A closer, statistical look at Wes Foderingham’s distribution

Wes Foderingham, courtesy of SNS

written by – Rangers Report

After only a few weeks of matches, much has been made of Wes Foderingham’s distribution from the goalkeeper’s position  Many, in the stands & through online discussions, have voiced concerns about his ability to build play from the back.  He has looked shaky at times, but the directive is clearly coming from management to begin possession through the back.

Our Goalkeeper Distribution Rating (GDR) statistic, which is unique to this site, has been used by some as evidence that Foderingham’s commitment to short passes has been rewarded with Rangers establishing possession in their opponent’s half.  This advanced statistic, which is explained in further detail in this introductory post, simply calculates how often a team takes the ball from the goalkeeper & turns it into possession in the offensive half.

To add further context in evaluating Foderingingham’s distribution, I thought it would be useful to compare his GDR to other goalies in Scotland.

Some disclaimers – there is a margin of error.  These stats are tracked by watching the television broadcast – often highlights are shown when the goalie has possession & they do not cut back to the action in time to see how the goalie released the ball to his teammate.  Also, these stats are only for games in which I have tracked & represents only a snapshot.

LB PE Off End % SB PE Off End % Throw PE Off End % Roll PE Off End % Total Dist PE Off End GDR Poss
Hibs v Rangers 7/25/15
Mark Oxley, Hibs 17 5 0.29 3 1 0.33 0 0 1 1 1.00 21 7 0.33 0.47
Wes Foderingam, Rangers 9 1 0.11 12 6 0.50 1 1 1.00 2 2 1.00 24 10 0.42 0.53
Celtic v Ross County 8/1/15
Craig Gordon, Celtic 2 0 0.00 17 15 0.88 0 0 2 1 0.50 21 16 0.76 0.57
Simon Fox, Ross County 29 9 0.31 1 1 1.00 1 1 1 3 1 0.33 34 12 0.35 0.43
Rangers v Peterhead 8/2/15
Wes Foderingam, Rangers 6 1 0.17 23 17 0.74 1 1 1.00 7 5 0.71 37 24 0.65 0.66
Graeme Smith, Peterhead 37 14 0.38 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 38 14 0.37 0.34
Dundee United v Aberdeen 8/2/15
Luis Maria Zwick, Dundee United 22 5 0.23 5 2 0.40 0 0 0 0 27 7 0.26 0.41
Danny Ward, Aberdeen 25 5 0.20 4 2 0.50 0 0 1 0 0 30 7 0.23 0.59
Rangers v St Mirren 8/7/15
Wes Foderingam, Rangers 9 3 0.33 21 18 0.86 0 0 4 4 1 34 25 0.74 0.63
Mark Ridgers, St Mirren 34 9 0.26 0 0 0 0 0 0 34 9 0.26 0.37
Dundee United v Dundee 8/11/15
Luis Maria Zwick, Dundee United 30 6 0.20 3 3 1.00 1 1 1.00 1 0 0.00 35 10 0.29 0.46
Scott Bain, Dundee 25 4 0.16 8 6 0.75 1 1 1.00 5 5 1.00 39 16 0.41 0.54

LB:  Long Ball, PR off end:  Possession established in offensive end, SB:  short pass (kicked), Throw:  Ball is thrown, Roll:  ball is rolled, Total Dist.:  Total distribution, GDR:  Total %, Poss. : Team’s possession in that match

It’s still extremely early & this is only a snapshot but….

  • Long balls have proven to fail as a means of establishing possession in the opponent’s half.  They may relieve pressure, but that relief is often temporary.  The best rating on this list came from Peterhead’s Graeme Smith – with a GDR of 0.38 on long balls against Rangers.  This means that Rangers were able to regain possession on 62% of those balls.
  • Wes Foderingham’s play on short balls with his feet has caused a great deal of chatter but you can see that his GDR is actually ascending in his three matches:  0.50, 0.74, 0.86.  This number is hugely reliant on his teammates, many of whom are getting used to playing out of the back as well.  Against Peterhead, his rating would have been higher, but often the defender or midfielder carrying the ball up the pitch tried to pass his way into the opponent’s half as the center-line approached.  Often that pass came from minimum pressure & Rangers would likely have established possession in the offensive half if the player simply kept dribbling up the pitch.
  • The top teams in each division, Celtic & Rangers, are strictly committed to playing from the back.  In the one Celtic match I tracked, Craig Gordon played the ball short 90% of the time & established possession in Ross County’s half on 86% of those balls.  In that match, Ross County did very little to pressure Celtic & basically ceded possession to them coming up the pitch.
  • These results are consistent with the other games that I have tracked this summer in other leagues & in international tournaments.  So far in all of those matches, the GDR on all long balls is 0.29.  On shorter passes (either by foot or hand), the GDR is 0.66.
  • In every match, except for Dundee United v Aberdeen, the team that had a higher GDR also had the better overall possession in the match.

All of the data from this ongoing study will be released at the turn of the year.

You can follow Rangers Report on Twitter @TheGersReport

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “A closer, statistical look at Wes Foderingham’s distribution

  1. Excellent article. Really appreciate the work that goes into the statistics on the site, and find it very interesting. It’ll be fascinating to see how it progresses through the season.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s