Premier League – Round 20

7 Jan

And so another round of Premier League games have come and gone, and we’re now past the half way mark and into the Business Half of the season. Round 20 saw some significant movement at both ends of the table, Man City managed to put their recent poor form behind them and moved 3 points clear of their (equally noisy?) neighbours after dispatching 6th placed Liverpool at home with a comfortable 3-0 win. Man Utd continued to falter with a second consecutive defeat, this time to Newcastle, and as with the Blackburn defeat, they conceded 3 goals again. Spurs continued their impressive form with a hard fought victory against West Brom – courtesy of Jermain Defoe and his odd hair.

Defoe praying that he doesn’t pick up the wrong bottle again

At the other end of the table, Fulham moved out of the Bottom 6 after the late late show against Arsenal. The other winners in the relegation scrap were Bolton, who despite conceding to a Goalkeeper (and a modest one at that – well played Tim Howard), went on to a surprise victory away at Goodison Park. Everton’s goalscoring has been a problem this season and it was good of Howard to contribute, but they need their strikers and the likes of Cahill to take the pressure off of their free scoring keeper. Blackburn, Wigan, Wolves and QPR all lost. Hats of to Sunderland, who followed their win against Man City with a massive 4-1 win away at Wigan.

So how does this affect the AOI for goalscorers?Robin van Persie continues to lead, but Demba Ba has closed the gap to just two goals. Newcastle will be hoping he doesn’t perform similarly in the African Cup of Nations, or else they could be without him longer than they can afford. His Average has jumped from 11.57 per opponent per goal, to a much more balanced 10.93. Remember that the all round regular scorer should be around 10.5 across a season. How West Ham must be cursing their luck that they didn’t recoup any transfer fee for the prolific marksman. Sergio Aguero also increased his tally and indeed his average with a Pepe Reina assisted strike against Liverpool. Not only does this increase his average opponent per goal to 10.93 (the same as Demba Ba), but it also increases his number of strikes against Top 6 opposition. He’s now scored against Man Utd, Liverpool, Newcastle and Spurs in this impressive debut season.

Mario Balotelli continues to hold the Big Game Player tag, though hasn’t moved for a while due to injuries. The worst average per goal belongs to midfielder Rafael van der Vaart of Tottenham. Spurs manager Harry Redknapp certainly won’t mind this, as they’ve now matched Man City as the only teams with 3 players in the Top Scorers lists.

New Stat Alert – Goals as Points!

After adding some Average Opposition stats on the Nationalities and Clean Sheets last time 0ut, I’ve been looking into  another barometer for the importance of goals. This isn’t necessarily linked to their average opponent, but it is a measure of importance to the result – albeit heavily weighted towards Forwards/Goalscorers. The below table is a formula driven stat which is far from an exact science, but is interesting none the less. The below stats shows the number of points that the team would lose if you took out the players goals.

It’s worth pointing out that this isn’t strictly the importance of goals – you could for example Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Norwich earlier in the season. As Chelsea won by two goals and had three different goal scorers, you could take one of Bosingwa’s, Lampard’s or Mata’s goals away and the result would still be 2-1 to Chelsea – meaning that there is no direct impact to the result and number of points. In reality – the opening goal of a game is always important (Bosingwa), and Frank Lampard’s goal in that match was in the 84th minute, which put Chelsea back ahead. Both were important goals, but due to Mata’s injury time goal – the importance in this formula lessens.

So with that in mind – what of the above table? Well it’s no surprise that Robin van Persie is responsible for the most points for his team – with massive 17 (47.22% of Arsenal’s total points). If you took van Persie’s goals away, then Arsenal would be in 15th Place – though of course the player replacing him may well have scored elsewhere.

But van Persie is not the most important player for his team – that honour falls to the Yak, who’s goals equate to a massive 78.57% of Blackburn’s points. Admittedly, they are bottom of the table, but it still shows a) what a great signing he’s been and b) they rely far too much on him. Without him, they’d be even further adrift instead of the 3 points off 17th they are. The syrup loving Demba Ba is the second top scorer in the league, and is 3rd in points gained – however, when taking into account the team’s position and points, his 15 goals at 30.3% are worth less to his team than Jordi Gomez’s 4 goals for Wigan – which are worth 40% of the team’s points.

The current Big Game Player holder is Man City’s Balotelli, but based on the above calculation, his 8 goals, against good teams have resulted in no points. How so? Well every game he’s scored in which has resulted in points for his team (all aside from the defeat to Chelsea), has been won by more than one goal. Even when he scored a brace against Man Utd, the team won by 5 goals – meaning his goals did not directly contribute to the final result.

Does this statistic prove anything? Not definitively – but it does show the importance of certain players to their teams.

Cheers,

Liam

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