Chelsea and Manchester City ranked the Premier League's long ball specialists

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Chelsea and Manchester City are the kings of long ball football and Burnley aren’t as good as fans might expect, according to new research into Premier League clubs’ long passing efficiency.

Chelsea sit top of the long ball league with the highest success rate for longer passes (62 per cent), while Pep Guardiola’s City come second with an impressive 59.3% per cent.

The research by, which analysed this season’s Premier League Opta passing data for balls played in excess of 35 yards, found that typical ‘long ball teams’ actually struggle the most to find a teammate with their route-one football.

Burnley (980), Huddersfield (929) and Brighton (901) have played the most long-range passes so far this season, but fans of the Seagulls will be concerned that their side completes the second lowest amount of the distance passes in the League. Only Cardiff (35.5 per cent) have a worse completion rate than Brighton (39.3 per cent). Both clubs are the only two Premier League sides to possess a worse long ball pass completion rate than the Championship team average (39.6 per cent).

On average, Premier League teams complete 47.3% of their long balls, with the top five teams over 35 yards: Chelsea 62%; Manchester City 59.3%; Manchester United 53.2%; Liverpool 52.9%; Wolves 51.2%.

The bottom five Premier League teams for long ball success are: Cardiff 35.5%; Brighton 39.3%; Newcastle 40.3%; Southampton 42.3%; Watford 42.8%.

While Manchester City sit in second place for long ball success rate, Pep Guardiola’s team have the lowest number of attempted long passes at 541 – just 6.5 per cent of their total passes.
Long balls account for just 6.6 per cent of Chelsea's total passes and 8.9 per cent of Liverpool's total passes.

Cardiff play the most long balls with 22.2 per cent of their overall passes played long, ahead of Brighton (20.3%), Burnley (19.5%) and Newcastle (19.4%).


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