Do Teams That Frequently Cross The Ball Get Bad Results?

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It has been widely noted that Liverpool have been crossing the ball more frequently during their recent poor run of form, and whilst looking at which teams crossed the ball most last weekend, I happened to notice that all three of them lost. For the record, this was Stoke and Crystal Palace, alongside Liverpool, and I used a purely arbitrary figure of at least thirty crosses excluding corners.

I wondered if teams that had crossed lots this season often had poor results, and it turns out that they have. The following table shows the twenty-five occasions so far in the 2016/17 Premier League that a team has attempted at least thirty crosses (not including corners).

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Crosses, Counter Attacks, and Confirmation Bias

Whilst listening to this week’s The Anfield Wrap podcast (which I thoroughly recommend, and you can download here), I found myself nodding along with their discussion regarding Liverpool’s continual failure to prevent crosses. Mike Girling, one of the podcast’s regulars, noted:

“It’s an obvious tactic that opposing teams are taking with us (Liverpool) now, is to play the ball out wide early as our full backs don’t press, man to man, against a wide player. I’ve never known a team as easy to cross against as us. We never seem to stop the cross coming in”.

I was in complete agreement with him. Until I looked up the figures, that is; I only realised today that WhoScored have the figures for how many and what kind of pass teams face from their opponents, so I have compiled the figures for every team in the Premier League. Continue reading