StatsBomb Case Study: Atlético Mineiro, Brazilian Série A Champions 2021

Atlético Mineiro have enjoyed a fantastic year. In early December they wrapped up their first Brazilian league title in 50 years, eventually finishing a full 13 points clear of Flamengo in second place, and just last week they added to that by winning the Copa do Brasil to complete a domestic double -- the first in their history.

Atlético signed on to use StatsBomb’s industry-leading data and analysis software in May 2021, in the process becoming our first Brazilian customer. With their newly created analytics department, headed by Rodrigo Picchioni, they demonstrated their commitment to becoming a standard bearer in the region in the intelligent use of data to make better decisions.

We talked with Pedro Picchioni, Head of Scouting Analytics, about how data has helped the club find a key edge over their domestic rivals in what has arguably been their most successful season ever.

StatsBomb (SB): Firstly Pedro, congratulations for an amazing year. To kick off, can we go back in time to your decision to partner with StatsBomb. What was the challenge that you wanted to solve by using StatsBomb’s services?

Pedro Picchioni (PP): As a recently created department, we essentially needed a reliable data source to get underway on our task of providing objective insights for the decision-making processes at the club. The main reason we decided to work with StatsBomb was the reliability and level of detail in the data collection process. For sure we made the right decision. By providing a reliable, fast and powerful database, StatsBomb’s services are currently crucial in the operations of the department.

SB: What types of goals or tasks are you using the product to accomplish?

PP: We currently assist other departments in the club by providing data-driven analysis of players and teams.

SB: What is the feature of our StatsBomb IQ analysis platform that you or your team use most frequently, and why?

PP: StatsBomb IQ is a really powerful platform that is constantly used in many ways in our processes, but our most used tool has to be IQ Tactics. We are able to really dive deep on player and team actions in the smallest detail. This tool helps us find specific patterns that are sometimes hard to find in an aggregated analysis.

There was a situation where a player was flagged as being a complete outlier in terms of deep progressions (passes and dribbles/carries into the opposition final third), which definitely caught our eye. However, when we dived into his passes in IQ Tactics, we were able to see that most of them were diagonal passes to wide areas which didn’t necessarily progress the team forward that much, and this was later confirmed on video.

SB: Have any of our metrics or models proved particularly useful in your work?

PP: StatsBomb's Expected Goals (xG) model is by far the best and most detailled on the market, as it considers the position of all players in the video frame as well as the effect that the impact height has on the probability of the shot being converted.

Additionally, the newly released On-Ball Value (OBV) metric has been a great asset to us, both in the process of player identification and in terms of understanding the strengths and weaknesses of teams. For example, we were looking at where an specific opponent conceded OBV from passes and carries in comparison to the league average and noticed that their central corridor was a particularly weak link in their system, which was something that we could take advantage of.

SB: What has been the impact of using StatsBomb's services?

PP: StatsBomb's services have had a great impact on our work, as they are crucial in the process of providing important insights to the decision makers at the club


If you are a club, media outlet, player agency or gambling entity and want to know more about what StatsBomb can do for you, please get in touch.

StatsBomb sign agreement with Portland Timbers and Thorns FC

StatsBomb has agreed a partnership to provide its market-leading analytical services to the Portland Timbers and Thorns FC. The partnership with StatsBomb empowers their men’s and women’s teams to utilise StatsBomb’s contextual event data across key aspects of their clubs’ operations, enhancing their ability to evaluate team performances, scout new prospects and analyse upcoming opponents.      The MLS and NWSL organisations will also have access to StatsBomb IQ, the revolutionary platform that allows users to visualise key aspects of performance, from defender and goalkeeper locations on shots to comprehensive shot maps. StatsBomb IQ will also enhance both teams’ ability to customise their approach to recruitment, in-game tactics and much more.  Speaking about the announcement, Shergul Arshad, Chief Commercial Officer, StatsBomb, said:  “We are incredibly excited to work with the Portland Timbers and Thorns FC as both teams have a long-standing commitment to winning in their respective competitions. The partnership will enable data-driven decisions across key parts of the club, and unlock new markets for worldwide player recruitment.”

StatsBomb 360 Freeze Frame Viewer: A New Release In StatsBomb IQ

2021 has brought many new things for StatsBomb. New models, new data, new customers. We end 2021 with another new feature, this time an upgrade to StatsBomb IQ. Since we released StatsBomb 360 data to the industry earlier this year, we’ve been designing and delivering a tool within IQ to visualise and explore the 360 data. It’s been in our customer’s hands for a few weeks now, so let’s introduce you to the StatsBomb 360 Freeze Frame Viewer.

StatsBomb 360 is contextual event data that captures the location of all players in the frame around every event we collect. The Freeze Frame Viewer represents the first installation of 360 data into IQ and has functionality that will make it an integral part of the performance and opposition analysis process, allowing users to analyse 360 data with the speed and ease that the modern analyst requires.

If you wanted to play with 360 data yourself, we released raw 360 data for Euro 2020 for analysts to explore and develop their data and analysis skills. Check it out here.

The player location data is displayed within the platform in a pitch plot format, showing the location of players that are visible at the time of an event. Why would an analyst need this information? For the same reason they watch hours of video every week: to gain information about their team and the opposition’s shape around events. Users can go from knowing what happened to understanding why it happened within a couple of clicks.

The Freeze Frame Viewer comes with a wide range of filters. You can narrow the list of events based on the type of action (pass, duel, ball receipt, etc.), location on the pitch, team ID or player ID, or even contextual filters such as play scenario (open play, set play, etc.), pass type (cross, throughball, key pass/assist) as well as the current game state. We built in the ability to save the selected set of filters so users can repeat their searches in the future with minimum fuss.

Take goal kicks, for example. In Brentford vs Arsenal on the opening day of the 2021/22 season, Brentford pushed Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo high on Arsenal’s backline to prevent them from playing out, forcing Bernd Leno to play a long pass on all four occasions -- resulting in a failed pass in three of them.

What happened in Arsenal’s next match vs Chelsea? The Gunners adapted, bringing an extra player into the possession to help them retain the ball. As a result, they found more success in playing out from their goal kicks, retaining the ball and playing through the press to transition into the attack. In the sequence below:

  1. Leno takes the goal kick
  2. Cédric Soares receives before playing the ball into midfield to bypass the Chelsea press
  3. Nicolas Pépé receives under pressure and has a risky option in midfield to play to
  4. Pépé ignores the option, beating the press on the dribble and bypassing the midfield line…
  5. …running into space with options ahead of him…
  6. …and eventually playing in Bukayo Saka in the final third to put him in a 1-v-1 duel

 

One of the biggest wins in the Freeze Frame Viewer that our customers have already reported back on is the ability to analyse and present information around set plays in a much faster and less labour-intensive way than they’ve been able to previously. Analysing and recording defensive or attacking shapes on corners is now easier than ever before. Inter Milan are one of the most effective teams from corners in Serie A this season, creating 56 shots and scoring six goals in 17 games from these situations, at a rate of 3.3 and 0.35 shots and goals per 90 -- both league highs. It takes just a few clicks to set up the search filter and download the frames for Inter Milan’s corners from the left-flank from their most recent fixtures.

Beyond examining the attacking setups before the kick is taken, we can scroll through subsequent actions in the event timeline to analyse the execution of the set piece and establish how the team has gone about creating space for their attacking players.

The Freeze Frame Viewer isn’t only designed to analyse dead balls and restarts, though. There are plenty of ways to provide quick, snapshot information in open play situations. Transitions have become a prominent part of the game in the past decade, and the best teams in the world will be structured to defend and exploit counterattacks. In the Bundesliga, notoriously one of the most transition-heavy leagues in the world, we can analyse Wolfsburg’s defensive approach to display how the Freeze Frame Viewer can enhance a team’s analysis of the transition phase. Manager Florian Kohfeldt has implemented a curious out-of-possession approach at Die Wölfe: they register as one of the most aggressive off the ball sides in the Bundesliga, but also one who tends to defend closer to their goal.

As a result of this approach, they record many counterpressures in the middle third immediately following a turnover of possession, and we can examine these situations more deeply in the pitch plots (Wolfsburg in red, here).

It’s immediately evident that Wolfsburg are well-positioned to win the ball back, with several players in close proximity to the ball to apply immediate pressure and attempt to force another turnover, or at the very least disrupt the opposition possession. Running an effective counterpress is a big reason why they’re second only to Bayern Munich for the fewest counterattacking shots conceded in the Bundesliga this season.

Of course, users could also apply the same analysis to identify where their next opponents tend to leave gaps in transition and dig deeper into potential situations to exploit in their upcoming fixture… StatsBomb 360 data is scalable, manageable, and user-friendly, which is why we’re able to offer 360 data and the Freeze Frame Viewer across 38 leagues and competitions around the world as of the 2021/22 season. Besides the ‘Big 5’ European leagues, customers can now analyse player location data in the Portuguese Primeira Liga …

…the Belgian Jupiler Pro League…

…or even the second tiers of each of the ‘Big 5’, including the French Ligue 2.

At StatsBomb, we continue to be committed to our customer’s success by consistently delivering the tools they need to create an edge over their competition. If you work for a team, media or gambling organisation and would like to learn more about our market-leading suite of football data products, contact us today to start a conversation and receive a free demo.

StatsBomb Agree Multi-Year Deal With Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC has signed a multi-year deal with StatsBomb to use its data and analytics services. This agreement demonstrates the club's ambition to build upon its recent European and domestic successes by utilising deep data and innovative platforms in its recruitment and performance analysis departments. As part of the agreement, the English Premier League club has also become the latest elite team to sign up for StatsBomb 360, a product crafted at the forefront of innovation in football analytics. StatsBomb 360 adds a snapshot of player locations around every on-the-ball event during a match. The StatsBomb 360 data will enable Wolves to easily analyse its defensive shape, available passing lanes and decision-making, ball receipts in space, line-breaking passes and much more. Wolves will also have access to StatsBomb's market-leading core data set and StatsBomb IQ platform. The performance data includes a number of unique metrics such as pressures by player and team, pass footedness and shot impact height. The StatsBomb IQ platform will enhance the club's recruitment and opposition analysis capabilities by making it easier to find suitable players via customisable templates and unearth patterns in its opponents' play. Shergul Arshad, Chief Commercial Officer, StatsBomb, said: "We are thrilled to be working with Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Premier League is fiercely competitive. By choosing StatsBomb as its data and analytics supplier, the Wolves scouting team has the best tools to find players across a wide range of leagues, and its match analysts have unparalleled data to evaluate opponents." Speaking about the agreement, Mathew Pearson, Head of Performance and Research, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, said: "At Wolves we constantly look to be innovative and progressive and to embrace new ideas and technologies. The addition of StatsBomb has allowed us to further integrate data into both our analysis and recruitment work flows and has been a valuable asset to both”

StatsBomb Sign Partnership Agreement With ACF Fiorentina

ACF Fiorentina is proud to announce a partnership with StatsBomb, the industry leading data provider that is helping the scouting teams of some of the world’s best football clubs with its cutting-edge football data and analytics. The partnership with StatsBomb demonstrates our commitment to football analytics and we are excited to become the latest European club to benefit from StatsBomb's advanced data. ACF Fiorentina will be able to implement StatsBomb's event data across its recruitment, performance and opposition analysis departments. The unparalleled granularity of the contextual data will enable Fiorentina to analyse its performances in greater depth and capture key insights from the most accurate Expected Goals (xG) model in the industry. Speaking about the partnership, Joe Barone, CEO of ACF Fiorentina, said: “We are entering a very important next phase in the growth of Fiorentina. As we continue our journey, it is fundamental for the Club to have tools that are at the forefront of the industry such as StatsBomb” Shergul Arshad, Chief Commercial Officer, StatsBomb, said: “StatsBomb couldn’t be prouder to work with Fiorentina. The club has long been a mainstay in European football and we are hoping that our data can help give the club what is needed to get back into the European club cup competitions.”


This article is also available in Italian: https://statsbomb.com/it/2021/12/acf-fiorentina-annuncia-una-partnership-con-statsbomb