Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The 2014/15 Premier League: Territory%

Quick post. 

What is Territory%?

For starters, it's a terrible name. 

The chart you see below is pretty simple. It takes all the completed passes (controlled possession) for the team in question and its opponents, and splits them into the 3 zones where the passes took place. 

Basically, I am using completed pass volume in each zone to create a territory proxy.

Defensive zone = defensive zone passes for + attacking zone passes against.
Defensive zone = neutral zone passes for + neutral zone passes against.
Attacking zone = attacking zone passes for + defensive zone passes against.


The chart below is interactive and features the Territory% proxy for each team.

City, Chelsea, Arsenal & United are your top 4 in terms of attacking territory%. Burnley and QPR are in 5th and 6th place.

Sunderland and Swansea are well adrift by attacking territory%. 

Sunderland, West Brom, Everton & Swansea are the 4 teams who are somewhat adrift of the pack per the amount of time spent hemmed in their own defensive zone.

With & Without

Now, the chart above looked at the Territory% for each team using all completed passes. But that chart doesn't tell us what each team looks like by Territory% with and without the ball.

I grappled with the design of the chart below, and I still ain't happy with it.

The important thing to remember here is that the group of bars on the left (brighter colours) tells us about the territory% split for each team when IN possession of the ball. The group of bars on the right (faded colours) tells us what their opponents did with the ball (without possession of the ball)

A quick example: 

Arsenal, with the ball, had a territory split of 15.6/52.8/31.6 in the D zone/N zone/A zone. These are some good numbers.

Arsenal's opponents had a territory split of 20.4/55.7/23.8.

With the ball, 31.6% of Arsenal's completed passes were in the attacking zone. But when their opponents had the ball, Arsenal restricted them to posting just 23.8% of their completed passes in the attacking zone.

Arsenal were a good, attacking territory team with the ball. Without the ball, Arsenal were able to restrict their opponents to a much lower percentage of passes in the attacking zone.

Red = defensive zone
Yellow = neutral zone
Green = attacking zone

Manchester City were the most dominant territory% team both with and without the ball.

Sunderland's opponents posted a really high percentage of their passes in the attacking zone. Either Sunderland were unable to prevent themselves from being hemmed in, or the deep defensive strategy was deliberate. Ditto Everton.

Swansea posted pretty bad territory% numbers both with and without the ball.

Manchester United were quite the team at forcing their opponents into fairly harmless possession.


Some interesting pieces of information in the interactive charts above.  I'm not quite sure how usable territory% is but it gives us another layer of information about teams.

Total territory% is about as good a proxy as we can get for the percentage of time spent in each zone. Add in with and without the ball territory% and we have some cool info.