Vital Football

Latest Blackpool FC News

What's in a pass? Revisited.

What's in a pass? Revisited.

Back in January this site took a look at the passing of Blackpool and the role that it plays in their overall game plan. Then Blackpool were on 25 points and 8 games later they have only mustered up further 4 points. This decline is on the radars of the mainstream media and the following clichés are being warmed up; 'the honeymoon is over' and 'running out of steam'. However, can a focus on Blackpool's passing help to understand more about why Blackpool have only clocked up 4 points from a possible 21 in their last 8 games?

The decline?

Just for clarity purposes, here is a chart showing how Blackpool's points per game has progressed throughout the season and as you can see the line tails off towards the end as the most recent run of defeats have taken their toll.



Blackpool's average points since the match against Arsenal in week 2.

Pass Incompletion

In the previous article Blackpool's passing was picked out as a key strength and at that time they had a pass completion rate higher than Liverpool under Roy Hodgson. However, if we plot the game pass completion rates for each game on a graph, what do we see?



From left to right see how the line gradually tails downwards as Blackpool have completed less and less passes.

As you can see Blackpool's pass completion has been gradually eroding in recent weeks. In fact for the games prior to their last win Blackpool's pass completion was 75% and in the last six games it has dropped to 70%.

Player Focus

Recent articles have focused on some individual player performance over the course of the season, most recently with Ian Evatt, Charlie Adam and David Vaughan. Below is a chart showing their pass completion % for the last 6 games set against that of the games before that.



You can see above how Charlie Adam and Ian Evatt's pass completion has dropped in the last 6 games.

You can clearly see that in the games where Blackpool's pass completion has begun to disintegrate, David Vaughan has been consistently excellent, even pushing up his pass completion above 85%. Whilst Adam has dropped from 71% to 60% and Evatt has gone from 68% to 75%.

This tends to fit in to the fact that Blackpool's pass completion has started to drop for two key reasons. Team putting players under more pressure by closing them down and that Blackpool's players are still learning to improve their decision-making at this level i.e. when to pass and what pass to make.

For example, teams seem to really pressure the back line and the keeper now, in order to make it harder for them to play out from the back. This is further backed up when looking at the completion rate for goal kicks. In the last six games it has dropped to 57% from 64% previously. Earlier on in the season goal kicks were often taken short, however, forwards are alert to that threat now and seek to cover the edge of the area making interceptions and forcing passing errors. See the chalkboard below from Blackpool's most recent game against Aston Villa. Notice how 9 of the 20 interceptions made by Villa were in Blackpool's own half.



As Villa pressed Blackpool they made 20 interceptions, 9 of them in the Blackpool half.

Pep talk

This week Ian Holloway has talked about how he wants to learn from Josep Guardiola to improve his side. It is possible that he feels he can learn to improve his side's ball retention by seeing how Barcelona play and that this learning could well be applied to allow his side to pass the ball better under pressure, improving their pass completion and possibly win more games. On average, in the games that Blackpool win, their pass completion is 1% higher than those they lose. Small margins on the surface, but at the top-level of football, small margins might make a big difference especially as Blackpool try to stay in the Premier League.

To see all of my blog entries this season, please visit: Tangerine Dreaming.

Join The Vital Debate



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:John Kane
Date:Wednesday February 16 2011
Time: 9:07PM

Login to post a comment

Recent Blackpool Articles

Vital Preview - FA Cup, 2nd-5th December 2016

The 2016-17 FA Cup season continues with the second round this weekend. We'll be taking part with the aim of continuing our progress in this world famous competition.

500,000+ Season Tickets Sold In 2016/17

More than 500,000 Season Tickets were sold in the Football League pyramid for the 2016/17 season.

FA Cup 3rd Round Draw Next Monday

The third round draw for the 2016/17 FA Cup will take place on Monday evening.

Bowyer On Massive Penalty Stop

Manager Gary Bowyer has given his thoughts on Blackpool's victory over Newport County at the weekend, and he knew that Sam Slocombe's penalty stop...

Archived Vital Blackpool Articles

Vital Blackpool articles from

Site Journalists

Write for Vital Blackpool
Write For Vital Blackpool
Apply Here

Current Poll (see more polls)

Blackpool v Brackley Town
Suggested By:
Blackpool win0%
Brackley Town win0%
Draw0%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Carlisle 19 10 8 1 38 14
2 Plymouth 19 12 2 5 38 8
3 Doncaster 18 11 3 4 36 13
4 Portsmouth 19 9 4 6 31 12
5 Luton 19 8 7 4 31 10
6 Wycombe 19 8 4 7 28 1
7 Blackpool 19 7 6 6 27 11
8 Barnet 19 6 9 4 27 0
9 Grimsby 19 7 5 7 26 2
10 Crewe 19 6 8 5 26 -3
11 Cambridge 19 7 4 8 25 -2
12 Mansfield 19 6 7 6 25 -4
13 Yeovil 18 7 4 7 25 -4
14 Stevenage 17 7 3 7 24 0
15 Colchester 19 6 5 8 23 1
16 Crawley 18 6 5 7 23 -6
17 Morecambe 19 7 2 10 23 -13
18 Hartlepool 19 5 7 7 22 -4
19 Notts County 19 6 4 9 22 -8
20 Accrington 19 5 6 8 21 -5
21 Exeter 19 6 2 11 20 -5
22 Leyton Orient 19 5 3 11 18 -5
23 Cheltenham 19 3 9 7 18 -8
24 Newport 18 4 5 9 17 -5
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Blackpool Results (view all)

Blackpool Fixtures (view all)

Dec 10 2016 3:00PM : Stevenage (a)
Sky Bet League Two
Dec 17 2016 3:00PM : Luton Town (H)
Sky Bet League Two
Dec 26 2016 3:00PM : Hartlepool United (a)
Sky Bet League Two
Dec 31 2016 3:00PM : Grimsby Town (a)
Sky Bet League Two
Jan 2 2017 3:00PM : Mansfield Town (H)
Sky Bet League Two
Jan 7 2017 3:00PM : Crawley Town (H)
Sky Bet League Two

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.Bear19517
2.Layton_Seasider4
3.BobHatton4
4.SeasideEssexXile3
5.liverpoolseasider2
6.premier 11
7.nunu1
8.nodrogaty1
9.Hastings1
10.BFCSupportersTrust1
Vital Football Comment