Friday, May 10, 2013

EPL vs. MLS: Passing Style Comparison

I have previously compared the EPL and MLS, with the slant being quite pro-MLS.  The argument was that there was not much between the leagues in terms of turnover, goal, and shot rate.  However, this analysis tries to understand what is happening between a possession's endpoints; what is the passing rate/style of each league?  Many people have stated that the "speed of play" in the EPL is on another level.  This analysis would lend support to that statement.  On average, 2011-2012 EPL teams (only year for which data could be obtained) attempted 3.73 passes per possession whereas 2013 MLS teams attempt 2.79 passes per possession, implying that the average EPL team's speed of play is ~33% faster than the average 2013 MLS team.  Of course,  MLS' quality of play is likely to improve over the rest of the season, but the differences between the leagues and individual teams are interesting.

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