Monthly Archives: July 2013

‘Why foreign players migrate and the effect their involvement has had on English football since the inception of the Premier League’ (Part 2)

Following on from part one of this blog we’ll take a look at some of the reasons and explanations for this dramatic intensification of foreign player migration to Europe, and particularly to England.

Elite labour migration is now an established component of global sports (Maguire & Pearton, 2000), however national and transcontinental migration of highly skilled workers is not a new phenomenon (Lanfranchi & Taylor, 2001), and has become a prominent feature in global sports (Maguire, 1999; Maguire et al., 2000) such as association football.  Migration in football is as old as the game itself (Taylor, 2006), and these migratory patterns have been identified as far back as the late 19th century in which heralded the inception of the Football League. However, these migrations were largely undergone by other British players from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales (Moorhouse, 1994). International recruitment of foreign players to England became more prominent during the post-war period, with an influx of migrants from the Commonwealth nations such as Northern Europe, Scandinavia, and the U.S, all of which shared lingual, colonial, or trading relations with England (McGovern, 2002).

Fast forward to the inaugural season of the Premier League in 1992/93 and further research shows us that during the past 20 years we have seen a dramatic intensification in the migration of foreign players to England (Elliott, 2012; Poli et al., 2011), of whom, have been described as one of the most ‘ubiquitous’ factors towards the continuing globalisation of the game within the 21st century (Elliott, 2012). In-fact on the first day of the 1992/93 Premier League season there were only 11 foreign players in the starting line-ups for Premier League clubs. Since then this number has grown exponentially, and by the 2001/02 season foreign players were the new majority. The Images that follow give a great indication of just how diverse our footballing culture has become in England over the past two decades.

There are a number of reasons that have been established for this dramatic intensification of foreign player migration to England, and they are not just limited to economic factors (Elliott & Harris, 2011). 1990 foreign playersWith the reinstatement of British clubs into European competitions following a ban in the late 1980’s, and the establishment of the prestigious Champions League cup competition (Maguire & Pearton, 2000), complete with its subsequent high levels of economic reward for both clubs and players we begin to see the ‘pull’ factors at work. Furthermore, the Marc Bosman European court case in December of 1995 resulted in the abandonment of quota systems allowing a greater level of freedom of contractual movement for foreign players within EU countries (Taylor, 2006), as it was proven to be in direct violation of Article 39 of the EC Treaty (now Article 45) of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union law.

Another prominent feature of the migration followed the Taylor Report in 1990 which resulted in British football becoming a much safer environment resulting in foreign players beginning to show increased interests in migrating to England to ply their trade – which was in stark contrast to the 1980’s where British football was on its knees dying a hooligans death – and is arguably due to a dramatic influx of revenue made available through new media and sponsorship deals (Magee & Sugden, 2002) that Premier League clubs now enjoy as a result of their alliance with BskyB (Maguire & Pearton, 2000). Consequently, this had also lead to the dramatically increased and inflated salaries that professional footballers now demand. The previous has become a popular explanation amongst some academics who believe it the principle reason for migration, and describe it as the ‘mercenary’ (Maguire, 1996) desire to secure the lucrative financial rewards offered by clubs (Andreff, 2009). This desire for financial reward is, however, a more appropriate singular suggestion for migration outside of the sporting context, as highly skilled workers often migrate in order to exploit the positive wage disparities available abroad (Fischer et al., 1997).

2009 foreign players

The ‘mercenary’ desire may undoubtedly influence some players’ decision to migrate; however, it cannot be described as the only antecedent that influences these choices. Research has shown us that the practice of players ‘following the money’ (Maguire & Pearton, 2000) is part of a broader set of processes that incorporate political, historical, cultural, and geographical patterns.

There has also been a wealth of research (Elliott, 2012; Maguire and Stead, 1998; Molnar and Maguire, 2008; Stead and Maguire, 2000) that further examines the motives for the migration of foreign players, including their need to seek professional sporting experiences, coupled with the desire to test one’s ability at the highest levels – something that they cannot always achieve at the currently level offered to them in their native land. On the other hand, some players migrate only to where it is easier to become culturally assimilated, which perhaps explains why the British rarely move abroad. However, the majority of players who migrate aim to gravitate towards the core in football e.g. the Premier League or one of the other ‘top 5’ leagues in Europe.

Conversely, there are also many ‘push’ factors which force migration, including civil wars such as the many that disrupted Yugoslavia between 1991-1999. This initiated the movements abroad of many players from Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia and Serbia (Maguire & Pearton, 2000) to Germany which is now why we see the Budesliga overflowing with Eastern European talent. Furthermore, the over-production of indigenous talent can often result in a serious lack of playing opportunities for indigenous players, thereby forcing them to leave to find pastures new to earn a living. Finally, in some cases even being expelled from a particular league or even being exiled from the country it-self has forced some players to find a new country to ply their trade (Elliott, 2012).

In summary we can see that there is a wide variety of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors that are not just limited to the huge sums of financial reward that have contributed to the mass migration of foreign players to European shores, but in some cases extreme events such as civil war are the catalyst. I believe it is important to understand and highlight the relationship that BskyB broadcasting has had on English football and migration since the Premier Leagues inaugural season. A tremendous amount of wealth has come from the relationship, and still there seems to be no plateau in the broadcasting rights fees. For the next three years BskyB and BT have paid the Premier League an incredible £3.018billion for the domestic TV rights, a remarkable 70% increase over the previous deal of £1.782billion, which is allowing Premier League club the license to dominate the foreign transfer markets, but although frequent are the calls for quotas systems and limitations to foreign player involvement, all in the name of ‘preserving English football’ of course. We must surely ask ourselves would we have the weekly spectacle we have enjoyed for the past two decades without the influx of these talented footballers?

In part 3 of this blog I will further analyse and address the aforementioned perceived negative effects that foreign players have had on the development of indigenous talent in this country, and will attempt to uncover whether these perceptions actually hold any truth.

References

Andreff, W. (2009). The economic effect of ‘Muscle-Drain’ in sport. In: Walters G and Rossi G (eds) Labour Market Migration in European Football: Key Issues and Challenges. London: Birkbeck Sports Business Centre, pp. 9–31.

Anon. (2010). In Elliott and Weedon’s (2010).  Foreign players in the premier academy league: ‘Feet-drain’ or ‘feet-exchange’? International Review for the Sociology of Sport 46(1): 61–75.

Blatter, S. (2003). In Darby, P., G. Akindes, and M. Kirwin (2007). Football academies and the migration of African foot­ball labour to Europe. Journal of Sport and Social Issues 31(2): 143–161.

Blatter, S. (2008). Football Gives Hope. Available from: http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/organisation/president/news/newsid=741873/index.html [last accessed January 04, 2013)

Brooking, T. (2007). English football under threat. Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/6975955.stm [last accessed January 04, 2013

Darby, P., G. Akindes, and M. Kirwin. (2007). Football academies and the migration of African foot­ball labour to Europe. Journal of Sport and Social Issues 31(2): 143–161.

Del Bosque, V. (2012). Spain Coach Vicente Del Bosque Insists Foreign Premier League Players Are Not Damaging The English National Team. Available from: http://www.goal.com/en-india/news/477/euro-2012/2010/09/22/2131418/spain-coach-vicente-del-bosque-insists-foreign-premier [last accessed January 04, 2013)

Elliott, R. (2012).  New Europe, new chances? The migration of professional footballers to Poland’s Ekstraklasa. International Review for the Sociology of Sport  0(0) 1–16

Elliott, R. and J. Harris. (2011). Crossing the Atlantic from football to soccer: Preliminary observa­tions on the migrations of English players and the internationalization of major league soccer. WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labour and Society 14(4): 555–568.

Elliott, R., and G. Weedon. (2010) Foreign players in the premier academy league: ‘Feet-drain’ or ‘feet-exchange’? International Review for the Sociology of Sport 46(1): 61–75.

European Commission (2008) Press Release IP/08/807. Brussels: European Commission.

Ferguson, A. (2007). Ferguson calls for a cap on foreign players. Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2007/nov/06/newsstory.arsenal [last accessed January 04, 2013)

Fischer, P. A., M. Reiner, and T. Straubhaar. (1997). Interdependencies between development and migration. In: Hammar T, Brochmann G, Tamas K and Faist T (eds) International Migration, Immobility and Development: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Oxford: Berg, 91–132.

Iredale, R., and R. Appleyard. (2001) Introduction to the special issue on the international migration of the highly skilled. International Migration 39(5): 3–6.

Klein, A. (1989). Baseball as underdevelopment: Dominic resistance, and baseball. Dialectical Anthropology 13: 301–321.

Klein, A. (1991a). Sport and culture as contested terrain: Americanisation in the Caribbean. Sociology of Sport Journal 8(1): 79–85.

Klein A (1991b) Sugarball: The American Game, the Dominican Dream. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press

Klein, A. (2006). Growing the Game: Baseball and Globalization. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Lanfranchi, P., and M. Taylor. (2001). Moving with the Ball: The Migration of Professional Footballers. Oxford: Berg.

Magee, J., and J. Sugden. (2002). The world at their feet? Professional football and international labour migration. Journal of Sport and Social Issues 26(4): 421–437.

Maguire, J. (1999). Global Sport: Identities, Societies, Civilizations. Cambridge: Polity Press

Maguire, J. (2004). Sport Labor Migration Research Revisited. Journal of Sport & Social Issues. 28, 477-482.

Maguire, J. and R. Pearton. (2000). The impact of elite labour migration on the identification, selec­tion and development of European soccer players. Journal of Sports Sciences 18: 759–769.

Maguire, J., and D. Stead. (1998). Border crossings: Soccer labour migration and the European Union. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 33(1): 59–73.

Maguire, J., G. Jarvie, L. Mansfield, and J. Bradley. (2002). Sport Worlds: A Sociological Perspective. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Maldini, C. (2000). In Maguire, J.A., and M. Falcous: Sport and Migration: Borders, Boundaries and Crossings

Moorhouse, H. F. (1994). Blue bonnets over the border: Scotland and the migration of footballers. In: Bale J and Maguire J (eds) The Global Sports Arena: Athletic Migration in an Interdependent World. London: Frank Cass, 78–96.

Molnar, G., and J. Maguire. (2008). Hungarian footballers on the move: Issues and observations on the first migratory phase. Sport in Society 11(1): 74–89.

Poli, R. (2010). African migrants in Asian and European football: hopes and realities. Sport in Society. 13, 1001-1011.

Poli, R. (2010). Understanding globalization through football: The new international division of labour, migratory channels and transnational trade circuits. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 45, 491-506.

Poli R., L. Ravenel, and R. Besson. (2011). Annual Review of the European Football Players’ Labour Market. Neuchâtel: Professional Football Players Observatory.

Soldberg, H.A., and K.K. Haugen. (2008). The international trade of players in European club football: consequences for national teams. International Trade of Players. Unknown, 79-93

Stead, D., and J. Maguire. (2000). Rite de passage or passage to riches? The motivation and objectives of Nordic/Scandinavian players in English League soccer. Journal of Sport and Social Issues 24(1): 36–60.

Storey, D. (2011). Football, place and migration: foreign footballers in the FA Premier League. Geography. 96, 86-94.

Storey, D. (2011). Sport and Geography. Teaching Geography. Unknown, 67-69.

Taylor, M. (2006). Global players? Football, migration and globalisation: 1930-2000. Historical Social Research 31(1): 7–30.

Taylor, G. (2007). Meltdown: The Nationality of Premier League Players and the Future of English Football. London: Professional Footballers’ Association.

Vertovec, S. (2007). Super-Diversity in Britain. Available from: from http://www.academon.com/research-paper/super-diversity-in-britain-96649/ [last accessed January 04, 2013]

 

 

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‘Why foreign players migrate and the effect their involvement has had on English football since the inception of the Premier League’ (Part 1)

I’d like to begin my first blog by thanking Leo for inviting me along on this journey. I very much look forward to adding to the fantastic work he has done already. The first issue I would like to discuss is the perceived effect that foreign players are having on the English game. It’s a topic I find very interesting, and I feel is often blown out of proportion by everyone involved in the game today. The blogs that follow will be an investigation and analysis of the current state of the issue and the major views involved.

There has been a common and growing concern for a number of years amongst English football fans (Solberg & Haugen, 2008) and senior figures in world football – FIFA President Sepp Blatter, UEFA President Michel Platini, and English PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor – that the mass migration of foreign players to the English Premier League is having a detrimental effect on the English game, and its development of young English talent (Ferguson, 2007; Taylor, 2007). When speaking to BBC’s Inside Sport Sir Trevor Brooking (2007) stated that “you [can’t] underestimate [the threat of foreign players] and people are [only] just starting to identify it”. These concerns lie in accordance with the PFA’s ‘Meltdown’ report, which was commissioned following England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008. Taylor (2007) states within the report that:

Image

“The price of the unrestricted flow of foreign players into England has been the loss of a generation of English players. Indeed, we are close to losing a second generation and if current trends continue – as all evidence suggests they will – we are, at best, ten years away from having too few English players to mount a serious World Cup campaign.” 

These concerns have continued to grow after England’s more recent mediocre performances during the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. However, some academics (Elliott & Weedon, 2010) suggest these views and concerns have been sensationalized by the British media and are in-fact not even close to the truth.

Three main arguments that have arisen from the on-going debate on foreign players: firstly, that a process of ‘feet-drain’ is occurring in English football, with foreign players stifling indigenous player development, and replacing them, or taking their opportunities for first team football (Elliott & Weedon, 2010). Secondly, that at the ‘donor’ level a process of ‘deskilling’ is occurring outside of England in the lesser economically developed countries such as Africa (Maguire et al., 2002; Maguire & Pearton, 2000). Thirdly, the migration of foreign players particularly to England is creating an imbalance in world football which is a view firmly held by FIFA President, Sepp Blatter (2008), who declared that:

“It’s not morally right, and competition loses all balance, when the big clubs buy 25 top players to deprive other teams of them and then hoard them because they can only have 11 players on the park.”

Now I have introduced this subject to you, I’d like to hear you initial views and opinions. Feel free to contribute to the discussion via the comments box. In part two of this blog I will discuss a brief history of elite labour migration, and explore some of the reasons for why we have seen this dramatic intensification of foreign player migrating to England and Europe.

References:

Blatter, S. (2008). Football Gives Hope. Available from: http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/organisation/president/news/newsid=741873/index.html [last accessed January 04, 2013)

Brooking, T. (2007). English football under threat. Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/6975955.stm [last accessed January 04, 2013)

Elliott, R., and G. Weedon. (2010) Foreign players in the premier academy league: ‘Feet-drain’ or ‘feet-exchange’? International Review for the Sociology of Sport 46(1): 61–75.

Ferguson, A. (2007). Ferguson calls for a cap on foreign players. Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2007/nov/06/newsstory.arsenal [last accessed January 04, 2013)

Maguire, J. and R. Pearton. (2000). The impact of elite labour migration on the identification, selec­tion and development of European soccer players. Journal of Sports Sciences 18: 759–769.

Maguire, J., G. Jarvie, L. Mansfield, and J. Bradley. (2002). Sport Worlds: A Sociological Perspective. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Soldberg, H.A., and K.K. Haugen. (2008). The international trade of players in European club football: consequences for national teams. International Trade of Players. Unknown, 79-93

Taylor, G. (2007). Meltdown: The Nationality of Premier League Players and the Future of English Football. London: Professional Footballers’ Association.

What is the most effective tactic to score corner goal in League 2?

In the book “Soccer Tactics and Skills”, Charles Hughes (1987) argued that the best way to score corner goal consists of 3 factors:

  1. Near post
  2. Inswing
  3. Keep it simple (Variety on a theme, not variety on sole criteria of doing something different)

By analysing 178 League 2 corner goals, it would be tested whether his argument can be applied to League 2 or not.

There is not much difference in terms of the sides of corner. 50.6% of corners were from the left side of the goal.

which side

Type of delivery

type of delivery

The above chart shows that most of the corner goals were delivered by inswing (61%). 30% of them were outswing and 9% of them were ground pass which included medium or short corner. The finding fits the argument of Hughes that inswing is the best way to score corner goal.

Delivery target area

delivery target area

In terms of delivery target area, the result is not as dominant as the result of delivery type. Although near post was the most popular delivery target area, it was not dominant with 36%. In fact, the percentages of mid-goal area and far post were close with 32% and 26%. 5% of corners were delivered to touchline area which means they were short corners. Only 1% of corners were medium corner which were delivered to the edge of the box for long shots. By looking at this chart, Hughes’s argument about near post delivery is not very strong here because the difference between near post, mid-goal area and far post were within 10%. Near post is still a better choice but it is not a dominating factor as inswing delivery. Then the data would be compared with each other for in-depth analysis.

Which side vs. Type of delivery

which side vs type of delivery

The above chart shows that the preferences of delivery were different depending on which side of the corner it was. If the corner is taken at the left side of the goal, most of them were delivered by inswing. It could be explained by the fact that most of the players were right-footed. It is interesting to see which approach the team would use in the right side corner. 45 right side corner goals were delivered by inswing. That means teams chose a left-footed player to deliver the corner for the purpose of inswing delivery. However, 36 right side corner goals were delivered by outswing. This number is much more than the number of left side outswing corner (17). On the other hand, the numbers of ground pass delivery in both sides were similar. No matter which side we look at, inswing is still the most popular choice of delivery although it is more dominant in left side corner. In the right side corner, teams still prefer to do inswing delivery but there was considerable amount of outswing delivery also.

Type of delivery vs. Delivery target area

type of delivery vs delivery target area

The above chart shows that inswing and near post combination scores the most corner goals (42). It fits the argument of Hughes. Another finding is that it is less likely to score corner goal at far post by outswing delivery (12 goals). The difference between inswing and outswing was less if the delivery target area is mid-goal area. The difference was 11 goals compared to the difference of near post (24 goals) and far post (23 goals). In short, for inswing delivery, it would be the best to deliver the ball to near post and far post, especially near post. For outswing delivery, it would be the best to deliver the ball to mid-goal area.

Keep it simple?

Assist styles

The result fits the argument of Hughes because 63% of corner goals were scored directly by the corner cross. 26% of corner goals were assisted by passing. Some teams may prefer to do flick-on headers to make assist but the data shows that it may not be a good choice because only 16% of corner goals were assisted by flick-on headers. If we consider passing assist only, flick-on header is a better choice than feet pass as shown in the chart with 6% more assists.

Conclusion

Reviewing the 3 factors mentioned by Hughes, I would say 2 of them were dominating factors in League 2: inswing delivery and keep it simple. They were proved by evidences. 61% of corner goals were delivered by inswing. 63% of corner goals were assisted by direct corner cross. However, the data shows that although near post is the best choice of delivery target area, it is not a dominating factor with 36% of corner goals delivered to near post. The same type of analysis could be applied to the data of different leagues and the results could be different.

Reference

HUGHES, C., 1987. Soccer Tactics and Skills. Great Britain: Queen Anne Press

Northampton – Stoke City in League 2? (Part 2)

In part 1, I have compared Northampton’s performance with other teams in League 2. It was clear that Northampton was strong in set play, particularly throw-in. Over 50% of their goals were from set play. In their set play goals, around 40% of them came from throw-ins. I will focus on analysing those 13 throw-in goals in this piece.

Time Analysis

Percentage of Northampton Goals in Time Analysis

No matter we consider the throw-in goals or all goals of Northampton; they both fit the general trend of time analysis in League 2 because more goals were scored in the later stage of the game. However, the key point is about the time slot of 76-90 minutes. 29.7% of goals were scored in this time slot in all goals. On the other hand, 38.5% of throw-in goals were scored in this time slot considering that the percentages in other time slots were only 15% at most. It shows that throw-in was an effective strategy for Northampton to use in the last 15 minutes of the game to score goals.

What were the assist styles?

Assist Styles of Nothampton throw-in goals

Considering the assist styles, some teams may choose to do flick-on headers to make assist. In Northampton’s case, the best way to make assist is to make a direct throw-in passing by hands. 84% of the throw-in goals were assisted by hand passes, only 8% of them were assisted by flick-on header. It also means that at least 84% of the goals were scored by one-touch shot. The technical ability to make one-touch shot is one of the keys to score throw-in goals.

Goal Type

goal type of northampton throw in goals

Many people may link throw-in goals to headers but it is not the case in Northampton. Even we found out that one-touch shot is important, the above chart shows that using feet to shoot is as important as header in scoring throw-in goals. Header goals were only 8% more than feet goals. If we consider the above two charts together, we realise that considerable amount of goals were scored by hand passing throw-in followed by shots made by feet. It may be a result not expected by some people.

Where were the assists made?

where the assist from

Since 84% of assists were from direct hand throws, only 7.7% of assists were from central area by flick-on header. It is worthy to note that 30.8% of assists were outside 18-yard from the goal line. Some teams may only use long throw tactics near penalty area but Northampton’s statistics show that it is worthy to do long throw outside the penalty area also.

Who scored the most throw-in goals?

Northampton Throw-in Goal Scorers

Northampton did not rely on any particular player to score throw-in goals as the goals were widely distributed to 8 players. A Akinfenwa is the player who scored the most with 31% of throw-in goals considering he is a striker. The other 7 players scored 1 goal each. It is worthy to note that 15% (2 goals) were scored by own goals. It shows that one of the advantages in using long throw-in is to mess up the situation in penalty area so the defenders would have a higher chance to make a mistake scoring own goal.

Where they scored?

where the throw in goals were scored

The above diagram obviously shows that the prime area for attacking long throws is the 12-yard area from the goal line. 84.6% of goals were scored in these two zones. Note that 15.4% of goals were scored outside the penalty area. My explanation is that most of the defenders would try to defend long throw-in by staying at the zones in front of the goal. It leaves space outside the penalty area for attackers to make long shot. It is worthy to note that no goal was scored in 12-18 yard area. It is because this zone is neither close enough for one-touch shot in long throws nor having enough space and time for players to make long shot.

Conclusion

By analysing Northampton’s strategy in throw-ins, we can identify why they are so strong in scoring throw-in goals. Firstly, they used a very direct style to attack. They didn’t prefer flick-on header as 84% of assists were came from direct hand throw-in passes. Secondly, one-touch shot is the key to score but we should be aware that using feet to score is almost as important as using header. Thirdly, Northampton did not rely on any particular player to be the target man to score throw-in goals. They had 8 players to score 11 throw-in goals (the other 2 goals were own goals). Fourthly, don’t ignore the importance of making delivery outside the penalty area (18-yard line) because 30% of their throw-in goals were delivered from zones outside the 18-yard line.

Northampton – Stoke City in League 2? (Part 1)

Stoke City is famous for their long throw-ins attacking strategy. It is a different kind of attack for the defenders who get used to crosses. It is also a big question for the keepers whether they should stay at the goal line or not. There are some pieces which analyse Stoke’s performance. Is there any other team having the same strategy in English football? Northampton may be the team with similar (or even better) performance in long throw-ins.

Top 5 teams in set play goals in League 2

Considering the number of set play goals, Northampton scored the most set play goals (34 goals). The following table shows the open play and set play goals of 24 League 2 teams this season and highlights the top 5 teams in set play goals. They are AFC Wimbledon, Bradford, Cheltenham, Gillingham and Northampton.

open play and set play goals of 24 teams

In order to analyse how important set play goals are to different teams, the percentage of set play goals were considered also. The following table shows the percentages of open play and set play goals of 24 League 2 teams this season.

open play and set play goals percentages of 24 teams

For example, being the League 2 Champion, Gillingham scored 28 set play goals but there were stronger in scoring open play goals. Therefore, set play goals only accounted for 42.4% of their total goals. The top 5 teams with the highest percentage of set play goals were AFC Wimbledon, Aldershot, Bradford, Cheltenham and NorthamptonNorthampton is the 2nd place in set play goal percentage. 53.1% of their goals were set play goals. Comparing both tables to each other, we can identify that 4 teams existed in the top 5 positions in both tables. They are AFC Wimbledon, BradfordCheltenham and Northampton. That means these 4 teams were good at scoring set play goals and set play goals were more important to them. Note that Northampton and AFC Wimbledon are the only two teams scoring more set play goals than open play goals.

Throw-ins goals in League 2

Top 5 teams in throw in goals

This chart shows how strong Northampton was in throw-in goals. With most of the teams having 3 throw-in goals or less, Northampton scored 13 throw-in goals this season. They scored 100% more than the 4th place Bristol Rovers having 6 throw-in goals. The great difference shows that scoring throw-in goals was a strong weapon of Northampton while most of the teams didn’t have the ability to do so.

If we consider how important throw-in goals are within set play goals, Northampton is still the team showing the highest percentage. 38.24% of their set play goals were throw-in goals. It showed how important throw-in goals were to Northampton.

Throw-in goals percentage in set play goals

In fact, Gillingham and Northampton were the only 2 teams with more than 30% of their set play goals as throw-in goals. Considering only 9 teams in the league having more than 10% of their set play goals as throw-in goals, it shows how Northampton outperformed other teams by having 38.24%.

No matter we consider the number of throw-in goals or the percentage of throw-in goals, Northampton is still the best team in the league and they obviously outperformed other teams in the league.

I don’t have the goal scoring data of Stoke City this season. However, I wonder Stoke City can achieve the two conditions of Northampton or not.

  • More than 50% of goals were set play goals
  • Around 40% of set play goals were throw-in goals

In part 2, the focus will be analysing the details of Northampton’s throw-in goals. It includes when they scored, how they scored, where they scored, where the assists came from, etc.