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10 Points: Reading, Giggs, Unsustainable Form, Bale and pdo (week 29)

The usual, but increasingly infrequent 10 Points. This is a long artcile, grab a drink!

1) Liverpool's Win Streak Liverpool recorded an excellent topsy-turvy comeback win on Sunday against Tottenham with a little help from Kyle Walker and a penalty which can be described as, at best, soft. That win means Liverpool have now won 3 PL games on the bounce since..... forever, and this 3 game streak caps some impressive improvement in the last dozen games or so.

This is Liverpool's SoTR and PDO as moving averages throughout the 2012/13 season:


We see that Liverpool's charge up the table is not due to any increase in their already impressive SoTR but due to their PDO steadily increasing, and then spiking, in the last 8 games. Liverpool's PDO has been sub-par for most of the year was expected to slowly regress toward the mean over time. Instead we have witnessed an aggressive 8 game spike that reaped some good results during that spell. Liverpool's recent 3 game spell is especially worthy of further investigation.

3 game win streak

Last 3 games
Goal +/- 10
SoTR 57.10%
Scoring% 60.00%
Save% 86.70%
PDO 146.7
Time win % 65.20%

All of these numbers, save the SoTR which is below the seasons par, are out of this world. A +10 goal difference over just 3 games is powered by a pdo of the likes I have never seen over a 3 game span. That pdo of 146.7 is as unbeatable as it is unsustainable and the same can be said for Liverpool's astronimacal Time Spent Winning % of 65.2%,

All arrows point to an incredible spike in luck (and a touch of skill) that will regress back down to more earthly levels and bring results with it.

2) QPR's And The Great Escape Two weeks ago I stated in this 10 Points section that QPR looked doomed. Naturally they were going to a a good result, and shame my statement, the moment I condemned them!

Two wins makes a monstrously positive difference to QPR's chances of survival, even if their task is still steep. Still steep but there is fresh energy powered by the momentum of 6 points in 2 games. So what has changed? Have QPR become a better team, or just a luckier team?


Well well. QPR's shots on target ratio is flat-to-regressing and stuck below 50%, but QPR's number isn't that bad, and it should have been enough to save them from relegation if their PDO score had been anywhere close to 100. Alas QPR's PDO has been stalled in the mid 80's until the 22nd PL game, from then on we see QPR's PDO (luck based) has taken off, and sharply so. It cannot be underestimated how important that PDO number could well be for QPR.

A quick, unscientific bet here. If QPR'sPDO is above 100 by the seasons end they wil be safe, it's a tough ask but if QPR add another 6 percentage points in the remaining 9 games that should give the R's enough scoring punch to pass the free fallers.

3) Ryan Giggs This blog isn't normally the place to celebrate any achievement from anyone linked with Man United. Nor is 10 points the place to talk of football not of the Premier League variety, but after Ryan Giggs passed the 1000 game barrier in the CL some words need to be written.

A Thousand games. 1000. It can scarcely be believed and it requires a stretch of the imagination to think that Matija Nastasic had not been born by the time Ryan Giggs made his debut. Many a fan, myself included, were too young to see Giggs version 1.0, the electrifying winger, the speedster--the best player on he planet, arguably.

Giggs' career changed at some point in his mid to late 20's, the pace had dulled slightly and that was by choice with the Welshman quoted as saying he refused to sprint at over 80% in order to prevent any further injuries.

Giggs 3.0 moved further infield once he reached his early thirties and the one on one skill was fading; his experience, passing and high panic threshold were better utilized in central positions and it is here that Giggs has thrived and extended his career. Yes, Giggs has had (relatively) poor seasons when judged against his own standards and he may only be truly be appreciated when he has retired, but that may not happen anytime soon.

What we have now, and what we should treasure the next time we see that lot play, is the PL's best ever player in my opinion. He had, and still has, enormous skill, enough as to be comparable to any other PL player, he has played in every PL season, 1000 pro games in a variety of positions. He has evolved as a player and has been a trend setter in terms of his lifestyle,diet and how he managed his body in order to prolong his career. And not forgetting, Giggs has so many title winners medals that his record may never be caught.

Ryan Giggs: The Best ever PL player and he is so unique in his talent and longevitity that it may be claimed that he is Man United's best ever player. History lauds the antiquated and long retired player, Giggs' continually extended playing career is history's loss.

Tell your Grandchildren about how you saw Ryan Giggs play.

Let's move onto the next one....

4) Bale An extraordinary amount has been written about Bale. Headline's along the lines of 'PL's best player' and 'Ronaldo mk II' hint at the players personal growth this term. Although the headlines can be sensationalist at times, I do not think they are that far off the mark if we take Bale's current form as a promise of future performance levels. Hell, he may still have more room to grow once his breakout season has finished.

But what of his breakout season. Has Bale scored many goals, have they been important goals which have secured points for his team, has Bale, a high volume shooter, been shooting when the game matters or is his shooting record more akin to Suarez's? Let's look by breaking down Bale's performance by game state:

-3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3
Missed 0 1 7 22 8 2 0
Blocked 0 0 5 12 4 2 0
SoT 1 0 6 24 19 4 1
Total Shots 1 1 18 58 31 8 1
% 0.85 0.85 15.25 49.15 26.27 6.78 0.85

Strong numbers from Bale which feature a slightly higher % of his total shots at +1 due to him playing on a winning team. How about the scoring%'s?

-3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3
Shooting Eff % 100.00 0.00 33.33 41.38 61.29 50.00 100.00
Scoring % 100.00 0.00 16.67 25.00 31.58 25.00 100.00
Goals 1 0 1 6 6 1 1

Bale's shooting efficiency (SoT/total shots) peaks at +1, when compared to Tied GS due to score effects, in other words the opposition is chasing the game and leaving exposed gaps in defence which leads to a better quality of scoring chance. We see the same score effect for Bale's scoring%.

Overall we see a very good player player in Gareth Bale. He is a high volume shooter, who isn't stat padding when his team is winning, nor is Bale a lucky player who has unsustainable scoring%'s.

How much would he cost, and could he be transferred within the PL?

5) McDermott's Gone There is not too much we can write about McDermott's Reading team that hasn't already been read. James Grayson had a good piece up on his site on Reading's failings and I tend to agree with the general tone. Reading were being dismantled in terms of shots, goal difference, time spent winning. In fact. the only thing holding Reading together were the 'lucky' numbers--Scoring and Save%.

Yet how much of this can be pinned on McDermott, who has been the touted as a potential sack candidate the moment the new owner arrived at Reading? I say not too much. Yes, he may well have done the odd thing different, but what was Brian McDermott supposed to do with a supermodel thin squad that wasn't strengthened post promotion and an owner who reportedly wanted to fire the manager for some time?

Seems like the owner is happy to swallow the TV money and parachute payments.

6) Save% By Game State This is something I have been working on for a while and right now I shall show save% in terms of total shots. This is due to some shitty shots on target data then requires my time in order to fix it.

Save% by game state


Note the spike at +1 when compared to -1 as the winning team are able to tighten up defensively and restrict their opponents quality of scoring chances. SImilar score effects are present in scoring%, namely it is easier to score a goal at +1 as that same opposition who are losing play a more open style of game and thus concede a higher quality of scoring chance.

Interesting stuff and it has implications for PDO and may help us answer why good teams have higher historical pdo's and poorer teams lower historical pdo's.

More on this soon.

7) Sunderland Hello old friend, we only ever talk when it's bad news. I guess that's the nature of our relationship!

The Black Cats are just 6 points clear of the relegation zone, and that seems like a decent margin with 9 or 10games left. But Sunderland are on some streak right now: Winless in 6 with 4 losses to boot.

Sunderland have never been a great shots team and have survived solely on their PDO which is hovering at a shade over 100 right now. The SoT are the killer though, and although the SoT +/- per game gap has closed, the negative margin is still too large to be covered by an unspectacular pdo and a bottom 6-8 battle is to be expected:


If Sunderland go on another streak of being murdered in the shots on target count, it could be an edgy finish to the season.

8) Lukaku Boy is this man-child looking good for West Brom? Lukaku has started 13 games, been a sub in 13 games and scored 13 goals. Impressive numbers for a 19 year old, even more so when we remember that young strikers rarely score at such a level in the PL.

Knowing the problems that Chelsea, Lukaku's parent club, have had with strikers this season it seems reasonable for Chelsea fans to get a little excited by the forwards maturing play. I'd be excited too, but that excitement must be tempered by his tender years and the rate of his scoring%.

Lukaku has taken 33 shots on target and scored 13 goals for a rate of 39.39%. This number doesn't stand out as unsustainably high at first glance, but a rate of 40% or above is akin to RvP, Aguero or Ronaldo's level. We either accept that Lukaku is scoring at a rate which is likely to regress, or you bury your head in the sand and say he has a talent for converting his chances at a truly elite level at just 19?

This point may sound like a harsh evaluation of the player, it is not, merely a realistic evaluation of a player who will convert his chances at a lesser rate than he currently enjoys. Lukaku is an outstanding prospect who, if he continues to improve his touch and agility, should be a frightening proposition for opposing defences in the PL.

Remember too, 13 goals as a teenager is rare, like Ronaldo, Rooney, Owen rare.

9) Goal of the week, CL style Modric

10) Goal of the ...... I was going to do a point on Luck Independednt Goal Difference but whilst searching for some clips on youtube I stumbled upon this video again and I couldn't resist it's brilliance.

Remember when Ibra was linked with City and some of us didn't want him? Well, not only can he score sensational bicycle kicks, he can also do this:

Ajax Days