I love set pieces. I’m absolutely thrilled and hyped every time I see one. It’s something I cannot explain – well at least the feeling. What I can explain is what makes them great and entertaining to me. Set pieces are so much more than just looking at corners – as this article will look at. This time I will look at attacking throw-ins.
To illustrate that I’m taking Matty Cash as an example who’s attacking throw-ins that generate an attacking threat with his side, Aston Villa. I will use data through visualizations and video, to analyse his attacking throw-ins.
Attacking throw-ins: placement
In the image above you see every throw-in made by Matty Cash in the first 7 games of the Premier League 2021/2022 season. As you can see the majority of his throw-ins came from the right side, as he also played on the right. What’s particularly interesting, is the way the throw-ins change when the throw-ins are taken from more progressive places. The throw-ins are in the final third and assume the role of an attacking corner. As you see the throw-ins reach the front post area and even the goalkeeper zone. The ability to deliver a throw-in as an attacking corner creates threat.
Attacking throw-ins: first contact
In the image above you can see the attacking half of the pitch where Matty Cash operated with his attacking throw-ins for Aston Villa. His throw-ins were conducted from the left side and the placement of those throws, as illustrated above.
In the image above you can see the attacking half of the pitch where Matty Cash operated with his attacking throw-ins for Aston Villa. His throw-ins were conducted from the right side and the placement of those throws, as illustrated above.
As you can see in both the images, Cash can reach a variety of areas on the flanks, but his main threat comes from the placement in the penalty area. From those zones, you can generate shots just like you can do from attacking corners or free kicks.
Attacking throw-ins: Expected Threat (xT)
In the image above you can see the throw-ins from Matty Cash in those 7 games, that were considered progressive. Just like progressive passes. 31 throw-ins out of 55 were progressive, which is a percentage of 56,4%. These do definitely add to the attacking pressure of Aston Villa, but we want to measure how much the actual threat is. This can be done by looking at the Expected Threat or xT of those progressive throw-ins. The total xT of these progressive throw-ins, is 0,58. This means that the average xT per throw-in is 0,019 xT.
Attacking throw-ins: video
In the videos below you can examples of Matty Cash’s throw-ins which are placed in the penalty area and in doing so, create the most threat.
Matty Cash has many qualities and he is not defined by his attacking throw-ins, but the very fact he has these qualities, makes it an extra weapon for him and Aston Villa. It illustrates that more teams could do well with a player that can throw the ball a long distance and effectively change a throw-in into a corner or freekick. Aston Villa will profit hugely from this.