Every year you seem to get teams that ride a high PDO number in the early stages of the season to create an artificially high representation of their true ability, and I know a few of you will be thinking 'Southampton' & you would be right. It was going very well but not only have results fallen in a hole but the drivers behind them have entirely reversed. We can contrast this with a team that has an honest manager, a man who continually expresses pleasure with results but disappointment with performances:
Where these two teams differ is that Southampton now only have a 'normal' kind of PDO of 1.02, Man Utd in contrast have something Southampton had until week 12, the same thing Arsenal had last season until they were annihilated by Man City 6-3 and that is a crazy high running PDO. They're at 1.16 now, almost all of which has been powered by their last 4 games; such games include where they have the least amount of shots in their recorded history yet still win 2-1, where they score both their shots on target to win, or even 50% of them to win comfortably, all the while their goalkeeper is saving shots at an unbelievably high rate(87% over the last 8 games against a league average of 68%), gaining all the praise in the world & probably driving himself closer to a return to his homeland. Just see here:
So we can feel a little sorry for Southampton as they plummet back into the pack & it becomes apparent that their average bench wouldn't look strong in the Championship; they're still a decent if fragile side, but any smidgen of luck has left them for now and congregated round at Louis Van Gaal's house, a fact he knows only too well. His conversion growth is so extreme that it looks exponential and the sound you can hear faintly in the background is that of the Man Utd club brakes locking, in advance of a skid, a screech and the conversion rate slamming into a wall.
Either that or Van Gaal is a magician.*
- Arsenal finally got something their shooting prowess deserves with a 4-1 tonking of Newcastle. A quick count suggests they've been sufficiently dominant to post a clear win about 8 or 9 times this year and have managed to win by more than one goal only 4 times. So it had been coming & to my mind they are locks for the top 4; that they're in good contention despite posting a league worst opposition conversion rate is testimony to their attack & options even in the face their usual array of injuries.
- Hull's horrible run of form continues, they've now posted 9 shots on target in 7 games and only scored twice. In facing Chelsea, they joined an unimpressive group in recording zero shots on target in a complete match:
Apparently there's a metric called 'Noll-Scully' that has the intention of 'measuring competitive balance in sports.' I read about it a bit & some people figured it was a great way of working out if a league within a sport was competitive & others weren't so sure. One of it's advantages seemed to be that you could compare different sports or leagues via one figure & one of it's disadvantages was that that same figure was forever pegged to the size of a schedule; the smaller the schedule, the smaller the returned figure. Regardless it seemed logical that in this season of West Ham & Southampton, of Newcastle but not Liverpool, Tottenham or Everton & inspired by a notion of possible increased competitiveness within the Premier League, to use the metric to see how this year stacked up against previous years. Many examples use 'wins' but in this i'm going to use 'points', hopefully this will reduce the impact of draws in the sample.
As a measure, an entirely flat equally competitive league should return a measure of 1.0 & seemingly premier League football isn't too flat, the average end-season figure is a shade under 2.0; of the US sports only NBA exceeds the numbers i've generated (ie: is broadly uncompetitive).
What this shows is that this season is pretty average via this measure. We're not accounting for who is winning the points but how they're distributed & 2014-15 is fairly generic. One can speculate on other figures; '07-08 was the year of 1 win Derby County whilst '10-11 featured a notably low winning total.
Anyway, just something I did.
Further reading can be found HERE and a firm rebuttal can be seen HERE with a ton of interesting comments too.
Obligatory Tottenham bit
Wilfried Bony used this game to show how you do not need to look frenetic or dynamic to appear thoroughly dangerous at all times. Fazio, previously complimented here, had a tough time today & only a degree of wastefulness stopped Swansea edging this game. As it was, the equally languid Eriksen seemingly freed from a tactical straightjacket via the unusual method of pretending not to understand the desired role after a few subs, plonked himself in a free role & scored another fine late goal for the '2-1 last minute winner travelling Spurs' club.
Again, much like against Palace, Pochettino got his substitutions right & in beefing up midfield late on via Stambouli & Dembele, a game that was drifting away became winnable & was duly won. Where the whole performance wasn't great, Kane was & Eriksen is showing signs of becoming a 'go-to' player much like Bale did in that final season. The comparison may seem fanciful but Eriksen's technical ability has never been in doubt, more his tenacity & psychological ability to lift or carry a team. Another key contribution testifies positively towards his growing stature.
The potential for revenge against Newcastle in Some Minor Cup comes next & offers a good chance of CUP GLORY!
[*may not be a magician.] -----------------------------------------------------------------------
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