Premier League Round 25

12 Feb

Well that was a quite the drama. Everyone has their own opinion on the handshake, or rather the lack of handshake, but that’s not what this site is about. More importantly, there was a pretty big match on, between the two most successful teams in English football’s history.

Suarez didn’t think much of Evra’s Flying Crucifix trick

Predicatably enough, the man in the spotlight scored, and although Suarez only has 6 league goals this season (from 20 appearances), goals against Man Utd, Arsenal, and Everton suggest he does have a big game mentality – as shown in the Copa America Final. His goals are also important, the 6 goals have been worth 5 points to Liverpool.

And what a time for Wayne Rooney to wake from his mid season slumber. From open play, these were his first goals in 8 games, and what a time to do it. As mentioned in Sky’s coverage of the match, before the game, Rooney had only scored twice against Liverpool in his career. Although Liverpool were outside of the Top 6 range, this was undoubtedly a big game, and he now adds Liverpool to Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal in his list of victims. His Average Opponent per goal is 12.82 based on standings at the time of playing. However, when looking at the AOI based on the current positions, his average increases to 10.53 – pretty much the exact average of teams ranks 1-20. His goals come in batches, but he’s doing it against all opposition.

AOI ranking based on current league positions

Interestingly enough, the big game player and flat track bully remain unchanged – whether we’re looking at the opponent’s ranking at the time of play, or based on the current table. When looking at the Average Opposition ratings based on the current Premier League table, Edin Dzeko and indeed Rooney benefit. For those that have read this blog from the start will know, Dzeko can count himself quite unlucky at his low AOI score, and number of goals versus the Top 6. Based on the current table, Spurs are of course in 3rd place, and as you’re all aware, the big Bosnian scored 4 away at White Hart Lane when Spurs were 20th. Similarly, Rooney’s Top 6 goals increases based on current position due to the North London clubs poor start to the season. Both are now in the Top 4 now, so Rooney’s goal against Spurs, and Hat Trick against Arsenal make him the leading scorer against the best teams in the league with 7 goals, one ahead of Dzeko.

But Arsenal and Spurs were both very different teams back then, and were very poor – so it’s fair to say that the games weren’t as big as they would be now (as proved recently at the Etihad stadium).

So back to the usual system of Average Opposition based on the time of play:

Robin van Persie continues to lead the way vs Top 6 opponents (along with Dempsey, Fletcher and Balotelli). Whilst we know that Gareth Bale is down as the Flat Track Bully (harsh as he’s a midfielder – but those are the stats), we can also see that Yakubu is in 3rd place in that list, with an average opponent per goal ranked 13.92 place. And Blackburn will not care a bit. His return this weekend after suspension, saw an important opening goal against fellow strugglers QPR. If Blackburn stay up, none of the fans will care that the majority of his goals have been against fellow struggler, a whopping 10.

And in terms of the importance of goals as points, none have been more important to their team. The Yak’s 13 goals have won Blackburn 13 points – with 2 of them coming from this weekend’s 3-2 win.

Robin van Persie still leads the way with out right points with 17, whilst is the most important to his team with 61.90% of Blackburn’s points being won by Yakubu goals. Big Grant Holt (TM) scored a brace away at fellow promotees Swansea in a 3-2 away win – goals worth 3 points to his team. Take them out and they lose 2-1 – granted, it’s not an exact science (Swansea’s 2nd was scored at 3-1), but it’s still a good indicator.

Elsewhere, Steven Fletcher’s fine season continued with a goal in a big game of sorts (a derby). Unfortunately for him, Peter Odemwingie and his team mates scored 5, to ruin Fletch and Mick McCarthy’s day. Adebayor increased his record vs Top 6 opponents with a goal against Newcastle (as well as 4 assists – sort of), and Anthony Pikington notched his 7th of the season from midfield in his debut Premier League season. Though that wasn’t good enough for Trappatoni, nor was McClean’s recent good form. Strangely.

I’ll be writing another player comparison piece shortly, so any ideas are welcome.

Cheers,

Liam

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