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canarydan23

Case for the defence

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I might be being premature here, but with Timm Klose signing it seems we can be reasonably confident that we won't be conducting any business in the centre-half department (unless Hanley goes). I think the general consensus is that we'll play two at the back, at least initially, so it'll be two from three out of Godfrey, Zimmermann and Klose. I always felt Klose was unlucky not to return to the side after his injury, but you could hardly grumble at the form of Godfrey and Zimmermann that was keeping him on the bench. Anyway, as my boss is away from his desk, I thought I'd do some number crunching to make the day go quicker...

Pairing  Played Conceded Goals per game Clean sheets Avg league position
Hanley, Klose 5.5 11 2 1                            11th
Zimmerman, Klose 16 15 0.9375 6                            13th
Hanley, Godfrey 0.5 1 2 0                            24th
Zimmerman, Godfrey 23 26 1.13 6                            14th
Klose, Godfrey 1 3 3 0                            9th

 

Fairly self explanatory. The average league position is based on final league position of the opposition because it would have been a ballache checking the contemporary league position of the opposition. I chucked that in just to ensure that one pairing didn't have an unfair run of games against teams at the bottom of the table. The half matches refers to the Ipswich away game, when Klose was subbed off for Godfrey just after half time with the scores 0-0. I didn't attribute Hanley and Klose with a clean sheet.

There are obviously lies, damn lies and statistics, but the numbers are not pretty for Hanley. Also, Timm and Zimm managed as many clean sheets in 16 games as Godfrey and Zimmermann managed in 23 and they conceded less goals per game than Godfrey and Zimmermann.

         
           

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Harsh in Hanley - he had no preseason and most of his appearances were before we got into gear.  

Ultimately the stats for our defence last season weren’t overly brilliant, we let in 50+ League goals which is a lot - it was in m/f and up front that we were devastating.  IMO we’ll need to tinker with things ready for life in the PL - the strikers we’ll encounter are some of the best out there.  Whether that’s by formation/tactics or a couple of new personnel I’m not sure, but happy to be guided by DF/SW on that one!

 

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The defence is an odd one because individually you would say that all of Aarons, Lewis, Zimmermann, Klose and Godfrey had good seasons but, as you say, we have leaked goals; only one less than 17th placed Birmingham.

Despite this, we all seem relatively happy with the prospect of not reinforcing beyond a backup for Aarons.

That said, based on the above numbers, if Klose and Zimmermann had played 46 games at their conceded per game ratio we would have only let in 43 goals and only Boro and Sheff Utd conceded fewer.

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I'm not the kind of person who sits and has the time to analyse all our games but from in-depth videos around the web I've ascertained that our propensity to let in goals tended to stem from the lack of bite in defensive mid.

Having seen the highlights of Leeds (A) and Reading (H), Roofe carves his way through our centre and that last gasp equaliser from Reading owed a lot to the fact no one closed their player down in midfield before he took his shot.

I'm aware a few people are looking at that DM role as a major facet this coming season, but I also wonder, as the stats show above, how much fragility owed to the centre-back pairing.

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13 minutes ago, canarydan23 said:

 

Pairing  Played Conceded Goals per game Clean sheets Avg league position
Hanley, Klose 5.5 11 2 1                            11th
Zimmerman, Klose 16 15 0.9375 6                            13th
Hanley, Godfrey 0.5 1 2 0                            24th
Zimmerman, Godfrey 23 26 1.13 6                            14th
Klose, Godfrey 1 3 3 0                            9th

 

The average league position is based on final league position of the opposition because it would have been a ballache checking the contemporary league position of the opposition.

         

Transfermarkt would've had it.

But anyway, good post. I think these numbers just add further weight to the idea that our centre-back partnership will be two out of Zimmermann, Godfrey and Klose. 

Given the youth of Godfrey, he should improve further next season playing against top opposition. There could be teething problems as he struggles early on, but Farke has complete faith that his youngsters will learn from mistakes and improve, just as he has this season. I do wonder if Zimmermann is maybe a little bit 'limited' for the top flight, but I guess time will tell, and at least we have Klose to step in.

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Whilst it's fair to say that our defense wasn't great, this kind of analysis doesn't provide that much insight. As others have stated a big factor in this is the DM role, for example the one player easily carving through the middle from deep should be being stopped by the DM before it gets to the CB who should (initially) be making sure that the ball doesn't get passed quicker to a player currently in a more dangerous position. It also doesn't take into consideration the game situation where the goals were conceded, e.g. were they crosses whilst counter attacking our marauding full backs so the CBS were stretched more or were they set pieces when other players weren't tracking their men...

Having said that, I don't think Hanley is a first choice premiership quality player, but he offers a different (more old school) option, which may be useful coming off the bench or as part of a back 3... It's just a shame that both Godfrey and Klose seem to prefer to be left sided as I think they would be our most complete CB pairing.

 

Finally, whilst we did only concede 1 fewer than Birmingham, they were only in 17th because of their points deduction and from 10th down only Stoke actually conceded fewer than us.

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IMO our defence needs to work on "switching off"/losing concentration at key moments, defending set pieces, and also the protection our midfield offers for the defence.

 

Key moments are just after scoring, and just before & after half-time.  The Roofe run for Leeds is a perfect example, we'd just scored and we just sat back from the kick off and let him run through and get in a shot from the edge of the area, which didn't happen much in that game.  Ditto the Millwall game at home, when we went 2-1 up and then conceded 2 goals pretty quickly.

 

If anyone has time to look at it, I'd be interested to know how many of our goals were conceded at those times ?

 

I think our win away at Leeds is an important example of the sort of gameplan we'll need more often in the Prem.  We didn't dominate possession like we did in many games last season but still controlled the game by playing some devastating attacking football when we had possession and denying them more than a few opportunities when they were in possession.  But nevertheless they had some decent chances and a better team at finishing could have punished us. 

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Forgot about Birmingham's points deduction. Having said that, we still had the 7th best defensive record by goals conceded in the league; when you consider how we play that's actually not that bad at all.

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Klose is a quality International defender far more suited to the premier league than the championship. Only his injury got us relegated last time. In my opinion performances by Klose in the championship are not really that telling, look at his international games to get a better feel for how good he is.

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It'd be interesting to see how Godfrey would get on at CDM - its the position he grew up playing.  As said, Farke sees him as a ball playing, passing CB, and his pace is very useful, especially alongside Zimmermann or Klose.  I think he'd play ok together with Klose, but as things played out, the Godfrey/Zimmermann pairing did very well. 

If you were starting from scratch, I'd pick Godfrey and Klose as our 'best' CBs, though the other 2 would walk into most Championship sides as first choice.

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1 minute ago, canarydan23 said:

Forgot about Birmingham's points deduction. Having said that, we still had the 7th best defensive record by goals conceded in the league; when you consider how we play that's actually not that bad at all.

This, we were well in compared to others and this is what we asked for fast attacking football and plenty of 4-3 ‘s.

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Another factor is goals at the other end. Timm has a habit of popping up and scoring at crucial times. In terms of goals per minute in the pitch, Hanley is actually our second most effective scorer. (Timm 509 minutes per 4 goals, Hanley 572 although only one goal, then 597 for Godfrey’s 4 and  1285 for Zimmerman’s 3).

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I don't think people should get concerned about centre backs going forwards - we did it plenty of times this season with Aarons/ Lewis/ Tettey/ Trybull staying back when needed. That flexibility is why Godfrey is so well suited to the role he has - excellent defender with the ability to go forwards at times. Our sheer mobility and flexibility right round the team is what stood us in such good stead this season and it will be the same next season and a very good reason why our style will cause problems in the PL. 

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Ben Godfrey was certainly getting some great reviews playing DM for Shrewsbury-although DF played him at CB this season, there is the option that TK/CZ will be the preferred pairing in the PL, allowing BG to play at DM. There have been a few comments at times about his lack of concentration-would this leave us more exposed if he played at CB or DM?

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having a more comfortable player on the ball at centre back is vital to how we play. It also gives us the chance to overload on attacks. Video below covers it well. (sorry if this has been shared before) 5 minutes in.

 

Edited by canarycat

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One other factor from last season - Klose was soon to be out of contract, so no re-sale value. Godfrey, like Aarons, was having a great debut season and if we didn't go up would have been an asset we could cash in on to fill a funding hole for 2019 - 2020. 

That was then, this season we know we have Klose, Godfrey, Zimmermann who are all comfortable on the ball, so I agree use any two of those three - or maybe all three in a 2 CB plus sweeper system. 

 

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These stats don't tell the whole story because when we have the ball we attack as a team and when we are without the ball we defend as a team. The defence starts with Pukki at the very front. So the centre back pairing who had most defensive  support from front to back would have better stats.

I often heard Farke mention "winning duals" in his interviews. I don't know where those stats are available but they would make interesting comparisons.

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5 hours ago, Mr Angry said:

Ben Godfrey was certainly getting some great reviews playing DM for Shrewsbury-although DF played him at CB this season, there is the option that TK/CZ will be the preferred pairing in the PL, allowing BG to play at DM. There have been a few comments at times about his lack of concentration-would this leave us more exposed if he played at CB or DM?

Neither - if there is any concentration issue, it is something he will improve on. 

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The figures (in OP) aren’t massively different, but Klose is imo better defensively than Godfrey. However, Godfrey probably offers more with the ball at his feet. I expect we will see plenty of both next season as there will be times when we will I am sure set up slightly more “solidly” than we have done for the large part this season.

With Godfrey, I’m not sure if it is a case of switching off, or whether it is a lack of natural positional sense and awareness at the back. Centre half and defensive midfield is very different positionally and there have been a number of times this season when Godfrey has been caught out of position. Sometimes it is almost as though he thinks about going for the ball, then thinks he should stay with his man and gets caught in between (all within a split second decision). I’ve said on other threads that I think Godfrey will make a good centre half, but I think he would probably have made / will make a better midfielder for this reason - he has the attributes to succeed in both positions, but I think he probably has more natural awareness and positional sense in the midfield role.

 

Edited by Aggy

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The defence was (and is) fine; close to the best in the league, all things considered. The goals against stats are heavily skewed by the first 5 games when we were pants. In the remaining 41 games only three teams conceded fewer, of which only Sheffield United had a positive goal difference*. We scored way more than anyone else in this time. Our attacking style inevitably meant we would be caught out at times. We have the best defenders I have ever seen play for the club.

*edit: actually Middlesbrough had +1 but my point stands.

Edited by Petriix

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20 minutes ago, Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man said:

Really interesting stats.

Comparing Godfrey and Zimmerman you really see the difference. Godfrey passing percentage (in both halves) is far superior. He has made fewer interceptions, clearances and blocks than Zimmerman but has made more tackles. He has also won a lower percentage of duels and aerial duels than Zimmerman. 

Godfrey and Klose is similar to Godfrey vs Zimmerman. Klose has even higher duels and aerial duels won percentage than Zimmerman. Godfrey also has fewer blocks, interceptions and clearances than Klose.

I would say a natural defender is likely to make more blocks and interceptions than they probably would tackles - tackles often mean (especially in the middle of the park rather than a full back who is more likely to get taken on down the wing) that you’re slightly out of position and have to tackle to make up for it. 

Interestingly, Godfrey’s  duels won percentage, aerial duels won percentage, and successful passing percentage are all almost identical to Trybull. The only real difference between the two on percentages is tackle success (Godfrey’s significantly higher). Also very similar when comparing Godfrey and McLean and Godfrey and Tettey. 

Obviously these are just stats, and the way we play we need one centre half with good passing skills. But from an individual point of view, I think the stats suggest he would be equally (if not more) at home in midfield as he would at the back. 

Wouldnt be surprised if in some games next year we play Klose and Zimmerman cb, push Godfrey into a floating dm/cb type role.

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I didn't actually look much at that page before I posted it, but after reading some of the comments about how much good stuff there is on it, I decided to have a look and agree- it's bloody good. 

One curiosity is that if you compare Aarons and Lewis, Aarons had a considerably better season based on stats. Was the difference really as pronounced as the stats seem to suggest?

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2 minutes ago, Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man said:

I didn't actually look much at that page before I posted it, but after reading some of the comments about how much good stuff there is on it, I decided to have a look and agree- it's bloody good. 

One curiosity is that if you compare Aarons and Lewis, Aarons had a considerably better season based on stats. Was the difference really as pronounced as the stats seem to suggest?

Without looking in to it my first thought is that Aarons had more game time with Buendia whilst Lewis had more game time with Hernandez. Both good offensively but Buendia probably better defensively so Aarons would have had more support? 

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5 minutes ago, nutty nigel said:

Without looking in to it my first thought is that Aarons had more game time with Buendia whilst Lewis had more game time with Hernandez. Both good offensively but Buendia probably better defensively so Aarons would have had more support? 

I'm not sure if that explains why Aarons has the edge on passing, duels, tackles, blocks, interceptions, clearances, fouls conceded, fouls won, goals, shooting accuracy, assists and chances created.

Aerial duels and recoveries are basically level (Aarons is again marginally ahead on both but we're talking around 1-2% difference) and the only thing that Lewis wins on is crosses.

 

As an aside, I've compared Buendia to both Grealish and Pablo Hernandez. On the whole, Buendia loses out to them in terms of general stats (certainly loses to Grealish) and attacking stats (certainly loses to Hernandez) but his defensive stats are incredible.

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Just ran my eye over the report about our centre halves and it reminded me of this thread.

Hanley and klose started this season with Marshall at right back, I think husband played a little too.

So once the full back positions were more settled the stats should improve.

Hanley had an excellent season before last and therefore is still a very valuable piece. Delighted with our centre halves, looking forward to our right back cover and potentially the Liverpool youngster joining.

The defensive midfielder position upgrade is essential in the premier League. Trybull is very efficient but it is a key position where we need a more imposing presence and less reactive.

I think Aaron's got more cover with buendia, who tracked back excellently. But onel still put in the work but probably does not a ap at heels as much. Buendia is an exceptional talent and I think he in the team clearly makes so many better. Onel out probably is not as critical, may be a tad harsh. But Buendias tenacity in defence and ability to move from defence to attack is the best I have seen at CR for many, many years.

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