Passes into the danger zone

A week ago I wrote a post looking at passes into the penalty area at a team level, investigating the strength of the correlations between the amount passes into the penalty area for/against and goals scored/conceded, as well as the correlation between a penalty area pass ratio and points won.

This post will be pretty much identical to that post, that you can read by clicking this link, but using a slightly different measure. Rather than looking at passes into the penalty area, this post will be looking at passes completed into the danger zone (from outside of the danger zone).

Said danger zone has the width of the 6-yard box, and the length of the 18-yard box, as the illustration below shows.  It is labeled the danger zone as this is the area where the vast majority of goals are scored in football.



Using data from last seasons Premier League and Bundesliga (unfortunately I only have one seasons worth of data to play with), I checked the same correlations as in the previously mentioned post.

goalsForVsPassesFor goalsAgainstVsPassesAgainst PPGvsDZpassDiffPG

It turns out, perhaps not very surprisingly, that the danger zone measure does a little better overall than the penalty area measure. On the attacking side, the penalty area measure actually does a tiny bit better than the danger zone measure explaining goals for, but when we look at the defensive side, the danger zone measure does a lot better explaining just under 37% of the variation in goals against versus just over 27% for the penalty area measure. As a consequence of this, the ”Danger zone pass differential per game” has a stronger correlation to points won per game than the previously investigated ”Penalty area pass ratio”, with the former explaining 51,6% of the variance in points won versus 45,7% for the latter.

Before I have a go at the repeatability and the potential predictive power of this measure, I might have a look at one or two more passing measures that I have in mind too see how well they explain these things, compared to the measures I´ve already looked at.


As a bonus, here´s how the teams in the Premier League and Bundesliga fared in the Danger Zone passing measures in 2014/2015.

DZpassesForPL1415 DZpassesAgainstPL1415 DZpassDiffPL1415 DZpassesForBun1415 DZpassesAgainstBun1415 DZpassDiffBun1415

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