written by – Rangers Report cover photo courtesy of Mark Runnacles (Getty Images)
In a previous post, I introduced a pretty straight forward shot location system that would be used to catalog where Rangers were generating their key passes (the pass that leads to a shot). Now, let’s apply it to Motherwell’s key passes on Saturday. It’ll be an example of how stats can highlight what the eyetest tells us – this match was a contest of contrasting styles: Rangers build-up play that looks to break down the opponent pass-by-pass & Motherwell’s reliance on the counter attack to create chances.
Like before, I totally apologize for the messiness of the following images….I’m sure most of you could do better (feel free to fix & send along any enhancements).
All of Rangers key passes came from inside the final third (Zones 12 & up). Motherwell? Only 50% of their key passes came from inside the attacking third, the other 50% came deeper out as the home side looked to send along the final pass of a counter attack from midfield before Rangers defenders could catch up to the play.
42% of the key passes came from Zone 9
17% came from Zone 12
17% from Zone 15
8% from Zone 6
8% from Zone 17
8% from Zone 19
The numbers suggest that this was very much like a basketball game. If Motherwell had to ‘run a set play’ (sorry for my Americanism), they weren’t a real threat (as evidenced by only two key passes originating from inside the box & one of those was after a corner kick).
Instead, they relied on the ‘fast break’, a counter attack – in which the defence is so focused on tracking back that passing lanes are being created all over the place.
On more than one occasion, Barrie McKay was forced to track back to cover for Lee Wallace, who was caught up the pitch.
Rangers want & need Wallace leading attacks on the flank — but will need to rely on better defensive support from midfield this season. As mentioned in the analysis of the game, Motherwell pinpointed Wallace’s side of the pitch in the second half as it’s main way to enter the attacking third & were quite effective when doing so.
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