Shots and possession are key ingredients for Europe’s winning teams, show stats

May 31 – A ‘production index’ developed by the CIES Football Observatory using InStat data shows that the top teams in the Big 5 European leagues all have similar performance data characteristics that correlate to their league positions.

CIES compares the final rank for each team with its position in a virtual table using three key performance indicators of shots conceded or attempted from inside the box, as well as the percentage of possession.

“Three out of the five champions also were the most productive teams *according to the CIES ranking): Bayern Munich (+94% compared to the Bundesliga club average), Paris St-Germain (+84%) and Manchester City (+82%). In Spain, third-ranked Real Madrid (+61%) had a higher production index than Barcelona (+52%). In Italy, runners-up Napoli (+59%) outranked Juventus (+38%),” says the CIES report.

The most positive gaps per league between the final position in the real league table and that in the pitch production ranking were measured for Burnley (+11), Villarreal (+7), Amiens (+7), Hertha Berlin (+6) and Chievo (+5).

The most negative differences were recorded for Southampton (-10), Athletic Club (-11), Caien (-5), Hamburger (-6) and Benevento (-6).

Premier League Southampton need to be particularly worried for next season. Having finished one spot above the relegation zone they were in seventh place in the CIES ranking, a European qualifying slot. Bottom of the Premier League proper and the CIES production ranking was Stoke City, managed last season by Mark Hughes, who took charge at Saints at the end of the season and saw them squeeze to safety.

Saints fans bemoaning a lack of direct play and a focus on keeping the ball with previous managers should be careful what they wish for if these stats are to be believed. The stats suggest that lack of forward play wasn’t the problem, but a lack of goalscoring forwards was.

See the full data at

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