StatsBomb is continuing its support of the women's game by offering free access to our StatsBomb IQ analytics platform to teams in the top five European leagues and the NWSL ahead of the 21/22 season.
The women's game continues to grow on and off the field. As well as new TV deals and investment, there’s been an steady increase in the uptake of data and analytics by women's teams across Europe. After our initial offer back in 2018, we have seen encouraging and consistent growth in the usage of our StatsBomb IQ platform, and last season in particular saw two title winners in the top five European leagues and two of the four UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-finalists all frequently using the platform to aid their match and data analysis: a fact that reflects the initiative’s success.
As we embark on the new season, we are pleased to confirm that the offer of FREE access to our StatsBomb IQ analytics platform to ALL teams across the top women’s leagues in England, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and the USA will continue for the 2021/22 campaign. Each club will be able to access state-of-the-art analytics for the league they’re competing in to support their performance, match, and opposition analysis.
There is no reason why women’s football should miss out on the data revolution happening in the men’s game - this offer ensures that will not be the case. It also potentially opens up more career opportunities for women in sport, and the more opportunities available, the more women will be encouraged to enter the sports data analysis industry. The more educated people in the industry, the better the industry will be overall.
Speaking of which, this year saw us add the first female data scientist to our team. Nicole Kozlova joined StatsBomb in May on a data science internship to support her studies at Virginia Tech University, where she’s majoring in Computational Modelling Data Analytics. Not only does Nicole have a very strong quantitative background, she is also an international footballer for Ukraine: the combination of football plus data knowledge meant she was someone we had to pay attention to. You’ll see more of Nicole at our Conference in October, where she will present the findings of the research conducted during her internship.
We have already seen advancements with regards to the number of women taking up positions within the sport, but we’re not done yet, and so it only makes sense to extend the initiative for another campaign.
How can IQ help you?
The StatsBomb IQ platform is industry-leading and provides a level of detail that isn’t available from any other data provider, thanks to StatsBomb’s deep and contextual event data. We collect over 3,300 events per game on average; including goalkeeper and defender locations for every shot; pass footedness; and pressure events to allow for deeper analysis of where and how a team likes to defend.
The analytical insights and breakthroughs that you can make with StatsBomb IQ are endless, and we’re excited to see what our existing and potential women's customers can achieve next season. Interested in taking us up on the offer? Contact us at email@example.com today, and we’ll provide a free demo and induction to the platform as soon as possible.
The StatsBomb Team
Since our inception as a data company back in 2018, StatsBomb has been doing whatever we can to support the Women’s game. We have collected Women’s data on the same full spec as the Men’s since the very beginning, but we also recognised early on that there was more we could do to address the barriers around cost and expertise for Women’s teams.
After similar offerings in previous campaigns, we’ve this season been supporting performance and recruitment analysis departments across the Big Five Europeans leagues by providing free access to our StatsBomb IQ analytics platform to ALL teams competing in those leagues, covering the FA Women’s Super League, Division 1 Féminine, Frauen-Bundesliga, Serie A Women, and Primera División Femenina.
We have been thoroughly enthused to see the integration of data analysis into the internal processes of many teams across those divisions, enabling coaching and support staff to use objective, industry-best data in their tactical match and opposition analysis.
Thanks to this offering, we can now be confident that the off-field processes across the FA Women’s Super League are nearly as good as the product on the pitch!
For the second season in a row, there’s a nail-biter of a title race as we enter the home straight of the season, with Chelsea just edging out Manchester City at the time of writing.
Table courtesy of https://womenscompetitions.thefa.com/
We’re going to focus on the battle at top and what can now be tentatively suggested to be the league’s 'Big Four', having seen the same teams occupying the top four positions last season too.
Arsenal find themselves adrift now, but were very much in the conversation back in October after winning all five of their opening fixtures at an aggregate scoreline of 29-4. Vivianne Miedema, league top scorer in 2018-19 and 2019-20, scored 10 goals in those opening five to go a long way towards securing the accolade for the third season running, ably supported by Netherlands compatriot Jill Roord who netted back-to-back hat-tricks from central midfield in Arsenal’s opening two fixtures.
The Gunners scored at nearly double their expected goals, but racking up 16.7 xG in five games – a rate of 3.34 per game – put a warning out to the rest of the league.
As always in the WSL though, it’s results against your rivals that make the difference between a title challenge or not and Arsenal dropped points to all of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United in three of the four fixtures immediately following that start, losing to the two Manchester clubs and hosting a London derby stalemate with Chelsea. Further defeats to City and Chelsea in the return fixtures have cut them adrift.
After a fourth-placed finish in their inaugural top flight season in 2019-20, there's been a discernible progression in Manchester United.
Casey Stoney’s side were closer to mid-table than they were the title race last time out, but an uptick in their attacking output has seen the team emerge as stronger contenders in 2020-21.
There’s an element of chaos around United games this season with the side leading the league for both High Press Shots, shots generated within five seconds of a turnover in the opposition half, and Counter Attacking Shots, shots generated within 15 seconds following a turnover in the team’s own half.
United also come out on top in StatsBomb’s Directness metric, a ratio of the distance to goal from the start of a possession that ended in a shot, divided by the total distance travelled in the build-up to that shot. In layman’s terms, United look to play forward and towards goal when on the ball.
Two-time World Cup winner Tobin Heath’s form had been living up to the marquee-status greeted by the signing, providing a direct goal threat and creativity from the wing during United's 10-2-0 start to the season that had them firmly in the title race.
Heath’s January injury coincided with back-to-back defeats in the first two rounds of February, which, along with a defeat to Chelsea a few weeks prior, has seen the Red Devils lose touch with the top two with six games to play.
After missing out on the title by points-per-game last season, Manchester City’s summer recruitment drive was hailed as one of the best in the division, seeing Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis, Alex Greenwood, Chloe Kelly and Lucy Bronze join the club.
Bronze returned to England following a trophy-laden spell with Lyon in France including three consecutive Division 1 Féminine and Champions League doubles, as well as a host of personal honours, including winning ‘The Best FIFA Women's Player’ in 2020 (Bronze wins Gold, etc, etc...)
Ex-manager Nick Cushing ended his seven-year association with the club for a role with New York City FC in MLS, so management-rookie Gareth Taylor was promoted from a role in the Manchester City academy to take on the mantle.
It's so far, so good for Taylor who, results-wise, has picked up where Cushing left off. A rocky start saw them go 3-3-1 in their opening seven fixtures, but Taylor has swiftly steadied the ship and that run has been followed up by a steamrolling nine game winning run. City now look set to go at least as close to regaining the title from Chelsea as they did in the last campaign, with City currently two points off top spot.
Taylor’s tinkered with the setup to great effect, with the surface-level metrics looking even stronger than last year. xG per game has shifted up from 1.94 to 2.22, their xG conceded has dropped from 0.83 to 0.56 – and the changes in process that has led to those upgrades is evident.
For starters, City are now pressing higher up the pitch. Their PPDA – Opposition Passes Per Defensive Action – has dropped from 10.30 to 6.30, and their Defensive Distance – the average distance from a team’s own goal from which it makes defensive actions – has increased by nearly five(!) metres, up from 48.9m in 2019-20 to a league-high 53.6m in 2020-21. For context, Chelsea have the next highest in 2020-21 at 49.9m.
City are looking to keep the play in the opposition territory as often as possible and ideally in possession of the ball themselves – possession has risen from 55% to 65% - in order to utilise the creative talents of Georgia Stanway, Lauren Hemp, and Chloe Kelly.
Kelly has transferred her Everton form into City colours after her summer move, completing the most dribbles in the division so far (2nd only to Chloe Arthur or Aston Villa on a per 90 basis) and creating the third-most xG assisted in the league from the right-flank.
Looking to retain their title and in pole position to do so are leaders Chelsea.
Despite the improvement in Manchester City’s metrics, it’s still the Blues who look the strongest side in the WSL this season, with virtually nothing between this season and last in either their 'xG For' numbers in attack or 'xG Conceded' numbers in defence.
2019-20 WSL Player Of The Season and Player’s Player of the Season Beth England signed a new four-year deal in the summer and has picked up where she left off, supported by the returning Fran Kirby, world record signing Pernille Harder, and speedster Sam Kerr. The form of all four has powered Chelsea to the top of the table with each of them registering at least 10 goals and assists combined by the three-quarter stage of the season.
You get a clearer sense of how devastating the Chelsea frontline have been when you consider than three of the top four players in the league for expected goals and expected goals assisted come from the London club.
It’s not just the attackers that deserve credit, though. Defensively the Blues have been imperious too., conceding just 8 goals in 16 games, a total that just about tallies with their xG conceded of 8.8.
The form of the defensive unit as a whole has been high but on the rare occasion they do get breached, goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger has been there to bail them out. Berger has faced just 15 shots on target in her 12 appearances this season, shots that have a post-shot xG value of 6.3, taking into account the shot location and shot placement. So on average we'd expect Berger to have conceded between 6-7 goals from the shots she's faced - she's conceded just three (plus one penalty and one own-goal).
Assuming neither side slips up elsewhere, all eyes are on the top of the table clash between Manchester City and Chelsea on April 25th, which at this stage looks to be the title decider. You don't want to miss it.
StatsBomb are more involved than ever with Women’s football, from the top teams in leagues across Europe to grass roots football in our local community in Bath, UK.
We have been actively propelling the sophistication of Women’s football, especially in the UK and in Europe, since we gave all FAWSL and France Feminine Women’s teams free access to our analytics platform StatsBomb IQ in 2019/20, along with all the detailed statistical modelling for the season.
We recognised there was more we could do to remove barriers in the Women’s game and help clubs themselves use data and analytics to enhance performance. While our quality data and insight can help drive improvements on the pitch, we needed to address barriers around cost and expertise for Women’s teams. Many teams leapt at the offer and integrated data analysis into their internal processes across tactical match and opposition analysis. We have also been working more closely with English Women’s teams in applying data and insight to develop coaching practices.
As we embark on the 2020/21 season, we will not only continue offering free data to FAWSL and France Feminine teams, we will also cover the top leagues in Germany, Italy and Spain and are offering free access to our analytics platform to ALL teams in those leagues as well.
We’re delighted to be able to offer this opportunity. Not only does it provide Women’s teams with the same opportunity as the Men’s in terms of sophistication of tools and data driven analysis, but also helps to create more exciting career opportunities that we hope will encourage more Women into the sports data analysis industry.
We are also embarking this year on a grassroots approach in our local community supporting Girls and Women’s football via Bath City FC Foundation. The Foundation is the charitable arm of Bath City FC working in areas of disadvantage using sport to effect change, and one of their initiatives is to improve skills and match-play as well as enhancing the football experience for girls in Bath, especially to avoid the drop-off at Secondary level. StatsBomb are supporting the Foundation with resources to help coordinate and link up the growing number of organisations passionate about Girls and Women’s football in Bath and the surrounding areas as well as providing design and tech expertise to help develop their marketing and communications.
Because Bristol City Women’s team will be based at Twerton Park this season, we are also thrilled that the world's best female football players will be playing in Bath. The opportunity this presents to raise the profile of Women’s football locally within schools and local communities is significant.
After this summer’s transfers, the FAWSL is undoubtedly the most talented league in women’s football today, and we cannot wait for this interesting season to get started this weekend as it kicks off locally with Bristol City v Everton this Sunday - even if we can’t enter the ground!
If you would like to get involved either on the pro side or grass roots, please do get in touch with Charlotte Randall, StatsBomb COO at firstname.lastname@example.org.