10 Points: The Manchester Clubs, Open Play Shots & Score Effects (wk 11)

Also at StatsBomb

1) PDO...PDO...PDO

You know, PDO is a funny thing: dismissed and ignored in equal measure, but it works just as it says it works (Grayson on (PDO) regression). PDO regresses toward the mean although some (good) teams sustain higher PDO's throughout the season, which may be due to the score effects boost that a team receives once it's one, two or three goals to the good.

Team WK 11 PDO Wk 10 PDO Change +/-
Southampton 112.17 110.12 2.05
Arsenal 112.06 114.38 -2.32
Liverpool 111.65 109.7 1.95
Cardiff 110.71 114.3 -3.59
West Brom 108.84 107.58 1.26
Chelsea 105.12 108.58 -3.46
Man United 103.22 103.15 0.07
West Ham 102.03 106.15 -4.12
Hull 102 105.32 -3.32
Man City 101.57 103.25 -1.68
Fulham 101.52 102.63 -1.11
Aston Villa 100.38 98.13 2.25
Everton 99.9 99.43 0.47
Newcastle 98.72 89.71 9.01
Stoke 97.55 94.47 3.08
Tottenham 95.02 98.87 -3.85
Swansea 88.88 91.05 -2.17
Sunderland 88.46 83.33 5.13
Norwich 86.43 80.95 5.48
Palace 78.37 78 0.37

Defeats for Man City and Tottenham may have been the two biggest shocks of the week. Both of the defeated teams faced opponents with crazy low PDO's at the time of fixture. Newcastle saw their PDO rise by 9 percentage points. Sunderland saw their PDO rise by 5 percentage points. #Regression.

2) Man City

I'm not bitter about Man City's failure to beat Sunderland.

 Not even booked! Seb Larssons terrible tackle on Javi Garcia [GIF]

FUCK! F%$&*! It's a red card!

In all seriousness, City boast a fine squad that should be more than capable of absorbing injury to players, no matter how key those players may be. Man City failed to create too many clear chances despite the imbalance in the shots and territory count.

I have passed through most of the stages of grief in regards to Man City's away form and I'm now at total acceptance. Man City have had problems with away form for the past 3 seasons, so it's probably not personnel or coaching strategy, which have both improved, so what is City's problem away from home?

If you know what is ailing Man City away from the fortress let me know!

3) Man United Title Contenders?

Alan Hansen seems to think so (LINK):

AH: Moyes needed desperately to make a big statement after falling short against Manchester City and Liverpool already this season and to beat the league leaders, who have been flying, just shows that talk of United’s supposed demise is totally unfair.

Now, Man United's win was mighty important. It was a vital 3 points against an Arsenal team who, although riding some percentages during their first 10 games, are a strong team. United managed to win the game by scoring early and then forsaking any attacking intent in order to prevent Arsenal from creating any scoring opportunities.

Once into the lead Man United were out-shot 3-10 for the ~69 minutes of the game. United's shell worked but it was a shell without any counter attacking threat. An ultra defensive strategy, like the one United employed against Arsenal, needs to be tight defensively but it also has to have a counter attacking element to it.

Getting an early goal and then sitting back and barely launching meaningful attacks for the remainder of the game probably isn't a strategy you want to employ too often against good teams

AH: It will also have erased some of the doubts that have been hanging around Moyes since the start of the season.

Nope, I'm not buying that. United's win was an important one but did it really erase doubts about Moyes? Maybe it did for Hansen, but not for me. United's underlying shots and shots on target numbers are really not that impressive, in fact they are barely scraping above league average. Moyes is failing to reproduce Ferguson's set-piece magic or the ability to secure 'from behind' wins. Gone is the efficiency in getting shots on target at a high rate and preventing the opposition from doing the same.

Moyes needs time to figure out his players, needs time to adapt to what his squad can and can't do. Will Moyes get there eventually? Maybe. But I don't think he has the system in place to win the league nor the depth of outstanding personnel to overcome those systemic inefficiencies.

4) Player Of the Week

Take a bow Tim Krul. A wall, a one man barrier, superman.

As far as I am aware, 14 saves is a record in the OPTA era. So yeah, unlucky Spurs fans.

5) Southampton & The Fixture List

Southampton are flying! 3rd in the table with 22 points. 15 goals for, 5 goals against and simple math says they are on course for a mind-bending 76 points. Southampton are out-shooting teams and are as defensively sound a team as you are likely to find.

But, my has the fixture list been on the easy side so far:

Sunderland, West Ham, Palace, Swansea, Fulham and Hull have been Southampton's home opponents. An easier home list you will not find.

Away from home Southampton have faced West Brom, Norwich, Liverpool, United and Stoke. Admittedly more difficult but  Southampton's fixture list has been mighty easy so far:

Southampton_sos_11_medium

Numbers taken at the time of fixture.

Southampton's opponents have been poor shots team, unlucky teams (PDO) and sub-par territory teams (Final 1/3rd and possession%).

Maybe this writer is slightly harsh on Southampton. After all, you can only beat what is in front of you! Upcoming fixtures:

Let's reserve judgement on who Southampton are until the 19 game.

6) Open Play Shots

This is a pretty simple table: remove shots f/a from set-piece situations and this is what a simple plus/minus table looks like.

Open_play_shots_11_medium

Tottenham, City and Chelsea round out the top 3. Man United are just +16 in 11 PL games which is, well, not great and it points to those fundamentals I talked about earlier.

Swansea are the biggest surprise for me: -11 at set-pieces, Swansea are +34 in open play which is good for 4th in the league. Some pretty nice numbers there for a team on a budget.

Fulham and Cardiff are adrift. The bottom 5 are the usual suspects.

7) Injury And European Football

As stated in the previous point, Swansea are a pretty nice team by the open play numbers. So it's would be a shame to watch as the team struggled with the log-jam of games in November and December. Swansea, and other European teams, face 10 games (or more) in 36 days once the PL resumes on November the 23rd, and this jam is sure to take it's toll in terms of injuries and player fatigue.

Injury data from the 2012/13 season.

Euro_v_non_euro_injury_medium

Swansea's small squad, the European games and the Thursday-Sunday fixture list may take it's toll on team selection and, ultimately, Swansea's ability to claim points.

European teams suffered last year in terms of Injuries and December was the real hot spot. Swansea seem to be a prime candidate to suffer injury and a possible drop off in points. Ditto Arsenal?


8) Game State & Shots

More graphs! Here is the PL after 11 games and the percentage of shots that occurred at each game state.

Game_state_shots_11_medium

A couple of things stand out. First is that the percentage of shots taken at close game state looks slightly high at 84.71% which leads me to think that we've seen quite a few games this season that have been closer (within 1 goal) than last season. If we have seen closer games this term that may be one reason for the Premier league's low scoring% this term which sits at 28% (it's usually around 32%).

The other key piece of information on this table is the imbalance of shots at minus 1 compared to plus 1. 19.93% of all shots taken in the PL this year have come from the team down a goal, with just 17.67% of shots taken by the team up by a goal.

This is what we call the shell: teams that are up by a goal tend focus on defensive shape and holding onto the lead. teams trailing by a goal tend to shoot more frequently and enjoy a territory advantage.

Why would the leading team sit back on a one goal lead when they could easily continue doing the good things that enabled them to get into the lead in the first place? The leading team probably feels that preventing the opposition from scoring a goal is far more valuable than searching for a second goal of their own.

The defensive shell.

9) Referee's

Oh, it was a bad week for the men in black/yellow/salmon/green. Terrible late penalty decisions were given against Swansea and West Brom who both lost two points a piece.  My astonishment for Ramires' dive was surpassed only by my horror at the fact the referee awarded a penalty for the supposed foul on the Brazilian. It was a terrible decision and heartbreaking for Steve Clarke and his men.

The following day the referee in the Swansea v Stoke game gave a 90th minute penalty against the home side for a handball in the box. I have a few issues with his decision:

1) The referee was un-sighted.

2) It wasn't a handball.

3) No player (that I recall) appealed for a handball.

So, no handball, no appeal and the referee couldn't see the incident. yet, the referee gave the penalty. Referee's have a difficult job, it's stressful and incorrect decisions will be made, but my Lord we saw two horrendous incidents this week.

I'm obviously impartial when talking of these incidents. It's not like I lost money on Man City or Swansea failing to win! *I lost money on both games!

Oh, and don't forget this.

 Not even booked! Seb Larssons terrible tackle on Javi Garcia [GIF]

No card for what can only be described as a leg breaker.

10) Goal Of The Week

Yeah. As for the PL, check out Stephen Ireland capping off a great Stoke team move.


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