Liverpool also drop down…
The defensive act of ‘pressing’ is now more discussed and noticeable than ever. Teams such as Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool in 2013/14, Southampton under Mauricio Pochettino and Atletico Madrid have gained plaudits and points for deploying an aggressive full-pitch defensive style.
They calculate the number of passes Team X is allowed before Team Y attempts a defensive action.
This reveals Team Y’s PPDA (passes per defensive action.)
Defensive actions includes tackles, interceptions, fouls and attempted tackled.
Therefore, the lower the PPDA, the more a team has ‘pressed’.
It’s important to recognise when viewing the table that a game’s scoreline will influence a team’s pressing. Chelsea, for example, are down in 14th – but as they’ve been winning nearly all of their matches, they haven’t been in a position where they need to immediately win back possession, and can therefore sit deeper and enable their opponents to have the ball more often.
Some serious analysis though can indeed be generated from the table, however. Aston Villa only attempt a defensive action every 31.07 opposition passes – which completely outlines the fact they’re totally comfortable to be compact and let the opposition have the ball.
Liverpool on the other hand – famous last season for their unbelievably energetic press – sit 14th in this season’s table. The loss of Luis Suarez, and the arrival of the oft lazy Mario Balotelli has perhaps played a role in this.
Southampton’s manager swap has also resulted in a big change in pressing. Last term under Mauricio Pochettino, the Saints led the pressing table, but now the Argentine is in charge of Tottenham, Spurs have jumped to 4th, while the Saints have dropped to 6th.
Here’s the table in full:
20) Aston Villa – 31.07 PPDA
19) QPR – 18.03 PPDA
18) West Ham – 15.61 PPDA
17) Burnley – 13.84 PPDA
16) Crystal Palace – 13.40 PPDA