.
  • Everton and Southampton are two teams making big gains in the centre of the field. I’d be interested to see in either team’s case how this possession progresses, because in Everton’s case they often run into dead ends centrally.
  • There’s hope for Newcastle down that right hand side, with Moussa Sissoko’s club-leading 4 assists.
  • West Brom don’t seem particularly penetrative, as Tony Pulis concentrates on reaching the heat-death of the universe with as many clean sheets as possible.
Where are the Gains?

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