Monthly Archives: May 2017

Ron of the Year 2016/17

The FA Cup has come and gone, and we will find out over the coming week (probably) whether we’ll be saying the same for Arsene Wenger’s career at Arsenal. Nonetheless, with no Premier League clubs in the Champions League final, the English football season is now over. The curtain is drawn, the encore played, and we the crowd now file out, eagerly awaiting what the next season’s production will bring.

It’s a strange quirk of footballing convention, carried out and commented on every year, that ‘end of season’ awards are given out midway through the third act. Last-minute Big Reveals may be rare, but it would make sense to at least give characters the courtesy of seeing their arc out until the end. Continue reading

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Chris Smalling is a case study in how we judge central defenders

Tweets before Manchester United’s appearance in the Europa League final suggested that the biggest threat to their victory over Ajax came from within, from one of their own central defenders.

However, much to the surprise of anyone who may have placed much stock in such tweets, there was nothing but praise for Chris Smalling after the game. There had been nothing but praise for Smalling back in 2015/16, as well. And yet this season he has slipped so far in fans’ estimations that a significant number would like him sold. How can opinion vacillate so much about one player? Continue reading

Online analysts survey: Favourite articles of 2016/17

Earlier today I posted the people who got mentioned in the Online Analysts of 2016/17 survey, but there’s aspect of work that I haven’t yet mentioned and that’s the actual work. Here are the articles people enjoyed or respected the most this past year (they’re in no particular order, and I believe most or all of the authors should have been mentioned in the Online Analysts post). Continue reading

Online analysts of the year 2016/17

Most people in this, sometimes strange, little corner of the web of ours work pretty hard in their spare time for little or (more usually) no pay. It can be dispiriting when dead ends are hit or hours of work result in 4 favourites and an RT, and so this is an annual way to say to people: “hey, nice job buddy”, because otherwise we might forget to do it.

The established names (your Teds, your Mikes and Other Mikes) get mentioned, so what I’m going to do is mention peoples’ favourite online analysts *of the future*. The [looks at the phrasing of the questionnaire I put together] people who you all are looking forward to seeing more from in the coming year.On a diversity note, it’s heartening that the newer names seem a lot more diverse than the old guard have been, although there’s still only one woman on the list.

I’ll link to their Twitter profiles generally, as that’s how I think everyone got to the questionnaire to fill it in, and most people have links to their blogs or other work from there. (Where people have their names in their Twitter profiles I’ll use them, if not I’ll use their handle)

It’s a bit list-y, but this is essentially a “here’s who you should follow” list for anyone new to the whole ‘sports analysis’ thing Continue reading

Central defenders, different phases of play, and numbers…. sweet, sweet, elusive numbers – a throwaway article

I’ll begin this throwaway article with a more prose-ular recap of a few of my tweets in the last 24 hours.

When I was writing my Statsbomb article on Burnley, I used the percentage of occasions that they had more than 4 defenders between a shot and the goal rather than using the average number. I also used the % of times they had fewer than 2 defenders between shot and goal.

This was mainly because the mean averages were very similar for every team in the league, which seemed false. Teams defend differently – we know this. We also know that some teams pack a lot of men behind the ball, and some are vulnerable on the counter. Hence the split. Continue reading

Ron’s round-up (another test piece)

Very few of us have got time to watch every Premier League game, but a lot of us want to keep up with what’s going on. (Every Team Needs A) Ron’s round-up will take you through every game, giving you everything you need to know quicker than the time it would take to watch a highlight reel of all these games.

Key: ‘Final 1/3’ = Completed passes into the final third; ‘Set-ups’ = shot assists completed into the final third in the direction of the Danger Zone (central strip of the box); ‘Shot line’ = total shots/shots on target/optimal shots*; 1H/2H = first half/second half

*[a concept developed by Julien Assuncao here, counting open play, footed shots inside the box]

Arsenal United

  • The stats add up to look even, which may be a fair reflection, although a clear split develops before and after the goals
  • 0-57 mins: Arsenal 81 final third passes; United 38
  • 58-90 mins: Arsenal 33 final third passes; United 53

Continue reading

Ron’s round-up (a test piece)

Very few of us have got time to watch a lot of European football, but a lot of us want to keep up with what’s going on there. (Every Team Needs A) Ron’s round-up will take you through every game, giving you everything you need to know quicker than the time it would take to watch a highlight reel of all these games. [I’ve only done Friday and Saturday games because the idea just could not wait (and would have required double the work)]

Key: ‘Deep’ = Completed passes into the final third; ‘Set-ups’ = shot assists completed into the final third in the direction of the Danger Zone (central strip of the box); ‘SoT’ = shots on target; 1H/2H = first half/second half

La Liga

Granada vs Real MadridGranada Real madrid

Though the overall shot count makes it seem as though Granada were competitive, 7 of their 13 came from outside the area, chasing the game all the way after being 3-0 down within half an hour. They had territory in Madrid’s half, but there’s also a lot of backwards Granada passes around the edge of the final third, indicating an inability to break through the defence.

Continue reading