How many goals does the average FUT match contain? What is the average number of red and yellow cards? Does possession matter? How often does the guy with the most shots on goal win?
Although EA’s stat pages for FIFA 15 doesn’t work at the moment, a lot of data for FIFA 14 is accessible, meaning that we are able to deliver some of the answers based on that. If you want to compare yourself to the data below, this URL is where you need to go.
What’s the average number of goals in a FUT match? The answer to that is 5.5 goals. With regards to this aspect, FUT is far from realistic, unless you compare it to the final rounds of the Super Ligue Mana (Tahiti) with a staggering 5.86 or the Andorra 2nd Division with 4.96 goals per match. Among the the five big leagues, the Bundesliga with 2.82 goals per match is the most ‘entertaining’.
As mentioned in one of my previous articles, the goal frequency in FUT is the key reason why last minute goals are as frequent as they are. At 5.5 goals per match and perhaps 15 % of the effective playing time taking place while the clock is stopped at 45:00 or 90:00, such goals are an inevitable part of the game. On top of that, less measureable factors like fatigue, nerves, loss of concentration and tactical changes server to increase the chances of something as utterly frustrating as this taking place:
What about those cards then? Cristiano saw one in the match above, and he is on a two-match quarantine as we speak. It turns out, cards in FUT are very rare compared to real football. Whereas the average top 5 league match sees around .2 red cards and 3 yellow cards, the average FUT match sees as few as .05 reds and .3 yellow cards.
What constitutes an above average player? Quite obviously, you are winning more than 5 out of 10 games, but you are also scoring more than 2.5 goals per match on average. In the bar chart below, I have illustrated this by putting in the percentage of players who fall into each scoring interval. If you are below 1 goal or above 3.5 you are of a rare kind. In fact, 75 % of all FUT-players score between 1.5 and 3 goals per match.
How is the FUT population put together in terms of win rate? In the sample, 20 % of the players won <= 3 in 10 matches, whereas 26 % lost <= 3 in 10. In rough numbers, you are belonging to the mid 50 % if you are winning between 4 and 6 out of 10 matches.
Qui audet adipiscitur or in plain English: Who dares, wins. The player with most shots on goal won in 76 % of the cases. How often did the winner have fewer shots than his opponent? This was the case in 18 % of the matches. If we narrow the scope to matches where the winner had significantly fewer shots than his opponent (the difference in shots was >2), only 10 % meet this criteria.
Another Latin saying is Carpe Diem, which perhaps in this context would translate into “seize the chance”. How often does someone win a match by scoring one goal on one chance? In this sample, there is only 1 (one) instance of this, meaning that it is extremely rare but of course something which should happen once in a while. The closest real life example I could find was this:
What about possession then? The rise of the tiki taka nurtured the perception that whoever had the most possession would win the majority of the games. This is, of course, not quite as simple.
Even though Barcelona had 72 % possession against Chelsea over two legs in the Champions League semifinals in 2012, Chelsea went on to win the tournament. In real football, possession generally isn’t a very good predictor of who is going to win the match.
In the Premier League, the team with the possession majority won on 55 % of the occasions, whereas the number for the Champions League is 67 %. In the A-League (Australia), the team with the most possession lost 57 % of the time. The clear lesson to be learned here is that possession isn’t worth striving for unless you are good at it.
FUT is in fact quite realistic when it comes to possession. In the sample, the winning team had the possession majority in 61 % of the cases.
The fact that you may have the possession majority in 4 out of 10 matches and still lose should come as no surprise according to a certain Jose Mourinho, who has summarized his possession philosophy in seven points:
- The game is won by the team, who commits fewer errors
- Football favours whoever provokes more errors in the opposition
- Away from home, instead of trying to be superior to the opposition, it’s better to encourage their mistakes
- Whoever has the ball is more likely to make a mistake
- Whoever renounces possession reduces the possibility of making a mistake
- Whoever has the ball has fear
- Whoever does not have it is therefore stronger
I doubt Xavi agrees with him.