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:
- Leno takes the goal kick
- Cédric Soares receives before playing the ball into midfield to bypass the Chelsea press
- Nicolas Pépé receives under pressure and has a risky option in midfield to play to
- Pépé ignores the option, beating the press on the dribble and bypassing the midfield line…
- …running into space with options ahead of him…
- …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.