Motherwell are currently placed ninth in the Scottish Premiership 2022/23, having taken 26 points from an equal number of matches. With only six points separating the bottom four teams and a third of the season left to go, Motherwell have their work cut out for them to survive relegation. They will be facing the bottom three teams in the coming weeks, and they can extend their stay in the Scottish top division by winning against them.
Last season, Motherwell secured a fifth-place finish after accumulating 46 points in total. However, a string of injuries and a recent managerial change after an extremely poor run of results have severely impacted their current campaign. This season in the Scottish Premiership, Motherwell’s form is poor overall, with seven wins, five draws, and 14 losses already. Meanwhile, the team lost 16 matches during the entirety of last season, winning 12 and drawing the other ten matches. Now, as the Steelmen fight for survival, we look into some of the stats that show the areas of struggle.
Overall performance this season
Motherwell opened the season decently, winning three out of their first five matches. After that, their form took a massive downturn. The team had been on a winless streak since October that saw manager Steven Hammell get the sack recently. However, under interim boss Stuart Kettlewell, Motherwell have shown improvement of late by winning their last two league matches. These performances have generated a little bit of momentum for struggling Motherwell and have put them in a better position to pull themselves away from the relegation zone.
Motherwell have scored 31 goals and conceded 39 in the league this season. While their record is superior compared to the bottom three teams, there is still a disparity between the number of goals they score and concede. The viz above shows the percentile rank of the team’s stats in comparison to other teams in the Scottish Premiership. They possess a low rank with respect to scoring goals, opposition penalty area entries, accurate passes, opposition xG per shot, and high pressing success. While they seem to be doing really well in terms of recoveries and a few other areas, their overall stats are pretty underwhelming.
Deficiency in finding the back of the net
One of the reasons behind Motherwell’s poor form is their inability to score enough goals. They have scored at the rate of 1.19 goals per match while averaging a higher xG rate of 1.44. The Steelmen create 29.58 positional attacks per match and attempt 10.73 shots with a 30.1% accuracy rate. Last season, they generated lower numbers but with greater accuracy than the current ones and managed to protect their lead and secure positive results.
These struggles in attacking play have been observed in the last five matches. Motherwell have only scored five goals during this span, four of which have come in the last two matches after a managerial change. The number of shots they take has gone from eight to seven in these matches, although the accuracy rate has slightly improved. The above xG map shows that Motherwell have also struggled to penetrate the six-yard box frequently. This has resulted in this poor run for the team. They will definitely look to draw motivation from their last two victories to sustain their newly-found momentum and survive relegation.
Another reason for the team’s overall poor form is because of Motherwell’s ability to play the ball effectively. The team sees 47.28% of the ball and averages a lesser share of possession than their opponents. They attempt 344.92 passes per match with 74.4% accuracy compared to the 374 passes made by their opponents (77.5% accuracy). The above viz shows that most of the ball’s progression has been made from the wider sides. This shows that Motherwell likes to penetrate the ball into the box from wide areas. They tried the same thing in the last five matches but struggled from the right side. The players made a lesser number of successful dribbles from the right side.
Whilst Motherwell possesses a better defensive record than the other relegation candidates, their defence has leaked crucial goals throughout the season. This has resulted in the team dropping important points from advantageous positions and contributed to their downfall this season. The Steelmen concede more shots than they take. They have conceded 1.5 goals per match while averaging a lower xGA rate of 1.4.
Motherwell’s defensive line isn’t too deep inside their half, and the team is more involved in defensive actions in the defensive and middle thirds. In the last five matches, they have done well to not give away many fouls near their penalty box. Overall, Motherwell averages 69.23 defensive duels but wins a lesser amount of these contests compared to their opponents. Meanwhile, they attempt 54.46 aerial duels per match and have a slightly higher win rate than their opponents. The team makes 44.27 interceptions and gives away 13.5 fouls. Once again, their opponents have better numbers in these two areas.
Motherwell are in the relegation scramble and have bounced back into form after winning 2-1 and 2-0 at home against St. Mirren and Hearts, respectively. Prior to these results, they had only won one home match this season. They have shown signs of ascending from their struggles in attack and defence in the last two matches. The new manager will want his team to be more clinical with the chances they create in the upcoming fixtures and continue with this hard-earned momentum to get through these tough times.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine