According to Castrol EDGE Performance analysis 34% of Stoke City’s attempts on goal in the Europa League this season have been headers.
The English team have been put down for only posing a threat from set pieces and long balls, a view backed up by 14 of Stoke’s 41 shots in this season’s Europa League being headers. Only Ireland’s Shamrock Rovers have such a high percentage of headed attempts.
However, Stoke seem to have found considerable success with their direct tactics in European competition and go into the 5th matchday on top of their group requiring only a draw to qualify for the next round.
|Europa League 11/12||Shots||Headed Shots||Headed Shots / Shots|
|FC Schalke 04||42||14||33%|
In this season’s Europa League, Stoke City are the team that have attempted the fewest passes (1161) and have also attempted the fewest in the opposition half (624).
On top of this the English team have had only 1888 touches of the ball in the 2011/12 Europa League group stages, by far the least of all the teams in the competition.
|Europa League 11/12||Passes||Passes Opposition half||Touches|
|Red Bull Salzburg||1249||728||2013|
Yet, despite having an approach to football that requires little technique, Stoke’s other aspects of the game are well honed and quite possibly the key to their success in this year’s Europa League.
Tony Pulis’s side have launched more successful long balls than any other team (70) and also have the most precise long ball delivery (59.3%) in the 2011/12 Europa League.
To add to this, Stoke City also have the most precise crosses in the competition with 37.1% of them reaching team mates.
|Team||Successful Long Balls||Long ball accuracy||Cross completion rate|
|SK Sturm Graz||48||40.3%||7.3%|