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Possession literally means nothing 😎


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And continuing to post match stats after match stats doesn't make any point you seem to want to be making any more true.

If you are dominating possession - not that you really are, mind, it's close - and losing a lot of games them something about your tactics is wrong. Hard to say without seeing your tactics. 

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Yeah, the amount of possession isn't as important as what you do with the ball when you have it - how well you use that possession.

xG is pretty accurate though - at least in terms of who won.

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Good point OP, despite knowing this I still get frustrated when I get beaten with dominant possession.

Slightly off topic,  how are you finding Newcastle this year? They are my real life team and I always do a long save with them but I don't start it until the true release and when I feel there isn't any game breaking issues too.

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Its not as if you've had like 70% possession and absolutely dominated games. Surely you can tweak your tactics and evolve your structure/formation/instructions

Edited by Preveza
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1 hour ago, Domathon said:

Guys this is not a salty post at all I been here longer than you chill 😂 

What was the aim of this thread then? I am genuinely curious. 

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Its like saying, living without food is nothing Yep. No but its speaking for itself, its football. Football teams win games because of the more goals they score than the opponent. And if you had like 60% to 70% of possesion it would be a lot more frustrating but at the end, those numbers are not weird or something. But i guess you just wanted to point it out for others to not worry about possesion to much but just make sure u, in the first place, win your games. 

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People are getting confused over this because some of the best teams in recent years happened to be possession based (Barca, Spain and Bayern, most prominently).

Leicester won the league back then with some of the "worst" possession and pass completion rate (whilst conceding as many shots as they created, btw.). I was top of the league with similar stats back on FM 2016 already.

It's not how much you have the ball (or how many shots you have), and never was, it is what you do with it. This article is real old, but fortunately, stats-wise FM is slowly catching up. (Spoiler: Watch those xG, rather, or you're going to be a Swansea ca. 2015ish at best). ;) 

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2013/feb/24/football-numbers-game-gary-neville
 

Edited by Svenc
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IMHO possession is a valuable thing. It is especially good as a defensive measure. While you have the ball, the opponent cannot score.

Of course for this to work you need a sensible defensive setup and take a good look at how you concede goals. So I usually sit a bit deeper against fast opponents and stop playing for offside. And turn the speed down against much better teams.

It does not help when your possession does not create chances, your players don't put away the chances or when you allow 2 goals per game after corners and free kicks, because your defence can't jump.

Just looking at possession and saying "This is not worth it" is very simplistic and does not offer insights. 

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4 minutes ago, Svenc said:

Leicester won the league back then with some of the "worst" possession and pass completion rate (whilst conceding as many shots as they created, btw.). I was top of the league with similar stats back on FM 2016 already.

It's not how much you have the ball, and never was, it is what you do with it. This article is real old, but fortunately, stats-wise FM is slowly catching up.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2013/feb/24/football-numbers-game-gary-neville

People are getting confused over this because some of the best teams in recent years happened to be possession based (Barca, Spain and Bayern, most prominently).

Indeed, Leicester won the league by being utterly brutal on the counter, helped massively by a forward line that was pacey and proficient.

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Wrong. Possession means a lot. What you do with it it's what matters in the result. Besides of that, most of the teams who won you average 44% of possession. So you didn't even dominate them. And seeing xG and the amount of shots it seems that you were using possession as a defensive strategy and they were using it forward. 

Edited by cudithekid94
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Only one of those screenshots actually shows a possession difference that I would consider statistically significant. Anyway, possession isn't nothing. A more accurate statement would be: possession isn't everything.

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I played with a tactic for a while on FM20 where I would happily cede the ball to the opposition and just let them keep it in their own half, and only try to stop them when they played it forward. I would regularly have less than 40% of possession and regularly win comfortably. That is because when I had the ball I would attack and use it. As a general point what matters in terms of possession is where you have the ball. Possession in your own half is useless unless you are defending a lead. And even then you are asking for mistakes if you keep the ball close to your own goal. Possession in the central third is better, but still countered by a good defensive side not offering a way through. Possession in the attacking third is what matters. And that is independent of the overall possession stats. If you have the ball most of the time close to the opposition goal, but deny that to your opposition, you will win games. 

It is one of those modern quirks that teams like Barcelona and Spain have made people possession oriented, but they missed that with these teams possession was a defensive tool, and their attacking prowess came from those moments of incredibly incisive and direct play. 

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41 minutes ago, sporadicsmiles said:

I played with a tactic for a while on FM20 where I would happily cede the ball to the opposition and just let them keep it in their own half, and only try to stop them when they played it forward. I would regularly have less than 40% of possession and regularly win comfortably. That is because when I had the ball I would attack and use it. As a general point what matters in terms of possession is where you have the ball. Possession in your own half is useless unless you are defending a lead. And even then you are asking for mistakes if you keep the ball close to your own goal. Possession in the central third is better, but still countered by a good defensive side not offering a way through. Possession in the attacking third is what matters. And that is independent of the overall possession stats. If you have the ball most of the time close to the opposition goal, but deny that to your opposition, you will win games. 

It is one of those modern quirks that teams like Barcelona and Spain have made people possession oriented, but they missed that with these teams possession was a defensive tool, and their attacking prowess came from those moments of incredibly incisive and direct play. 

Barcelona and Spain usually did not play this way though. For them possession was both an offensive as well as defensive tool. A lot of goals that those two teams scored came after long passing sequences rather than a quick counterattack.

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On 17/11/2020 at 09:19, Jibby123 said:

People watching football have known that for years. Team with most possession loses is hardly news?

Well, read the Dutch football news and you may change your mind :D

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3 hours ago, anindyarajan19 said:

Barcelona and Spain usually did not play this way though. For them possession was both an offensive as well as defensive tool. A lot of goals that those two teams scored came after long passing sequences rather than a quick counterattack.

That was more or less what I was hinting at, but perhaps did not explain well. For Spain and Barcelona they kept the ball because Guardiola believed that the opposition cannot score when they do not have the ball. In that way their possession is a defensive tool. In fact for Guardiola it was the only defensive tool. His teams often fell apart under a good attacking side pressuring them. Of course this is not to say that they were negative, because neither team were. This was not Martinez at Swansea levels of negative passing. They generally possessed the ball so the opposition could not have it, but did so in the opposition half. It is the where that matters. 

And what I meant about directness was that the think that set Barcelona apart was their ability to go from mindless passing (I hate this style, it bores me and creates bad games) to blistering attack at the flip of a switch. Xavi and Iniesta just knew when to go direct. That was the beauty of this team and what set it apart (well, couple it with Messi in his prime being unmarkable). When Barcelona attacked, they did so in a very direct manner. Not as in they counter attacked, but they would stop keeping the ball and start just trying to score with as few touches as possible. Or they would use the counter press to win the ball back and then score quickly from broken phase play.

Hope that makes what I said make more sense. Feel free to disagree with my analysis though! 

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If you watch Man Utd play in real life you will often see them passing the ball around outside the area without penetrating a defense or creating a goal scoring opportunity, possession means nothing if you don't do anything when you have the ball.

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Playing counter-attacking football gives you less possession but may win you lots of matches, but that's hardly any news.

I like playing possession-based football, but at the end of the day, you need to turn that possession into a result.

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even in real life this happens every week. you see man city with 70%+ possession and yet they're mid table. you have leicester with like 30% possession weekly and yet they're top of the league.

goals win game, not possession percentage.

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1 hour ago, sporadicsmiles said:

That was more or less what I was hinting at, but perhaps did not explain well. For Spain and Barcelona they kept the ball because Guardiola believed that the opposition cannot score when they do not have the ball. In that way their possession is a defensive tool. In fact for Guardiola it was the only defensive tool. His teams often fell apart under a good attacking side pressuring them. Of course this is not to say that they were negative, because neither team were. This was not Martinez at Swansea levels of negative passing. They generally possessed the ball so the opposition could not have it, but did so in the opposition half. It is the where that matters. 

And what I meant about directness was that the think that set Barcelona apart was their ability to go from mindless passing (I hate this style, it bores me and creates bad games) to blistering attack at the flip of a switch. Xavi and Iniesta just knew when to go direct. That was the beauty of this team and what set it apart (well, couple it with Messi in his prime being unmarkable). When Barcelona attacked, they did so in a very direct manner. Not as in they counter attacked, but they would stop keeping the ball and start just trying to score with as few touches as possible. Or they would use the counter press to win the ball back and then score quickly from broken phase play.

Hope that makes what I said make more sense. Feel free to disagree with my analysis though! 

For Guardiola, possession was definitely not just a defensive tool. It was their most important offensive tool. 

Pep hated mindless passing, and did not like keeping possession for possession's sake. In fact he hated the word 'tiki-taka', which to him was all about mindless passing which you see teams like United often resort to. His Barca very rarely resorted to mindless passing, instead every pass had a purpose. He used possession to drag the opposition around to generate positional and numerical superiorities all over the pitch. When the opposition's shape was sufficiently disorganized, only then would Xavi or Iniesta pull the trigger. 

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6 minutes ago, anindyarajan19 said:

His Barca very rarely resorted to mindless passing, instead every pass had a purpose

One of the main purposes was to deny the opposition the ball. I watched enough 5m passes between the base of midfield and defence to know that mindless possession was a thing. The things you said are also true though. Guardiola knew how to leverage that possession. 

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