Date: 19th August 2018 at 10:24pm
Written by:

Birmingham City’s intense pressing approach on Friday night caused all sorts of problems for Graham Potter’s Swansea City but did it reflect in the PPDA (Passes Allowed Per Defensive Action) scores?

For more information about PPDA and the measure of pressing intensity, check out our article here which focused on PPDA in our first home game of the season that saw us beat Preston North End 1-0.

Swansea’s PPDA Scores so far this season

vs Sheffield United: 18.64
vs Preston NE: 18.00

Our scores so far of 18 (the lower the score the better) indicates that Graham Potter doesn’t adopt a high and intense press but a more balanced approach at Sheffield United with well-positioned players blocking passing lanes and McBurnie man-marking the deep midfielder which forced the Blades into wide areas worked just as well.

The numbers for the Birmingham City match suggests a different approach from Potter, but the PPDA score of 7.95 is helped when the opposition is happy to go direct from deep positions. Swansea’s philosophy was completely the opposite, with 78% of their passes in the entire game being played in their own half, there were far too many passes being played sideways across the two centre-backs as Birmingham City did an effective job in preventing the ball advancing from Swansea’s defence into midfield.

Swansea City

The pitch map below shows:

  • Birmingham’s successful passes (grey triangles)
  • Birmingham’s unsuccessful passes (red crosses)
  • Swansea’s defensive actions (green squares)

Passes Allowed (175) / Defensive Actions (22)

PPDA = 7.95

Like we’ve seen previously, the Swans pressed mainly in wide areas in the middle third with little need to press on Birmingham’s back line as they often went long anyway.

Birmingham City

The pitch map below shows:

  • Swansea’s successful passes (grey triangles)
  • Swansea’s unsuccessful passes (red crosses)
  • Birmingham’s defensive actions (green squares)

Passes Allowed (404) / Defensive Actions (36)

PPDA = 11.22

Birmingham City targetted Swansea City’s left side to press in high areas and here you can see a lot more unsuccessful Swansea City passes (red crosses). Birmingham’s other busy pressing area was in and around the centre circle.

Figures Breakdown

Pass Success Rate (in each side’s first 60% of the pitch): Birmingham – 62.3% vs Swansea – 75.5%

Side by Side Comparison

Swansea (left) and Birmingham (right).

Click for the forum

3 Replies to “PPDA – The Pressing Numbers – Birmingham City 0-0 Swansea City”

  • Your still going on about this game my god you must be so confused. Let me explain it to you. You was out played but your defence held out and it ended 0-0 It’s simple when you look at it. If you go to all this trouble over a draw I would hate to see what you would do if you lost. Or won lol

    • It’s called post-match analysis, why can’t you get that in your head? It’s the same whether we win, lose or draw, for every game. Why are you still here on the opposition’s fan site commenting on every article? We go to “all this trouble” because it’s what people want, as per the comment from SpeakerJack.

  • VitalSwansea excellent analysis, it really shows the problems, I thought Monk would target the left side of midfield, and because the passing skills of the players arent as good as they use to be we aren’t as press resistant.

    It makes the point really well about the difference between ‘passing out from the back’ and ‘passing around the back’. What is interesting is Birmingham felt confident enough in their pressing to hold their position and press once we tried to pass the ball forward.

    We achieved 61% possession but most of it in our 1/3, 1/2 of the field. Although even that is deceiving as Birmingham did not want the ball and played long quickly.

    So as well as the percentages there is something about the actual number of defensive actions. Swansea 22 and Birmingham 36 which indicates a lack of pressing as well. If your opponents play the ball long is that success or is it lack of pressing. I’m trying to recall but isn’t the number of defensive actions by us in each match, an indication of a lack of pressing?

Your Comment