Definitions

What numbers are 'good' numbers when it comes to statistics?

At FC we have tried to identify what a really good total for some data actually looks like

1:00pm on Wednesday 13th May 2020
By
Team FC

Sometimes in football it's not entirely clear what a statistic means, or what it's for, but there's no shame in not knowing or wanting to find out.

Furthermore, sometimes a number is just a number, therefore we want to provide some context.

So here at FC we've broken down performances from players across the Top Five Leagues in Europe from 2018/19 and 2019/20 and tried to identify what is a low, average and high score for each statistic. We will also suggest what the range would be for a player to be in the top 5% of performances for that statistic, and the top 1% of performances.

Also, on our player stats pages for matches, we have used the colour green to highlight a statistic that is in the 1% of performances for that stat in a season.

At the this link here, for example, you can see Lionel Messi's six shots and 16 touches in the box are in the top 1% for that competition

So here's some much-discussed data points, what they mean, and what is a good performance for that data point.

WHAT IS A RECOVERY?

A recovery is when a player collects a loose ball that no team is in possession of, or if an opposition player passes the ball directly to the player in question.

Recoveries are a difficult statistic to gauge their importance, because the number could come mainly from the weakness in possession of the opponent, but it should give a decent indication of the positioning of a player to be in place to pick up the ball and regain possession for their team.

Recovery data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
0-45-89-1011-1213+

WHAT IS AN InterCEPTION?

When a player reads where an opposition pass and moves across to Intercept it. The player must make a conscious move to touch the ball.

A player who makes Interceptions can regularly stifle opposition passing structures and win the ball back for their team and is of obvious importance to their team.

Interceptions data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
0-12-3456+

WHAT IS A 'DUEL WON'?

What is it?

A 50/50 ground challenge between two players where the successful player is able to make contact with the ball. Players who have a high % of Duels Won are proficient in close-contact battles with opposing players and emerging with the ball.

Duels data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
0-45-89-1313-1415+

WHAT IS AN 'AERIAL WON'?

What is it?

A 50/50 challenge won by a player when the ball is in the air. Players aerials will be useful when attacking or defending high balls.

Aerials data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
0-23-67-89-1011+

TACKLES WON

A tackle is noted as being 'won' when a player wins a ground challenge against a player and is either able to retain possession, or one of his team-mates collects the ball. Tackles involve players not just winning possession from an opponent but also retaining it.

Tackles data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
01-2345+

CLEARANCES

When a player clears the ball away from his own goal but with no defined target or intention. Sometimes a defender just has to clear danger without worrying about retaining possession.

Clearances data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
0-12-67-119-1112+

WHAT IS A LAST MAN TACKLE?

When a player is the final defender and is able to prevent a clear goalscoring opportunity by tackling the player before they can have an attempt on goal. They are a rare occurrence in football.

Last Man Tackle data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
00012

COMPLETED PASSES

A ball played to a team-mate which successfully reaches its target. Completed passes are perhaps not as useful an indicator as they once were, because completed passes can easily be achieved by players in a team dominating the ball and give no indication as to how much impact those passes made to their team from a positive perspective.

Completed passes data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
0-3940-6970-8990+100+

FINAL THIRD PASSES

Passes that are made with the intended target positioned within the final third of the pitch. This is a little more useful than completed passes, because it identifies players who are regularly looking to put the ball dangerous territory, where there is also a greater likelihood of the ball being Intercepted.

Final third passes data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
0-910-2425-3940-4950+

PASS COMPLETION (%)

What is it?

The percentage of passes made by a player which were successfully reached their target.

Pass completion data range

[header: What is a good number in a match?]

{Low}{Average}{High}{Top 5%}{Top 1%}

{0-74%}{75-88%}{89-91}{92-94}{95%+}

BIG CHANCE CREATED

An opportunity provided to a team-mate in which the player would be reasonably expected to score. Big Chances are more important than Key Passes as they identify the creation of a clear goalscoring opportunity that a player should be finishing.

Big Chance data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
01223

POSSESSION LOST

When a player attempts to play a pass to a team-mate and either passes out of play or surrenders the ball to the opponent. Possession lost shouldn't necessarily be regarded as a negative, particularly in creative attackers who are trying to make probing passes through a defence, but can be useful to identify players in other positions who are giving the ball away just a bit too often.

Big Chance data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
0-910-2122-2526-2930+

TOUCHES IN BOX

The number of touches of the ball a player has inside the opposition penalty area.

If a player or team are touching the ball inside the area it means they are getting close to the opposition goal and, theoretically, into better scoring positions.

Touches In Box data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
0-34-78-111213+

COMPLETED DRIBBLES

A dribble is completed when a player successfully moves past a defender while retaining possession of the ball.

Completed dribbles data range

What is a good number in a match?

LowAverageHighTop 5%Top 1%
01-23-45-67

DECISIVE (FC DATA POINT)

A goal scored by a player that changes the match state into the state in which the game ends. So if a player equalises and the game ends in a draw, then that goal has been decisive. If a player scores to make the game 2-1, and the game finishes 5-1, his goal has been decisive.

The purpose of the decisive statistic is to identify players who make a real impact for their teams rather than scoring goals that pad out victories.

CONTRIBUTION SPREAD (FC DATA POINT)

Contribution spread measures the number of different games a player scores in, in a particular competition. So the higher the percentage, the more different matches a player scores in.

The purpose of contribution spread is to identify players who pad their numbers by scoring a number of goals in a single match, versus those whose contribution is regular and impacts his team positively over a number of games.

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