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Friday, March 01, 2013

OT: The Soccer Thread, March 2013

Update your bookmarks, it’s the soccer thread.

Football hipster word of the month: Catenaccio
THTF news: Two months of fixture hell begin in which Spursin’ it up becomes all too possible
Shooty news: He’s decided to follow Real Zaragoza, because that’s totally not a hipster choice
Hamburglar / French Freiburg news: I still find both puns funny.  Monthly updates to follow
News news: I am now done with the bit.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 01, 2013 at 05:02 PM | 800 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off-topic, soccer

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   201. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:14 AM (#4381766)
I had a dream last night about Dortmund playing Bayern in the CL. The score was 4:3 to Bayern in Munich, with Bayern just having another goal disallowed, at the time I woke up.

Make of that what you will.
   202. frannyzoo Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:17 AM (#4381768)
We need a flip and nobody has mentioned Özil's sweet pass to set up the CR goal, so I'll meekly do that here.
   203. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:33 AM (#4381774)
   204. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:48 AM (#4381783)
Does anyone think Mourinho was so gracious last night because he didn't want to alienate his next employer?
   205. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4381790)
I read the graciousness as roiling anger at his team for getting stymied by Tom Cleverly and Ryan Giggs for an hour before the red card bailed them out. Mourinho's leaving the sidelines before the first half whistle fits here, too.

I still don't understand how Rafael, supported by Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs, managed to keep Ronaldo quiet. Michael Cox argues that the key was Danny Welbeck's defense on Xabi Alonso, which limited his effect on the game and forced Madrid to run their attack through Khedira instead. (He points out that the big change when it went to 10 v 11 was Welbeck dropping off to defend the left flank, leaving Alonso free to rip apart the defense at will.) That is reasonable, but still those matchups at the back looked way too good for Madrid, even with Alonso struggling, for them to produce so little for 60 minutes.
   206. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4381792)
Does anyone think Mourinho was so gracious last night because he didn't want to alienate his next employer?


Maybe. I also think Fergie is one of the few managers out there that he views as an equal.
   207. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4381794)
Good point. And he recognizes, then, that not only did his players get beaten for an hour, Fergie won the tactical battle for an hour as well.
   208. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4381795)
By the way, in other Champions League action, Houston beat Santos last night in Houston.
   209. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4381843)
Man U don't love Roy Keane no more.

Jonathan Wilson postulates that Keane is more of a Clough man than a Ferguson man, anyway.
   210. J. Sosa Posted: March 06, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4381860)
In the past I would have said Mourinho was being sarcastic. He may have been sincere in this instance though. As mentioned he and SAF do seem to respect one another, and I do think there was some element of angling as Shooty mentions.

The other part is that I think Mourinho is a little more, if not humble, perhaps more mature. Madrid has drained him. He's not the same guy he was a couple of seasons ago. Yeah he would needle Pep etc., but the constant fishbowl has worn on him I think. I don't think SAF will ever retire, but thats the job Mourinho would want. He may have to settle for Chelsea. I can't see him going to City at the present.

As for the tactical battle, I was surprised at how well Giggs held up. The one area before the match I felt that SAF took a bizarre gamble though was Nani. I didn't get that at all. I would have thought he'd be third choice at best. I was not surprised that Rooney was not included. He's been covered at some length by the various tactics blogs, but he hasn't been the same player for a very long time. Rooney keeps getting asked to return to the young Rooney and he's either unable or unwilling to do so. He hurt Man U in the Champions League final a couple seasons ago by failing to pressure Busquets and he hurt England at the Euros. There is a reason Pirlo ran amok that match. Rooney wasn't doing his job.

Man U's midfield has been discussed at some length off and on here, but I've come to the opinion that Ferguson just doesn't value a certain type of player. I have never understood why they don't go get a player like Vidal. Or not run off a player like Pogba. There was a time when SAF liked that type of player. I don't get why he sticks with the milquetoast midfields he does now. I think he's just gotten to the point he doesn't like playing with that type of player. It only hurts them in big matches, but it keeps becoming an issue.

As for Welbeck, I love Welbeck. He's exactly the type of player I like. The guardian speculates that Rooney's camp is blowing smoke about PSG to get a wage increase, but think Man U would snap the hands off of anybody making a decent offer. Welbeck's a better player at this point (at least a better player at what is required of a support striker with the tactics Manu often employs).
   211. Mattbert Posted: March 06, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4381908)
Our resident celebrity.

You can tell I'm famous because of all the comments that article is getting.
   212. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4381912)
You can tell I'm famous because of all the comments that article is getting.

Hey, you made the news feed!
   213. Swedish Chef Posted: March 06, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4381948)
I hope Maradona gets the Montpellier job. More crazy!
   214. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 06, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4381958)
I hope Maradona gets the Montpellier job. More crazy!

Someone should convince Zamperini to make Maradona his next hire.
   215. Mattbert Posted: March 06, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4381965)
Very interesting article from James Horncastle on the training methods of Mourinho and Villas-Boas.
Mourinho doesn’t want to create robots or automatons. They’re predictable and he doesn’t want his teams to be that way.

“When I set about studying opponents and attempt to identify their behaviour, their tactics,” he explained. “I often realize that the development of their playing dynamic is more a mechanical automatism than a true playing dynamic.”

Mourinho’s method, as defined by Corriere della Sera columnist Sandro Modeo, is instead structured but open, robust but plastic.

“The objective,” he said, “is that the players understand the playing system and trust it, that they take some initiative because they’re convinced that it’s the best thing to do and not because someone else says: ‘Do it that way’.

“I know where it is I want us to get to, but instead of telling them: ‘Go that way,’ I want them to find their own way there.”

Psychologically it’s much more satisfying and validating to find the solution to a problem yourself than have someone else solve it for you. Mourinho understands this. He calls it ‘guided discovery’.

I mention all this because I think it’s what we’re seeing at Tottenham under Andre Villas-Boas

[...]

“In general, I work a lot on the philosophy and the way of expressing potential during matches, physically and psychologically,” Villas-Boas explained. “We therefore simulate all the situations that players could encounter during matches so that they might automatically adapt, so they know how to adjust mentally, make the right decision...

“We work a lot on instant decision-making for the good of the team. You can teach them things individually but the decision on the pitch belongs to them. And sometimes it’s not exactly what the manager has taught. Instinct is so vital because everything changes very quickly in game situations. Of course you want to see the team play attractive attacking football. But with great freedom of decision. The players take more pleasure in it. You teach them how to manage an experience, they take the decision.”
It seems like there's more than a little Roy Hodgson in there as well, but maybe not quite so rigid and repetitive as what we've been told Roy's drills are like?
   216. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4381985)
“People have a general idea of what I do,” Mourinho said, “and it’s insufficient.”

This quote of Mourinho's in the article kind of sums him up, no?
   217. Swedish Chef Posted: March 06, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4382053)
The manager for Juventus' shop says that they haven't sold a single Bendtner shirt yet. Something for the collectors to consider.
   218. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 06, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4382055)
   219. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4382063)
This is a highly believable system for comparing teams.

Speaking of dubiousness, Argentina is now the Unofficial World's Champions, taking the title from Sweden, who held it briefly after taking it from North Korea. The WC Qualifier between Argentina and Venezuela will be for the title!
   220. SuperGrover Posted: March 06, 2013 at 02:47 PM (#4382076)
Make of that what you will.


Someone needs more internet porn in his life.
   221. SuperGrover Posted: March 06, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4382079)
I read the graciousness as roiling anger at his team for getting stymied by Tom Cleverly and Ryan Giggs for an hour before the red card bailed them out. Mourinho's leaving the sidelines before the first half whistle fits here, too.


Me too. I think it was more anger/motivation than anything else. You see it all the time in other sports (as a UNC, Roy Williams does this in around 9 out of 10 post-game press conferences).
   222. DA Baracus Posted: March 06, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4382082)
Either you Spurs fans all missed this or I missed you not missing it.
   223. SuperGrover Posted: March 06, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4382085)
I hope Maradona gets the Montpellier job. More crazy!


The following isn't all that insightful, but I have been dying to tell this story to someone who knows soccer so here goes...

I recently met a lovely Jordanian couple from Dubai at a friend's wedding. The woman's younger sister and cousin ran into Maradona in a local club. They were exceptionally pretty and the old Argentine spent a good two hours trying to get them home whilst downing a shot every 10 minutes or so. They politely declined his offers, but did spend enough time with him to take more than a few photos. The pictures were all kinds of awesome, reminding me of the closing credits to Hangover. That guy is all kinds of hot mess.

   224. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4382090)
Either you Spurs fans all missed this or I missed you not missing it.

I saw it but I didn't post it. Believe it or not, I only post a small fraction of the Spurs related stuff I find. I aim to annoy a little, not a lot.
   225. zack Posted: March 06, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4382108)
This is a highly believable system for comparing teams.

The methodology for that reads like someone who has never watched a soccer match. Clearly, the club world cup is the highest level of competition and should be weighted the heaviest!
Although it would be fun to pull out whenever someone argues that whichever team wins a tournament is obviously the best team to enter it.
   226. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 06, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4382126)
This is a highly believable system for comparing teams.

Uch. I should have hovered over the link before clicking it. Now I gave The Daily Mail a hit and I feel dirty.
   227. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4382127)
PSG: Sirigu, Jallet, Thiago Silva, Alex, Maxwell, Chantome,
Thiago Motta, Matuidi, Pastore, Lucas Moura, Lavezzi. Subs:
Douchez, Sakho, Camara, Gameiro, Armand, Van Der Wiel, Beckham.

Valencia: Guaita, Barragan, Mathieu, Victor Ruiz, Cissokho,
Parejo, Albelda, Feghouli, Tino Costa, Jonas, Soldado. Subs:
Diego Alves, Ever, Piatti, Joao Pereira, Haedo Valdez, Guardado,
Canales.

I know they're the underdog and they have to overcome PSG's away goals, but I think Valencia led by Soldado gets it done today. 2-0 Valencia.
   228. Mattbert Posted: March 06, 2013 at 03:37 PM (#4382135)
Either you Spurs fans all missed this or I missed you not missing it.

I prefer the one I saw that had Dembele's face adorned with giant antlers and the moose's chin beard thing.
   229. ursus arctos Posted: March 06, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4382162)
The IFFHS (the organization that does those rankings) is basically a vanity project by guy in Wiesbaden with time on his hands and a network of supporters. They are surprisingly effective at getting their stuff into major media outlets, and also have a website that features such gems as the "Universal Genius of World Football" award (no points for guessing the nationality of the winner) and a list of "Droll Facts" that aren't.
   230. JuanGone..except1game Posted: March 06, 2013 at 04:10 PM (#4382168)
I prefer the one I saw that had Dembele's face adorned with giant antlers and the moose's chin beard thing.


I know that there aren't many here that find anything "cute" about Chelsea, but keeping with the hybrid man/animal theme, I present to you Chelsea's Puppy XI.
   231. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 06, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4382170)
Someone needs more internet porn in his life.

If there is such a person, I would not want to know them.
   232. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4382197)
Hey, Bob Ley is a Spurs fan. Good for him.
   233. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 06, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4382242)
Hey, Bob Ley is a Spurs fan. Good for him.

Usually that kind of statement is followed by commiseration not congratulation.
   234. Mattbert Posted: March 06, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4382266)
I know that there aren't many here that find anything "cute" about Chelsea, but keeping with the hybrid man/animal theme, I present to you Chelsea's Puppy XI.

Well, John Terry is a dog after all. Anyway, I see your racist, referee-abusing, student-shooting, teammate's-girlfriend-shagging puppies and raise you The Greatest Ever Impersonation of Harry Redknapp by a Dog.
   235. Textbook Editor Posted: March 06, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4382272)
Anyone else see this interview with the MLS commissioner?

This is a fun exchange:

ESPN: On Wednesday, you spoke of MLS’s goal to be one of the top leagues in 2022. Is it fair to say that any expansion of the salary cap has to be preceded by a comparable growth in revenues?

DG: Yes. Clearly, in order to be one of the top leagues in the world we just need to grow the overall scale of our business. That means even more energy with Soccer United Marketing to grow our commercial business, both on the sponsorship and merchandising side, but also to continue expanding on our experience and activity in the digital space and our broadcast partners. We’re confident that if we’re able to exponentially grow our revenue base, then we’ll be able to, as we have in the past, invest more into our product.


Bold & italics are mine... I don't think he understands what "exponentially" means.
   236. PepTech Posted: March 06, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4382279)
No, no, makes perfect sense. *IF* they are able to grow exponentially, THEN they will reinvest. Otherwise, no promises.
   237. Textbook Editor Posted: March 06, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4382287)
#237, right... My point is that he's pretty clearly saying there will be no reinvestment, since "exponential growth" is basically an impossibility...
   238. Swedish Chef Posted: March 06, 2013 at 06:22 PM (#4382334)
Exponential growth is easy, just use a small base.
   239. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 06, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4382338)
Our other resident celebrity.

SPURS THINK FACTORY will soon be SPURS INTER TUBES!
   240. Mattbert Posted: March 06, 2013 at 08:54 PM (#4382445)
Nice job, Mikael. We really should just bite the bullet and spin off a SPURS THINK FACTORY blog one of these days...
   241. Howling John Shade Posted: March 06, 2013 at 08:54 PM (#4382446)
Our other resident celebrity.

SPURS THINK FACTORY will soon be SPURS INTER TUBES!

Ha, I was just reading this and thinking it seemed familiar and then I noticed the name. Nice writeup. Is it too early to ask Ray to come in here and declare the Top 4 race over?
   242. Howling John Shade Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:08 PM (#4382454)
Also, MCoA, a question regarding your spreadsheet: Would it be possible to generate an equivalent of basketball's unit +/- stats for the various 11 man rotations teams use? Don't know if Opta tracks starting lineups/substitutions and the like, and even so the sample sizes probably make it pretty useless for soccer, but it would be interesting to see.
   243. Mattbert Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:14 PM (#4382456)
MCOA had an interesting note on big chances in the methods section:
In the Arsenal game, the Bale goal, the Lennon goal, and the Siggy one-pass-too-many were each classified as big chances, while Arsenal had no big chances.
I would have thought Giroud being through on goal 1v1 with Lloris until Vertonghen intervened would be classified as a big chance. Same for Benny's cross that Bale somehow put over the bar from about four yard out with the goal gaping.

I know it's subjective, but jeez. RB will surely vouch for the fact that the Shooty/Mattbert demographic felt very strongly that the Bale chance was "a subjectively classified situation where a player 'should' score, either one-on-one with the keeper or otherwise in excellent scoring position."
   244. Howling John Shade Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:22 PM (#4382463)
I know it's subjective, but jeez. RB will surely vouch for the fact that the Shooty/Mattbert demographic felt very strongly that the Bale chance was "a subjectively classified situation where a player 'should' score, either one-on-one with the keeper or otherwise in excellent scoring position."

I refer to these colloquially as a "Redknapp's Missus", and yes that seemed like one.
   245. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:23 PM (#4382464)
Also, MCoA, a question regarding your spreadsheet: Would it be possible to generate an equivalent of basketball's unit +/- stats for the various 11 man rotations teams use? Don't know if Opta tracks starting lineups/substitutions and the like, and even so the sample sizes probably make it pretty useless for soccer, but it would be interesting to see.

You might be able to get some insight for a team's "preferred" XI, but other than that I can't see it being very useful. There are simply too many permutations for most of the groups to rack up significant playing time. There is also a huge strength of opponent problem in there.
   246. Mattbert Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:24 PM (#4382465)
I refer to these colloquially as a "Redknapp's Missus", and yes that seemed like one.

What are you talking about? Harry would have buried that in his playing days...
   247. Howling John Shade Posted: March 06, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4382474)
What are you talking about? Harry would have buried that in his playing days.

Yep, and not only him, even his Missus would have slotted it home.
   248. Mattbert Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4382482)
Oh I know the reference. Just couldn't resist a dumb pun.
   249. Howling John Shade Posted: March 06, 2013 at 10:43 PM (#4382501)
Oh I know the reference. Just couldn't resist a dumb pun.

Ah! My faith in your Spurs mastery is restored.
   250. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 07, 2013 at 12:10 AM (#4382561)
I would have thought Giroud being through on goal 1v1 with Lloris until Vertonghen intervened would be classified as a big chance. Same for Benny's cross that Bale somehow put over the bar from about four yard out with the goal gaping.
It looks like I mixed that up, but your point stands. It was indeed Bale's hilarious twenty-yards-over-the-bar miss that was the third big chance**, not Siggy's one-pass-too-many. But the point still stands, that I would have intuitively considered both Siggy and Giroud to be big chances - maybe the fact that neither got off a shot is what prevented them from being "big chances"? That's got to be it.
Also, MCoA, a question regarding your spreadsheet: Would it be possible to generate an equivalent of basketball's unit +/- stats for the various 11 man rotations teams use?
In theory, yes. FPH is right that you'd see significant sample size issues - the "-" sample for Gareth Bale is not going to be particularly useful - but I think it could be useful for some players and some problems.

In practice, unless someone has a rich aunt, we don't have the data. I'm getting my numbers from Fantasy Football Scout, which already costs £15, but they only provide a subset of the Opta database, and it doesn't allow for in-game splits based on which players were on the pitch at the time. The full Opta database is like the old stats database from back in the day, it runs like ten grand or something.

(I went on the Opta site to see if I could find the actual number, then gave up. But I discovered something about Opta - you know how they've got that OptaJoe twitter feed? That's just the English one. There's also OptaJuan and OptaJean for Spain and France, and then is gets a little odder. OptaIvan, OptaPaolo, OptaFranz, OptaArabi (that's not even a name!), and my favorites, OptaJason for Australia and OptaJack for the USA.)

**I'm assuming. All I've got is a breakdown of big chances by player for the match, and I'm extrapolating from there. I could have sworn I looked up the big chances and one was logged to Sigurdsson earlier. It could have been a coding problem on their side, but more likely I'm just an idiot. Regardless, Bale's miss must have been the third BC.
   251. SuperGrover Posted: March 07, 2013 at 03:21 AM (#4382628)
The actual number is $6,000. You have to contact them directly. That gives you up to three leagues of data within 48 hours of a completed match.

As for extrapolating via FFS, their numbers change all the time. They claim it's Opta and I see no reason to believe otherwise. You will see BC and CC numbers change for matches a month back on a fairly regular basis. Because of this, I run the full season numbers every single week rather than simply add on the current gameweek to the previous tally. My guess is that Opta is using somewhat of a FootballOutsiders game charter approach and is tweaking things after the powers that be get a chance to review. There's absolutely no way one could expect consistency and quality when the company is offering detailed stats for nearly every major European league. That's a #### ton of games to chart and one should expect major discrepancies when it comes to subjective measures.

@ MCoA -

I see you have started using Big Chances in your metrics as I am. When did this begin? I ask as I recall you were using SOT + hit WW previously. I am presuming you found the increased correlation using Big Chances to be quite appealing.
   252. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 06:09 AM (#4382638)
In theory, yes. FPH is right that you'd see significant sample size issues - the "-" sample for Gareth Bale is not going to be particularly useful - but I think it could be useful for some players and some problems.

I've always felt +/- would be useful for football at the component level (i.e. +5.1 passes/90m or -2.6 tackles/90m) and/or using groupings (i.e. one back four is +4.2 interceptions/90m, another back four is -0.8 interceptions/90m), but we don't have the data, so it's stayed a theory.
   253. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 07, 2013 at 08:42 AM (#4382666)
   254. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 07, 2013 at 09:19 AM (#4382677)
I see you have started using Big Chances in your metrics as I am. When did this begin? I ask as I recall you were using SOT + hit WW previously. I am presuming you found the increased correlation using Big Chances to be quite appealing.
I think you mentioned big chances back when I first posted by team ratings, and I changed it then. The Monte Carlo thing has always been based off SoT/BC numbers for team quality, since I first posted it in February. So, thanks.
As for extrapolating via FFS, their numbers change all the time. They claim it's Opta and I see no reason to believe otherwise. You will see BC and CC numbers change for matches a month back on a fairly regular basis. Because of this, I run the full season numbers every single week rather than simply add on the current gameweek to the previous tally.
So, this kind of freaked me out. I have the team ratings run on a match-by-match basis, which means I need to collect weekly data and then input separate numbers for double gameweeks by hand. (How do you re-run full season numbers every week? Do you have a spider for the data?) But I went back through all my data, and I only found changes at the team-match level in week 15 and week 28. That was worth fixing, but it wasn't the data disaster I expected.
   255. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4382741)
West Ham's win over Stoke has been underrated as a result, as it put them just about entirely clear from relegation.
Huzzah!

On the other hand, my CPWHFPS* still sees them scoring just six points the rest of the way (at home to Wigan and Reading, if you're wondering) which would give them 39 points. I suppose that puts them above the drop, but not by much.

*Crazy Paranoid West Ham Fan Projection System

I know it's subjective, but jeez. RB will surely vouch for the fact that the Shooty/Mattbert demographic felt very strongly that the Bale chance was "a subjectively classified situation where a player 'should' score, either one-on-one with the keeper or otherwise in excellent scoring position."
This is true. In fact, I know it was quite such a chance, because that was when I was about at my crankiest regarding the slow food delivery, and I still remember it.
   256. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 07, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4382824)
I don't think there will be many Newcastle fans in Russia tonight--evidently it costs 200 quid just to get a visa to go to the game, on top of all the travel expenses. Of course, there may not be many fans at all since Anzhi had the game moved to Moscow. Maybe some Spartak fans will show up out of curiosity.
   257. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 07, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4382829)
Anzhi Makhachkala: Gabulov, Yeschenko, Joao Carlos, Ewerton, Zhirkov, Jucilei, Diarra, Ahmedov, Willian, Shatov, Eto'o.

Subs: Pomazan, Gadzhibekov, Tagirbekov, Logashov, Carcela-Gonzalez, Traore, Smolov.

Newcastle: Elliot, Simpson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Perch, Haidara, Cabaye, Anita, Ben Arfa, Marveaux, Obertan, Sissoko.

Subs: Alnwick, Santon, Bigirimana, Tiote, Steven Taylor, Ameobi, Campbell.

A false 9 for Newcastle?
   258. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 07, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4382922)
I only just got back from work, so I missed the first half, but it looks like Newcastle were really going for it. 27% possession and no shots on goal.
   259. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: March 07, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4382924)
It looks like I mixed that up, but your point stands. It was indeed Bale's hilarious twenty-yards-over-the-bar miss that was the third big chance**, not Siggy's one-pass-too-many. But the point still stands, that I would have intuitively considered both Siggy and Giroud to be big chances - maybe the fact that neither got off a shot is what prevented them from being "big chances"? That's got to be it.

I don't think that's right. Going back to the LFC-Wigan game, Liverpool were only credited with two "clear-cut" chances, despite IMO having three -- Downing's opener, Suarez's first and third. I say this not to nitpick, but just would be curious to know if this is a systemic issue -- after all, most teams average fewer than three(*) clear-cut chances, so being off by even one per game would seem to throw a wrench in things. I'm pretty sure certain hockey stats suffer from a similar issue of certain stats (hits, scoring chances) being judged differently depending on if the team is home/away. I don't know if the same thing is going on here.

(*)This is just a guess. Liverpool are at about 2.50 clear cut chances per game this season, and I'm guessing they're in the upper quartile of the EPL, although I have no data to confirm that.

(Also, just a general note, I'm using "clear-cut chances" interchangeably with "big chances", in case that wasn't clear.)
   260. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 07, 2013 at 02:09 PM (#4382926)
I only just got back from work, so I missed the first half, but it looks like Newcastle were really going for it. 27% possession and no shots on goal.

I believe the adjective is "dire".
   261. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4382948)
Laser pointers all over the place when it comes to spot kicks and corner kicks in Bucharest.
   262. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 07, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4382950)
Laser pointers all over the place when it comes to spot kicks and corner kicks in Bucharest.

Steua Bucuresti are not exactly a lovable underdog.
   263. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4382955)
Steua Bucuresti are not exactly a lovable underdog.

My Romanian friend, who is a die-hard Dinamo fan, would agree very strongly with that sentiment.
   264. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 07, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4382963)
Penalty for Steaua and they score.
   265. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 07, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4382966)
The announcers for the Chelsea/Steaua match are talking about "controversial circumstances", but how is that anything but a penalty? Bertrand wrapped his arm over the guy's shoulder and pulled him away from the ball right as the cross came through.
   266. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 07, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4382984)
Not a great game, but a good result for Newcastle considering the long trip, the tough conditions and that Anzhi are pretty damned good. 0-0 is the final.
   267. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 07, 2013 at 03:02 PM (#4382996)
(*)This is just a guess. Liverpool are at about 2.50 clear cut chances per game this season, and I'm guessing they're in the upper quartile of the EPL, although I have no data to confirm that.
Yup. Here's a chart for all clubs - big chances, big chances converted, and conversion rate. There is a very good correlation between attacking quality at big chances created, while there is close to zero correlation between attacking quality and rate of big chance conversion.

Team    BC        Conv    Rate
MUN     93        40           43
%
MCI     79        31           39%
EVE     70        22           31%
LIV     65        26           40%
CHE     58        24           41%
ARS     58        21           36%
TOT     52        20           38%
SWA     51        23           45%
SOT     45        22           49%
NEW     
45        18           40%
WBA     41        19           46%
WIG     41        16           39%
WHM     41        12           29%
NOR     41        12           29%
FUL     40        18           45%
AVL     39        15           38%
SUN     38        15           39%
STO     37        12           32%
QPR     33        11           33%
RDG     30        16           53

   268. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 07, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4383003)
Spurs are heading into a very heavy schedule, but AVB is not rotating much for the game in Milan - Gallas and Friedel the only changes from the weekend. I worry about guys like Dembele, Parker, and Lennon holding up. And Lloris is so important to this side that rotating him for the Europa League (though I can understand it on man-management terms) hurts the club a lot more than almost any other single change to the side.

XI: Friedel, Walker, Vertonghen, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Dembele, Parker, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Bale & Defoe
Subs: Lloris, Caulker, Naughton, Dawson, Livermore, Carroll & Holtby
   269. Swedish Chef Posted: March 07, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4383010)
Zzzzzzzzzz.... Is it over?
   270. Mattbert Posted: March 07, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4383033)
Very, very defensive team from Inter.
   271. Howling John Shade Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4383051)
Weird uniforms as well.
   272. Howling John Shade Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4383061)
This is getting boring.

By which I mean totally amazing. Nice cross from Sigurdsson.
   273. zack Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4383065)
Pfft, they shouldn't cross it wastes goals.
   274. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4383070)
The way Sigurdsson created the space for himself before the cross was really clever. He played the ball for himself a good five yards back up the pitch because he was being harried by two defenders and the saw the space they'd opened up.
   275. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4383077)
Are you shitting me ref? There was contact and Bale went down. Never a penalty, but that doesn't make it a ####### yellow card.
   276. zack Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4383080)
There was only contact because Bale dragged his foot to make sure there was some contact as he dove.
   277. Howling John Shade Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4383085)
There was only contact because Bale dragged his foot to make sure there was some contact as he dove.

Yeah, at first I thought it was a harsh yellow but after seeing the replay I can understand it.
   278. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4383087)
Spurs goal involving four players, none of which are Bale!
   279. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4383088)
Yeah, at first I thought it was a harsh yellow but after seeing the replay I can understand it.
Yup. Bale is on his way down, under his own power, before the contact.

The attacking front four of Gylfi-Bale-Lennon behind Defoe looks insanely good.
   280. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4383093)
There was just a hilarious shot of Defoe standing next to Handanovic. Defoe is at least a head shorter.
   281. Howling John Shade Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:39 PM (#4383100)
The attacking front four of Gylfi-Bale-Lennon behind Defoe looks insanely good.

They're moving around a lot. Defoe keeps showing up on the left wing with Sigurdsson and Bale in the middle.
   282. Mattbert Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4383104)
Inter really don't give a #### about this game, do they? The ease with which Spurs are able to go past people and win the ball back is kind of shocking.
   283. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4383108)
Inter really don't give a #### about this game, do they? The ease with which Spurs are able to go past people and win the ball back is kind of shocking.

I was about to make the same comment. It's hard to say how much of this domination is Spurs playing really well and how much is Inter not being arsed about it.

And as I type this, Inter almost got one back.
   284. Mattbert Posted: March 07, 2013 at 04:48 PM (#4383109)
That was what I believe the eggheads call a "big chance".
   285. Mattbert Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4383137)
Big chance for Super Jan there.
   286. Howling John Shade Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4383145)
Spurs are really pressing well. Inter look totally clueless.
   287. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 07, 2013 at 05:56 PM (#4383219)
Hey, that was fun. So weird to watch Spurs play Inter ####### Milan and not feel any real tension. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I do daydream about how good this team with a player like Soldado leading the line.
   288. Mattbert Posted: March 07, 2013 at 06:16 PM (#4383247)
It was almost weirdly disappointing to watch Inter totally sleepwalk through most of the 90 minutes. They were a bit more competitive once they brought on more of the usual first teamers, but still.

So, so easy. AVB has an interesting task now, I think, to temper the enthusiasm after this game and get everyone focused for Liverpool without undercutting the positives too much.
   289. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4383920)
   290. DA Baracus Posted: March 08, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4383989)
Southampton Think Factory!


I always use a ball winner in Football Manager. Does that give me hipster credential?
   291. Mattbert Posted: March 08, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4384105)
Southampton Think Factory!

Based on the URL, I'm assuming this is about Schneiderlin, who has indeed been fantastic for the Saints this season. Okay, clicking through now...

EDIT: Haha! I am super genius. Kneel before Zod. Southampton has some nice young pieces in their squad. Schneiderlin's still in his early 20's, I think. Luke Shaw, a teenager, has been mentioned in the soccer threads a few times before. He looks like real talent. I also like James Ward-Prowse, another teenager. Reminds me of Tom Carroll.
   292. DA Baracus Posted: March 08, 2013 at 06:54 PM (#4384535)
We thought he was Superman, but he's Batman. Tim Howard has two fractured bones in his back.
   293. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 08, 2013 at 07:00 PM (#4384543)
That's good stuff. I had not really noticed Schneiderlin too much in the Southampton games I watched, probably because I'm dumb.

So, this is sort of cross-post spamming, and I apologize. But I've been playing around with my team stats, and I've gotten into posting some of the material at CFC - one thing you can say for SB Nation, that is one super easy publishing interface. Feels weird to write up something that long for a post here. Anyway, all that is to say, I looked at Liverpool's numbers and the "flat-track bully" thing, and there wasn't that much in the numbers to confirm. Doesn't mean it isn't a real effect, but at least this one method didn't identify much. (On Liverpool and flat-track bullying).
   294. Howling John Shade Posted: March 08, 2013 at 07:10 PM (#4384548)
In practice, unless someone has a rich aunt, we don't have the data. I'm getting my numbers from Fantasy Football Scout, which already costs £15, but they only provide a subset of the Opta database, and it doesn't allow for in-game splits based on which players were on the pitch at the time. The full Opta database is like the old stats database from back in the day, it runs like ten grand or something.

Are the shots/big chances associated with game time in the data you have? If so, it might be possible to scrape ESPN game logs to generate the lineups at any given time. Not sure if it's worth the hassle, but if I manage to free up some time in the next month or so I could give it a try.
   295. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: March 08, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4384636)
We thought he was Superman, but he's Batman. Tim Howard has two fractured bones in his back.


This is disappointing, but I'm looking forward to see Guzan start in goal for the US. He's deserved a starting spot considering his play with AV this year.

Does this make Sean Johnson the number 2 keeper? And I guess Rimando will get called in for the March games.

   296. DA Baracus Posted: March 08, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4384641)
I figure Rimando is the #2 and Johnson is the #3.
   297. Mattbert Posted: March 09, 2013 at 12:42 AM (#4384772)
From MCOA's SB Nation post:
This is a useful note, that a kind of flat-track bullying is entirely necessary to Premier League success. Everton have nice 2-3-2 record against top opponents, but a very mediocre 9-9-3 against the rest of the league. If you can't whomp on the mediocre and bad clubs, it doesn't matter how brilliantly you step up your game in Manchester.
Yes! I remember debating this endlessly with other Spurs fans back in the pre-Harry days when the main knock on the team's seemingly ingrained inability to make the leap from upper-mid table obscurity and qualify for the Champions League was that they couldn't beat the then Big Four (United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool).

That hegemony at the top of the table looked as unshakable as anything at the time, and Spurs indeed had an utterly abysmal record against those clubs. But I always maintained that the reason Tottenham came up short was not that they were shrinking violets in the big games but rather that they routinely dropped points to crap teams in the bottom half of the table. Taking a big scalp is nice, but the Big Four were only dangling 24 points out of a possible 114. That left 90 points available to be wrested from the teams that, during the Martin Jol era when Spurs finished 5th in back-to-back seasons, were theoretically no better than equal to Tottenham in quality. Most would have been considered significantly worse.

Now, obviously no one realistically expects a top four team (or even a title winner) to run the table against everyone outside the top four. But the point remains: you can get yourself a long, long way towards where you want to be simply by taking care of business against clubs that are mediocre to poor (and occasionally abject). Win most of the games you "should" win, and everything else is gravy.
   298. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: March 09, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4384902)
I hate to admit this but Schalke is looking very good today. There's a really good chance the Bundesliga will have 3 teams in the CL quarterfinals.
   299. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 09, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4385038)
Are the shots/big chances associated with game time in the data you have? If so, it might be possible to scrape ESPN game logs to generate the lineups at any given time. Not sure if it's worth the hassle, but if I manage to free up some time in the next month or so I could give it a try.
So, first answer, no. I have no way of connecting the FFS game data to in-game situations.

On the second, though, the ESPN game logs do have SoT data, if I'm remembering correctly. If you could find differentiation in SoT conversion based on game situation, that would be a really useful finding. And the ESPN game logs would allow for a sort of +/- stat as well. It's almost enough to make me want to get my programming skills back and try it myself.
   300. Textbook Editor Posted: March 09, 2013 at 11:51 PM (#4385288)
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