Premier Leage Round 27

5 Mar

Where do you start after a weekend like that? AVB gone, van Persie beating Liverpool, Spurs vs Man Utd, Pogrebnyak?

“we need to win 1-2”

Okay, we’ll get the bad news out of the way first, as it’s never nice when someone loses their job – though the piles of cash will certainly help AVB. So where did it go wrong? Most of the talk is that the senior players just didn’t respect him. His Premier League record is P27 W13 D7 L7, but it’s the lack of performances in the big games that tell a story. They have 13 wins, but 9 of them have been against teams in the bottom 6 at the time of playing:

Looking at the average rank of opponents they’ve beaten, it’s a lowly 14.54 – behind only Newcastle, and relegation scrappers Bolton, Wigan and Wolves. In fact when looking at their overall team stats, they can be classed as Flat Track Bullies:

One clean sheet against the Top 6 teams (a 3-0 win against Newcastle) points to a problem. When looking at the goals conceded data, they’ve let in 10 goals vs the Top 6 opponents that they’ve faced. The goals scored were too heavily weighted against the Bottom 6 teams (4 against Swanses, 5 at Bolton 3 vs Wolves). Although it was after a defeat to West Brom, it’s essentially the games versus the big teams that decided his fate – defeats to Man Utd away, Arsenal (then 7th) and Liverpool at home, were disappointing returns. There were signs of improvement though as they inflicted Man City’s first defeat of the season and followed up by beating Newcastle. However, they were lucky to draw 1-1 with Spurs, and then blew a 3-0 lead agianst Man Utd. All pointed to an irritated owner and a short stay.

That aside, there were a few very big games on this weekend. Newcastle (6th) and Sunderland (9th) drew 1-1 in the Tyne-Wear derby. Regardless of rankings at the time of playing, derby matches can always be considered big games, so a pat on the back to Shoala Ameobi and the Premier League Ibrahimovic – Niklas Bendtner for scoring. Spurs (3rd) hosted Man Utd (2nd) in the top ranking match up this weekend, and in what was an entertaining match, Man Utd did what they have done for years – by grinding out a win. Ashley Young has only scored in 2 league games this season, but they’ve been a brace against Spurs, and a brace against Arsenal, to suggest he does have a Big Game Player mentality – as the goal against Holland backs up. Man Utd’s other goal was by Wayne Rooney, who’s notched his 4th goal vs Top 6 opponents, taking his average to 12.28. For Spurs, it was Defoe that scored the consolation goal, his 9th league goal, and 3rd against Top 6. His average opposition ranking is a rather more impressive 8.89, which is enough to put him in second place.

The other big game saw Arsenal attempt to show that the 5-2 win against Spurs was the corner being turned, and not just another false dawn. And by winning at Anfield, they showed that maybe they are back. Although Liverpool are outside the Top 6, they’re still a big game for anyone and were unbeaten at home in the league this season. Needless to say it was Robin van Persie that did the damage with two very well taken goals. He’s now the outright top scorer vs Top 6 opponents, and has a decent average of 11.48. He has 11 games to get the 5 more goals he needs to hit the 30 mark in the league – something that’s only been done twice in the last 12 seasons (Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo). His goals have also been worth 20 points this season – already breaking Odemwingie’s 17 point high last season.

The assist by Alex Song for the winner was another sublime pass, and is his 7th of a very good season. And in the assists league, he’s definitely a big game player – with decisive passes versus Spurs home and away, Liverpool, and Chelsea – as well as Dortmund (1st in Bundesliga) in the Champions League.

For Liverpool, it was the same old story again, load of possesion, very few goals. The own goal by Koscielny was the 4th they’ve benefited from this season, and only Suarez and Bellamy have scored more goals for the club in the league.

Elsewhere, Pavel Pogrebnyak has continued his excellent start in England with a Hat Trick at home to Wolves. That’s a pretty decent 5 goals in 3 games. These goals have helped Fulham win 3 games in a row – a feat equalled by a resurgent West Brom.

Just to finish, Edin Dzeko remains the Flat Track Bully with an average ranking of 14.54. He started the season on fire, but the goals have certainly slowed, and appear to be against mainly lesser ranked clubs of late. At the other end of the table, despite having a goal ruled out against United, Emmanuel Adebayor is the Big Game Player with 7.82 – after Mario Balotelli got his hands dirty with a goal against lowly Bolton in 19th.

The assist data by game will e available soon!

Cheers,

Liam

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