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Direct play index: from Farense to Manchester City

Issue 438 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post combines SkillCorner’s physical and tactical (’game intelligence’) data with Wyscout’s technical ones to create a direct play index*.

Based on 100, the latter allows us ranking teams from 27 leagues worldwide from those with the most direct attacking style to those with the most elaborated offensive play.

The highest values for direct play were recorded for Portugal’s SC Farense (100) overall, Luton Town (87) in the big-5, CA Banfield (83) for non-European teams, and Newcastle United (56) for UEFA Champions League participants.

In contrast, the lowest values, reflecting the most elaborated attacking styles, were measured for two teams coached by Spaniards, Guardiola’s Manchester City (21) and Luis Enrique’s Paris St-Germain (23), with Arteta’s Arsenal (27) fourth.

Also presented in the Post, the extreme values for the specific variables of the index were observed for SC Farense (max) and SC Freiburg (min) regarding sprints during possession phases, Cercle Brugge (max) and Burnley (min) with regard to call-for-the-ball runs into space, as well as Paris St-Germain (max) and FK Teplice (min) concerning the kilometres ‘covered’ by the ball also with the team in possession.

The direct play index is calculated by multiplying the frequency of sprints per player (at least 0.7 seconds at over 25 km/h) during possession (projected over 90’) and the proportion of ‘call-for-the ball’ runs in space (SkillCorner data); divided by the number of kilometres ‘covered’ by the ball in possession, an indicator resulting from the multiplication between the number and average length of successful passes (Wyscout data).

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About the CIES Football Observatory

The CIES Football Observatory is a research group created in 2005 within the Swiss-based Centre International d’Étude du Sport (CIES). It specialises in the statistical analysis of football, in particular in the areas of demographics, transfer values and performance.

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About the CIES

The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) is an independent study centre located in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. It was created in 1995 as a joint venture between the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the University of Neuchâtel, the City and State of Neuchatel.

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CIES – Centre International d’Étude du Sport

Avenue DuPeyrou 1, 2000 Neuchâtel
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone +41 32 718 39 00
Fax +41 32 718 39 01



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