Tag Archives: Stoke City

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).



Premier League Review:2011-2012 Part 2

11 Jun

The second part of the Premier League Season Review will focus mainly on the team stats, as well as defences. Part 1 can be found here.

Premier League Season Review 2011-12 Part 1: Team Stats

The importance of beating those around you –

In what was a famous season for Manchester City, it’s no surprise to see them feature prominently in the team stats, and the way they won the title was by being the best of the best. Looking at the Top 6 mini league table, they were deserved champions:

City had the most wins, least defeats, most goals (along with United), best goal difference, joint most clean sheets, and only failed to score in one game – the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal that appeared to have ended their Title Challenge. To highlight the importance of beating those around you, the top three places in the Top 6 mini table is the same as the full table. What is surprising is just how many goals there were – Man City put 6 past United, who in turn put 8 past Arsenal, who in turn put 5 past Spurs, who in turn put 5 past Newcastle……you get the idea. Chuck in Arsenal’s 5-3 against Chelsea, and Newcastle’s 3-0 over United, and this season saw unprecedented 105 goals in the 30 games between them – at a rate of 3.5 goals per game.

Similarly, the relegation places were also largely dependent on how teams did against their Bottom 6 rivals:

Both Wolves and Blackburn stuttered against the Bottom 6 teams, with just 2 wins each – this contributed largely to their relegation, indeed Blackburn can point to defeats to Wigan and Bolton in the final run in that led to their demise. The odd one out is Bolton. They actually topped the Bottom 6 mini league with a decent 21 points – however, they lost out largely due to Wigan and QPR’s amazing run against the Top 6 teams.

Big Game Winners – Manchester City with 8 wins against Top 6 and QPR who beat an average ranked opponent of 10.20

Not a massive surprise after the tables above, but just to confirm that Man City were the best against the Top 6 teams, or more specifically – 2nd to 6th. Man Utd clocked up 5 wins, whilst 3rd placed Arsenal managed four, with defeats of Man City, Spurs, Chelsea and Newcastle). The two Merseyside teams also both clocked up 4 wins against the Top 6, whilst Wigan and QPR punched above their weight with three wins each.

QPR had the highest ranked team per win with 10.20. Whilst three of these were against the Top 6 (Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea in a London treble), they also beat teams in the upper end of the Mid 8 with a 1-0 win against 7th placed Everton and a 3-2 home win over Liverpool. Mark Hughes may not be the most popular manager to the neutrals (ideas above his station perhaps?), but he certainly knows how to inspire his players. I for one gave them next to know chance of survival with 10 games to go but with 5 wins in that run, all against teams above them in the table, saw them stay up, and they very nearly showed their mentality for the big occasion on the final day of the season – 2-1 up at Man City with just minutes to go. We all know what happened then.

Bolton on the other hand were the Flat Track Bullies with an average ranked opponent of 15.10 for each of their 10 wins. In fact, they only won 3 games against teams outside of the Bottom 6 (Stoke, Liverpool and Everton). To confirm their status, they were one of only two teams not to record a win against the Top 6, along with Wolves who were also relegated. Man City won the most games against the Bottom 6 – winning all 12, but they certainly can’t be accused of being Bullies.

Big Game Scorers – Man City and Man Utd with 24 goals against Top 6 teams, Blackburn Rovers with an average opposition of 10.28 per goal.

Once again, it’ the big two that dominate the team stats in terms of totals – both hit 24 goals against the Top 6, with the famous 8-2 and 6-1 scorelines. Elsewhere, no surprise that Arsenal and Spurs are 3rd and 4th respectively, despite all of these teams having two less games against the Top 6 teams. Surprising a few teams were newly promoted Norwich with a decent 14 goals against the elite – as many as Chelsea and more than Newcastle.

Blackburn however, are a surprise. Despite getting relegated their 48 goals were on average against an opponent of 10.94. A lot of that is thanks to the 4-3 win over Arsenal and 3-2 win at Old Trafford. Their struggle to score against the Bottom 6 (14 was the joint lowest) meant that they suffered relegation, but at least they gave it a go in terms of attacking – unlike Aston Villa and Stoke, who both scored less than a goal a game.

In terms of Flat Track Bullies, West Brom had the lowest ranked opponent per goal of 13.44, just below Bolton. Whilst the Baggies scored 10 goals against the big teams, they scored almost half of their 45 against the strugglers in the Bottom 6. Man Utd had the most goals against the bottom teams, whilst Chelsea’s weighting of goals, leans very much to the poorer opponents.

Big Game Defences – City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Newcastle, QPR with 3 clean sheets vs Top 6, QPR with 9.57 Average Opponent per Clean Sheet

As seen earlier, there have been six teams to have kept three clean sheets against the Top 6. Surprisingly, one of them is not Man Utd who only managed one shut out against their rivals – the 3-0 win over an early season and weaker Spurs. Also surprisingly (If I hadn’t documented it above) is that QPR are one of the teams with three clean sheets against the Top teams – Chelsea, Newcastle and Spurs.

And those clean sheets for QPR helped give them the highest average of 9.57. Aside from the Top 6 teams, they also kept clean sheets against Everton (7th), Stoke (14th), Swansea (11th) and Wolves (20th). They actually had a worse defensive record under Mark Hughes, but he did keep them up to be fair to the former Welsh Wizard.

The teams with 10 clean sheets or more were led by surprise package Swansea who had an average ranked opponent of 11.29 for their 14 clean sheets. They were behind only Top 6 teams Man Utd, Man City and Newcastle in the number of clean sheets, and they managed shut outs against Liverpool (twice), Newcastle and Man City.

At the other end of the scale, Blackburn only kept three clean sheets (as did Bolton) but they had the lowest ranked opponent per clean sheet – with 15.00. Man Utd’s defence did have the markings of Big Game Bottlers – although they had the most clean sheets, they had the same number against the Top 6 as Bolton and Stoke. They had the most against the Bottom 6 with nine.

How about the goals conceded table I hear you ask. See below:

Man Utd had the best average ranked opponent per goal conceded – though that’s largely down to the seven they conceded against their beloved city rivals. City had the best defence in terms of goals conceded, and also the least against the Top 6 with just 9. Stoke had the worst record against the Bottom 6 with 20 conceded – to add to the worst attack – Go Stoke! The bottom three had the worst defences, with Bolton suffering particularly against the big boys.

Failure to Score – Man City only failed to score once against the Top 6, whilst Man Utd only failed to score in three games.

The barrel of laughs at Aston Villa is perhaps best illustrated by the number of times they failed to hit the back of the net – a whopping 15 times, even Wolves only failed to score on 11 occasions. Swansea matched Villa’s 15 but at least played some good football – much to Liverpool’s liking.

Not only did Bolton concede the most goals against the Top 6, they also failed to score the most times against them as well. Not gonna be a problem next season for them as they’ll undoubtedly be one of the big teams in the Championship.

And that’s just about that for the Team Stats and Premier League review. It’s fair to say that Man City were deserved winners based on how they performed against their rivals, whilst Man Utd showed that you can win it by beating the teams you’re supposed to beat – after all, they were only seconds away from lifting their 20th league title.

I’ll be adding the same reviews for the other league’s in the coming weeks.



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.