Pulis pips Pardew to Premier League long ball title: The full table
Posted on June 6th, 2013 | 55 Comments |
Below you will find my final report for the 2012-13 season on Alan Pardew’s long balls.
It has been a long journey which started in the first few games of the season. Although Pardew has always been something of an old school “route one” manager, I noticed from watching the games early in the season against teams such as Aston Villa, Everton, Norwich and Reading that things started to get even worse this season, and my suspicions were confirmed when I found in my first report (made 11 games into the season) that with 17.7% of their total passes being over 25 yards, Newcastle were indeed the biggest long ball side in the Premier League, ahead of Reading, who were then managed by Pardew protege, Brian “long balls” McDermott.
As I made further reports, Newcastle United maintained their lead, until now. In true Pardew style however, the performance declined in the final stages and Pardew eventually lost out to the kings of “Route One” football, Tony Pulis’s Stoke City (yes, I know he’s gone now), who sneaked up on the back stretch, eventually claiming the title for this season with an overall long ball percentage of 16.2%. In the final countdown, Pardew’s Newcastle could manage third with 15.6%, with the aforementioned Reading sneaking back into second place with a long ball percentage of 15.7%.
Though this is my final report for the season, I will still be watching Pardew like a hawk to see if this slight decline in Newcastle United’s reliance on long ball football continues.
Long balls vs long ball percentages.
Since I started probing Pardew’s long balls, it has come to my attention that quite a few others have jumped on the bandwagon, including the Sun. In that story, they proclaimed that Newcastle are still the biggest long ball side with 2283 long passes over 25 yards over the course of the season. Though this figure is indeed correct according to OPTA stats, I found out very early in my observations that merely counting the amount of long balls played by each team throughout the season is erroneous and doesn’t really tell us who is using long balls as a tactic and to what degree. Through this method, Newcastle United are still the highest here, having played a total of 2283 passes over 25 yards over the course of last season. However, which teams are using route one as a tactic is to measure them as a percentage of total passes played.
Let me explain. At the risk of stating the bloomin’ obvious, tippy tappy “passing” sides like Arsenal pass the ball more, making many more passes throughout a game whether they are short passes or longer ones, which skews the results. If you only measure it this way, to pick an example, this would make Swansea City a bigger long ball side than Stoke! If you know anything about Swansea’s and Stoke’s respective styles of play, you will know that this is absolute nonsense. Hence, to measure how much (or how little) teams use long balls as a tactic, including Newcastle United, I had to guage it on the percentage of long balls played rather than they lazy and deceptive method of merely recording the amount.
So with all of that explainaton out of the way, and without further ado, may I present the final long ball table for the 2012-13 Premier League season!
|Premiership long ball table 2012-13.|
|4||West Ham United||38||12571||1901||962||50.6%||50.0||15.1%|
|8||Queens Park Rangers||38||13635||1800||897||49.8%||47.4||13.2%|
|9||West Bromwich Albion||38||14357||1888||1002||53.1%||49.7||13.2%|
TP – Total Passes.
TLB – Total Long Balls.
ALB – Accurate Long Balls.
ALB% – Accurate Long Ball Percentage.
LBG – Average Long Balls per Game.
LB% – Long Ball Percentage.
Red – Highest.
Blue – Lowest.
The NUFC Blog long ball scale ©™
07% – 12% – Arsene Wenger. A tippy-tappy passing side who more or less completely eschew the long ball game.