Monthly Archives: October 2015

The West London derby, really only 2/3 of a game

Brentford vs QPR, FT 1-0

[English Championship, 30-10-2015]

Timing, they say, is everything. In comedy, in love, and what is football if it isn’t both of those things, crammed and compacted together like a dirty snowball, sheer luck dictating whether you’ll get a soft thud of exploding freshness breaking over the back of your head or a hard chunk of cold ice bruising your ear. Thus it was timing that led to me switching this game on at the exact moment that it started being an actual football match, rather than the non-event it had been until the 35th-ish minute, judging by the complete absence of discussion at half-time on this long half hour which, for all anyone really knows, might not have actually happened before. It’s not like anyone’s going to remember it. Continue reading


Despite the goals, not quite a hurriKane in the Harry Redknapp derby

Bournemouth vs Tottenham, FT 1-5

[Premier League, 25/10/2015]

The Harry Redknapp derby (or, in this age of corporate frontism, the Mansion Group derby) did not quite go the way that the home team would have wanted, especially seeing as they were leading within the first minute. Spurs, however, were good enough in this match to overcome their were-once-managed-by-a-man-who-spawned-a-leaning-out-of-a-window-meme rivals, continuing their theme of being quite good this season, which seems to be genuinely concerning some of their supporters. Which is a strange response to being good. Maybe they’ll get used to it. Continue reading

A disappointingly dull Derby Day

Manchester United vs Manchester City, FT 0-0

[Premier League, 25/10/2015]

Big, hyped up duels can often end in being damp squibs in reality. The 2014 World Cup final following THAT semi-final; virtually any boxing match that anyone has talked about in the last 5 years; Harry Potter and Malfoy’s duel at midnight in The Philosopher’s Stone, the dampest squib of the lot as it never even took place. This match ranks among them, though was not quite bad enough to force viewers to switch over to the Buffalo Bills against the Jacksonville Jaguars (Jagwars, for Americans) being played at Wembley in the other kind of football. Continue reading

The Gunners win and Everton couldn’t track Giroud for toffee

Arsenal vs Everton, FT 2-1

[Premier League, 24/10/2015]

In a way that only Arsenal can manage, the overall dominance of the game was overwhelmingly in their favour and yet in the final stages an Everton equaliser was not at all beyond the realm of realistic likelihood. The unofficial motto of the Gunners, ‘Arsenal gonna Arsenal’, was certainly present in subtle undertones during this match. Continue reading

The Hoff in serious need for self-improvement

Hoffenheim vs Hamburger SV

[Bundesliga, 23/10/2015]

In an attempt to overcome ‘second revolutionary match report syndrome’ before the big matches of the weekend, the early Bundesliga game offered a chance to hone some writerly skills while also getting a chance to watch Niklas Süle, a centre-back who has popped up in various (very) rough incarnations of CB stat ratings of mine as a ‘one to watch’. Added to this was the chance to get a taste of what Friday Night Lights might bring to the Premier League when it hits the pitch next season, and it was the clearer eyes and fuller hearts of Hamburger SV that won this game 1-0 with a late goal against a 10-man Hoffenheim. Continue reading

Time the Romans took their pills (a centre-back focussed match report)

Bayer Leverkusen vs Roma

[Champions League, 21/10/2015]

The warm-up:

All stories, of which a match report is most certainly one, must begin with a beginning; however some require a prologue. In an attempt to commit myself to watching more football – in particular more central defenders in depth – I had the idea of doing a weekend’s round-up of Premier League centre-back analysis. As you can gauge from the title, this clearly is not that, which was an overly ambitious idea, and almost as megalomaniacal as UEFA charging Manchester City with booing their anthem. Instead, I am trialling a cross between a centre-back watch and a match report, combining two slow deaths – those of defending and match reports – and attempting to splice them together, Frankenstein-esque, in a bid to revive them. Hopefully, my monster will not proceed to murder my family and blackmail me, as the ‘real’ Frankenstein’s monster did. With that low bar firmly in place before me, I am fairly confident I can achieve some kind of success.

The match:

Continue reading

More of a look at the new method

A few weeks ago I posted the method to a new ‘rating’ (for want of a better word) I had for central defenders (here: It is clearly not going to be perfect, but it has a logical base behind it, which is more than my previous attempts have had, and it doesn’t seem to suggest anything too ridiculous. With the Opta Pro deadline looming (tomorrow, as I write this) and me unsure whether I should cheekily ask for tens of seasons worth of data so that I can check it more thoroughly, I thought it would be a good idea to look at the ‘results’ in more depth.

Due to the fact that it uses ‘deep completion attempts conceded’ (passes attempted within a deep area of the field), a stat which I don’t have available for any seasons other than the 14-15 Premier League season, that’s the only one I’ve been able to do so far. Here below are 65 players who played at central defence in that season who had a rating. All of them must have had over 10 90s. Continue reading