Pass masters: Man City, Ajax and Rangers head possession ranking. Celtic in top 10


November 19 – Manchester City, Ajax and Glasgow Rangers head a ranking of European clubs by possession in the latest report from the CIES Football Observatory.

Rangers’ rivals Celtic also make it into the top 10, a place ahead of Bayern Munich and two behind PSG.

The stats examines the number of passes made by teams in the opposition’s defensive third of the pitch, while also counting the number of passes in their own defensive third.

The report authors conclude that “dominating opponents does not always lead to success. However, … most of the best performing teams are able to maximise their passes in the opponent’s third of the pitch, while minimising the opponent’s passes in their own third. The best ratio overall in the 35 European leagues surveyed was measured for Manchester City.”

“Guardiola’s team made on average 210 passes per match in the opponent’s third, versus only 59 by the opponents in their own third (ratio of 3.55). This ratio is only 1.9 for Premier League leaders Liverpool (180 passes versus 85). The greatest number of passes in the opponent’s third part of the field was recorded for AFC Ajax (220 per match). The Dutch side has the second best ratio (3.43), ahead of Steven Gerrard’s Rangers Glasgow (3.03),” they continue.

At the end of the table the worst ratio overall was observed for Scotland’s Hamilton Academical (0.39). “A very negative ratio was also recorded for Newcastle United (0.41). Fulham (1.78) has the most positive ratio in the Championship ahead of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United(1.58). Nottingham Forest is at the opposite end of the table (0.71),” finds the report.

Source: CIES Football Observatory

See the full table at

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