Dominating opponents does not always lead to success. However, the InStat data analysed in the 274th CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post shows that most of the best performing teams are able to maximise their passes in the opponent’s third of the pitch, while minimising the opponent’s passes in their own third. The best ratio overall in the 35 European leagues surveyed was measured for Manchester City.
Guardiola’s team made on average 210 passes per match in the opponent’s third, versus only 59 by the opponents in their own third (ratio of 3.55). This ratio is only 1.9 for Premier League leaders Liverpool (180 passes versus 85). The greatest number of passes in the opponent’s third part of the field was recorded for AFC Ajax (220 per match). The Dutch side has the second best ratio (3.43), ahead of Steven Gerrard’s Rangers Glasgow (3.03).
The worst ratio overall was observed for another Scottish side: Hamilton Academical (0.39). A very negative ratio was also recorded for Newcastle United (0.41). Fulham (1.78) has the most positive ratio in the Championship ahead of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United (1.58). Nottingham Forest is at the opposite end of the table (0.71). More data is available in the exclusive CIES Football Observatory & InStat Performance Atlas.
Passes achieved in opponent third vs passes conceded in own third
Per domestic league match played between 01/07/2019 and 11/11/2019. Data: InStat.