Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Welcome to Football in the Clouds: An Introduction

Thanks for visiting the blog.

The name is inspired by the late and great football manager, Brian Clough who said, "If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds. He'd have put grass up there".  He was referring to his dislike of 'long ball' or 'aerial' football.

This blog is an analytical site that will look primarily at individual 11v11 on pitch statistics using Total Shot Ratio (TSR) as a proxy for possession and using it to compare player performance over the course of the season.  As far as I can tell, no one else is doing this in the public domain for the Premier League (or any league).

This idea is taken from advanced stat tracking used in ice-hockey which tracks total on ice shots, both, for and against.  This is done at the team level and also at an individual player level. Total shot attempts include missed, blocked, on target and goals.

I am tracking players individual on pitch shooting %, save % and PDO.  PDO is just adding up shooting % and save %.  Simply put, it is the best way of determining good fortune/bad fortune of a player while on the pitch.  PDO is very erratic but does regress toward 100 over time.

I have 12 teams up to date.  The remaining 8 teams will slowly get updated as the season progresses.  I apologize if your team is not ready to go but this is a tedious task.  The 'big' teams will get priority as that is who most will want to see.

Their has been a ton of research on TSR and its predictability of future results in ice-hockey.  James Grayson (@jameswgrayson or brought the idea to Football and he has written a ton of awesome stuff on football analytics.  The stuff he has written about PDO is very, very good.

Ben Pugsley has an excellent site for team data. (@benjaminpugsley or  He has shots data, passing data, game states and a bunch more.  Ben is also the co-creator of

The links to the team tables are on the right hand side of the page.


- All tables are sortable. (thanks, Ben)

- For ease of calculations and tracking purposes I have only used 90mins as the max a player is on the pitch. I do not count injury time. If a player comes on as a sub at 80 mins, I only mark him for 10 mins even if the game had 4mins of injury time.  Yes, it will skew the relative stats but as the sample size grows it will be less and less relevant.

- All stats are 11v11 only. If a player is sent off the pitch with 2 yellows or a red, data is not tracked from that point forward.  Why? Because 11v11 is by far the most common way the game is played. 11v10 skews the numbers against the team down a man.

-As this is done manually, their may be a few keystroke errors. I have done my best to check (and double check) but if you notice any errors, please bring them to my attention.

- Own goals will count as a shot on goal against.

- I am tracking each players individual shots, shot location (inside/outside box) and setup passes/assists, as well. I will post this data at some point, in the future but most of that information is already available on web.

- Lastly, lets remember that sample size is small, right now.  As the sample increase we can start to reduce the 'noise'.


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