Champions League Final Possession Efficiency Stats

written by – Rangers Report    photo courtesy of  – AP

This post was inspired by the ongoing work of @TempoFreeHockey on his  NHL Possession Efficiency Ratings website.  His tireless tracking of NHL games is admirable & should inspire football analysts to do more with the stats made publicly available from Opta.  All stats for this post came from FourFourTwo’s StatsZone.

Champions League Final

Possession Efficiency Stats:  Real Madrid v Juventus 

Possessions include pass attempts, shots, & failed take-ons.

Gonzalo Higuain, courtesy of Getty Images

  • 36% of Juventus’ play went through Miralem Pjanic, Dani Alves, & Leonardo Bonucci.  Of those three, only Pjanic was able to sustain possession at a rate noticeably above the team’s average.  Alves & Bonucci weren’t bad, but Bonucci’s reliance on long balls into the final third led to a loss of possession 44% of the time.  Meanwhile, Alves only completed 74% of his passes in the midfield (these numbers will be found later in this post).

Below you will find a visualization that shows which Juventus players were losing the ball at a higher or lower rate in relation to the overall team average.

  • Obviously we throw out Cuadaro’s number given he came on for the final third of the match, but couple his woeful possession efficiency with his red card in the 84th minute & you have a player who really can’t deflect any criticism he receives.
  • Sami Khedira was Juventus’ most efficient player in possession – being on the ball 35 times & only losing possession 9% of the time.
Casemiro, courtesy of Matthias Hangst (Getty Images Europe)

  • The first thing you’ll notice is that Real Madrid had a significant edge in total possessions largely because of their ability to sustain possession.  The champions only lost possession 11% of the time they were on the ball, while Juventus lost possession 21% of the time.
  • Eight of the ten starting field players had more than 50 possessions.  Only the two forwards, Benzema & Ronaldo, weren’t constantly involved in the build up of play.  That combined group only lost possession 11% of the time they were on the ball, which when flipped to a sustained possession rate of 89% is pretty reflective of Real Madrid’s advantage in the overall run of play.
  • Toni Kroos’ numbers stick out given he had the highest number of possessions for any player on the pitch & he sustained that possession 93% of the time – a rate that was second only to Casemiro.

Below you will find a visualization that shows which Real Madrid players were losing the ball at a higher or lower rate in relation to the overall team average.

  • This is really nitpicking given how efficient the Real Madrid players were (especially in relation to their opponents), however once you look past the subs – you see that Marcelo & Luka Modric were the least efficient possession players.  However, you’ll see later in the post that they were also the two most active players in the attacking third (where it is more difficult to sustain possession).  The duo combined for three shots & three key passes so while they weren’t as efficient as their teammates they were  definitely among the most dangerous players on the pitch.
Alex Sandro, courtesy of Getty Images

I’ve already highlighted Alex Sandro’s struggles in a previous post & you can see that the trend was that he was losing possession at a higher rate than the team average all over the pitch.

Given that we are dealing with percentages, some of the numbers are skewed (for example, Barzagli completed four of his five passes in the defensive third, which translates to turning the ball over 20% of the time).  So, you will find the raw stats later in the post to get a more complete look at the stats.

The two numbers that really stick out here comes when you compare Real Madrid’s loss of possession rates in the final third & their defensive third to Juventus’.  When in the final third, Real Madrid was able to sustain possession 79% of the time while Juventus only did 65% of the time.  More damning to Juventus is the fact that they retained possession 88% of the time compare to 97% for Real Madrid in the defensive third.  You simply do not want to be giving up the ball in your own third (or bad things will happen).

Here are all of the possession efficiency stats from the three different zone, along with how players did in the attacking penalty box.

 

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