2011/12 Statistical & Tactical Deconstruction


       Key Findings & Analysis

  • In total we finished 2 points better off than last season and for the 4th season on the spin we have improved points wise in the second half of the season.
  • Based on the 1.7 points per game tally of the second half of the season we would have got in total 64/65 points which would have got us 5th/6th spot and 5 points of 3rd spot in the final standings.

The below table shows our last 5 seasons form including the split between 1st and 2nd halves of the season

  • Our superior fitness gives us increased endurance and means we are capable of withstanding heavy pressure; the goals we concede in the last 15 minutes of games over the last four seasons goes down 44% in the second half of the season from the first half.
  • If you look back over the last 4 years we have outscored the opposition by 69 to 36 goals in the last 15 minutes of games. This season we have won 11 points in the last 10 minutes of games
  • 64% of our goals were scored in the second half –only Man City scores a higher %. We also score just 36% of our goals in the first half – again, only Man City score a lower %
  • We opened the scoring in 52.6 % of games and led at half time in 23.7% of games, with the opposition leading at the interval in 26.3% of games.
  • 66% of our matches had under 2.5 goals in total – a league high.
  • We have picked up 11 points from losing situations which ranks us 9th in the top flight comeback table. Arsenal (24) has the most, Man Utd (3) the fewest.
  • 20% of our goals have been scored by a substitute with Anichebe scoring 4 times from the bench – the most in the top flight

           Key Findings & Analysis

  • We conceded 12.5 shots per game, which is an improvement on last year’s total of 13.3 per game
  • In total we have kept 12 clean sheets, which is the best since our 2008/9 total of 17 – still the highest in the Moyes era.
  • Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines and Hibbert all have 9 clean sheets from games they have started in the back four. Distin has 7, Neville 5.
  • Only the Manchester clubs have conceded fewer, and only City fewer at home…with just 3 goals shipped at L4 since the Bolton defeat at the turn of the year.
  • Heitinga is ranked 5th in the top flight for most blocked shots per game

Key Findings & Analysis

  • Against sides who play out from the back we have often deployed 4-2-3-1 (pressing opposition fullbacks) rather than  4-4-1-1 (wide men support their own fullbacks in the defensive phase) 
  • We will invariably get 11 men behind the ball when possession is lost, hence the low number of shots we concede and the area we concede them (just 6% in our 6 yard box – Stoke has fewest in this zone at 5%)
  • Only Liverpool (32%) spent more time in the opposition half than us (31%) This is often down to us pinning sides into their own half by closing off forward passing angles and ‘boxing’ them in – a good example being Cahill at Swansea basically standing on Swansea anchorman and key playmaker Britton.
  • Our pressing strategy can be split into two phases, phase one pressing higher up field looking to force opponents into mistakes and get a goal advantage. Phase two is basically ‘what we have we hold’. This approach got notable wins & clean sheets against Chelsea, Man City and Swansea with on average just 35% of the ball in each game.
  • Fellaini is ranked 13th in the top flight for aerials won with a tidy 74% success rate from his 116 headers.
  • As a team our aerials won per game has gone down quite a bit from last season. We are not a massive team but winning headers is not always vital if you keep your midfield and defensive lines close and pick up the second balls
  • Against sides whose attacking strengths lie in quick, pacey movement who like to play through the middle (eg Man City) we push them out to the flanks and invite crosses given our aerial superiority. For sides that play with width, we block off angles and look to make them play through the middle.
  • Tackles and fouls have this season gone down whilst interceptions have gone up.  Fellaini made 2.6 fouls per game in the top flight, which is the highest in the division

The below tables shows the pressing ‘contacts’ for each side in the top flight…

Key Findings & Analysis

  • There was minimal change in the makeup of our passing; short passes per game has gone up slightly,  long passes has gone down and crosses have also gone down based on last year’s figures but all have been minimal changes
  • The best passing accuracy recorded was Jack Rodwell at 87.6%; however the player who has filled his role Darron Gibson is second on 84.1%. Tellingly however, Gibson is more involved and makes 30% more passes per game than Rodwell

The below table shows a breakdown of each sides passing in the top flight….

  • Jags is ranked 10th in the top flight for most accurate long balls per game (6.6) with a 57% accuracy. Heitinga’s accuracy was better ( 60%) and more accurate playing on the rightside of the centre back pair using his better right foot for the diagonal. Both were put in the shade by Gibson whose long passes hit their target 77% of the time

In terms of player importance, the below shows the win % with and without for each player in the league games they have/ haven’t started…….

  • Gibson has the best winning % (55%) although for the second season running Leon Osman’s figures in terms of importance make him the key man; when he plays the Blues win 46% with a drop to 20% when he doesn’t; the biggest drop in the squad

Key Findings & Analysis

  • Despite only joining in January, Steven Pienaar created the most league goals (6) although Royston Drenthe had a quicker minutes/assists ratio in the league and created 8 in total including the cups. Landon Donovan teed up 3 in the league and 3 more in the cups. Seamus Coleman didn’t register one assist in the league and the youngster endured a patchy season.

Since the January window our share of the ball and completion hasn’t been massively improved, but the incision has; look at the below table which shows that the volume of through balls goes up 3 times the figure in the 10 games which followed the close of the January transfer window in comparison to the opening 10 games of the season….

The below table is in order of assists made and shows other creative type stuff such as dribbles, average passes per game & chances created.

  • Offensively the key strategy is using the flanks and predominantly our left side axis of Baines and Pienaar which is clearly ace.
  • We play with more width than any side in the top flight; attacking down the flanks (76%) more so than any side in the top flight
  • Baines crossing accuracy this season was 28% – the same as his completion last season. Although he has created 7 less chances he has played 5 games less. Only Pennant, M.Petrov and Seb Larrson put in more crosses per game than Baines.
  • Hibbert’s often derided crossing this season has actually seen him get more assists than Baines, albeit achieved with a worse cross accuracy (20%)
  • Our team’s dribbles went down 7 per game last season to 4.5 per game this season. Baines made the most dribbles (28) followed by Drenthe (21)

Key Findings & Analysis

The below table shows our shots per game stats for the season…..

  • We are ranked 12th in terms of shooting accuracy and 9th in terms of efficiency i.e how many shots it takes us to score a goal.
  • In total we hit 13.7 shots per game, down on last years figure of 15.3 and overall we posted our lowest goals total since 2005/6

 The below tables show our attacking strategy over the past 3 seasons in terms of attack sides, action zones, where we take our shots and from which direction we take them….

  • When Fellaini has started in the midfield – forward pivot role we have scored 2.3 goals per game with the Belgian scoring or assisting 5 goals in the process in these games alone.
  • The team’s goals per game ratio drops to just 1.1 goals when Fellaini hasn’t played there. Cahill has played this role with significantly less end product (Cahill has just 2 goals and 2 assists for the season in the league). The Aussie can still do a job for the team but he lacks the imposing physical stature, chest control and capacity to create mayhem that the Belgian has.
  • Jelavic has almost single handed dragged our goals output to respectable levels with 11 from 13 starts. He has one of the best touches to goals ratio in the top flight at 49 touches per goal and in doing so was the fastest player to reach 10 goals for Everton since 1912.
  • Ressie strikers Anichebe ( 36.8) and Vellios (37.3) both had excellent touch to goals ratio as well as the Croatian whilst Tim Howard had a 100% goals/shots ratio after his wonder strike vs Bolton
  • Former striker Louis Saha – whilst a superb player – struggled for form and confidence; scoring just 1 league goal despite having 50+ shots prior to moving to Spurs.

For the 4th season on the spin the campaign can be split into 2 distinct phases;  pre and post the half way mark with both impacted hugely by the transfer window’s which proceeded them.

Phase 1 began with the untimely loss of Arteta which de-railed the season in removing the most creative player from a squad which already looked thin on the ground in terms of incision and goal threat. With an over reliance on Baines crosses (and the occasionally inspired but often erratic Drenthe)  and zero goal threat Moyes strategy to compensate was by being more defensive and grinding points out. With performances increasingly unpleasant on the eye we chugged into the new year around the middle ground of the division.

Just as the August Transfer Window was crucial so too was January’s as a catalyst for change (Phase 2). The inspired recruitment of Gibson & the short term recruitment of incisive players such as Pienaar /Donovan provided some subtlety to the graft we have in abundance.  With the defence suitably tight and the creative talents providing more incisive passing all that was needed was somebody to finish the chances.  Enter Jelavic. His goals moved us up the table losing just 2 games in the second half of the season and finishing the campaign unbeaten in the last 9 games.

The defeat against the RS in the semi was hard to take given how poor they are and the form we took into the game. The player/manager’s mental strength to beat our closest rivals was the reason many identified for the defeat but the fact that our 3 main creative players this season (drenthe/pienaar/Donovan) were all absent was equally crucial. Overall, whilst getting 7th spot isn’t anything to get excited about, the way we finished the campaign along with solving the goal scoring riddle which has damaged us for years has to give us confidence going into next season.

Next Steps?


What happens next is anybody’s guess. The noises coming out of the club is that players will need to be sold if we are to recruit anyone, but trading isn’t necessarily a bad thing – look at Newcastle last year bringing in Cabaye for fatty Nolan – and positive change could improve us further. A priority is replacing wily old campaigners such as Cahill and Neville who probably each have no more than 12 months left in the tank. Recent summers have been dire and stifled the momentum we have taken into the close season and you get the feeling that if Moyes could name the side that finished the last game vs Newcastle on the opening day he would be happy.

Finally, here is statistically our best side of the season based on impact and average position. The greater the impact the larger the font….




9 thoughts on “2011/12 Statistical & Tactical Deconstruction

  1. Excellent analysis as usual. I really enjoy your blogs. They are interesting, clear and easily understood. You should be paid by the club to do it!

  2. Good summary. Thanks EB.

    One minor quibble – all the values in the points-per-game column of the first table seem to be calculated as the points column divided by 19. The full season figure is thus double what it should be I think?

  3. Great analysis EB, keep up the good work. If we can re-sign Pienaar and maybe a right-sided midfielder/winger (Zaha, perhaps). Then I think we can look forward to another decent season.

  4. brilliant stuff- big fan of your tactical analysis. read it weekly- looking forward to your stuff for next season.
    your opinion- where are the areas of improvement required for everton to push on next season, and any feasible players you would grab at if bill found some spare change?

  5. Excellent analysis.
    Some deride stats, but this has everything that I believe has gone on this season.
    I would love Pienaar and Donovan to be here for the start of the season (Donovan being a massive doubt because of his comments).
    RM and RB (although I believe TH not to be as bad as most make out) are priorities next season, along with strengthening our one and only source of goals, with a decent goalscorer in case of injury.

  6. Couple of things here…. No1- You should be working for the club. I only hope that EFC have someone in place doing this in a full time role, I am sure they do of course, perhaps its you EB and you’re in disguise, if it is then you should be lined up and shot at dawn for being a traitor..! No 2- I hope none of our competitors find this website as it will be a good way to decontrcuct us and a great window for agents to get the stats on players sales potential..!
    Excellent read and very well done, I often look out for your blogs, keep them coming. Do you look at other club stats too?

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