BONUS: The Off-Ball Playmakers - Who/What Didn't Make the Cut
Giving Beth Mead & Kristie Mewis their props & more playmaking observations on Müller and Kerr.
The desire to keep my Off-Ball Playmakers piece coherent and readable necessitated leaving a lot on the cutting board. I watched A TON of film for the article and collected way more clips than I was going to use. So, the majority of what didn’t make it consisted of extra examples (at a certain point, one only requires so many Jordi Alba cutbacks to craft an argument).
Additionally, plenty of worthy footballers never got analyzed simply because there are too many of them, and I had to stop somewhere.
However, I also excluded a bunch of stuff for other reasons and I thought the who, what, and why of that might interest you. So, here we go, in no particular order:
Why No Beth Mead, Katie McCabe, & Lucy Bronze?
Arsenal’s Beth Mead sits fifth in the Women’s Super League for xA p90 (compared to those with relevant minutes) at 0.38 and has 4 assists in total, behind only Fran Kirby and Katie McCabe (0.21 xA p90). Those aren’t outlier numbers for either of the Gunners’, with Mead and McCabe both recording higher figures in the prior season.
Katie’s output isn’t the problem — it’s her style of creation. I did find a decent amount of square passes and cutbacks from McCabe but, ultimately, she just came off as too good of a crosser and passer to include over any of the other WoSo players I had already selected.
Had I gone through things in a different order, she might’ve squeezed in, but I was content enough with what I had and didn’t feel like McCabe clearly embodied the “relies on off-ball movement to generate easy chances” profile. Instead, the Ireland star repeatedly turns to her immense crossing ability — both in open play and on set-pieces — to float in gorgeous assists.