Welcome to the Saturday morning Ramble.
Fellaini Can Play Better (LINK) If we replace the word can with must then we are getting there. In fact, I have a problem with the word can. Can Fellaini play better in his current tactical position in the Man United system?
Hart Must Wait (LINK) Quotes from Pellegrini to the tune of “Hart is good, but he must wait for his chance” Personally, I think Hart should slide back in for the Tottenham game, but what do I know. Interesting words at the end of this piece on Vincent Kompany and muscle injuries.
A question: If any person knows which leg Kompany had that severe achilles injury on then please let me know?
Giggs is 40 Next Friday Henry Winter has the words. Giggs will be 40. FORTY! All things considered is he the greatest PL player?
Madrid Away At Almeria How many will Madrid score, how many will “Commandante Ronaldo” score?
Ronaldo is a laughable 4/11 anytime goalscorer. (nice photoshop)Götze and the hate that awaits the young forward as he returns to play Dortmund for the first time. I Quite Liked This (LINK) I don’t agree with all 10 Points but there’s some interesting questions posed. I would love to have the time to destroy some of those questions from an analytics perspective, but no can do.
Jon Bois is brilliant. If you are not aware of who he is then please find some time and google his name and read everything he has written on SBNation.
Breaking Madden is a must read (and watch) every single time it’s published. this weeks edition on the great Bo Jackson may have been the most enjoyable and fun thing I have seen since he published the previous weeksBreaking Madden.
“A metaphor for an insane amount of things in life” – @mixedknuts
Everton v Liverpool
Derbies: notoriously difficult to pick. The odds on the Asian Handicap are Everton (0) 2.1 Liverpool (0) 1.85. Everton are a pretty decent side but I think Liverpool are the stronger outfit and in Suarez they possess a genuine game changing player.
Liverpool have spent an awful lot of time in winning positions this year (it’s gonna regress, trust me) whilst Everton draw a lot.
How does this sound: First goal scored by Everton and score draw at full-time?
Fulham v Swansea
Fulham are bad by the basic shots count despite their points haul. Sorry, scrap that, Fulham are fucking terrible by the shots count.
Fulham (grey) and the Bottom 6:
Even if we place Fulham against the PL’s worst teams they still look bad. Fulham’s ability to exert control on games is non-existent and it shows in things like this poor TSR number.
Fulham host a Swansea side who are a good shots team, a near-excellent shots on target team and have a SoT rating that is among the best in the league. Now, Fulham’s shots number will probably improve given time but I’m not sure that improvement will happen today against a nice Swansea side who, it must be said, can sometimes wilt away from home.
Fulham (+0.25) 1.925
Swansea (-0.25) 2.00
Unless something crazy happens then I quite like Swansea’s chances of getting a win. A draw if you don’t feel brave.
Hull v Crystal Palace
Palace have a new manager in Tony Pulis! Pulis won’t save Palace and he probably won’t bring them back up either. But that’s life.
Hull and Palace have very similar shots, SoT and shots efficiency profiles. Hull have points, Palace don’t. Hull’s PDO is 102. Palace’s PDO is 78.3. Regression is a thing but I’m not sure it’ll happen today.
Pretty hard to imagine Palace getting anything from this game
Stoke v Sunderland
I don’t really care for this game. Stoke are trying to break old, bad habits. Sunderland are doing the same. Both teams will desperately struggle to break those old habits in today’s fixture which will likely render it unwatchable.
West Ham v Chelsea
West Ham are quietly struggling with some underlying numbers: about average by TSR, pretty poor by SoTR and the shots on target rating doesn’t look too hot:
|SoT% Rating||SoT % For||SoT% Prevention|
West Ham are struggling to get shots on target and aren’t even league average in prevention. Today they face a Chelsea team who are good at all the things that West ham are not.
Chelsea are +.75 on the handicap. I’m not totally convinced of that line but hey, what do I know!
Arsenal v Southampton (The PDO Derby)
Probably the biggest fixture of the day. Both teams have had mighty good starts to the campaign but there are warning signs for both teams.
For Arsenal it’s the scoring% and PDO at Tied and plus 1 GS:
I’m not sure Arsenal can continue to score at that rate at Tied or maintain that Save% at +1.
For Southampton, the slightly concerning element of their play is the super high Save%:
League average save% is ~71% this term so that Southampton number looks pretty darn good/unsustainable.
So, both teams have some slightly unsustainable numbers but don’t let that take away from the fact that both teams have some excellent underlying fundamentals. Both Arsenal and Southampton are very good at controlling games which shows in both teams residing the top 5 in terms of shots ratio and shots on target ratio.
It’s also worth noting that these teams hold the highest PDO’s in the league with 112 each. 100 is the league average and we know PDO tends to regress toward the mean over time.
It should be a fascinating systems battle. Arsenal may shade it, but I’m not totally convinced.
The draw is 3/1.