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Technical grade performance average of attacking actions during the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Jesús Rico-Sanz, PhD

Soccer Performance & Science Institute


 

Introduction


The grade performance average (GPA) of the attacking technical actions of the players and teams reaching the 2020 and 2021 UEFA Champions League Finals was presented in previous articles (1, 2).


In the present study, I display the individual number of attacking technical actions and the attacking technical GPA of the players of Real Madrid and Liverpool, the two finalists for the UEFA Champions League 2022. The game ended with a victory for Real Madrid on a goal from Vinicious Jr. assisted by Valverde in the second half.


Methods


The methodology utilized was the same as presented in the previous articles on the attacking technical GPA analysis of the 2020 and 2021 UEFA Champions League Finals. Briefly, the Soccer-GPA panel was used with the Dartfish LiveS platform to code and grade all attacking technical actions for each player in each team and the data later extracted to obtain the technical GPAs. The attacking technical actions were categorized into ball controls, dribbles, passes (including headers), and scoring attempts. Individual results and team results were created for Real Madrid and Liverpool.


Results


The total number of attacking technical actions was 957 for Real Madrid and 1130 for Liverpool. Real Madrid players in total had 382 ball controls and 472 passes, while the Liverpool players had more possession of the ball with 451 ball controls and 555 passes. Also, Liverpool players created more scoring chances than Real Madrid players; Liverpool had 22 scoring attempts for only 3 for Real Madrid. The total number of dribbles was similar: 100 for Real Madrid players and 102 for Liverpool players.


Individual Attacking Actions

The players with higher number of attacking actions for Real Madrid and Liverpool were two midfielders: for Real Madrid, the German international Kroos with 152 ball actions and, for Liverpool, the Brazilian international Fabinho with 154 actions. The individual number of the specific attacking technical actions for starters and substitutes is presented in the graphs below.


For Liverpool, the five defensive players (defenders A. Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, and defensive midfielder Fabinho) had 509 attacking actions, compared to 596 actions in total by the attacking players (starters: Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Mané, Luis Diaz, and substitutes Firmino, Jota, Keita), resulting on a defensive to offensive player ratio of 0.85 for attacking technical actions. Thus, while in the attack, the offensive players had 17% more contacts with the ball than the defensive players, demonstrating an attacking style of play by Liverpool.



Individual number of attacking technical actions for the Liverpool players during the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final.
Individual number of attacking technical actions for the Liverpool players during the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final.

For Real Madrid, the number of attacking actions by the five defensive players (defenders Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy, and defensive midfielder Casemiro) was 394, while the total number for the five more attacking players (Modric, Kroos, Valverde, Benzema, Vinicious Jr) and attacking substitutes (Camavinga, Ceballos) was 492; note that Rodrygo did not have any attacking technical actions recorded. Thus, while in the attack, offensive players had 25% more contacts with the ball than the defensive players. This indicates an attacking style of play channelled through the attacking midfielders Kroos and Modric who had the highest number of ball contacts in the attack (152 for Kroos, 108 for Modric).


Individual number of attacking technical actions for the Real Madrid players during the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final.
Individual number of attacking technical actions for the Real Madrid players during the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final.


Regarding scoring attempts, the Liverpool players outperformed Real Madrid players. For Real Madrid only the forwards Vinicious Jr. and Valverde, and Camavinga, who substituted Valverde, attempted to score. At the end of the first half, a shot from Benzema which ended in a goal was disallowed and therefore not counted in this analysis. In the case of Liverpool, Alexander-Arnold (a wingback), and all three midfielders and three forwards and their substitutes all attempted to score. Salah alone had 9 scoring attempts, 6 of which were on target. Mané and A. Arnold each had 3 scoring attempts: 2 of which were on target for Mané, while none were on target for A. Arnold.


Attacking Actions Accuracy vs GPA

The comparison of the accuracy with the grade performance average (GPA) of the attacking actions is shown below. The accuracy grade reflects only the success when executing all the technical actions, while the GPA contains the grade for the success, as well as the quality and difficulty of the actions.


Attacking actions accuracy vs grade performance average (GPA) for the Liverpool starting eleven players during the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final.
Attacking actions accuracy vs grade performance average (GPA) for the Liverpool starting eleven players during the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final.

For Liverpool, the highest accuracy grade was obtained by the left central defender Van Dijk with 0.99 accuracy on his 71 attacking technical actions; while his GPA was only 1.20. In contrast, on his 64 attacking technical actions, the left forward Luis Diaz had an accuracy of 0.88 but a GPA of 1.66, the highest of the team. The accuracy grade for the team (including starters and substitutes) was. 0.89.


Attacking actions accuracy vs grade performance average (GPA) for the Real Madrid starting eleven players during the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final.

For Real Madrid, the highest accuracy grade was obtained by the left central defender Alaba and midfielder Kroos, both with an accuracy of 0.97; the GPA was 1.22 for Alaba and 1.53 for Kroos out of 67 and 152 attacking technical actions, respectively. The highest GPA was obtained by Modric with a technical GPA of 1.70; Modric's accuracy was 0.94 for his 108 attacking actions. The accuracy grade for the team (including starters and substitutes) was 0.90.


Comparison of the Attacking Technical GPA by Position

The individual attacking GPA by their positions on the field is shown below for both teams. In purple are the substitutes. The team GPAs were 1.45 for Real Madrid and 1.39 for Liverpool; the values include grades obtained by starters and substitutes.


With respect to the goalkeepers, Allison had better attacking technical GPA (1.40) for his 25 attacking actions than Courtois who had a GPA of 1.10 for his 59 attacking actions. While Konate, the Liverpool's right central defender, had higher GPA than Militao, his Real Madrid counterpart, the Real Madrid left central defender Alaba had a higher GPA than Van Dijk his Liverpool counterpart.


Regarding the two outside backs, Carvajal and Mendy (both with a GPA of 1.46 for 72 and 71 attacking actions, respectively) technically outperformed the Liverpool wingbacks (A. Arnold: GPA=1.36, 118 actions; Robertson: GPA=1.38, 94 actions).


Grade performance average (GPA) of technical attacking actions for Real Madrid and Liverpool players during the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final.
Grade performance average (GPA) of technical attacking actions for Real Madrid and Liverpool players during the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final.

For the midfielders, the best attacking technical performance was exhibited by Modric with a GPA of 1.70 which was also the highest of the game. The attacking technical performance of the starting Real Madrid midfielders (GPA=1.60) was significantly higher than that of the Liverpool midfielders (GPA=1.35)


With regards to the forward line, Luis Diaz for Liverpool had the best technical GPA (1.66) for both teams. He had the second best attacking technical performance of the game. Valverde obtained the highest GPA (1.63) for the Real Madrid forwards; his GPA was the third best technical performance of the game. Both forward lines for Real Madrid and Liverpool had the same average GPA of 1.54


Conclusion

In the present article, I showed the accuracy and GPA of the attacking actions for Real Madrid and Liverpool during the 2022 UEFA Champions League final game. Both teams had similar accuracy for attacking actions, but Real Madrid had just over 4% higher GPA. Despite the larger ball possession and number of scoring attempts for Liverpool, Real Madrid won the game by one single goal. Even the shots on target were larger for Liverpool; however, Curtois' saves and, in a shot from Mané, the post denied Liverpool of a goal. Needless to say, overcoming the last individual player guarding the goal and the goal frame is what in the end may decide a game. Indeed, the last three UEFA Champions League Finals (2020, 2021, and 2022) have been decided by just one goal.


The GPA analysis shows the value of the performance of individual players, not only in terms of accuracy but also in quality and difficulty. Young players can compare their match performance GPAs to those of the elite players playing at the highest level of competition. The deficiencies on GPAs should encourage young players to improve the precision and quality of difficult technical actions.


References



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