On the Relationship Between Attacking Third Passes and Success in the English Premier League

Authors: Bret R. Myers; Brian Q. Coughlin

Corresponding Author:
Bret R. Myers
204 Eagle Glen Drive
Coatesville, PA 19320
bret.myers@villanova.edu
804-357-5876

Bret Myers is an assistant professor of management and operations at Villanova University. He also works as an analytics consultant for Toronto FC of Major League Soccer. Bret’s research and consulting is at the intersection of core sporting knowledge and the leveraging of data analysis to improve decision making for competitive advantage.

Brian Coughlin is a senior data analyst at Decision Resources Group in Exton, PA. He also serves as director of lacrosse operations at Villanova University. His passion lies in the field of analytics with a specific interest in mining data, analyzing statistics, and offering strategic recommendations that help organizations make better decisions.

On the relationship between attacking third passes and success in the English Premier League

ABSTRACT
This research examined how changes in attacking third pass behavior can impact a team’s ability to maintain leads and secure wins based on data collected from the 2011-2012 English Premier League Season. A team’s attacking third behavior is measured by the number of attacking third passes completed per minute. The results of this paper suggest that while teams tend to complete less passes in the final third when they are ahead in a match vs. being behind, there is evidence to suggest that a drop in attacking third pass behavior when ahead in a match will reduce the likelihood of maintaining a lead and securing three points.

Keywords: Soccer Strategy, Coaching Strategy, Sports Analytics, Soccer Analytics, Protecting a Lead, Staying Aggressive throughout a Match

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