Saturday, 27 December 2014

Poor old Neil Warnock

So finally we have a managerial dismissal & it's one i'm reasonably surprised about given that Neil Warnock achieved about as much as I'd expected him to: less than Pulis would have but probably a little bit more than a Solskjaer-style appointment.  The facts are hard to ignore however, one win in the last 11, three all season & despite being a generally combative and basically functional & gritty team, their chairman obviously feels that someone else could do better.  

And I actually feel that rare emotion: a touch sorry for Warnock.  Whilst the wins were never there & earlier in the season I held very little hope for his team, they had improved generally as the season moved on & it's only 4 games since they outplayed Tottenham at White Hart Lane & drew 0-0.  Not the performance of a doomed or disjointed team at all.

Indeed, when they had 9 points from 10 games & had just lost 1-3 at home to Sunderland, they looked a hell of a lot worse than they do now.  That might have been a good time to call it quits, but I guess 10 games is too short even in the modern game, in contrast, half a season & 15 points? He can't have hit his targets.

But, as ever, the poor run of results had familiar hallmarks.  Their recent conversion rate is well and truly in the bin, as we can see here:

Over the last 5 games it's running at 3%, a terrible number, but just as the 15% conversion rate from earlier in the season was likely to reduce over time, it's highly unlikely that such a poor rate will maintain.  Whilst Palace profited early on from high conversion rates, their totals here are below par but not horribly so at 10% for & 12% against:

And of course, most of us kinda know where this analysis is heading:

Did PDO kill Neil Warnock?

I mean, it's under par pretty much all year but that recent 5 game slope would make Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards think twice about strapping his skis on, it's so steep.  PDO killed Neil Warnock.

Unfortunately for Warnock, Palace have carried too many of Pulis' ways into this season & he's found it hard to put his own stamp on them; they've continued to rank 20th/20 for possession, pass completion and pass prevention & have created low shot totals.  Despite these obvious handicaps to success, 8 teams are allowing more shots & regarding shots on target, Palace have been allowing very few and improving as time has gone on. Here's the rolling shot ratios both total & on target: 

A shot on target ratio exceeding total shot ratio can sometimes be an indicator of a team taking 'smart' shots & is possibly a tactical nuance.  As recent totals have been well over 50%, I suspect that Neil Warnock will be ruing that he hasn't had the chance to finish the season.  Being beaten by Man City & Southampton is no disgrace & if that's what finally did for him then it's again harsh.  Palace's next 4 away fixtures are all classic 'relegation 6 pointers': QPR, Burnley, Villa & Leicester & I suspect that Warnock is aggrieved he's not gonna get a chance to play these games.  

So from having very bad early numbers masked by a shit-hot conversion rate, Palace ended up with pretty par numbers killed by a terrible conversion rate & the Football Gods said 'it shall not be' & out on his ear Warnock went.  I'm leaning towards the idea that they should have given him a bit more time but that's clearly not the Palace way.

The list of possible replacements looks good:

We all want Sherwood, yeah?


Thanks for reading!

I wrote a deconstruction of Alan Pardew for Statsbomb recently, so if you missed it, head on over: HERE Check back most Mondays for the weekly blog, over this festive period it'll be more like this; bits and bobs that take my fancy.  If you like, feel free to promote via social media!

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