Tag Archives: Carlos Tevez

Premier League Round 10

7 Nov

Well it didn’t take long for the inevitable to happen, van Persie was always gonna score against Arsenal. Not only was it playing against his former club, but he thrives against big game opponents. And whilst Arsenal are down to 7th now, they were in the magical Top 6 category going into the game. Last season van Persie scored 7 goals against the best the league had to offer and in the last two games, he’s scored against both Chelsea (then 1st) and now Arsenal. Add in the goal against Liverpool (not currently in the Top 6, but a big game for United), and he’s carrying on where he left off last season. Along with Demba Ba and Juan Mata, van Persie leads the way with goals against the Top 6, whilst the best average opposition per goal belongs to Mata (5.00), whilst midfielder and Soul man, Marouane Fellaini, has a decent average of 7.20 for his five goals this term, after his brace against Fulham (7th) at the weekend.

Leading the flat track bully stakes as per last week are Michu, who has 14.83 and no goals against the decent teams, Jelavic (16.00) and Carlos Tevez with 16.50. None scored this weekend, so they’ll no doubt be there or there abouts again next weekend.

Did someone say clean sheets? Well okay then. It’s not the glamorous glory of goalscoring, but it does guarantee at least a point, unlike those fancy Dans up front. It tells an interesting story in terms of how the teams are performing. For instance, if you were to take the three promoted teams from last season:

Whilst West Ham were keeping a clean sheet against Champions Man City at the weekend, Reading and Southampton find themselves stuck in the bottom three, despite both keeping more clean sheets than West Ham last season. And perhaps that’s the biggest difference between the leagues. Both Reading and Southampton are scoring regularly but a lack of clean sheets has meant just one win between them. And so on to the rest of the league:

West Ham actually lead the way with four clean sheets this season, the same as West Brom, Stoke, Chelsea and Arsenal, though they have the highest average opponent per clean sheet. Interstingly, Arsenal kept three of their four clean sheets in the opening three games when everyone decided they now had the best defence around due to Steve Bould’s arrival as assistant manager. Not quite going so well since. The other stand out stats are that United only have two clean sheets from ten games, even though they’re top, and neighbours and champions City, have three. Everton have the highest average from their two clean sheets (Man Utd and a high flying Swansea in round 5).

 

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Player Comparison: Carlos Tevez vs Sergio Aguero

22 Jul

Argentinian? Check. Prolific striker? Check. Skilful and small enough to be described as diminutive? Check. That’s basis enough to be the next in line for the player comparison series

Contenders

First up is keen golfer, Carlos ‘Carlitos’ Tevez. Born and raised in the tough Buenos Aries area of Fort Apache, Tevez has played for some of the biggest clubs in World football – Boca Juniors, Corinthians, Manchester United, Manchester City and of course, West Ham United. Tevez made the controversial move across Manchester in the summer of 2009, after winning two league titles and the Champions League with United. He was never prolific in his time with the Old Trafford club, often played out wide to accommodate Cristiano Ronaldo, that would change though at City. When he signed, City had just finished 10th.

When Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero joined in the summer of 2011, City had finished 3rd and qualified for the Champions League, and had just won the FA Cup. Signed from Atletico Madrid (where he was Fernando Torres’ replacement), he joined City as a replacement for the wantaway Captain Tevez. A child prodigy, he made his professional debut at just 15 years of age for Independiente in the Argentina top flight, breaking the record of future father in law Diego Maradona, and made a big money move to Spain in 2006. After scoring 101 goals in 234 goals for the captial club, only a handful of teams could afford both his transfer fee and his wages, fortunately for City and the Premier League, his new club was one of them. Born just 13 miles from Tevez, Aguero is four years younger.

Rules

As usual, the statistical comparison will be based on their form in the league, comparing Aguero’s 2011-12 season with Tevez’s debut season with the club. I’ll be looking into the variables and will take a look at their international form as well. For queries on how the calculations are made, see the Rules and Workings page on the menu bar above.

Stats

First and foremost, the all important measure for a striker – goals scored. Tevez came into his debut City season on the back of a disappointing season fro Man Utd, scoring only 5 league goals (14 in all competitions) after the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov – his worst return since his debut season for Boca. Sergio Aguero was fresh from his best scoring season, hitting 20 La Liga goals (27 in all competitions). The starting point for both was very different, in terms of their own form and the team they were joining. But surprisingly, they had near identical scoring records, both scoring 23 league goals in their debut season’s for the club.

In terms of goals per game they both have around a goal every 1.5 games, which is prolific in anyone’s book (apart from whatever book Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi read). Looking a bit closer into the strike rates, and going down to minutes per goal, Tevez actually played almost 300 mintues more than his younger compatriot, or over three games. Advantage Kun.

Next up is the lifeblood of this site – looking at the standard of opposition that the players perform against. Those familiar with the rest of the site (are probably related to me), know that there are two main measures, firstly the average rank of the opposition per each of their goals, and the second is splitting the opponents into a ranges – Top 6, Middle 8, and Bottom 6. Basically, it’s a check to see if a player is a Big game player, Flat track bully or Big game bottler.

Once again, it’s pretty even on this front. Both players have pretty similar averages, with Tevez scoring against teams ranked on average of 11.52, to Aguero’s 11.13 – Tevez’s extra two goals against the bottom 6 means he has a slightly worse average. Advantage Aguero again. Both players scored four goals against the Top 6 – Aguero against 2nd to 6th, and Tevez against 1st to 4th and 6th. Looking a little closer though and Tevez regains a bit of ground, three of his four Top 6 goals were scored against eventual champions Chelsea, and each time they were decisive goals. In the 2-1 win at the City of Manchester Stadium, Tevez scored the winning goal, and in the 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge, Tevez scored a brace. Big game player? His other goal against Top 6 teams was in a 3-1 win over Villa. Aguero’s goals against the Top 6 were against Man Utd (2nd), Spurs (4th), Newcastle (5th) and Chelsea in 6th.

So far, pretty even – with Aguero just about ahead. They’re both goal scorers first and foremost, but how much did they do for their team? Well there’s few in the game that work as hard as Tevez, in terms of closing down opponents, but equally, anyone watching Aguero will notice just how good his movement off the ball is. However, that’s not something I can measure, so how about assists instead?

Once again it’s incredibly close in terms of numbers, Tevez got a credible 7 assists in his debut season, compared to Aguero’s 8. It should be remembered though, that Man City scored 73 goals in 2009-10 compared to the 93 last season. Tevez in general provided assists against the poorer teams, with five coming against the likes of Burnley, Hull, Wigan and Wolves. He did however almost embarrass old team Manchester United with two assists in the 4-3 defeat at Old Trafford – a game famous for Michael Owen’s late winner. Aguero on the other hand had a pretty good average ranked opponent per assist, with 9.75. Only one was against the bottom 6, with most against the mid table teams. Like Tevez, he also managed to get two assists against Top opposition, creating Balotelli’s early goal in the 2-1 defeat to 6th placed Chelsea, and then an assist in the 2-0 win over 5th placed Newcastle.

Whilst Aguero’s slightly ahead on points so far, it has to be remembered that whilst his City finished in 1st, Tevez finished in 5th. So how about their importance to the team? Well on the basis of points won from their goals (see Rules and Workings), it’s a pretty convincing win for Tevez.

That’s pretty comprehensive. Whilst Aguero’s debut season has been very impressive, in terms of their importance to the team, Tevez was miles ahead. He scored almost 32% of City’s goals in 2009-10 compared to Aguero’s 25%. And it’s a similar story in points won, with Tevez winning 22% of the team points, compared to just 8% for Aguero. So that’s another one back for Tevez, but at the end of the day, Aguero did score THAT goal (worth 2 points for those interested, and a Title).

So that’s the stats taken care of, anyone wanting to know a bit more? Well Tevez scored five penalties to Aguero’s three, Tevez scored his 23 goals with four shots less (126 to 130) whilst both average one shot on target in each of the games against the Top 6 teams. They’re pretty even, even to that level of detail.

Team mates

I’ll leave the commentary light on this one, just listing the usual line up for each season:

In the space of just two seasons, there’s been a pretty drastic change in line up, with just three players in the strongest XI for both seasons. Comparing the midfields in particular that each played with it’s all the more impressive that Tevez managed 23 league goals and seven assists. The two that stand out in particular are the attacking midfielders – City Youth Teamers Stephen Ireland and Shaun Wright-Phillips may have enjoyed some good times with the club, but those days had long passed by this point. Compare them to Silva and Nasri, and you’re an idiot. Each had multiple strike partners with Tevez partnering Adebayor, Santa Cruz and Bellamy at regular times each season, compared to Dzeko, Balotelli and Tevez for Aguero.

International

At the time of writing, it’s 15 goals in 36 caps for Aguero, and 13 in 59 for Tevez. That’s a pretty clear cut win for the younger striker right? Maybe not. Tevez has three World Cup goals to his name, and in the 2004 Olympic games (taken a lot more seriously in South America than here), he top scored with eight goals as Argentina won the Gold. As that was officially an Under 23 Tournament, those eight goals don’t count to his full tally. Both have three Copa America goals, and both scored in 2010’s 4-1 thrashing of Spain.

High Tens if you love Argentina

What Else?

Well the eagle eyed among you will have noticed that I’ve left out Tevez’s 2010-11 season stats, which were pretty important given that he was essentially the difference in qualifying for the Champions League and not. Why? Well I thought it was only fair to compare the debut season of each player, although Tevez did have an unfair advantage of 3 previous seasons in the Premier League.

When looking at his 2010-11 stats, he was once again responsible for 15 points, he scored 20 league goals in 31 games (which was enough to see him share the Golden Boot with Dimitar Berbatov), and he had an average opposition of 12.15 per goal, with a split of 6-11-3 for Bottom 6-Mid 8-Top 6 goals. Pretty consistent. He had six assists.

Conclusion
It’s fair to say that Manchester City’s recent past has been dominated by the two Argentinians. Tevez was key in changing both the mentality at the club and in qualifying for the Champions League. It was only once that qualification was complete that it was possible to attract players like Aguero. Robinho may have been been the marquis signing of City’s transformation into a superpower, but it was Tevez’s signing that signalled the intent. Not only were they signing a world class talent, but it’s who they were signing him from.

Of course moving from Top 4 to Champions is another thing altogether, and although he helped near the end of the season, Tevez’s contribution to City’s greatest triumph of modern times was pretty small compared to Aguero. Although he didn’t dominate the team like Tevez had previously, he was the top scorer and he scored the goal to win the title. That one moment is the biggest single contribution that any player made tonL City’s title win. All the work before hand, including Kompany’s winner against United would have counted for zero.

So in what is no way a cop out, it’s a draw!!

They should try and keep them both – they’re pretty handy together:

Premier League Round 35

23 Apr

It’s on. And much like the Bundesliga and La Liga, an April match up between the top two teams in the league is going to decide the fate of the 2011-12 season. With the pressure off, Man City turned the clock back to Autumn with two great attacking displays against West Brom and Norwich. However, going into the game against relegation doomed Wolves, City knew that a win would put them back in the title race that only a few weeks ago was over. A slightly cagier performance saw them get the vital 3 points to give them a shot at the League Title. It’s not going to be easy, Man Utd have already beaten them at Eastlands this year and they also have Newcastle to face. But for the neutrals, it’s a great end to the season. And it’s been mentioned several times already, but Carlos Tevez effectively coming in for Mario Balotelli has been the spur they needed. Since his return, he’s scored four goals and created a further two.

And Everton did their part in the lunchtime kick off with an unprobable 4-4 draw at Old Trafford. Unprobable in the sense that the last time Everton scored 4 goals away was at the start of David Moyes reign, that it was at Old Trafford and that they were 3-1 and 4-2 down. However, they are a team in form in the Premier League, with just the top four teams in the table above them over the last 8 games (just 1 defeat). In fact, they’re joint third in the number of wins against the Top 6 teams:

Wins against Man City, Spurs and Chelsea since Christmas in their usual strong finish to the season means that a draw at Old Trafford wasn’t a complete shock – albeit in different circumstances. And that’s not all, their 13 wins have been against the 3rd highest average ranked opponent in the league, behind QPR and Wigan, who have recently been surprising everyone with the big scalps they’ve taken.

And as with every table, there’s two ends – unless of course, it’s a Round Table (or any non rectangular shaped table come to think of it). When looking at the lowest average opponents per win, there’s some surprising and some not so surprising teams. Wolves have beaten an average team ranked 17th – and there’s no surprise to see them relegated. The only other team with no wins against Top 6 opposition is second bottom Bolton Wanderers. Their 9 wins have been against an average ranked opponent of 15.89. But they’re to be expected. The 5 teams with the lowest ranked team per win:

It’s Chelsea and Newcastle that jump out on this list. Chelsea have at least had the decency to beat two Top 6 teams (Man City and Newcastle), but they as a team have been the Flat Track Bullies of the Premier League this season, with 11 wins against teams in the Bottom 6 at the start of play, and an average ranked opponent per win of a lowly 14.63. It’s the equivalent of beating Aston Villa 16 times. Not a massive achievement. Newcastle’s amazing 6 game winning run has been impressive, but an average opponent of 11.83 in that time actually improves their opponent average per win. Not that it’ll bother them one little bit. Their only Top 6 win was a 3-0 demolition of Man Utd (then 2nd), and whilst they’ve also beaten a 7th placed Liverpool and drawn against Chelsea, Spurs and Man Utd, their route to the Champions League spot that they currently occupy has been by beating the teams that they’re expected to beat.

And so on to the Top Scorers:

Wayne Rooney’s double against boyhood team Everton not only increased his average from 12.50 to 12.08, it also takes him within one goal of the previously untouchable Robin van Persie – The Players Player of the Year. Although van Persie still leads the way on goals against the Top 6 with 7 (ahead of Dempsey), he’s now scored just one goal in Arsenal’s last seven games. The 0-0 against Chelsea was only their second clean sheet against Top 6 opponents (from 13) and was useful in keeping the Blues at bay, and thanks to Spurs terrible run, they’re still favourites for that 3rd spot.

Sergio Aguero’s goal against Wolves sees him reach 22 league goals – one short of Carlos Tevez’ haul in his debut season for City. Aguero has done it in 31 games, compared to Tevez’ 35 games. I’ll be comparing the two of them at the end of the season. Emmanuel Adebayor continues to have the highest ranked opponent per goal with 8.15. The Flat Track Bully is still Frank Lampard with 14.55. Last season’s most prolific point scorer, Peter Odemwingie, hit double figures in the ‘difficult second season’ with the winner at Anfield as Liverpool’s disappointing league campaign continued. The Merseyside giants are now only 3 points ahead of 13th placed Norwich – although with two cup finals (one already won), they’re in a better position than most teams.

Elsewhere, it turns out that Wigan’s kryptonite is kept somewhere in West London, as they lost only their second game in eight – this time at Fulham after a recent defeat at Chelsea. QPR took up where Wigan left off with a win against Top 6 Spurs. Between them, Wigan and QPR have beaten six teams in the top seven in the last seven games – Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs, and Man Utd have all been victims to the sudden and unlikely turn around in form.

With Robin van Persie winning the Player of the Year award, the points won table perhaps tells part of the reason why – no one has won more points this season:

A massive 22 points have been won from his 27 goals – compare that to Rooney’s 11 from 26 of Aguero’s 5 points from 22 goals, and you’ll see just how important he’s been. Yakubu continues to be the most important to his team in terms of percentages. His 13 points won are 42% of Blackburn’s total of 31 points. If they do stay up, then they’ll owe the big man a slap up meal or two.

Papiss Cisse’s fairytale start to his Newcastle career has seen his first 11 goals gain 11 points for the team – although his latest in a 3-0 win over Stoke wasn’t worth any. Lampard may be the Flat Track Bully, but his goals have been the most important to Chelsea than any other player this season – with 9 points.

I’ll try to get the La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A stats up this week, but there may be a slight delay due to an expected addition to the Average Opposition family.

Cheers,

Liam 

Premier League Round 34

16 Apr

It’s far from over in the race of the Title, with 5 points between United and City. If City win the Manchester Derby, they’ll have to win every game and hope that United draw one – and it’s down to goal difference. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility – Man City have only dropped 2 points at home all season, then United could be held to a draw by Everton or Sunderland. But you have to wonder what position City would have been in if Tevez had played the whole season, or rather from Christmas.

His time off wasn’t completely wasted, just look at that swing

Carlitos’ 4 goals in the last week have reminded City just what a good player he is, and also a prolific scorer with 43 league goals in the previous two seasons – more than any other player. And it’s been the goals that have been City’s problem of late. Their defence has actually improved – 15 goals were conceded in the first 17 games compared to just 11 in the last 16 – whilst the goals before the last two games have slowed considerably – as shown here in the Round 31 update. The defeats to Sunderland (9th), Everton (7th) and Swansea (14th) could have been avoided with Tevez in the team. Last season he scored 45% of his goals against Middle 8 teams.

Man Utd did of course shake off their surprise defeat (not so much given tonight’s score) defeat to Wigan with a 4-0 stroll against Aston Villa. Wayne Rooney had a pretty poor game, but still scored a double to take his tally to 24 for the season. As Villa were ranked 15th before the round kicked off, that’s another 2 for Rooney against the Bottom 6 teams – which means he’s now the most prolific player in the league against them. His average of 12.50 shows this. Danny Welbeck scored his 8th league goal of a promising season, though like Rooney he has specialised against weaker opponents – with an average of 14.5.

The surprise scoreline of the weekend came at the Emirates. Arsenal had the chance to cement 3rd place with a win over 17th placed Wigan to extend the lead over Spurs and Newcastle to 8 points, but Wigan are a different animal lately. Fresh from recent wins against Liverpool, Man Utd, and an unlucky defeat to Chelsea (assists for the linesman there), Wigan made an impressive trio of big scalps with a deserved win away at Arsenal. They’re last 4 wins have been against an average ranked opponent of 5.75 which is impressive for any team, let alone a team facing relegation. After many suggested Martinez would regret turning down Aston Villa last season, his Wigan team are now just a point behind the Midlanders, and more importantly, 4 points clear of the relegation zone. It’s hard to know what’s changed to bring around such a change in fortune. Certainly the 3-4-3 formation has played it’s part, but I’m certainly left baffled. Franco di Santo and Jordi Gomez scored within a minute of each other to leave Arsenal 2-0 down after 10 minutes. At that point, I decided a bet on Arsenal to win at an uncharitable 15-8 was worth a tenner. Oh well. Thomas Vermaelen got one back to score his 6th of the season (more than any Wigan player), but it was too little too late.

Aguero’s brace against 10th placed Norwich bettered his average opposition ranking to 11.67 – similar to Rooney, but with a greater focus on lower mid table teams rather than the Bottom 6 opponents. He’s still some way off the Flat Track Bully(s) of Frank Lampard’s 14.55 and Edin Dzeko’s 14.54. Papiss Cisse and Peter Odemwingie are the only two players on the Top Scorers list without a goal against Top 6 opponents.

From the other end of the scale, it’s Adebayor who remains the big game player with an average of 8.15, whilst Robin van Persie still has the lead in the goals against the Top 6 with a decent seven, ahead of Clint Dempsey’s 6.

Elsewhere, in a depleted fixture list, the main focus was on the bottom. Wolves ended their seven game losing streak with a decent point away at 11th placed Sunderland in what has been described as the worst game in the history of football. The point won’t keep them up, but at least it stops the rot. One win in twenty games explains why they’re going down. Sunderland are now well and truly out of the Honeymoon period with new manager Martin O’Neill. Under Steve Bruce they managed 11 points from 14 games, which was followed up with 26 points from the next 14 at a rate of 1.85 points per game. However, they’ve now taken just 6 from 6. They have nothing to play for this season, but O’Neill normally has no problem motivating players.

With one pretty much gone, it was an opportunity for Blackburn and QPR to move further away from QPR (not playing) and Wigan. Both failed. After many were suggesting Steve Kean for manager of the year, Blackburn have now lost five games in a row – with the latest a 3-0 defeat to 14th placed Swansea. These are no doubt the same people that were calling for Wenger’s head back in Autumn. QPR are a strange team, after beating Liverpool and Arsenal, they’ve lost in recent weeks to Bolton, and now 13th placed West Brom.

Just a quick mention on the FA Cup Semi Finals – Andy Carroll may well have had a season to forget for Liverpool, but he’s certainly not a stranger to scoring on the big occasion. Last season he was the leading scorer against the Top 6 teams. With two winning goals in a week, perhaps there’s more to come from the big Geordie.

I’m currently working on a feature looking at the best Premier League Partnerships. This should be up by the weekend, depending on when my wife goes into labour!

La Liga to follow.

Thanks,

Liam

Premier League Round 33

11 Apr

It feels like only yesterday we were discussing the Round 32 action, and having to put up another update, I can almost feel some sympathy for Premier League footballers who have to play two games in such a short space of time. Well, not really, most of them get my annual salary in a weekly wage – so **** ’em. Anyway, the big news is that after the race for the title ended with Man City’s defeat to a very impressive Arsenal, it’s now back on after Man Utd’s defeat to a very impressive Wigan. Wigan fans must feel bitter sweet about their recent form. They beat Liverpool at Anfield, were robbed by two offside goals against Chelsea, and have just beaten Man Utd – but what on Earth have they been doing for the rest of the season? Shaun Maloney’s second goal in four games (vs Liverpool and Man Utd) was enough to win the match for Wigan, who also should have scored through Victor Moses’ header which was harshly disallowed. So United’s 8 point lead is now just 5 points because of Man City’s impressive win against 13th placed West Brom.

City walked into the last chance saloon with Carlos Tevez the first through the swinging doors. The tricky Argentinian was back in the starting line up for the first time since his 5 month intensive golf training. Man City were desperate and with Mental Mario unlikely to play for the club again, and Dzeko being pants since the Autumn, it was down to their former captain and last years top scorer to inspire them. And inspire them he did. Forming an all Argentinian front line with fellow trickster Sergio Aguero, they carved the midlanders open – playing with the freedom of a team no longer feeling the pressure of a title race. Encouragingly, David Silva also looked refreshed. With the surprising score from Wigan (they’d never even picked up a point from Man Utd in the Premier League), the gap is now 5 points, but crucially, City have to host United in what could turn out to be a massive game. Win that and it’s 2 points, and with City having a better goal difference thanks to this 4-0 win, a single draw by United will be enough for City to get back on top. There’s a lot of ifs, and as the saying goes, if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle, but it’s still good for the neutral. Tevez has generally done well against United for both City and previously West Ham, so don’t be surprised if he still has a big say in the title race.

Just behind the top two sit Arsenal with a 5 point cushion over 4th place. Their 9th win in 10 games saw Wolves pretty much relegated (9 points adrift), and also showed what a waste their first half of the season was. Those who dounted Wenger are idiots (I know I certainly didn’t – honest), and it’s not as if they’ve just been steam rolling poor teams like Wolves. The recent run has seen wins against Liverpool (then 7th), Spurs (then 3rd), Newcastle (then 6th) and Man City (2nd). Add to those wins, other victories against resurgent Everton and Sunderland teams, and throw in a 3-0 win over AC Milan, and all of a sudden, Arsenal are showing the mental strength that Wenger has been referring to for so long. The turning point in the season was recovering from 2-0 down to beat rivals Spurs 5-2. That stopped a 13 point lead opening, and it became 7 points, also leading to Spurs poor run of form. Robin van Persie scored his first goal in 4 games, with midfielders Walcott and Benayoun completed the scoring versus 10 man Wolves. Interestingly, with the Euro’s approaching, Walcott (9.50) now has as many Premier League Goals as the greediest player in the league (TM) Daniel Sturridge (12.50) with eight each. Walcott has 4 against Top 6 opponents, compared to Sturridge’s 5 against Bottom 6. Read from that what you will.

Other love should also be dished out to Newcastle. All of a sudden they’ve somehow won 5 games in a row whilst everyone has been looking at Chelsea and Spurs. This leaves Newcastle level on points with Spurs (one win in eight) with 59 points, and they remain two ahead of Chelsea who were Dempsey’d against Fulham in a 1-1 draw. Papiss Cisse (12.0) and Ben Arfa (13.4) have been the catalysts for the winning run, and both were on the scoresheet against 16th place Bolton.

RvP’s cheeky penalty against Wolves takes him 5 goals clear at the top of the scoring charts, with 5 games left for him to hit the magical 30 mark. He’s now scored against 17 of the 19 teams he’s faced this season. He still leads the way with goals against the Top 6, and it’s ex-Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor that leads the way from an average opposition point of view with 8.15. He’s still yet to score against bottom 6 opposition this season.

Frank Lampard Junior looks likely to keep the Flat Track bully tag for the season with an average ranked opponent of 14.55 per goal. His penalty against 10th placed Fulham was his first goal since Round 26. His average opponent per goal is ranked 3 places lower than Super Clint Dempsey’s 11.38. The Texan midfielder has had an awesome season and has eclipsed his previous best of 12 last season. He’s one short of 50 Premier League goals. He’s surely above Cobi Jones as the best American to have played in England?

Cisse’s meteoric rise continues for Newcastle. His 10th goal in 9 games since joining has put him level with Premier League hot shots Jermain Defoe (9.50) and Javier Hernandez (11.60). You have to wonder if he’s somehow nicked Demba Ba’s shooting boots as he’s done sod all since his countryman joined. But these three are in the shadow of big Yakubu (12.81). His brace against Liverpool took his league tally to 16. This equals his best tally in England which he achieved with Portsmouth back in 2003-04. In that season he managed it in 37 games, this season has taken just 23 games. He had just 10 goals in his previous 53 Premier League games. Unfortuantely for Blackburn, his goals weren’t enough as big Andy Carroll made things interesting in his competition with Fernando Torres. Carroll’s winner was his 4th league goal of the season to Torres’ five. Also, why doesn’t Maxi play more? He always seems to score when he plays. I admittedly haven’t watched every Liverpool game, but i’m pretty sure he’s better than Downing/Henderson? I suggested Liverpool would have a big say in the relegation fight after defeats to Wigan and QPR and this win over Blackburn will have as big an effect.

FA Cup this weekend, and Everton go in on the back of their best form of the season with just two defeats in thirteen. Their 4-0 win over Sunderland was especially impressive after they fielded a weakened team. As shown in the last post, they always finish the season strongly, and although I had no answer for it then (yesterday), perhaps it’s down to each summer selling a key member of the squad (Rooney, Lescott, Arteta, etc….) taking a while to recover, and then getting a shot in the arm in the January window – Donavon, Jelavic, Gibson? Who knows.

That’s all for now, Spanish and Italian leagues to follow. The next feature is looking like a big one, so may take a little while longer.

Cheers,

Liam

Premier League Round 31

6 Apr

Plenty of movement in the Premier League since our last update, most noticeably at the top of the table – Manchester United are now 5 points clear at the top of the league after City drew two consecutive games – firstly a 1-1 at Peter Crouch’s Stoke (11th), followed by a last gasp point against Sunderland (8th) at the previously inpenetrable Eastlands. City’s 4 points from 12 available have come at the worst possible time, with Man Utd notoriously strong finishers. In that same time, the team from Old Trafford have chalked up 4 straight wins, as part of a run seeing 10 wins in 11 games. Considering this team has been written off as average, and the 6-1 humiliation at home to City, it’s been a hell of a come back. But what’s brought around the change in fortunes? Squad Management and fatigue.

As you can see from the above split of the season so far, whilst Man City burst out of the starting blocks, wowing everyone along the way, United were the model of consistancy. City scored 67% of their goals in the first 15 games of the season, and just 33% in the 16 games after. United in the mean time have a pretty steady 46%-54% split. The consistancy is best illustrated by comparing Rooney and Dzeko. There was just one goal between them at the half way stage, compared to 8 now. In fact the only player in the City squad to have scored more goals in second half of the season so far is Joleon Lescott, with 2. United also show the strength of their squad with three more scorers. If David Silva was the best midfielder at the start of the season, Antonio Valencia has taken on that title since. Both have 12 league assists – Silva in 30 games, and Valencia in 20. Silva has just 4 in the last 16 games, compared to Valencia’s 9.

There’s nothing wrong with City’s defence, with the split of 15/10 favouring the last 16 games (United’s split of goals conceded is a predictably even 14/13). It’s all about the goalscoring – perhaps it’s understandable that they’re turning back to Carlos Tevez now when they need some inspiration, and more importantly, a fresh pair of legs.

One interesting fact from the above tables is that there isn’t an outstanding goalscorer from midfield for either team. Think back to Title winning teams, and you’ve had Ljungberg, Lampard, Giggs, Beckham, Scholes, Pires etc. Of course the season still has 7 games left, so there’s still a chance for someone like Valencia or Young to step up. Both were on the scoresheet against 16th place Blackburn. Unsurprisingly, Paul Robinson was beaten by two more strikes from the edge of the area.

Elsewhere, the defeat for Blackburn has had an impact on the relegation fight. Whilst two rounds ago, Blackburn were 6 points clear and everyone was apologising to Steve Kean, two defeats and an unlikely turn around in form from Wigan, Bolton and QPR, has seen them fall back into the bottom 3. Strangely enough, Liverpool are having a bigger impact on the fight at the bottom, than their usual place at the top. Defeats to QPR and Wigan have helped breathe life into both team’s seasons. QPR in particular have reason to be pleased – beating 7th placed Liverpool and 3rd placed Arsenal at Loftus Road.

In terms of the average opposition index, it’s still Robin van Persie (11.27) leading the way against Top 6 teams – although he’s on something of a goal drought, with a barren three games. It points to Arsenal’s turn around in fortunes that five goals have been scored by other players in that time, whilst they picked up 2 wins in that time. It’ll be interesting to see how he does against 2nd placed Man City this weekend. In terms of the Big Game Player by average opposition per goal, that still belongs to Emmanuel Adebayor. His double against 10th placed Swansea, slightly lowered his average to 8.15, but he will welcome his first goals in five. He has still to score against Bottom 6 opponents, which isn’t a proble for Spurs, who also have Rafael van der Vaart and Jermain Defoe on the scoring charts. Spurs have lost 7 games this season – and 5 of them have been against Top 6 Oppositions – Man City twice, Man Utd twice, and Arsenal. It’s the results against the top three that has meant they’ve fallen to 4th, just weeks after challenging for first place.

Demba Ba’s goals have certainly dried up since his return from the African Cup of Nations, with just one goal in the last 11 Newcastle games. What do you do if your Senegalese striker’s goals dry up? You get your Senegalese striker to score them instead. Papiss (Demba) Cisse has 7 goals in 7 games since moving to Saint Sports Direct Park. Add that to the 9 goals he scored for Freiburg, and he has 16 goals in 23 league games – compared to Demba (Papiss?) Ba’s 16 in 27 games. Ba still remains in the Top 4 for goals scored, with a decent split of 4-9-3 of goals against the different ranges of opponents.

The Flat Track Bully remains Frank Lampard. His 10 goals have been against an average of 15th, with just one coming against the Top 6. He’s been left standing still in the midfield goalscoring stakes by Clint Dempsey, who’s goal against Norwich (11th) was his 13th of another good season in the Premier League. An average opposition ranking of 11.15 is the best of the three midfielders on the list (Bale has 13.11). Peter Odemwingie gets a mention in the Flat Track Bully commentary with no goals scored against the elite – the only player on the list without.

Want something you haven’t seen for a while? Well sure – he’s the top nationalities in terms of goals in the Premier League this season:

Despite foreigners apparently stopping English players coming through, it’s still England that provides the most goals – by a long way. Unsurprisingly, Ireland, Wales and Scotland are also flying high. Holland lead the way from out side Britain and Ireland, bouyed bt Robin van Persie’s 26 goals. French players seem to have the best temperament in the big games with almost a third of their goals against Top 6 opponents.

That’s all for now, there’s plenty going on over the next 5 days, with most clubs playing twice – giving us plenty more stats to look at.

Cheers,

Liam

Premier League Round 29

22 Mar

Man Utd continued to turn the screw on City rivals City with an easy 5-0 away win at Wolves (19th). Whilst it isn’t going to win any Big Game Player awards, it was interesting that Javier Hernandez’ brace means that he’s into double figures for the league season once again. There’s always the fear of second season syndrome after a player comes in from abroad and has a great first season, but he’s showed consistency with 10 goals in 23 games (average opposition 11.6 per goal). Looking at the Man Utd strikers, it’s easy to remember back to the 1999 team when they had Yorke, Cole, Sherringham and Solksjaer. This season it’s been Rooney, Welbeck, Hernandez and Berbatov, and although not as prolific as their predecessors, they still have a decent 44 league goals between them. Man City’s forward line of Dzeko, Aguero, Balotelli and Tevez have 41 – though Tevez hasn’t played many games this season for some reason? So the pressure was back on City with the game against Top 6 Chelsea (the first team to beat them this season) at home last night.

Well they dealt with the pressure well. It was in fact a rare appearance from Carlitos that helped break down a resolute Chelsea defence, providing an assist for Samir Nasri to score his 4th league goal of the season late on (average opposition of 9.5). Although he hasn’t matched his goalscoring performance for Arsenal last season, his 4 goals have proved important, as they’ve gained 4 points for City. Chelsea’s decent recent run came to an end, but they’ve shown good form recently, and losing away to a team that have won 20 consecutive home games is no disgrace. It’ll be interesting to see what team Terry picks this weekend.

And so onto the usual Average Opposition Stats:

Very little change in the goalscoring charts – Kun Aguero’s penalty against Chelsea moved him one clear of Demba Ba on 17 games, and also increases his goals against the Top 6 to 3. As a result, his Average Opponent per goal is now 11.65. Javier Hernandez’s double against a poor Wolves team has moved him into the goal scoring charts. The two goals against 19th placed Wolves, lowers his average to 11.60, though he has a good scoring split of 3 against Bottom 6, 4 against Mid 8 teams and 3 against the Top 6.

As a result of the lack of activity from the leading goalscorers, it’s Adebayor who retains the best average opposition ranking of 7.82, whilst Frank Lampard’s 10 goals from midfield have been on average against 15th place opponents – keeping the Flat Track Bully tag.

Elsewhere, Arsenal’s meteoric rise up the table continues. Despite Robin van Persie’s goal drought of one game, the Gunners have now won 6 games in a row thanks to Vermaelen’s 5th goal of the season:

It’s been an impressive return from injury for the Belgian Centre Back, and he’s continued to show the goalscoring form that he first displayed upon signing. Gary Cahill also scored at the weekend, bringing his tally up to 3 for the season, though this was his first league goal for Chelsea.

Of course Arsenal’s rise up the table has been doubly sweet. Not only have they been in great form, but they’ve also done it at the expense of North London rivals Tottenham. After tricky games (and defeats) against Arsenal, Man Utd, Everton and Man City as well as draws against Liverpool and this time Stoke, have left Spurs with just 8 points from the last 24, whilst Arsenal have taken 19. They now sit proudly in 3rd.

Another team sitting proudly at the moment are 8th placed Swansea. A 3-0 away win against 10th placed Fulham was inspired by recent loan signing Gylfi Sigurdsson. His double took his season’s tally to 5 goals in 9 games, with 2 assists thrown in. Hoffenheim have apparently received enquiries for the talented Icelandic on the back of this form, though Swansea will certainly be hoping to keep him.

And lastly, a quick look at the bottom. Despite being written off by many due to their run in (including me), QPR surprised a lot of people by coming back from two goals down to beat 7th place Liverpool. Also doing well at the bottom were Blackburn, who continued their good form of late with a 2-0 win over Sunderland (8th at the start of the round), courtesy of Junior Hoillet and Yakubu’s goals.  The Yak remains the most important player to his team in terms of percentage of points won (46.43%), whilst Robin van Persie has won the most points – a whopping 22 points, which has already beaten last season’s highest of 17 (Odemwingie):

Rafael van der Vaart’s late equaliser for Spurs against Stoke mean that he has the best ratio of goals to points, with 10 points won from 8 goals. At the other end of the scale, Wayne Rooney’s 20 goals have only been worth 8 points to Man Utd this season.

That’s it for the Premier League this week, I’m currently working on a feature on Diego Maradona at the moment, and hope to have it up by the end of the weekend.

Thanks,

Liam

Premier League Season Review: 2010-11

18 Jan

We’ve recently passed the halfway point in the Premier League season, and so far there’s been a few surprises in terms of the Average Opposition stats – Mario Balotelli is the best when it comes to scoring against decent opposition, but his goals are worth nothing if taken away from Man City; Robin van Persie’s goals are worth 17 points to Arsenal, whilst Yakubu’s goals have been worth 65% of Blackburn’s points.

So with that in mind, I thought it’d be interesting to look at the Full Season stats for last season. First and foremost, as the bread and butter of this site let’s start with the glamorous goal scorers:

Golden Boot

The first thing to address is the outright top scorer. Berbatov and Tevez (BerbaTev? No? Ok) shared the golden boot with 20 league goals each. Neither had a great average opposition rating with Tevez leading Berbatov with 12.20 vs 13.05. Round one to the Argie. Secondly and perhaps the most telling statistic is that none of Berbatov’s goals were against Top 6 opposition at the time of playing – when he scored his hat trick against Liverpool they were ranked 13th. Based on final positions, he has 3. Tevez also didn’t fare that well, with just two against Top 6 Opposition – Chelsea (then 1st) and a high flying Bolton. Looking again at the final placings, leaves him with just one goal against the cream of the crop. I’d call that 1-1. The decider is down to how many points their goals were worth. In the blue corner, Carlos Tevez’s goals were worth 15 points to Man City’s total of 71 points (21.6%). In the red corner, Dimitar Berbatov’s were worth only 10 points to United – 12.5% of their total.

If it wasn’t for the 5 penalties that Tevez scored, he’d be more deserving of the Golden Boot.

Honourable mentions to van Persie who did scored 18 goals in just 25 games, Peter Odemwingie who was experiencing his first season in England (and with a slightly unfashionable club), and Blackpool’s DJ Campbell. From a midfielder point of view, Malouda, Nolan, Adam, Nasri and Dempsey all performed well in terms of goalscoring.

Average Opposition Index Awards: The Goal Scorers

Big Game Player Award 2010-11: Rafael van der Vaart – 7.46

What a fantastic debut season it was for the Dutch schemer. Although Spurs ultimately failed to get that Top 4 spot, he made a massive impact and perhaps has helped change the mentality at Spurs from almosts, to big club. As if to perfectly illustrate his big game status, none of his goals were against Bottom 6 opponents, whilst a massive 8 were against Top 6 clubs (at the time), including 3 against North London rivals, Arsenal. His overall average opponent per goal was a very high 7.46 – beating fellow Ducthy Dirk Kuyt (8.08) to the title. And all this as a midfielder. What is interesting, is that this season, he has one of the worst averages in the league. In the words of another Spurs goalscorer, it’s a funny old game.

It’s been pointed out many times before, but he cost around the same amount Man Utd paid for Bebe.

Honourable mentions to Kuyt, Odemwingie, Carroll and Charlie Adam. Kuyt aside, all playing their first full seasons in the Premier League

A clearly delighted van der Vaart after hearing about his Average Opposition Index Award

Most Goals vs Top 6 Opposition 2010-11: Andy Carroll – 9 goals

Andy Carroll? The same Andy Carroll that is left on the bench in favour of no goals in 19 games Dirk Kuyt? Yes, that Andy Carroll. In the first half of the season with Newcastle, he banged in a Hat Trick against Aston Villa (then 3rd), followed by strikes against Arsenal, Chelsea and more tellingly Liverpool. It may have been his performance against his future club that fooled persuaded Dalglish to part with £35m (or 5 van der Vaart’s) for his services, and the early signs were promising – he scored a brace against high flying Man City. No one is really sure what happened over the Summer, maybe it was that his landlord Kevin Nolan moved South, no one really knows. Credit where it’s due though, 9 goals against Top 6 opposition does offer some hope for Liverpool fans.

Andy Carroll in happier times

Honourable mentions to Kuyt, Odemwingie, van der Vaart and Javier Hernandez.

From the big game players onto the Flat Track Bullies. This is only looking at players with 10 goals or more.

Flat Track Bully Award 2010-11: Florent Malouda – 14.38

It’s perhaps a little harsh giving this to Malouda as he is a midfielder, and the fact that he has scored 13 goals, including 3 against Top 6 opposition, should be applauded. Where he fell down was the 9 goals vs the Bottom 6 team, including 4 against teams ranked in 19th, and one against the team then at the bottom. Even his Top 6 goals were against Blackpool (after their great start) and Bolton. Those teams went on to finish 19th and 14th. The big bully. This season, he has one goal which was against then 18th placed West Brom.

Unhonourable mentions to Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov. Interesting that they’re all big name players.

 

Goals win Points Award 2010-11 – Peter Odemwingie – 17 Points

It just goes to show the importance of a goal scorer. That Odemwingie scored so many goals in his debut season is to be applauded, that they were so vital to West Brom’s final points tally is more than impressive, it’s the difference between staying up and going down. As per above, his 15 goals won 17 points – which was 36% of West Brom’s points.

Interestingly, at round 21 in the 2011-12 season, Robin van Persie’s goals have already matched the 17 point high from last season.

Honourable Mentions to – Carlos Tevez, Javier Hernandez, van der Vaart and Hugo Rodellega (more important than Nzogbia to Wigan last season) were all worth more than 10 points to their team. DJ Campbell, Rodellega and Odemwingie were the only players worth more than 25% of their teams points. Not many English players in these awards…..

Peter points to the above table to prove a point

Pointless goalscorers of the season – Solomon Kalou – 10 goals=3 points

This is for player scoring 10 goals or more. Kalou has been a consistently useful player for Chelsea over the years, but last season, his goals meant very little in the end. This is mainly because they’ve been scored when he comes of the bench and the game is won. His first 4 goals were against Wigan x2 (6-0), West Ham (3-1)  and Blackpool (4-0).

Unhonourable Mentions to – Asamoah Gyan (10 goals=5 points), Maxi Rodriguez (10 goal=4 points), Kevin Nolan and Didier Drogba (both 12 goals=4 points). Good seasons – but not particularly important.

Defensive Awards to follow…..