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About shots made in a match

  1. Death Ball's Avatar Death Ball
    Modern Day Legend

    About shots made in a match

    Since the blogs have closed and I've not yet examples of all cases, I'm copying the two posts from the blog to the forums, as is my plan to add a third post to the series.

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    I am frankly quite annoyed with all the complaints about having a bucketload of shots and losing to a team who shot only a few times. As if it was all about how many times you shoot and nothing else, just like pro-Barça journalists and some fans seem to think football is possession and nothing else. Come on, there's much more than that. There's many factors that influence what's happening and having shots at goal just by itself doesn't mean anything. It has to be coupled with other factors and events, it's depending on that that it can mean different things.

    I wrote a brief post about it, that I paste here:

    «>20 shots at goal is worse than 10 shots at goal, it means the players are "trigger happy" and jump too soon in their attempts to score.

    0-5 shots, the team is being dominated and is having trouble to keep the ball.*
    6-10 shots, the team is probably standing to the opponent, but is being inferior and is being dominated. A likely loss unless it's a poor match by both teams.
    11-15 shots, the team is being able to do the job, though with no big displays. Probably a good evenly matched game. If it's a superior team, then probably has been building carefully the chances and will likely win by a small scoreline, like 1-0, though against weak opposition it can turn to be a comfortable 3-0.
    15-20 shots, the team is dominating the match, probably creating chances and unless the opposition is strong will be likely a comfortable win, a 3-0.
    21+ shots, the team is being too hasty, the players are too impatient to score, they shoot too soon, either because they're so complacent they don't even bother to work a quality shot or *the opposition is playing a defensive strategy set to frustrate the players, making them shoot as soon they see a line out of desperation. Unless your goalkeeper is a real professional who stays at all times concentrated, it's likely one of the few chances goes into the net, as probably their tactic will be geared so the few chances will be counter attacks when the team hasn't yet got the time to stablish the defence.»

    But seriously, have we forgot that Football Manager intends to put us in the shoes of a manager, and direct a team through tactics and tactics are of the utmost importance?. Do we ignore there's several kinds of tactics and one of them consists in dropping back, absorb rival's shots to run on a counter and try to convert the few chances generated? Have we never seen the lesser team win a match, even a two leg play off?. Didn't ManU or Liverpool or Arsenal have never lost to lower level teams in the English cups?. Didn't Real Madrid lose to 2B Alcorcón two seasons ago in their Copa del Rey fixture?.

    There is not just how many shots you get, but what kind of shots you've getting and you're conceding. A football match is a contest to get the most and the best shots and avoiding the opposition to have them. So when a team faces another, it can be vastly superior, superior, slightly superior, equal, slightly inferior, inferior or vastly inferior. Depending on what's the balance, a team can aim to have many chances and the best chances or needs to give up on one of them, in which case it obviously will be the having many, and in some cases can only hope to have some chances at all. On the other hand, that team can look to deny chances to his rival or may be forced to admit the rival will have chances no matter what, so the task is not to deny them, but deny their quality, force the opposition to make poor shots.

    What is the objective of a Segunda, say Elche, when faced to Real Madrid? Give up the ball and keep as many guys behind it as to keep covered all the possible ways for a through ball and many bodies to block any long shot, making the merengue players get tired and frustrated with all the fruitless passing and decide to shoot at the first glimpe of a shadow of chance. That is, to make shots when there's really not a chance to score. When such state of mind is generated on the bigger team, the players will tend to shoot earlier and with worse chances of goal, as the feeling working the ball will be meaningless starts to get to them, and so the number of shots attempted will increase and sky rocket into big amounts. But big amounts that could well have been 100 shots by the goalkeeper from his area. With that hope to keep the goal at 0 and at least take one point, and then, attack on the counter, fast, running, trying to get a man with the ball ahead of the defence to get a handful of chances and maybe, just maybe, get one goal and get the miracle of the win. One of the factors to help the weaker team to get that goal with so few chances would be the fact that with so many minutes in a row without a threat to block, the goalie or the defence may have lowered their attention (concentration, maybe work rate, coupled with natural fitness or stamina, possibly).

    So if the bigger team has had more than 20 shots and the weak has had 4 and won, it just means the weak side's plan has worked and the big team's manager has not known how to react to it to make his players do what is needed to get over the opposition's plan. The weak has conceded the shots, but has not conceded good ones, the big's players have shot too hastily when there was not yet a real chance, then the weak had the luck that one of his few chances worked as it was supposed to and caught the big's defence staring at the grass.

    What the big team has to do, is to realize sooner better than later, that it's being forced to bad shots and that the work has to go in the way on avoiding taking so many shots and have more patience to wait until the right options can be created. That is the right way of action after such defeats, not going, once the bad work has reaped its fruit, to whine over the forums that there's something wrong with the game, or to the press crying because the opposition players have man marked you implying they should be locked in a insane asylum.
    Last edited by Death Ball; 17/02/2012 at 06:49 PM.

  2. Death Ball's Avatar Death Ball
    Modern Day Legend
    Ok, now let's go to three example matches.

    In the first one, my Leicester team is the weak team, and we lose. For a time it seems like we may get away with a 0-0 draw, but in the end we don't. Here are the end match stats:


    Click on image to see full size

    What can we see there?. I played a defensive game trying to do exactly what a weaker team would do: focus on trying to avoid Chelsea to have shots from good positions and hope to take advantage of the few chances I could get on the counter. But it didn't work. Why did end in a 0-2?.

    In the first place I made a mistake by changing neither my usual short passing game instruction that I plan to be the norm during the season nor the slow pace the TC sets for a counter strategy, so the result was that when we got the ball, the team didn't try to pump it forward to run a counterk as it should, that made for the fact that out of the five shots we took none was from a position to get it on target: we simply gave time to Chelsea to organize their defence and so they took it back before we could take it to their area, we only could try shots harried by them, so none of our few chances could be good enough to score. We did create two clear cut chances, near the end of the match, when I had realized my mistake and told them to play direct, one of them had the ball skimming the outside of a post. Another day it could have been one goal with much less shots than Chelsea.

    In second place, Chelsea did 17 shots, which is in the ideal range of 15-20. What does it tell us?. That we didn't manage to frustrate them as much as we needed to, though having only 3 shots at goal shows we were close. Why didn't we do it?. See above. Since I had the team play a short passing game, my players were more keen into passing the ball and keep possession that keep behind the ball. That was the reason why Chelsea scored their first goal: after intercepting a pass, they could find their left winger (I don't remember who was) who then could give the ball to Torres inside the area, there the Spaniard showed his class (FM class, at least ) hitting the ball turning himself to get it into the corner of our goal. The second was perhaps more of one of those lucky situations in which at a rebound in a corner the ball fell to Torres feet in the post farther from the goalkeeper so he could bury it before Schmeichel made it.

    If I had not committed those mistakes, I might be showing you one of the several cases in which, in FM, one of my teams defeats tough opposition by these counter attacking tactics. If I had instructed my men to play direct, the first goal would have not been possible as the ball wouldn't have been stolen that close to my area, would have found the lines of passing covered, likely, and maybe our three first shots wouldn't have been desperate attempts to get something before the defense robbed the ball but positions gained behind the defence. Chelsea players might have been frustrated into shooting more than twenty times, most from afar, as was the case, and one of my five attacks could have gone in for a 1-0.

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    Now let's move onto the second example.


    Click image for full size

    In this case, I play the big team and I manage the expected comfortable 4-0 victory. Let's read the stats. First, let's see what it says about Leicester:

    1 - We shot 18 times, inside the ideal range. We had the patience to elaborate our attacks and wait for a chance, note that out of the 18 shots, only 1 is from long range, and I didn't tell my team to work ball into the area (I have long shots to mixed or rarely, depending on long shot stat, I have quite a few with mixed).

    2 - Our greater possession comes from 1, we had the ball more than Fleetwood not so much because we stole it quickly as for the fact my team passed the ball around until finding a hole for a through ball, a cross or a dribble.

    Now, what does it tell us about Fleetwood?:

    1 - Their possession tells us they were indeed the inferior side and couldn't keep the ball. But let's let stress this, if we remember from the previous point, they couldn't keep the ball. As I said, our possession came mainly from us working our attacks, not from stealing the ball quickly. That means what turned the possession balance against them wasn't really our work but their errors. And if it was that, then it tells us they didn't choose to play with the mentality they should have tried to. Some balls, they lost with bad passes or bad dribbles, some they lost...

    2 - ... trying more shots than are produced by the tactics advisable for their inferiority in comparison to us. They tried to play us as if they were a match for us, as a result they didn't ever manage to get the ball behind our defence in any position that was really dangerous and getting desperate in their attacks with bad shots, many of which happened from long range. They thought they could use a normal play of building chances and found an impassable defence that made them get hasty when it was too late to take the quick action effectively. Not that by then a slow attack would have served them well, due to the big difference in quality.

    If they had admitted the gap between the two teams, they would have gone more defensively, we'd have had more possession because they'd have given it to us with their long passes trying to get to the back of our defences and then they might have been able to frustrate my players into shooting very soon and make 24 shots with 12 or more from long distance, and they would have limited to the few times they might have got a long ball over our defence to their strikers.



    * * *

    And now, let's go to the final example:


    Click image for full size

    I should have taken a screenshot at half time stats, but too late now. The relevant information is that at half time we went with 74% possession but only 3 shots, being the bigger club. They had just one. What had happened?

    Easy: I had expected Oldham to be tougher than Fleetwood and deploy a defensive tactic. I was right in both, but I went a bit too far into asking for patience, asking my side to work ball into box, keep the ball and this time to harass their players and push higher. In this match, our high possession was product of our work robbing the ball early but also a consequence of the team making the ball dizzy rolling around the field without ever getting to try anything. We weren't getting frustrated, we were just doing nothing. This was a good sign, as it meant Oldham's defense wasn't really making my players itchy to get a shot already.

    In the second half, I removed the keep ball shout as well as the work ball into the box. As a consequence of this the players began to try things and found that the Oldham's defence wasn't that tough after all, though to a certain extent it did some to frustrate my players, as they ended trying a bigger proportion of long shots than I would have liked or was usual in the other matches. We started to get balls through the defence or crossed for shots at goal, apart from some long shots when there were spaces between their defenders. Our first goal came from one of such, shot by Andy King from 25 yards in front of goal. The second was a Moussa header at point blank reaching a cross to the far post and the last was a penalty scored by King in the injury time. As consequence of our team trying more, we left the ball earlier which meant our possession at the end wasn't as much as it was during first half, and also that Oldham could try to finish a few of their attacks. And despite the final result, that second half wasn't that far from being more problematic than the first, as we tried 10 shots, which would correspond to 20 in a full, match, the upper limit when it starts being a bad sign; but fortunately Oldham had made the same mistake as Fleetwood, so it would have been a 0-0 in worst case (barring flukes by either side) as they didn't bring their ball with the necessary speed to create me problems and wasted their few shots with long range efforts that had no hopes of going in.
    Last edited by Death Ball; 17/02/2012 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Correction of mispellings and grammar errors I could spot

  3. Death Ball's Avatar Death Ball
    Modern Day Legend
    And back with a few new examples.

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    This is the match that the superior team should look to make.

    Game plan was to build up with patience, without bringing everyone up in a go. Pass the ball, move it and the forward and wingers up the pitch without haste. Get it near the opposition's area and look for a hole in the defence. Is there no hole?. No problem, come up a midfielder to get the ball and move it around, try move the defence, fullbacks start showing yourselves. Defence still not well placed? Ball to the fullback, attract some defenders away from the area to clear a little their area, and look for a hole. Dribble or pass to the wingers if there's no cross already, if the winger can't find anything, pass back to the advanced midfielder to move the defence a little more.

    The team doesn't run for it, doesn't try desperately to get a goal, it works with patience and with players offering themselves in the right moments the ball is kept without great hassle from their defence. Avoiding the harassment the advanced players don't feel compelled to try a long shot or a desperate through ball or lose it, they try the long shots when there's a good line to the goalie, though they went wide or high. Instead they work the ball around, they move the defense and look for passes into the area and the shots are only attempted when received in decent positions. Hence, the amount of chances created and shots isn't anything amazing, but the proportion of good chances are very high.

    On the other end, not committing more men to the attack than needed ensures that there's the minimum number of men behind, the two centrebacks, one midfielder and the fullback of the other side than the ball in position to stop any attempt at a counter, so when the rivals recover the ball our team tracks back before them and they see their counter denied, having to work to break our defence and in our superiority they are unable to create any decent chance.


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    And this is a match at the home of a team expected to be better. Drop deep, keep men behind the ball, hide the lanes for long shots and for through balls, keep narrow and the centre populated so their already small forwards have even more difficulty to get any cross, keep the back four plus a midfielder behind, play long balls looking to get behind their defence fast...

    The success is very simple, as they fall completely into our plan. They find no space between lines for their through balls, when their forwards receive the ball, they either have men in front who negate them the shots or they were in offside. They don't see any way through and when they're a little pressed they have no patience left for a back pass to resume the buildup and either shot from far away or try a pass to the most advanced teammate, if they reach the ball, they do in a bad situation with a defender on top of them and negating them the chance to make a control and their shoot comes off.

    When the ball is recovered and not through a goal kick or throw in, they have a lot of players up the pitch and a long ball that is taken by a player has good chances of being taken behind the defender or with only one or two to beat. The goal arrrived near the end, how?. A long ball to a pacey winger with only a man close to impede his advance, he sees the striker running up through the middle and the other winger up the other side and only one defender in the middle, so he runs sticking to the sideline and getting a little space by the byline he only has to cross to the second post above the defender going through the middle for the other winger who tucked in to kick to an empty goal.


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    This was basically the same as before, but when the real difference between the two sides isn't as big as expected and the theorical smaller side had enough quality to do something out of the counters, doing some calm build ups when the counters weren't an available option and finding the gaps of the defense before them. They create more chances than the eventual counter and in that way they find the goals.

  4. I don't agree. I can perfectly have 25 shots, while not playing bad, and winning 5-0. That doesn't mean my players shoot at every opportunity (that would be against my tactic). I don't think the actual amount of shots matters (of course, the more, the better.), I think the CCC are far more important. If you shoot 25 times and have 0, or 1 CCC, it's a sign your team is dominating but isn't able to create enough and is shooting form distance. If you shoot 25 times and have 8 CCC, you're simply better, your players are doing well and creating chances. If you've got 18 shots but no CCC, you'll still have played a bad game, taking long shots.
    Death Ball likes this.

  5. Death Ball's Avatar Death Ball
    Modern Day Legend
    Well, that the number range is not necessarily set in stone I thought went without saying. Certainly, I should have stated that as well.

    You're right that shooting 25 doesn't has to be 100% a case of shooting hastily, there are the cases in which the superiority of a side is enough that they can find the chances so easily that they can shoot 25 as result of that ease to find the holes. And there's indeed cases of making 17 shots that happen to be hurried. The numbers I gave are based merely in my experience since FM09, in which 90% of games in those ranges correspond to those types of game. But I find that more often than not going over 18-21 shots ends being a case of frustration.

    With the CCCs you also got a point, I should have looked and mentioned those. As you say, the amount of CCCs should be an indicator of the quality of chances, however I'm not sure the way it assigns CCCs is actually right. From some matches I can't shake the feeling the CCCs don't account for quality but mere proximity, so maybe a striker shooting alone from the edge of the area without goalie is counted as half chance at best while a header in the small area with the goalie well positioned and the striker surrounded by three tall defenders is counted as CCC where he's against big odds. Then there's some analysis that show half chances close and some CCCs further away, which seems to negate the proximity hypothesis. Then in others the analysis shows as half chance one I remember clearly to be a one on one with the goalie bad positioned and a CCC had the striker tightly marked in front by a defender and goalie well positioned. Also, I don't know how's usually for the rest, but for me 90% of games with many CCCs are the ones my team doesn't score and the ones with one or none the ones I score the most. Those doubts are what led me to let the CCCs point unmentioned.

    So, yeah, basically I think you're right except for the fact that the CCCs, while in theory should be exactly as you say, may not really be a trustable statistic. My personal experience says it's not, but maybe there's something very wrong with my tactics that make for that oddity.

    (As a note, the match descriptions aren't purely what I say "reading" the stats, they're also the description of what happened. I should have added a match save file, but those who whine about losing with 30 shots don't use to give them either )

    Thanks for the input!

  6. Death Ball's Avatar Death Ball
    Modern Day Legend
    Case in point:



    I started with a rigid-standard-direct passing (I think I forgot to make it mixed)-more disciplined tactic.

    There's a lot of shots and even of shots from long distance and many CCCs. After the first goal we scored at 3 min I turned it to counter, only change I made. A game played fast looking for moving up quickly and the defense working well to deny chances. Some of those long shots come from my players not being too pacey (fastest got 14 pace) shooting when almost clear of the defence to avoid losing the ball when being almost there in front of the goalie. Despite that I think it was a good game built from a good defensive work and good attacks, some perhaps a bit too fast, but rarely hasty.

    Only checked the first half of the savegame

    Torino v Siena.pkm

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