Premier League Round 24

7 Feb

Another round passes and two more big games with it. One was a Premier League Classic at Stamford Bridge, whilst the other was a bit of a damp squib at Anfield, where the most interesting moment was when a Cat appeared on the pitch, which appeared to un nerve an otherwise flawless Brad Friedel. Although one talking point was when Gareth Bale was put clean through to win the game. Now you could argue that this would be a good time to prove he was a big game player – but he just kicked the ball straight at Pepe Reina (although he was positioned well). ***Flashback Alert*** The angle and position of the keeper reminded me of Steve McManaman’s goal in the Champions League Semi-Final against Barcelona back in 2002, but from the left side. McManaman showed his big game player status, away at a footballing Cathederal, by scoring from a one on one with a keeper off his line (1.30min on this clip) much like Bale faced. McManaman in fact was a big game player – this goal aside, he has a Champions League Final goal (2000) as well as two in the League Cup Final in 1995.

Bale on the other hand, hasn’t really stood up to be counted in the big games this season. As mentioned in the Round 23 post, he’s now scored 9 goals after his brace against lowly Wigan, but aside from his excellent goal to equalise away at Man City (and that was undoubtedly a big game moment), the rest of his goals have been against slightly more humble opposition – 3 vs Wigan, 2 vs Norwich, 2 vs QPR and 1 against Fulham. None were ranked above 10th at the time of scoring:

There’s no doubt that he’s a very very good player, and he’s very young, but talk of people comparing him to Messi and Ronaldo is a bit premature. Even his hat trick away at Inter Milan last year was a group game in which they were always losing. Personally, I love watching him play, but he needs to be counted in more of the bigger games to really be nominated as one of the best in the World.

Aside from Bale, things are pretty much as they were. Robin van Persie continues to lead the way in goals. His Average Opposition rating took a bit of a hit with a hat trick against 18th place Blackburn, but he still has 5 goals vs Top 6 opponents – which is still joint highest. Big Game Players are Adebayor and Balotelli with 7.22 and 6.11 respectively, but they’re not scoring many of late, with a mixture of form and suspensions leading to 1 goal in the last 7 games between them.

Dzeko retains the Flat Track Bully title with a goal against 13th placed Fulham – as predicted in the Round 23 post on Friday. Also on that post, Javier Hernandez was also picked out as a player to watch/bet on at the weekend, and he didn’t disappoint, with his 3rd goal vs Top 6 opposition – Man Utd’s highest.

And whilst on the subject of the Little Pea, just to clear up a stat some of you may have seen on Monday Night Football – points won by goals. The programme had Javier Hernandez down as winning 9 points from his 8 goals. That should be down as 7 points as per below:

The difference is just that they’ve given 3 points for the winners against Everton and Swansea, whereas if you took those goals away, they’d still have a point in each game – therefore, the winning goal is worth 2 points. I agree with the sentiment though, not only has he got most goals vs Top 6 opponents for United, but his goals are generally important. To gain 7 points from 8 goals is a great return.

And whilst on the subject of points per goals, here’s the top point scorers in the Premier League after 24 games:

So Robin van Persie’s  fantastic season continues, although his hat trick against Blackburn didn’t translate into any points. As mentioned in an earlier post, 17 points was the highest any player got for the whole of last season, so to have that many after 24 games shows his importance to Arsenal.

Petere Odemwingie was that player last season with 15 goals, though he’s certainly suffered from second season syndrome – with just 4 goals this time round. The good news for him though is that the goals he has scored have been worth 6 points. Elsewhere, Demba Ba’s triumphant return to Newcastle (after Senegal’s untriumphant Cup of Nations) means that he moves above Yakubu into second place.

At the other end of the scale, AOI favourite, Dimitar Berbatov has 7 goals that translate into nil points. This feat is matched by Bolton’s Klasnic. Of the top scorers, you’ll notice Rooney and Aguero are missing from the list above. Both have 15 goals each. The number of points lost if their goals were taken away? 3 each.

Cheers,

Liam

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