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Stats: Who Leads the K-League in Possession?


(From SPOTV via youtube.com)
Does possession matter?  Are teams who have more possession at the top of the table?  

With the international break, most teams are off over the weekend.  With just over a third of the season having been played, I thought it would be interesting to look at how teams are doing statistically.  Utilizing kleague.com, I have made this chart showing the amount of possession each team averages and their league position.  


K-League Classic: Possession
Rank
Team
Possession. (%)
Position in League
1
FC Seoul
52.69
2nd
2
Suwon Bluewings
52.27
9th
3
Ulsan 
51.02
4th
4
Sangju Sangmu
51.01
7th
5
Gwangju FC
50.74
6th
6
Suwon FC
50.52
10th
7
Jeonbuk Motors
49.63
1st
8
Incheon United
49.11
12th
9
Jeonnam Dragons
48.92
11th
10
Jeju United
48.75
5th
11
Pohang Steelers
48.48
8th
12
Seonganm FC
47
3rd

Not surprisingly, FC Seoul top the league in possession.  The reason that it is not surprising is because traditionally, Seoul have adopted an orientation based on possession.  However, up until last week, Seoul were never first and either third or fourth depending on their opponent with either the Suwon Bluewings or Ulsan leading the league.

This year Seoul have played a more direct style and it is only in half of their games where they have had 55% or more of the ball.  Two of those, against Incheon and Suwon FC, they won the games.  In the games that they have lost, versus Jeonbuk and Pohang, they had the ball 56% and 64% of the time, and in last week's draw against Jeonnam they had the ball 59% of the time.

My point is that just because a team has the ball does not mean they are likely to score.  In the K-League this year, often times the team with a significant advantage in possession has ended up losing the game because this advantage is usually a result of being behind and chasing the game.  Again, utilizing kleague.com, I have made a table of games where there was a 10% difference in possession between the teams and the result.  

K-League Classic 2016 Possession versus Results
Fixture
Possession
Result
Jeonbuk-FC Seoul
44-56%
1-0
Seongnam-Suwon Bluewings
41-59%
2-0
Pohang-Gwangju FC
56-44%
3-3
Sangju Sangmu-Ulsan
44-56%
2-0
Gwangju FC-Jeju Utd.
55-45%
1-0
FC Seoul-Sangju Sangmu
45-55%
4-0
FC Seoul-Incheon Utd.
55-45%
3-1
Sangju Sangmu-Suwon FC
45-55%
1-1
Incheon-Seongnam
55-45%
2-3
Suwon Bluewings-Pohang
55-45%
1-1
Gwangju FC-FC Seoul
55-45%
1-2
Jeju Utd.-Sangju Sangmu
40-60%
4-2
FC Seoul-Suwon FC
55-45%
3-0
Sangju Sangmu-Pohang
43-57%
2-0
Ulsan-Jeju
55-45%
0-1
Ulsan-FC Seoul
55-45%
1-2
Sangju Sangmu-Jeonbuk
55-45%
2-2
Pohang-Jeju Utd.
45-55%
1-0
Incheon-Ulsan
57-43%
0-1
Ulsan-Seongnam
57-43%
0-3
Suwon FC-Jeju Utd.
59-41%
2-5
FC Seoul-Pohang
64-36%
1-3
Ulsan-Pohang
56-44%
0-0
Sangju Sangmu-Incheon
55-45%
4-2
Sangju Sangmu-Seongnam
59-41%
2-3
Suwon Bluewings-Ulsan
64-36%
2-4
Incheon-Gwangju FC
43-57%
0-1
Seongnam-Incheon
56-44%
0-1
Jeju Utd.-Ulsan
57-43%
1-2
Gwangju FC-Suwon FC
45-55%
1-0
FC Seoul-Jeonnam
59-41%
1-1
Jeonbuk-Sangju Sangmu
55-45%
3-2

This is a rather simple table, but my argument is that teams with higher possession rates such as Incheon United, might be a result of frequently losing and having to chase teams to get back into the game.  In the end, I guess possession in and of itself does not matter too much.  More important is how teams use the ball when they have it.  A team like Seongnam, which has the least amount of possession in the K-League, is in third place.  Often times, they are more successful when their opponent has the majority of the ball as the table above shows.  

1 comment

  1. I guess it also depends what direction you're going with the ball, whether it's just a number of sideways and backwards passes, especially if you're trying to waste time at the end of the game. I've never been a big believer in possession stats when they are used as the main arguement to credit/discredit a team post-match.

    Although an ACL game, a good recent example is Jeonbuk's 3-0 away win in Tokyo this season, in what I think was the moment they finally showed up this year and kickstarted an upturn in form.

    Their possession in that game ranged from 32-38% depending on different sites yet kept FC Tokyo to 0-1 shot on target (again, depending on different sites), waited for mistakes and were ruthless when going forward.

    Then again, possession based football can also reap multiple rewards. Tactics are a far bigger factor..

    Good information to reflect on, enjoying these pieces while we have this break.

    ReplyDelete

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