Beyond the Stats: Using Sportscode to Analyze Player Performance

We used Sportscode to determine Paul Pogba’s impact for France during the group stage of the European Championships.

Beyond the Stats: Using Sportscode to Analyze Player Performance

We used Sportscode to determine Paul Pogba’s impact for France during the group stage of the European Championships.

Pundits and fans love to critique players - it’s a major part of the game. During the major events of the UEFA Euro group stages, the level of analysis is off the charts. So we’ve created a player rating system to help superfans and analysts alike back up their assumptions.

We used statistical data points that we tracked in Sportscode to determine a player’s impact in a match. Those included balls won, number of touches, chances missed, chances created, chance effectiveness, assists, goals, pass completion percentage, interceptions and tackles.

Each data point was given a value and weight in the formula, and a weighted score was determined. We aimed to analyze their performance for the length of time they are on the pitch - so the rating doesn’t diminish a player’s score if they came on as a late game substitute or if they were subbed off early.

The code window we used in our test

As a test, we broke down France’s first three group stage matches using Sportscode and the formula we built, looking specifically at Paul Pogba’s performance in the first three group stage matches.

Here’s what we found.

We noticed a trend in Pogba’s play. In the first two games, which many judge as sub-par from Pogba, his position within France’s three man midfield was much deeper, and he was often the catalyst. He was essential in France’s efforts to keep the ball and probe the opposing defense. He often played long passes from deep positions to open up the play. Take a look at this example.

This is an incisive pass that cuts through Romania’s defense and created a legitimate scoring chance. We tagged that as a chance created by Pogba because his pass directly impacted his team’s ability to score. Take a look at Dimitri Payet’s goal against Albania and you’ll see the critical ball Pogba plays out of the back.

That chance was set up because of Pogba’s vision. He played the ball into a channel for Gignac to run on to. He might not have gotten an assist in the box score, but his impact on the play cannot be understated.

By many standards, France’s match against Switzerland was Pogba’s best, and our statistical analysis gave Pogba a rating of 9.3, which certainly backs up that claim. What’s critical to understand alongside this data is the role Pogba was playing in France’s formation. He was the creator in the first half, playing in a much more advanced central position than he had in the games past - and the data shows it. He had eight chances created, and three shots on goal. Here is one of his finer displays.

When Payet came on in the second half, Pogba resumed his role as the deep-lying midfielder responsible for maintaining possession. He took a back seat for much of the second half of that match, but that didn’t diminish his impact. He was still creating chances for his teammates

Pogba’s impact on France’s first three group stage matches cannot be undervalued. He was essential in every aspect of their game. Whether the chief creator or the deep-lying cog in their midfield triangle, France wouldn’t have been able to achieve the results they did without Pogba.

With Sportscode and our rating system, we were able to understand more of what makes Pogba and France successful.

So what’s next?

We realized the need to add in more negative statistics to our data set. Things like fouls and balls lost were not taken into consideration in the beginning, and we went in and added those elements after the fact. As we aim to dissect a full match, we will identify players of similar positions and impact to analyze their performances with those things in mind.

Check out part two of our series, where we took our findings and analysed the match between Italy and Spain, specifically the play of Andres Iniesta and Daniele De Rossi. 

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