Ball possession is not everything. The Great Barcelona of Pep Guardiola has turned tiki-taka hugely stylish but the possession rate can be a misleading marker: Milan are the team which held the ball the most in this first crop of Serie A at 59,1%. Quite useless if you consider that rossoneri are currently in 12th position with 8 points out of 21. On the other hand, the newly promoted Hellas Verona leave the initiative to the rival (only 45% of ball possession) but that doesn't prevent the team being fifth in the table with 13 points.
The two phases. Under coach Rudi Garcia, Roma are a very versatile team and the stats confirm that. Giallorossi harvested a 57.7% ball possession average (they are fourth in this particular chart) but they are the ones which scored more goals (5 so far) with counter-attacks. Napoli and Torino, second in this ranking, only scored 2 goals in contrast. Roma-Napoli, so similar, so different. The incoming big match between Roma and Napoli (Friday 18th October) will be a clash between the team which scored the most in open play (Benitez's lads netted 14 times this way) and the team which scored the most in counter-attacks: Roma, as we already said. Will does it mean that Napoli will play an attacking match and that Roma will defend, waiting for the right moment for striking azzurri? Maybe. Although giallorossi's unpredictable tactics suggest you can't even hazard a guess.
Roma is good in counter-attacking, but they prefer a game of short passing, as well as Napoli. The two opponents are second (Napoli) and third (Roma) in the ranking of short passes per game behind Juventus. Benitez and Garcia don't like crosses (17 and 14 per game respectively), although if Higuain will be on the pitch, things could change for Napoli regarding that.
The bad guys and the good guys. It's not such a surprise finding provincial teams at the top of the discipline ranking. It seems the lower the quality of team, the more aggression you'll find. Bologna's players are really bad guys with 25 yellow cards and one red; Sampdoria and Parma certainly play up: 22 and 21 yellow card respectively and 2 red card each. We need to climb down to the eighth position to find a top team, which is Roma: 17 yellow cards and one sending-off (Balzaretti against Inter).
Napoli are a cooler team: they collected 8 yellow cards only, a bit more than one per match. Benitez's mark in this feature is clear. Partenopei play in a Spanish way so fouls are the last resort. Only 4 cards were related to that. Physical contact is not welcome.
Juventus. It is rumoured that bianconeri are on the edge of a crisis. Stats tell another story. Conte's team has made more shots per game than anyone else (18), more shot on target (7) and more short passes (487 per game). Finally it is largely the team which concedes the least shots (7,6 per game, Inter, which is second, conceded 10,6). Juventus is sharp and effective in the offensive phase, while keeps being rock-solid defensively. What about the Champions League? Well, that is another story...
Wednesday, October 16 th, 2013
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roma, napoli, juventus, milan, hellas verona, rudi garcia, rafa benitez, antonio conte, tactics, gonzalo higuain, pep guardiola, barcelona