Tag Archives: EPL

Put your money where your hindsight is – week 2 of 4: The Predictions

The Premier League (as well as a bunch of others) start this week, but it’s week 2 of my weekly ruthless predictions. Last week’s predictions and results are there for you to read, but for those who don’t wish to, here’s a summary.

I make predictions and give a confidence score:

1 – Guess. This is a hunch that I have. If I’m giving a 1 for a prediction though it probably means that it’s either very speculative but based on what I feel like is a good gut feeling, or it’s a filler. Continue reading

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The 2015/16 Premier League centre-back ‘not really awards’ awards

So that’s it; the Premier League season 2015/16. We draw the final curtain and await our favourite players to take their place in the spotlight for their round of applause (or pantomime boos), before we leave the theatre and excitedly discuss the show we’ve just witnessed on the way back home.

There are, however, certain actors on this greatest stage of all who get pushed to the side as the company take their bows, destined never to know the dazzle that comes with true limelight. No, this is not a “Mark Noble for the Euros” shout, I’m talking of course about centre-backs.

It’s been a strange year for the breed. Previous stars of the position have been struck by injury (Kompany), age (Terry), no longer having a defence of ten players in front of them all weighed down by the crushing spectre of extreme dullity (Smalling), or just a bit of an average season (Koscielny). Continue reading

EPL Draft Day 2016

Right now, across the pond in America, the NFL Draft 2016 process is going on. For those unfamiliar (although this article kind of guesses you are familiar), the NFL teams take their pick of the best young bucks coming out of the college system, worst team of the previous season going first (although teams trade for picks, but this muddles things).

The draft process doesn’t exist in the Premier League. You will have noticed this. But what if it DID?

Inspired by the Leicester success story, the Premier League bigwigs decided to implement the process. Players aged 23 and below who played between 500-2000 minutes this year will be put into a field, ready to be plucked by the Premier League teams of the 2016/17 season. Continue reading

A (Sensible) Stats Team of the Year

It’s PFA Team of the Year time (well, the actual day as of writing), and team of the year type awards and articles will be two a penny. There will undoubtedly be a few stats-based awards too, but most of these will probably be bad (no offence), although probably no worse than the non-stats award pieces too.

I’m aiming to put together a Team of the Year, based on stats. But it also needs to be a collection of players that will work as a team (I’m not Garth Crooksing it). This, as well as common sense, means that I don’t have to just pick players at the top of the list of ‘tackles made on a Thursday’ or ‘headed clearances in the middle third’. The stats have also got to be public stuff, that anyone can find, otherwise things turn into a cabal of evil number wizardry. Anyway, here it is.

(The entire team is at the bottom if you just want to skip to the end without reading my reasons). Continue reading

Quality shows: Tottenham vs Manchester United analysis

Louis van Gaal may have said that the two sides were quite even until Tottenham’s first goal, and in some ways he may be correct, in that 3 goals probably flatters Spurs. However, United themselves created virtually nothing, and very much deserved to lose, whatever van Gaal may think or say (Michael Caley’s expected goals map gives an indication of the quality of the chances)

 

Intensity and narrowness

A lot of Spurs’ efficacy in defence, particularly in the first half, came through their intensive pressuring of United, which was in evidence straight from kick-off and in the early minutes of the game.

Continue reading

Toby Alderweireld (vs Manchester City 14/02/16)

Toby Alderweireld (vs Manchester City 14/02/16)

 

Ball-playing

A fair amount of Alderweireld’s first half was spent in positions ready to receive the ball, as opposed to having to do much defending. During this time he executed several decent passes – through the opposition midfield or cross-field to Danny Rose, one of which forced Sergio Aguero back to head it away – though he wasn’t particularly under much pressure when on the ball. Continue reading

What could he have done? – John Stones vs Tottenham Hotspur (03/01/16)

What could he have done? – John Stones (vs Tottenham Hotspur 03/01/16)

NB: The gifs in this may take a while to load, apologies, I’m working on editing them to reduce the size and loading time

[This is a more ‘coaching focused’ (I say this though have never coached in my life) piece; instead of just drawing attention to good or bad parts of a player’s game, I’ll try to suggest how they could change in future to improve. This sounds pompous already.]

Coincidentally, one of the first instances of room for improvement also features one of the tendencies of Stones which my gut has a sincere problem with. Continue reading