Invinci-trix

Hi!

The below graphs illustrate the pass relationships between different members of the Invincibles squad during the 03/04 season. The data comes from Statsbomb open data and covers the vast majority, although not all, games from that season.

A major weakness of the Invincibles was their reliance on Thierry Henry: for shots and goal involvements. with 30 goals and 6 assists, Henry was directly involved in 52% of the 69 goals scored across the season. 43% of shots on target came from him. The two matrices below can be used to investigate this weakness.

The matrix that includes all passes reveals the players that most often get the ball to Henry. Right back Ashley Cole and midfielder Patrick Vieira both get the ball to Henry regularly, but the vast majority of balls to Henry come from Robert Pirès. It is also worth noting that another common pass relationship is Ashley Cole to Pirès. Thus, the Invincible's MO is to get the ball from Cole to Henry via Pirès.

This reliance on Pirès to provide for Henry is also clear when looking specifically at key passes (passes that precede a shot), as shown in the second matrix. Henry receives 25 key passes from Pirès, 14 from Bergkamp, and 12 from Vieira. We can also see that when he's not executing chances, Henry is a key creator of opportunities for his teammates. Notably, 15 to Bergkamp and 12 to Pirès. Aside from Henry, Bergkamp, and Pirès, the rest of the team execute very few shots, reflecting a lack of diversity in the squad's attacking threat and reinforcing my claim that this is a key weakness of an otherwise fantastic side.

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Matrices

All Passes