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So, statistically, what’s different?

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When it’s almost -30 Celsius outside you do strange stuff to take your mind off it.*


Here’s a summary of the changes between the 17 games before the Villa game, and our last five – Overall (Home / Away):



  • Points per game average: 1.7 (1.2 / 2.0)
  • Goals – Saints: 0.8 (0.0 / 1.3)
  • Goal – Opponents: -1.5 (-2.2 / -0.7)
  • Shots – Saints: 0.4 (1.3 / -0.5)
  • Shots – Opponents: -3.7 (-6.6 / -1.4)
  • On Target % - Saints: 11.5% (-0.7% / 19.1%)
  • On Target % - Opponents: 5.5% (2.5% / 10.8%)
  • Scoring % - Saints: 6.0% (-0.9% / 10.8%)
  • Scoring % - Opponents: -9.0% (-12.1% / -4.9%)
  • Pass Success % - Saints: -5.7% (1.1% / -10.8%)
  • Pass Success % - Opponents: 2.0% (0.6% / 2.5%)
  • Possession % - Saints: -2.8% (3.9% / -7.3%)
  • Possession % - Opponents: 2.8% (-3.9% / 7.3%)


The most obvious improvements are in our Shots On Target % and our Scoring % (goals as a % of shots). So much of that is down to Danny Ings.


Less obvious - but at least as important, for me – is the decline in pass success and possession. Given our dramatic change in ‘fortunes’, those numbers are a great illustration of how statistics can lie. We are more inclined to put the laces through the ball when danger threatens, and less likely to keep trying to force “playing out from the back” with multiple passes between the back two/four. That change is especially pronounced in Away games.


The way things have been going lately, I couldn’t care less about our pass completion and possession stats.




* It’s a “dry cold” and I’ve felt colder heading back over the Itchen Bridge after another home loss.

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We win more games than other teams do whereas before we used to lose more.


We've won 5 of our last 6 games; the other one was a draw. Only the top 5 have won more games than we have this season.

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The optimum possession is around 40%, more than that and we are just shovelling the ball around our own half in slow motion, neutralising our attackers and leaving ourselves wide open to making mistakes and being counter attacked. At home at times we have been up close to 70% possession with the predictable lack of shots, attacks and penetration. When we get the ball forward quickly it doesn't matter if we lose it as we press hard to get it back. We had double the shots of Leicester and could have had half a dozen goals with 42% possession. Leicester managed 58% and had five shots and two corners. I rest my case.


We now have to cut our possession at home even against sides just defending. That means constant attacking just putting the ball down the channels or breaking the lines by Armstrong, Hojbjerg, Redmond etc as we did against Leicester and exposing the back four quickly. Definitely no interplay amongst the back five. When they get the ball it is probably in that instant that the opponents aren't consolidated so it is vital not to delay stick it into the channels for our pressers to get it or win it.

Edited by derry

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