|Geoff Cameron acquaints himself with the art of crossing.|
To see if the Premiership from 2011/12 shared that strategic outlook or succumbed to the temptation of quick, easy, but low grade opportunities, I plotted their expectation corrected game state over individual home matches during 2011/12 against their crossing frequency.
A game state value of around 1 indicates that the match panned out close to pre game expectations. Blackburn may have won as narrow favourites, but they didn't romp away with the victory. The nearer we get to zero the worse the reality matched early morning hopes and the more likely Blackburn were to move to a more offensive approach. The home defeat by Newcastle, for instance, where the visitors took an unchallenged lead after 12 minutes and Blackburn fired in an above average 20 crosses in a bid to retrieve the scoreline. The line of best fit predicts just over a quarter of that total in games they dominated, denoted by a game state score of around 2.
If Blackburn's reliance on crosses as a means to reverse their fortunes is hardly as surprise, the extent to which it was practiced by home sides over the 2011/12 season may be. Despite a broad cross section of managerial and playing talent, virtually every side increasing called upon the cross as a key ingredient when they found themselves under performing in matches.
The general case in 2011/12 saw a side increase their open play crossing by around 60% as they went from games they comfortably won to games that they struggled badly to turn around, although as Blackburn and Everton demonstrate, there were team variations within the strong trend.