Zone Entries from Rangers closed session loss to St Johnstone

written by – Rangers Report    photo courtesy of – SNS

A glossary & rationale for tracking attacking zone entries can be found here in a previous post.

Rangers v St Johnstone:  July 18, 2017 (closed session friendly)

Controlled Zone Entries (CZE)

  • Early on, it was Niko Kranjcar driving possession into the final third with five controlled entries in his limited minutes.  Those entries didn’t lead to much.
  • Graham Dorrans impressed in his debut leading the team with 11 controlled entries & every time he played the ball into the final third it was on a controlled play.  Those entries tended to be passes & you can see that the build up play would develop nearly every time Dorrans triggered an entry.  The first/next pass was completed after Dorrans got the ball into the final third 100% of the time & 91% of his entries led to positive results.  Those included the ultimate creation of two shots & two corners.
  • As a team, Rangers looked to pass the ball into the final third.
  • Rangers generated a shot directly from 19% of their controlled entries, which is within the range of what you’d expect.  In their loss to Progres, only 5% of their CZE led to shots.
  • Rangers success rate was equal regardless if they passed the ball in or dribbled into the final third (77% both ways)
  • Five shots came after passed controlled entries & three came after the ball was dribbled in (17% when passed in, 23% when dribbled in)

Non-Controlled Entries (NCE)

Controlled % is the rate of total entries that were controlled.

  • Rangers dictated play & that shows in the fact that 74% of their entries into the final third were controlled.
  • Tavernier was the only player who strayed from the script.  Often they were good balls that turned into 50/50 battles & you can see that his decision making was justified in the fact that 63% of his non-controlled entries led to positive results.

Entry Share is the percentage of the team’s total entries into the final third that the player accounted for.

  • The attack was being generated through two players in particular:  Graham Dorrans & James Tavernier.  They accounted for 51% of the team’s entries into the final third.
  • I have no problem with two center backs being Passengers in this case.  Bates was a sub & Cardoso stayed back unless it was a set piece

  • Rangers had zero problem entering the final third on the left side (against St Johnstone’s right sided defenders).  That’s seen in the controlled rate of 93%, which is even more impressive given that 33% of all entries came via this route.  79% of these CZE were passed in with Dorrans leading the way (6 controlled entries & 5 of them were passed in) & three from Lee Wallace (all passed in).
  • Also notice that 93% of the time Rangers were able to make that next play to sustain the attack once entering on the left side.  93% of the first/next pass was completed after a CZE on the left.  Against Progres, that rate was 55%.
  • When Rangers were able to gain entry on the right flank with a controlled play it led to a positive result 75% of the time including four of those entries directly leading to a shot.
  • Overall, Rangers were very effective entering the final third on the right side (vs St Johnstone’s left sided defenders).  Of the eight non-controlled entries on that side, seven led to positive results.  That’s a real indication of a weakness to exploit.

  • Note the markings of left, center, & right are from the point of view of St. Johnstone’s attack.  So, a left sided entry is actually against the right side of Rangers defense, while a right sided entry is against the left side of the defense.
  • St. Johnstone clearly had a plan to exploit Lee Wallace & his defensive partner (Danny Wilson in the first half, Cardoso in the second half).  Usually entries are split more evenly, but 57% of all entries were from St Johnstone’s right side.
  • You can see that this was indeed the route to take.  It was way easier to enter the final third with a controlled play & it was the only route that led to successful results via a CZE.
  • Overall, 62% of St Johnstone’s entries were non-controlled which makes defending much easier.  You can see that more often than not, these kind of entries led to Rangers regaining the ball & almost no build up play being generated (first/next pass completion).

Lastly, it is interesting to combine that entry data with where key passes came from (key passes are the passes that set up shots).

  • 40% of Rangers 15 key passes came from Zone 18 (remember how we just highlighted that left side of the defense being something to exploit?).  It should be noted that two of these six key passes came from corners.
  • 40% came from Zone 14
  • 13% came from Zone 7 (that’s just weird & an indication that the right side of St Johnstone’s defense may not be very good either [as in long balls are creating chances])
  • 7% from Zone 16
  • 7% Zone 11

St. Johnstone’s four key passes were equally split from Zones 16, 15 14, 13


3 thoughts on “Zone Entries from Rangers closed session loss to St Johnstone

  1. Great article again RR. first time commenting on your work and t just seems to me that the much maligned James Tavernier who is apparently not rangers quality according to many (every article from ibroxnoise) is actually one of our most productive offensive assets and like a one of our top 5 most important players. I imagine he was much to do with the good work coming out of zone 18


    1. First off – thanks for the kind words!

      I agree that Tavernier is one of the key offensive players on this team. He may be a liability at times on defense but the good plays he makes far outweighs the negative.

      Tav had two of those key passes out of Zone 18, both crosses into 6-yard box met by Herrara for headed shots.

      Thanks again for the support!


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