A couple of golden player pairs in the Eredivisie
You have got a lot of good players, but sometimes pairing up players will give you a lethal combination. Think of legendary player pairs like Xavi & Iniesta, Raul & Fernando Morientes or Andy Cole & Dwight Yorke. They simply know what the other player is thinking, which helps in delivering the perfect assist or making the right run forwards on the pitch. To assess the impact of these actions that players perform in matches, we created the Contribution Ratings module, which we talked about in previous blogs. In this blog, we’re taking a look at a new module we created, called: Player Pair Contribution Rating. We’re using this module to look at the current three best player pairs in the Eredivisie.
The Player Pair Contribution Rating module assesses the combined impact of the actions that two players perform in matches together. The module uses three different metrics:
- Created Contribution player 1: The total contribution per 90 minutes of all actions (passes, crosses, corners, freekicks) from player 1 to player 2
- Created Contribution player 2: The total contribution per 90 minutes of all actions by player 2 following after player 2 received the ball from player 1
- Created Contribution together: The total contribution that these two players created when player 1 played the ball to player 2 (The sum of Created Contribution player 1 and Created Contribution player 2).
We use our module to assess a player pair not solely based on assists, but also based on their ability to put other teammates into the position to score. A player pair contribution of 0.45 means that those two players create approximately 0.45 goals per game (90 minutes). This doesn’t mean that when player 1 passes the ball to player 2, player 2 has to score the goal but he can also pass the ball to another teammate. The video below shows a perfect example of a player pair (in this case Berghuis & Kökcu) getting a high contribution rating for their passes, while their teammate did not score.
Video 1: In this case, the pass from Berghuis to Kökcu got a value of 0,0395 and the pass from Kökcu to Jørgensen got a value of 0,2715. This means that they created 0,311 goals together.
A magical interaction between the two Ajax Wingmen
A pass with great precision from Ziyech towards the second post, and a well-timed run from Promes which leads to attacking danger. It is a common, and meanwhile famous, image which has become indispensable in Ajax’s current style of play. Ziyech makes sure he gets to his favourite place on the field by cutting inside, entering the right halfspace near the opponents’ box. Promes knows a curled ball is coming and waits for the ultimate ‘linger moment’. This moment is crucial in having an advantage on the defence. When Ziyech crosses the ball, the defence has no time to respond and Promes ensures a dangerous attack.
The two wingers of Ajax have created the highest contribution together in the Eredivisie based on our module with a total created contribution of 0.51. This makes them the best player pair in the Eredivisie.
Video 2: A magical interaction between Ziyech and Promes. Ziyech positions himself at the edge of the opponent’s box and gives a perfect cross towards the second post, where Promes is waiting to make his run towards the ball.
AZ youngsters combining the force
After not having played for a whole season due to injuries, Calvin Stengs and Myron Boadu are currently the second-best pair in the Eredivisie with a total created contribution of 0.40.
They have secured themselves a very important role within the current squad of AZ. With Stengs’ ability to accurately provide passes over a long distance with his left foot and Boadu’s agility when he makes a run to get behind the last line, AZ has a perfect formula to become dangerous within the attack very rapidly. Mainly for this reason, AZ is most dangerous on the counterattack. Boadu is only 18 years old, Stengs is also only 21 years old and it seems like they have a bright future ahead of them.
Video 3: Stengs and Boadu combining the force. Stengs has the ability to give accurate passes over long distance and enables Boadu to use his agility to get behind the last line.
Another golden duo within the Ajax squad
There is another player pair within the Ajax squad that guarantees attacking danger. Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech are the third-best player pair in the Eredivisie with a total created contribution of 0.38.
Tadic, a left-winger by nature, fulfils the role of ‘false number 9’ in the current Ajax squad. With his ability to stay calm and protect the ball with his body while being pressured by the opposing defenders, he often finds a way to set up Ziyech for a shot from the edge of the box. Ziyech’s sublime kicking ability makes sure these chances are used optimally.
Video 4: Another golden duo within the Ajax squad: Tadic and Ziyech
Finding your own golden player pair
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