Mere days ago, I pretty much wrote off Burnley, Leicester and Hull and in very typical fashion, QPR and Palace arrived this midweek & put in unpleasant performances to put themselves right back in amongst it.
Anyway, a digression: a long time ago, I took two combined maths exams & there was a pass requirement for both. In one, Pure Mathematics, I scored 5/12 which was good enough for a low pass. In the other, Mechanics, I scored a touch lower: 0/12. Something similar is going on at QPR. This week Harry Redknapp commented that he was lucky that he had a 'good group of lads' this year, so good that they appear to be attempting a feat as yet unseen in the Premier League. By forfeiting half of their games, they are attempting to avoid relegation via the means of collecting points from only Home matches. A novel twist on the usual survival technique of trying to win in each match regardless of venue, they are making a good fist of it. We can see this here with some per game figures:
Okay, maybe you skipped the numbers? I can understand that. Have another look. Each and every section is a) pretty good at home & b) abysmal away.
- They don't score goals away & they concede them at a heroic rate.
- Away they are 10 (TEN) shots worse off per game
- Their shots on target are dead level at home: Competitive! Fighting! Great bunch of lads! -4.7 away.
- It's bad luck? Their conversion rate is in the bin away & the opposition are walking it in at will? Yeah, well nothing looks good here.
The result of my exam was indicative of the amount of preparation I put into it: not enough. QPR, underpowered by Redknapp's laissez-faire methods are in great danger of finding out that when a test has two parts you need to prepare adequately well for both or you will, just like myself, fail.
City are great
So that Man City, eh? Pretty good i'd say. Ben Pugsley did an article the other day exploring, amongst other facets, what Chelsea or City need to do to in the title from here on in (see HERE ) and he concluded that for City to have a chance not only do Chelsea need to falter, but City need to win a minimum of 19/25 games, which is something they managed last year but is undoubtedly a difficult task. Well, after dispatching Sunderland tonight, they need 18/24 and I think they're well capable.
Why so? Put simply, their attack, quite clearly fuelled by Aguero drinking Suarez juice, is totally irresistible. Here's a table to show where the number of shots and shots on target conceded by teams AGAINST Man City ranks compared to all other fixtures. So '1st' shows City as being the best shots team faced by the named opponent:
Basically, City's attack turns up every week, and when it fails on shooting volume, it's because it's weighed in already with goals (Liverpool, Sunderland). Stoke are the only team to limit City all year, and that's the crux here; it makes no difference who they play, City bring high shot volumes and a goal threat. And this is where they differ from Arsenal or Chelsea who also score highly in this measure, they both have excellent records in dominating and crushing lesser teams but have a mixed record in more competitive fixtures. If i'm to reign this in a bit, then it is to praise Chelsea who are the kings of 'doing only what you need to' and put in a textbook example of such skills against Tottenham.
City's near schedule is about as fearsome as an Aaron Lennon 30 yarder & they face a bunch of teams that routinely concede high volumes of shots. Burnley, Leicester and Palace are all provably bad, West Brom have recently become so and only Everton have any recent form to speak of. It's quite possible that Man City could go into the second half of the schedule requiring 13 wins from 19 games, which is back at 78 point pace. The only obstacle in their way would remain the same: Chelsea.
Obligatory Tottenham Capitulation
I'm not too distraught with the 0-3 misery inflicted by Chelsea. Lloris had his worst game in quite some time & after the team looking awesome for 10 minutes the game was well & truly gifted away. Chelsea like 2-0 scorelines, it means they don't have to exert themselves too much, but we again saw a tidiness & energy in amongst Tottenham's play. In the near future, bad teams will suffer at the altar of Kane and whilst Mason appeared a little lightweight in a big game, Bentaleb again looked a natural & Fazio looked like a Europa League winner.
We also won the passing convincingly.
Palace, Swansea, Burnley & Leicester to come.
Thanks for reading!
My well timed Southampton article is expiring quickly as they've stopped scoring, winning & have started getting injured. All the things they didn't want to happen, but hey, it's a good read & lives on HERE .
Current 'in the works' projects are changing constantly but i've the makings of a manager deconstruction & ideas on a familiar theme in the offing. Check back here & maybe elsewhere soon. Feel free to submit ideas via my twitter or the gmail address. Like I haven't got enough to go on with. ;)