Possession 9/10th of The Law? 

By Greg Walkes 

“It was a possession game for them, they were happy to have possession. But possession doesn’t win you games like on Saturday. We got the chances and we took our chances.” Ronan Curtis speaking after he had hit a brace in Pompey’s 3-0 win at Rochdale.

Possession is often used as a basis of analysing football matches to help assess who has actually performed better. Even though it is frequently correct, it does not reflect the whole game. 

Ultimately, football is a simple game really. Score more goals than the other team, you win the match. Easy eh!

We have just passed the first third of the season, so let’s take a look at the Pompey league stats so far. 

Possession > 50% 

With the higher possession, we have taken 9 points out of a possible 27. 

2 wins against Tranmere and Southend. 

3 draws against Coventry, Gillingham, and Burton. 

4 defeats this season have all been where Pompey have had a higher possession %  – against Shrewsbury, Sunderland, Wycombe, and AFC Wimbledon, with just one goal from the four matches coming against Sunderland. 

We have scored 12 in this time with an average of 1.3 goals per game, and conceded 11 with an average against of 1.2 goals.

Of the 139 registered shots, 45 have been on target (32%), which gives an average of 1 goal just under every 4 shots on target.

Of the 4 games we have played where we have failed to score, 3 were losses, and one was a draw, all four games were with higher possession. 

Possession < 50% 

With less possession, Pompey are unbeaten and have achieved better results with 15 points taken out of a possible 21. 

4 wins against Bolton, Doncaster, Lincoln, and Rochdale. 

3 draws against Blackpool, Bristol, and Oxford. 

Pompey have scored 11 with an average of 1.6 per game, and conceded 5 with an average of 0.7 per game. 

Registered shots 92 with 32 being on target (35%), with an average of 1 goal just under every 3 shots on target.

We have scored in all 7 games we have had the lower possession.

The stats show so far this season that Pompey play better with lower possession, it has nothing to do with style of football, or what is deemed better to watch. It’s worth noting that Pompey have not lost by more than one goal so far this season in the league.

It really is showing, in my opinion, that possession is not everything in football regarding our season. This shows actually the opposite. 

Pompey are now sat 11th on 24 points in the League One table with a key period ahead.

Home matches against Rotherham Utd and Peterborough Utd, Accrington Stanley away, followed by Ipswich Town and Wycombe Wanderers, will go a long way to determining how the Blues will shape up in the rest of the season. 

Play up Pompey! 

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