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Friday, February 01, 2013

OT: The Soccer Thread: February 2013

Well, it was on time last month!

RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 01, 2013 at 11:59 AM | 1499 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off-topic

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   1301. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 25, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4375555)
Looks like a great slate of midweek games on the continent.

Tue, 3:00: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 2nd leg of Copa Del Rey semifinal, currently 1-1 with Barca holding the away goal
Wed, 2:30: Bayern vs. Dortmund, DFP Pokal quarterfinals
Fri, 2:45: Napoli vs. Juventus, Serie A possible scudetto decider

I'm assuming that all of these games are going practically untelevised in the US? The continental leagues / FAs really need to get their heads out of their asses on this.
   1302. Sean Forman Posted: February 25, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4375560)
Does Bein count as untelevised?

re: Gus Johnson, I think overall we underestimate just how hard it is to announce a game. Talking for that long continuously just takes a lot of baseline skill and when you are talking about a sport you haven't been with your entire life it strikes me as incredibly hard. I suspect he is searching for more words than he normally would and just that little pause/uncertainty blows the whole thing.

How many basketball games would Ian Darke have to do before a native American audience found him passable?
   1303. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 25, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4375563)
Does Bein count as untelevised?
Practically untelevised. The large majority of Americans don't get Bein, and they have zero online services.
   1304. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: February 25, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4375575)
How many basketball games would Ian Darke have to do before a native American audience found him passable?


But given that there are already a great many qualified basketball announcers why should I hire Ian Darke to announce basketball games? Fox seemed to be doing fine with the English announcers they had but now they're trying for the square Gus Johnson peg into the round announcing hole. NBC was able to hire Arlo White, ESPN hired Ian Darke, Fox hires Gus Johnson?

They then have made it worse by making him the lead guy. I'm fine with them trying to groom him. Maybe his work with the MLS team (San Jose?) was good enough but why put him at the top of the pecking order right away. To go from "promising talent" to "Real Madrid v. Man United" in about two weeks makes no sense. It is unpleasant for the listeners and is unfair to Gus who is probably being held to an unfair standard but if he's used as the primary announcer he is going to be expected to meet that standard.
   1305. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4375578)
Bayern vs. Dortmund is on ESPN3 at least. I kind of see why the Italian/Spanish leagues have to chase short term money but Germany is much better run and hopefully the next time their contracts come up they look long term. FA are the purest of whores so they are always going to chase the biggest pot of money.
   1306. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4375594)
   1307. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4375595)
Bayern vs. Dortmund is on ESPN3 at least.
Oh, excellent. Don't know why I didn't check that.
   1308. zack Posted: February 25, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4375598)
The British color guys can butcher names, but the PBP guys are good about trying to get it right.

Although in European games, I sometimes get annoyed when they refer to the player's on EPL teams by name, and the opposition by position.

Shoots: on Torino, did they return most of the players from Serie B, or is this a significantly upgraded roster?
   1309. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4375599)
Shoots: on Torino, did they return most of the players from Serie B, or is this a significantly upgraded roster?

They added a couple--Cerci for instance--but that's mostly their team from last year.
   1310. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 25, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4375649)
I would have guessed Gattuso would be playing for someone in the Middle East.

How confident are you Spurs fans for today? I'd like to see a Spurs tie or loss for purely entertainment reasons. Three teams fighting for two Champions League spots would make the Premier League a little more interesting unless United blows their lead again. I'm hoping Chelsea miss out because the schadenfreude would be epic.
   1311. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4375655)
How confident are you Spurs fans for today?

To be confident in not to be a Spurs fan. Away to West Ham before the game of the year is a classic banana peel game.
   1312. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 25, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4375672)
The betting odds run roughly 2:1:1 win/draw/loss for Spurs. That's about how I'm feeling. They should get three, but it's about as likely that they don't as that they will.

Spurs are playing some really great defensive football recently, but West Ham's cross-and-clobber attack seems like exactly the sort of thing Spurs' somewhat more finesse heavy back line will struggle with. I'm wondering about whether a Dawson-Gallas partnership in central defense would be a good idea. Discipline above all. It's not like West Ham will be throwing any significant pace at the opposing center backs.

I am reasonably confident in that Spurs will score goals, but I might be crazy. I expect West Ham will overload the defense to cover Bale, and Spurs in theory have too much attacking talent for that to be a good 90-minute strategy.
   1313. Sean Forman Posted: February 25, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4375681)

But given that there are already a great many qualified basketball announcers why should I hire Ian Darke to announce basketball games? Fox seemed to be doing fine with the English announcers they had but now they're trying for the square Gus Johnson peg into the round announcing hole. NBC was able to hire Arlo White, ESPN hired Ian Darke, Fox hires Gus Johnson?


No doubt. I'm not defending Fox's decision here, I'm just saying that Johnson could have been working his ass off for 9 months to prepare for this and not be any better than he is right now. I suspect a better approach would have been to look hard for American born talent with 10+ years of experience in soccer broadcasting to promote into this "voice of American soccer" position. Do a little work to find the next guy rather than try to "fit a square Gus Johnson into a round announcing." It smacks of trying to convert your center fielder into a shortstop because he's a really good athlete. It might work, but probably it's going to be ugly.
   1314. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 25, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4375715)
How confident are you Spurs fans for today? I'd like to see a Spurs tie or loss for purely entertainment reasons. Three teams fighting for two Champions League spots would make the Premier League a little more interesting unless United blows their lead again. I'm hoping Chelsea miss out because the schadenfreude would be epic.

Why would a Spurs win be bad for the three-team fight? They would be only 2 points ahead of Chelsea and 4 ahead of Arsenal in that scenario.
   1315. Topher Posted: February 25, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4375745)
I think what probably annoys me the most about the Gus Johnson experiment is the idea that he can take a few months and study "really hard" and become a good broadcaster.

That might very well be possible if you give him a sabbatical and that's all he's doing. But that obviously wasn't the case. I don't doubt that Johnson has been spending a ridiculous amount of his free time watching games, but when you are still working announcing gigs in multiple sports, there is only so much studying he is going to be able to do.

And that ignores the complexity of European soccer. If he were to become the lead announcer for MLS, he needs to learn the teams and rosters for 19 teams. To get the main Fox gig, he needs to be aware of dozens of teams and rosters that are constantly being turned over with an influx of players from around the world. The idea that he can learn all of this while still doing other announcing work is just silly.
   1316. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4375763)
Starting Team: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen, Parker, Dembele, Lennon, Bale, Holtby, Adebayor.

Subs: Friedel, Assou-Ekotto, Gallas, Naughton, Carroll, Livermore, Sigurdsson.

Supposedly this is Tottenham's lineup today. Is Dempsey hurt? It seems kind of early for an official lineup to be released so maybe this is just speculation. Vertonghen at LB against the Hammers giants makes sense, though.
   1317. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4375770)
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Reid, Nolan, Jarvis, Carroll, O'Brien, Collins, Demel, Diame, J Cole, O'Neil. Subs: C Cole, Collison, Vaz Te, Taylor, Pogatetz, Chamakh, Spiegel.

Spurs: Lloris, Vertonghen, Lennon, Parker, Adebayor, Bale, Dembele, Dawson, Holtby, Walker, Caulker. Subs: Gallas, Naughton, Sigurdsson, Friedel, Livermore, Assou-Ekotto, Carroll

Full teams. Dempsey picked up a calf injury, I guess.
   1318. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4375787)
West Ham waste no time hoofing it long...
   1319. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4375795)
One man team! One man team!

Why do West Ham keep letting Bale get the ball on his left? That is defensive suicide.
   1320. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4375796)
West Ham gives the ball away and lets Bale go left.
   1321. Howling John Shade Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4375802)
Watching Bale evolve from part-time bad luck charm to world-beater has been one of the more enjoyable fan experiences of my life.

Also, Lloris is good.
   1322. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4375805)
Watching Bale evolve from part-time bad luck charm to world-beater has been one of the more enjoyable fan experiences of my life.

It's been remarkable.
   1323. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4375807)
Walker just can't handle Jarvis. Something good will come from that for the Hammers.
   1324. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4375808)
What the #### are you doing sliding in like that in the box Parker. What the ####.
   1325. Howling John Shade Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4375809)
Stupid tackle. Looked like he got a little bit of the ball, but he certainly took Nolan out. I miss Sandro.

Edit: Carroll, Nolan, they all look alike.
   1326. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:30 PM (#4375811)
Why are they booing Parker? He's been the Hammers best player.
   1327. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4375812)
Edit: Carroll, Nolan, they all look alike.

Hey, Darke/McManaman are confused too, in the past couple of minutes they've kept saying Parker slid in on Nolan for the penalty.
   1328. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4375814)
How many players would be left standing after a Stoke/West Ham match?

Lloris really is super quick off his line.
   1329. Howling John Shade Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4375817)

Hey, Darke/McManaman are confused too, in the past couple of minutes they've kept saying Parker slid in on Nolan for the penalty.


Ha. I wrote Carroll first, but they managed to convince me I was wrong. Never again!
   1330. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4375826)
Why are they booing Parker? He's been the Hammers best player.

That's exactly why they are booing him.
   1331. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:45 PM (#4375830)
That's exactly why they are booing him.

I meant in this game.
   1332. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4375832)
I know, I was being cute.
   1333. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4375834)
All right gents. I've got the second half on delay so enjoy the inevitable Tottenham win...
   1334. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4375851)
HOW THE #### DID NEITHER OF THOSE GO IN THE NET

HOW THE #### DO SIGURDSSON'S SHOTS KEEP BARELY NOT GETTING IN
   1335. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:17 PM (#4375852)
...and we're ripping the shirt off for a 58th-minute goal? Yeah, go-ahead goal and all, but there are still 32 minutes to play and now you're on a yellow.
   1336. Howling John Shade Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4375853)
Adebayor is really determined not to score these days.

Edit: #### me.
   1337. Howling John Shade Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4375854)
Do you really get to stop play to change your boots?
   1338. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4375859)
You've got to be kidding me. How has Caulker not managed to score on any of these?
   1339. Howling John Shade Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4375864)
Well, that was pretty.
   1340. Howling John Shade Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4375871)
This is ridiculous.
   1341. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4375872)
Spurs are trying to set a record for amount of free headers in the box without scoring on any of them.
   1342. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4375875)
Gareth. #######. Bale.
   1343. Howling John Shade Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4375877)
Bam! Unbelievable.
   1344. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4375878)
Wow... yet again West Ham players allows him to go on his left foot.
   1345. Howling John Shade Posted: February 25, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4375885)
I'm not sure this way of winning games is really sustainable for the rest of the season, but it sure is fun.
   1346. SuperGrover Posted: February 25, 2013 at 06:00 PM (#4375889)
Here's a terrible video of it. I am at work so best I can see until later:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3_BEWILNiA&noredirect=1

That boy's good!
   1347. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4375965)
Holy crap!
   1348. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 25, 2013 at 08:01 PM (#4375970)
Well, first off, Jussi Jaaskelainen was out of his mind today. If not for the Welshmen, he was the MOTM. Bale, I don't even know what to say, he's just incredible. The confidence he has in himself right now reminds me of when Reggie Jackson was feeling it. Also, it will probably be forgotten in the Bale hysteria, but Hugo Lloris is such a good keeper. That save on Taylor was as good as Bale's winning strike. I don't think Taylor imagined a keeper would be on top of him so quickly. And I guess Tom Carroll is ahead of Huddlestone on the pecking order now. That was a bold change but Allardyce had been screaming for Dembele to get sent off every time he breathed on a Hammer so I think AVB was smart there.
   1349. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 25, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4375973)
Damn. I specifically considered taping the game, since I had to teach during the second half. I figured I'd surely jinx it, so I didn't. Now I both take full credit for the result, but I wish I'd taped it so I could watch the game again in real time. Gareth Bale is ridiculous.

One small stat note - in the month or so leading up to this insane explosion, Bale was leading Premier League midfielders by a significant margin in shots on target and the like, without putting up big goals scored numbers. It's anecdata, but it suggests that utility again of SoT numbers for predicting goals.
   1350. Mefisto Posted: February 25, 2013 at 08:24 PM (#4375987)
Question for the stats guys here. What do you do with missed calls? Suppose, for example, the keeper tips the ball wide, and we can see it on replay, but the ref misses it and rules goal kick. Is that a SoT or not?
   1351. Mattbert Posted: February 25, 2013 at 08:46 PM (#4375996)
Also, it will probably be forgotten in the Bale hysteria, but Hugo Lloris is such a good keeper. That save on Taylor was as good as Bale's winning strike. I don't think Taylor imagined a keeper would be on top of him so quickly.

That was nuts. Lloris was so calm. Taylor gets put through. Lloris has a quick peek to see where the runner (Carroll) coming from his right is. He knows if he charges out now, Taylor only has to square it for Carroll for a simple tap-in. So he waits. Taylor drops his head and shapes to bend it into the far corner. In the time it takes him to do that, Lloris covers about five yards and smothers the shot as it's barely left Taylor's boot. Sensational.

Also, Benny is awesome even when he doesn't play:
@AssouEkotto: Fergie what????? Naaaaa Not N'E MORE .... well done spurs lol
   1352. Mattbert Posted: February 25, 2013 at 09:05 PM (#4376002)
What would say the chances are that Villas-Boas was totally tripping on X tonight?

Exhibit A: Gareth Bale
Exhibit B: Scott Parker
Exhibit C: Bale again
   1353. Howling John Shade Posted: February 25, 2013 at 09:51 PM (#4376026)
What would say the chances are that Villas-Boas was totally tripping on X tonight?

He's just happy that he finally found players willing to celebrate with him on the sideline (to be fair, the Parker hug looked only semi-consensual).
   1354. SuperGrover Posted: February 25, 2013 at 11:00 PM (#4376040)
Question for the stats guys here. What do you do with missed calls? Suppose, for example, the keeper tips the ball wide, and we can see it on replay, but the ref misses it and rules goal kick. Is that a SoT or not?


No idea how Opta rules that. I will try and determine next game I watch. My guess is that would not be a SOT.
   1355. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: February 25, 2013 at 11:19 PM (#4376044)
So at this point where does Bale rank in terms of quality of season. I'm not asking if he's the best player in the world but has he been the MVP of soccer in 2012-13 so to speak? I suppose Messi's performance is so brilliant that it's probably Trout-esque but while Tottenham are good, they are not Barcelona good. Without Bale Tottenham would be...well hell, a lot further down the table while Barcelona would probably still be atop La Liga.

Am I just buying into EPL/recent events hype or has Bale been THAT good? Because to me the way he carries that team seems like he has been that good.
   1356. ursus arctos Posted: February 25, 2013 at 11:55 PM (#4376056)
It's not Bale's fault, but it would be extremely difficult for anyone to win a worldwide "MVP" without participating in the Champions League or a major continental competition. There are certain similarities between Bale's 2012-13 and Falcao's 2011-12. In addition to a "Europa League discount", each of them was/is disadvantaged by the fact that the Ballon d'Or remains a calendar year competition.

Bale is likely to win both the writers' and players' Footballer/Player of the Year award in England, though (as Van Persie did last season).
   1357. zack Posted: February 26, 2013 at 01:50 AM (#4376097)
No idea how Opta rules that. I will try and determine next game I watch. My guess is that would not be a SOT.

If it's like every other sport I'm familiar with, it's a random distribution. And varies by home ground if the stringer is based locally.
   1358. Mattbert Posted: February 26, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4376193)
He's just happy that he finally found players willing to celebrate with him on the sideline (to be fair, the Parker hug looked only semi-consensual).

Damn straight. Do you have any idea how much work went into the celebratification Powerpoint presentation?

Bale is likely to win both the writers' and players' Footballer/Player of the Year award in England, though (as Van Persie did last season).

The van Persie analogue is a good one, I think. However, I have to say that as much fun as it's been watching Bale take his game to the next level, he's only really been at that level for about six weeks. He was having a fine season before that, of course, but this Roy of the Rovers business is a more recent development. Let's see if he keeps it up over the next couple months, because unless somebody else steps up for Spurs that's when some more Bale magic is going to be needed. Here is Tottenham's fixture list for the next couple months:

Arsenal
Inter
@Liverpool
@Inter
Fulham
@Swansea
Everton
@Chelsea
Man City

That's some pretty tough wheelin'. Spurs could very conceivably play quite well over that stretch and only come away with about 7 points from 21 in the league and a who knows what result against Inter.
   1359. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 26, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4376197)
Jonathan Wilson on everyone's favorite Welshman

It's all down to Lloris. Well, not really, but the addition of Lloris to Spurs has fascinated Wilson all year. I think this is the 3rd or 4th article he's written about how Lloris has changed the shape of the team.

   1360. Mattbert Posted: February 26, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4376203)
It's all down to Lloris. Well, not really, but the addition of Lloris to Spurs has fascinated Wilson all year. I think this is the 3rd or 4th article he's written about how Lloris has changed the shape of the team.

I think he's pretty clearly Tottenham's best signing of the season now. Which is saying something when the competition is Dembele and Vertonghen.
   1361. Mattbert Posted: February 26, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4376290)
Chelsea scored 47 and conceded 32 during AVB's 27 league games in charge last season.

Through 27 games this season, Spurs have scored 47 and conceded 32.
   1362. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 26, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4376426)
FC Shootyburg off to a rough start in the DFB Pokal quarters.
   1363. ursus arctos Posted: February 26, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4376450)
Wowza. Elfmeter for FC Shooty in Nachspielzeit.
   1364. ursus arctos Posted: February 26, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4376451)
And Freiburg convert.

Going to extra time with Mainz down to ten men.
   1365. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 26, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4376454)
You missed an opportunity to mix in Ausgleichstreffer and Verlängerung in your last post.
   1366. ursus arctos Posted: February 26, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4376469)
That would have been showing off.

Quite an impact substitution of "The Great" Santini there. When he came on in the 84th minute, they were 2-0 down. He scored within two minutes and then drew the penalty that allowed them to equalize.
   1367. ursus arctos Posted: February 26, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4376474)
Pique was so late on that tackle of C Ronaldo that it would have been more fitting in the next Clasico.

Penalty converted, and Madrid lead on aggregate.
   1368. ursus arctos Posted: February 26, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4376484)
Schlusspfiff.

Freiburg are through to the semis.
   1369. AuntBea Posted: February 26, 2013 at 04:40 PM (#4376494)
Barcelona are really being whiny tonight. Hard to watch.
   1370. SuperGrover Posted: February 26, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4376500)
"The Great" Santini


That's a great movie, sports fans.

That's some pretty tough wheelin'. Spurs could very conceivably play quite well over that stretch and only come away with about 7 points from 21 in the league and a who knows what result against Inter.


Yeah, the more I have looked at the schedule the more I need to back track off my earlier prediction regarding UCL qualification. Both Chelsea and the Spurs have a hell of a run while Arsenal will be favored to win in all but maybe four games the rest of the way. Plus, the Spurs offense has really hit a snag without Defoe and seem 98% reliant upon Bale magic. That can work for awhile, but at some point they are going to need contributions form someone else.

I still think the Spurs qualify but I am not as confident as I once was.
   1371. ursus arctos Posted: February 26, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4376543)
Genuinely humiliating evening for Barcelona.

Now 0-3.

Will be interesting to see if there is any reaction in the rematch in the league, and how much the team is changed before the second leg against Milan.
   1372. Mattbert Posted: February 26, 2013 at 05:45 PM (#4376553)
Will be interesting to see if there is any reaction in the rematch in the league, and how much the team is changed before the second leg against Milan.

The popular explanation seems to be that fielding Cesc and Iniesta together on the left is a major bungle, which is what Barca did against Milan as well. This is, I believe, the exact same team (save Valdes) that had its pants pulled down by Max Allegri last week. Lesson learned now?

The steadfast refusal to buy a real center back probably doesn't help either.
   1373. ursus arctos Posted: February 26, 2013 at 05:53 PM (#4376566)
I think that Roura believes that he lacks authority to change the team. Whether that is true or not, I have no idea, but I find it hard to believe that he doesn't see the weaknesses that are apparent to everyone else. The managerial situation is clearly a bit of a mess.

All that said, credit to both Milan and Madrid for taking full advantage of the situation.
   1374. SuperGrover Posted: February 26, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4376571)
Wow, haven't watched the game yet, but what a result. Not surprised about the win, but the scoreline is certainly shocking.
   1375. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 26, 2013 at 11:16 PM (#4376767)
Freiburg are through to the semis.

You mean Halbfinale.
   1376. frannyzoo Posted: February 26, 2013 at 11:52 PM (#4376780)
Here's hoping Dortmund pull their Real impersonation and take out Bayern in the Pokal tomorrow. After today's debacle, I need some faith returned and all that. Today was tough, but completely unsurprising. Barca's been slipping throughout this stupid "Messi has scored in X games in a row" shenanigans. I fear the Milan return fixture in ways seemingly impossible when the draw was announced, but that's football.
   1377. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 27, 2013 at 12:46 AM (#4376793)
So how did I spend my evening? I made a moderately poorly-modeled projection of the rest of the Premier League season. Something like Cool Standings or BPro projected standings for the Premier League.

-I based it off my team ratings I've been posting here, using 2/3 team quality based on expected goals, 1/3 team quality based on actual goals. (I chose those weights entirely arbitrarily).
-This is where the modeling gets moderately poor. If you fudge the normal distribution a little this way and a little that way, you can get a curve that looks a lot like actual goal scoring, so I did that to model goal-scoring. (I can write up the model in more detail if anyone isn't bored already.)
-One problem here, beside the fact that this curve is non-identical to the actual incidence of goal scoring, is that goals scored and goals allowed in a game do not appear to be independent, but have a tendency to converge. My model treats them independently, because it would have been much harder otherwise. (I basically broke Excel as it is.)
-So I did not model that, and so I'm getting a few too many results, a few too few draws. (I should be getting ~30% draws, I'm getting ~25%).

That all said, here are my results. Nothing particularly shocking, but I like putting numbers to things.

Team          W       D       L     Pts  %Title   %Top4    %Rel
MUN           28       4       6      88     96
%    100%      0%
MCI           22      10       6      77      4%     99%      0%
TOT           20       9       9      68      0%     76%      0%
CHE           19       9      10      66      0%     66%      0%
ARS           18      10      10      64      0%     45%      0%
EVE           15      14       9      58      0%      7%      0%
LIV           15      12      11      58      0%      5%      0%
WBA           16       7      15      54      0%    0.5%      0%
SWA           13      13      12      51      0%    0.1%      0%
STO           11      15      12      47      0%      0%    0.4%
FUL           12      11      15      46      0%      0%      1%
NOR           11      14      13      46      0%      0%      2%
NEW           
12       9      17      44      0%      0%      3%
SUN           11      10      17      43      0%      0%      6%
WHM           11       9      18      43      0%      0%      6%
SOT           10      12      17      42      0%      0%      9%
WIG            9       9      20      37      0%      0%     48%
AVL            8      12      18      37      0%      0%     51%
RDG            8      10      20      34      0%      0%     78%
QPR            5      14      19      30      0%      0%     94


-I'm not showing things that happened less than 5 times in 10000 runs - there three Tottenham and two Chelsea titles, once Swansea got relegated, and once Stoke made the champions league.
-This system thinks there are non-zero chances of an upset in either the top-4 race or the relegation battle. In 37% of seasons, either at least one club from outside the top 5 made the champions league, or one club from outside the bottom four was relegated.
-Or you could say, two-thirds of the time, the entire middle of the table ended up still safely in the middle of the table.
-Points don't like up exactly with W/D/L because of rounding issues.
   1378. zack Posted: February 27, 2013 at 02:04 AM (#4376815)
There's a site I use for other sports that does a similar-ulation. I don't necessarily endorse their methodology because it is obviously based primarily around goal differential, though Man City is ranked above Man U, so there must be some adjustments. Does Man City have a tougher SOS so far? The GD is at least regressed (to the mean, which is almost certainly wrong for the premier league). The advantage is the same methodology can be applied to pretty much any sport. The coolest bit is seeing how the percentages change after every game, plus the graphs are pretty. Especially this one right now.

Anyway, they have pretty much the same results, the most noteworthy difference being Tottenham vs. Chelsea, I'm assuming because Spurs have better shots ratios but worse goal ratios. Or maybe it's SOS. Here's your and their results side-by-side, in your order, and their rank at the end.

Team  %Title   %Top4    %Rel  |            Title %     CL %    Rel %     SCS Rank
MUN       96
%    100%      0%  |Man United      97.1     100             1
MCI        4
%     99%      0%  |Man City         2.8    98.9             2
TOT        0
%     76%      0%  |Tottenham          0      67             4
CHE        0
%     66%      0%  |Chelsea            0    73.4             3
ARS        0
%     45%      0%  |Arsenal            0    53.2             5
EVE        0
%      7%      0%  |Everton                  3.4             7
LIV        0
%      5%      0%  |Liverpool                3.3       0     6
WBA        0
%    0.5%      0%  |West Brom                0.6       0     8
SWA        0
%    0.1%      0%  |Swansea                  0.1       0     9
STO        0
%      0%    0.4%  |Stoke                      0     0.3     10
FUL        0
%      0%      1%  |Fulham                     0     0.9     11
NOR        0
%      0%      2%  |Norwich                    0     2.5     12
NEW        0%      0%      3%  |Newcastle                  0     3.5     14
SUN        0
%      0%      6%  |Sunderland                 0     3.4     13
WHM        0
%      0%      6%  |West Ham                   0     6.1     15
SOT        0
%      0%      9%  |Southampton                0    10.6     16
WIG        0
%      0%     48%  |Wigan                           44.9     17
AVL        0
%      0%     51%  |Aston Villa                     67.4     19
RDG        0
%      0%     78%  |Reading                         62.8     18
QPR        0
%      0%     94%  |QPR                             97.7     20 


Of course, teams importing the entire population of France in mid-season calls the whole exercise into question.
   1379. zack Posted: February 27, 2013 at 02:17 AM (#4376818)
I can't tell if it's taking the other games into account or not, but if you play with the thing at the bottom of that page, it says Tottenham's estimated 67% chance of being in the top 4 swings to 81% with a win or 50% with a loss against Arsenal.
   1380. vortex of dissipation Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:24 AM (#4376833)
David Beckham is scheduled to start tomorrow for Paris Saint-Germain against Marseille in the French Cup. The match is available on ESPN3 at 2:55 PM EST.
   1381. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:54 AM (#4376839)
-This is where the modeling gets moderately poor. If you fudge the normal distribution a little this way and a little that way, you can get a curve that looks a lot like actual goal scoring, so I did that to model goal-scoring. (I can write up the model in more detail if anyone isn't bored already.)

At the risk of boring everyone to death, I would actually be somewhat interested in this <.<
and once Stoke made the champions league.

Man, I hope this is the reality which actually occurs, just to screw with everyone.
   1382. ursus arctos Posted: February 27, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4376959)
Not that the Becks signing is anything like a publicity stunt, but his first start is also being streamed on YouTube, Daily Motion and psg.fr . . .
   1383. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 27, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4376961)
Not that the Becks signing is anything like a publicity stunt, but his first start is also being streamed on YouTube, Daily Motion and psg.fr . . .

Even The Guardian will be streaming it. Honestly, I do not give a ####. Wake me up if PSG get Zidane out of retirement. Boro and Chelsea or Dortmund and Bayern are better options to me anyway.
   1384. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 27, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4376966)
Balotelli and Italy just seem like they're such the perfect match ...


AC Milan star and enigmatic striker Mario Balotelli has reportedly commissioned a sculpture of his infamous goal pose from the 2012 European Championships.
Now it seems as though that moment will be captured and preserved in history forever, with Balotelli teaming up with a local Italian artist to sculpt the celebration—muscles and everything—to express intimidation toward fellow opponents.

Per Football Italia:

“I received the commission, but have never actually met Balotelli, so I am working from photographs,” local artist Livio Scarpella told Il Giornale di Brescianewspaper. “I presented various sketches, but Mario wanted to be immortalised in the pose after a goal: muscles in evidence and an expression to challenge the opponents.

“I imagined him as an athlete from ancient times. The statue will be between the classic and pop style, in platinum and coloured bronze with the eyes made of precious stones.”

   1385. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 27, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4376971)
This guy is getting a statue for free

Suck on that, Balotelli.
   1386. zack Posted: February 27, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4377000)
I like #1384 because Balotelli is actually enigmatic, whereas it is usually a code word for "is not from here" in north american sports press.
   1387. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 27, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4377004)
   1388. Swedish Chef Posted: February 27, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4377073)
-This is where the modeling gets moderately poor. If you fudge the normal distribution a little this way and a little that way, you can get a curve that looks a lot like actual goal scoring, so I did that to model goal-scoring. (I can write up the model in more detail if anyone isn't bored already.)

You shouldn't do that, use the Poisson distribution ?^k*exp(-?)/k!. The ? is the scoring rate (goals per game) and the number of goals you're interested in is k, and it will give you the probability of that many goals being scored in a game (divide by the sum for all k, or more practically the ones before it becomes close to zero, or just plug it into Excel, it's a built-in function there).

Strictly speaking it is not exactly correct as goals can't be scored at arbitrary times (each attack takes some time), but it should be close enough for most purposes, especially if you're not interested in intra-match probabilities.

EDIT: Opera killed my lambdas!!!

EDIT2: Added the division by the total to get a probability :-)
   1389. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 27, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4377113)
SC - Yeah, Poisson would be better. But to get the goals as an output from a random number, as I was looking through it, I'd need an inverse poisson function, and I'm working in Excel which doesn't have that function. I looked up how to write an inverse Poisson in VB before realizing I didn't want to do that. Treating goals scored as a truncated normal distribution is not the right way to do it, statistically, but it comes pretty close to looking like reality, and it uses an existing function in excel.

EDIT: Reading your post over, it looks like you're saying I wouldn't need an inverse poisson. That'd be good. I'll look at it later.

Arjun - basically, goals scored look a lot like a truncated normal distribution. I already have a spreadsheet with team quality as a percentage of league average in goal scoring and goal prevention, as well as an estimate of home field advantage for GS/GA. So I created an expected goals for / expected goals against number for every remaining game. I then modeled goals scored using an inverted normal variation function - use expected goals as the mean, use the observed SD of the truncated normal distribution, input a random number, find that location on the curve, and round it to a goals scored number. If it spits back a negative goals scored number, try again with a new random number. I also modeled possible variance in team quality by running each simulation with team quality +/- a random amount, up to about 20% of league average. That's not terribly clear - does it make sense?
   1390. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4377125)
That's not terribly clear - does it make sense?

Yeah, I think I follow, thanks. What's the formula you used for expected goals for and expected goals against (at the beginning, I mean. I think you posted this somewhere earlier, but I must have missed it)?
EDIT: Opera killed my lambdas!!!

Oh, okay, your post makes much more sense now, I was really thrown by the question marks :)
   1391. Swedish Chef Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4377127)
But to get the goals as an output from a random number, as I was looking through it, I'd need an inverse poisson function, and I'm working in Excel which doesn't have that function.

Use MATCH, just make a column with the cumulative poisson-probabilities for goals from 0 to 10, then MATCH(<your random number>, A1:A11, 1). It returns the position of the last row that was less than your random number (the position in the range, not the spreadsheet), subtract 1 to get goals.
   1392. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:25 PM (#4377133)
Thanks SC!
What's the formula you used for expected goals for and expected goals against (at the beginning, I mean. I think you posted this somewhere earlier, but I must have missed it)?
For every game, I compare goals scored and expected goals scored (based on shots on target, shots in box, and big chances) to expected goals scored based on opponent quality and home/road. So for each game I get team attack and defense ratings of X percentage better or worse than league average. Add all those up for the season to get projected team quality. For the season projection, I estimated team quality with 2/3 the expected goals based rating and 1/3 the actual goals based rating.
   1393. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:25 PM (#4377134)
EDIT: dupe.
   1394. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:29 PM (#4377139)
I hope the Bayern - Dortmund match will be better then yesterday's game. Will anyone besides Chelsea and Boro fans watch that FA cup match?
   1395. Swedish Chef Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4377143)
Now that I think about it, you have to add a 0.0000 in the row before the poisson with 0 goals, because that's the high limit and MATCH needs a lower bound too. I guess it doesn't hurt to add 1.0000 at the end either, for those games that would have gone to 11+ goals.
   1396. zack Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:37 PM (#4377147)
SC - Yeah, Poisson would be better. But to get the goals as an output from a random number, as I was looking through it, I'd need an inverse poisson function, and I'm working in Excel which doesn't have that function.

In addition, if you have the (free) data analysis plug-in you can generate random numbers from a number of distributions, including the poisson. Although I don't know if the output format is workable for your needs.
   1397. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4377151)
Matt: thanks!

Nathan Ake getting the start for Chelsea. In the Sky studio, Ray Wilkins busy explaining how he never wanted Torres at Chelsea.
   1398. Howling John Shade Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4377154)
I think Bayern-Dortmund has become my favorite game to watch from a neutral perspective. They both play such a fun brand of football. And yes, I was drinking PBR and grooming my mustache when I wrote this.
   1399. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:45 PM (#4377157)
Bayern has control of the game so far. I think collectively Bayern may be faster on the break than Madrid.
   1400. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 27, 2013 at 03:47 PM (#4377160)
Dortmund far too sloppy with their passes so far. Conceding possession far too easily.
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