The myth of Joe Allen’s passing


There’s seemingly a simple formula for the ‘average’ football fan – hear something on TV, believe it as gospel and repeat it ad nauseum.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 7, 2013: Liverpool's Joe Allen in action against West Ham United during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That’s certainly the case when it comes to Joe Allen and his passing.

It all started when Alan Shearer criticised the Welshman on Match of the Day for what he claimed was being too safe in possession and not attempting enough penetrating passes – something which earned a firm rebuttal from Brendan Rodgers:

“I saw someone recently criticising Joe Allen for not playing risk passes. Unbelievable. So-called pundits who don’t know the dynamics of a team and how it functions. Joe’s role is to keep the ball and that, in Britain, is a special talent. It is why Paul Scholes is still playing at his age. It is such a rare talent for a midfielder to rarely give the ball away.”

Doesn’t matter though, over a year later, the same boring, misguided criticism is continually pointed at Allen. He could play every single pass forward in one game and still some “fans” wouldn’t notice.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 12.55.19

Ah, bless. There’s somebody who, just liked Rodgers said, doesn’t understand the importance of possession. Not least, clearly doesn’t actually watch Liverpool games – as if they did the last two at least they’d see that not all Allen’s passes are “backwards and sideways”. Still, as a football “fan” they’re perfectly placed to regurgitate some ridiculous myth.

Allen made 131 successful passes in the two games against Norwich and West Ham in the past week. Of which, 26% were in the attacking third, 55% in the middle third, and just 19% in the defensive third (stats via FourFourTwo StatsZone).


Look at the graphic above — are all those passes “backwards and sideways”? Of course they’re not.

It’s a shame such myths are peddled by the ignorant but vocal few.


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  1. myth of Joe Allens passing..”Alas poor Joe, I knew him well” as stolen from a Shakespeare play and altered, you would swear he died

  2. The Liverpool-midfield has looked muched better the last two games with Allen in it. I think the movement has been much better with him and Henderson playing in front of Gerrard

  3. roy kean was the same with his passing simple ball and keed posession and if u have to build from the back so b it and roy was one of the best midfielders in the prem even europe YNWA joe

  4. i hope he is man of the match sunday did ye ever listen to your selves yer like a bunch of old women talking shite this is liverpool fc who ever plays for them we should be behind them and not nit picking do you think the likes of this will give him any confidence???? ye need to stop talking trash and support the team like propper fans no matter who plays thanks for making me laugh by the way ha ha ha YNWA come on allen and the reds on sunday @:)

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