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Saturday’s match: expected goals and attacking trends

Aurelí Sanchez has done an excellent job looking at this.

Villarreal CF v Granada CF - La Liga Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sometimes analytical data leaves you confused, but sometimes it confirms that in fact your impressions of the match are pretty good. And so it was with VillarrealGranada.

The Villarreal vintage website has an article in Valencian using information from Between the Posts’ data. Here are a few things of interest:

(1) Villarreal’s passing diagram illustrates how left-sided we were. When the ball came to Anguissa and Albiol they mostly worked it left, and the key players in our attack were Moi, Santi, and especially Quintillá. Chukwueze was almost completely isolated on the right, and Gerard and Iborra dropped deep to get the ball, but saw very little of it.

(2) Expected goals: it was a strange match, but the result made sense given Villarreal’s expected goals of 2.28 and Granada’s 2.47. In fact, the statistical model gave Granada a slightly higher chance of winning (42% to 33%), largely due to their dominance in the first 25 minutes or so. The only time Villarreal lead in expected goals was after we took a 4-2 lead, but we did very little after that.

(3) there is also a table from another site (understat) which tries to measure the contributions to attack by expected goals, expected assists, and buildup play. Peña and Anguissa come out better in this buildup play metric, as does Moi and Quintilla.

(40 the article points out the 4-4-2 remained the same regardless of who came in and out. of the subs, only Ekambi got involved in the attacking play really.

Which brings me to another article by Mihai Vidroiu, looking at the effect of Calleja’s substitutions on matches. It’s here (in Spanish) and the take away is if you compare how Villarreal fared once Calleja began making substitutions to the score to that point, there is not a huge difference—the result didn’t change 60% of the time, in 23% the scoreline worsened, in 17% it got better for us.

However, this is the fourth time in eighteen matches since Calleja returned that we have given up a two-goal lead (Espanyol, 2-0 to 2-2; Celta, 2-0 to 2-3; Barcelona, 4-2 to 4-4 were the others). That is a trend we need to change.