Monthly Archives: July 2014

Theories on defensive stats

I’ve been looking at defensive statistics for individual players for several weeks now and, while I’m still very much at a basic level, there are some things that I think I’ve noticed that I feel I should put down on virtual paper.

Defensive stats on an individual player level are quite difficult because you’re trying to measure something invisible, essentially how many goals does this person prevent out of the number of chances that they have to prevent goals. Not only is the thing we’re measuring invisible, but many of the indicators are hard to quantify. Continue reading


My World Cup XI (and squad)

Perhaps dangerously, I have put together my World Cup squad before the final (before even the 3rd place play-off!). However, I have a fair number of Argentinians and Germans in my squad anyway, so the final shouldn’t make too much difference; it might shuffle the order, but probably little more.

So, here, with reasons plus the rest of my squad below, is my World Cup XI:

World Cup XI Continue reading

6 reasons why the 2014/15 season will be one of the most fascinating yet.

1. Louis van Gaal

Not just how he will get on with the British press, but how he manages to do with Manchester United. It’s fair to say that United’s fall from 1st to 7th was one of, if not the, story of the season and they’ll probably be even more of an uncertainty at the start of this season than they were at the start of the last. Last year, David Moyes was seen largely as a copy of Ferguson, a man in his mould, and so the team would be mainly similar. This year, United have new players, a new manager, new backroom staff, probably new tactics, and a drive in them to avoid being laughing stocks for the second year in a row.

2. The top 6 (or 7 or 8) Continue reading

Brazil – who to blame?

If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t believe it but sure enough, Brazil really did lose 7-1 to Germany last night. But the question on most people’s lips is not ‘how great were Germany?’ but ‘who is to blame for Brazil?’.

Firstly, I think to an extent this is like any match with a huge scoreline – a freak event. German goals 2, 3, 4 and 5 came in such quick succession that after the second, Brazil’s heads seemed to go and there was no way back, Germany being stereotypically clinical in their finishing. A large amount of blame should also go to Scolari for setting up his team in a way that left them exposed and impotent and for failing to change it once Germany started scoring. Also, in hindsight, his squad selection was poor; once Neymar was gone, they had virtually no attacking threat at all. But onto the goals themselves…

Goal 1: Corner, good move by Germany to block off Mueller’s marker, David Luiz should have been tighter which might have helped, but it’s the type of goal that could happen to anyone. One of the other defenders should have peeled off the player they were marking to take Mueller. Blame: Partly Luiz, mostly the rest of the Brazilian defensive unit.

Goal 2: Mueller makes a run in from the German right, played onside by Marcelo who followed him, the rest of the defence seemed to switch off and failed to follow the ball in. Blame: Partly Marcelo, mostly rest of the defence.

Goal 3: Cross from the German right, which could have been stopped by Marcelo being in a defensive position to stop the cross but that rarely happens. Maicon drifts too centrally, almost stepping on David Luiz’s toes at one point, Luiz forced to go even more centrally, leaving Kroos free to run onto the cross on the right. Blame: Partly Marcelo, partly Maicon.

Goal 4: Fernandinho caught in possession, David Luiz and Luis Gustavo (I think) playing RCB and LCB as the full-backs are so high up the pitch but neither reacts to Fernandinho being hassled. Luiz trots back, as if it’s not his job, Germany score. Blame: Small part Fernandinho, partly Luis Gustavo, more so David Luiz.

Goal 5: David Luiz runs up to make a tackle which he looks to jump out of, Germany break through and score again. Blame: Partly David Luiz, partly Brazilian full-backs for not being there, partly midfield 3 for not covering.

Goal 6: Brazil back-line deep, Marcelo absent, cross comes in and Schurrle pops up in space to score. Blame: Marcelo for not stopping the cross, not that he ever does, midfield 3 for not picking Schurrle up.

Goal 7: David Luiz out of position and can’t catch the running Schurrle who scores arguably the only good goal of the match. Blame: Partly David Luiz, partly, arguably, midfield 3 for not covering, but it was an astonishingly good/lucky finish.

Basically, the whole team played badly and the tactics were wrong, but this is where I would apportion the blame for each individual goal.

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Comment below or get me on Twitter @ETNAR_uk