Januzaj has signed a new 5 year contract at Man United. The fact that the player re-upped with Man United was never in doubt, but by God I bet Man United overpaid by a mile for a player who, so far, know little about. He will take time to develop, there will be good games and bad games, some patience may be required. United have done well to avoid another Pogba situation. Andros Townsend has also re-upped his contract for another 4 years. It’s quite the career turnaround for a player who always had the talent but needed multiple loan spells in order to round out his game. The smoothing of those raw edges to his game is not yet complete, as is evident by his willingness to shoot from everywhere. A little more shot discipline, and a realization that he now has team-mates that are plenty capable of creating chances too, should, hopefully, lead to an eradication of his shooting from piss poor locations. Competition for wide places at Tottenham is intense, that can only be a good thing for player and team. Bale – badly herniated disk and all, according to Marca – will play some part against Malaga this afternoon. More importantly, this means Bale will be fit to play against Barcelona in a weeks time. Showdown. Great Games between Newcastle and Liverpool. The Joy Of Six. Kompany Is Injured Usually the absence of captain marvel from Man City’s team sparks panic and defensive chaos. But, City coped pretty well in Kompany’s absence in their last PL outing, which was, like, 91 weeks ago. Or so it seemed. The issue I have with a Nastasic/Lescott axis has nothing to do with the young Serbian, but all to do with Lescott. Specifically, can Lescott play effectively away from home without getting exposed too often? Mancini didn’t seem to think so: Lescott played ~1070 minutes at home and just ~500 minutes away from home. Sheltered minutes. A Song. The Premier League Is Back No more Internationals. Please. I know there must be a few International Friendly weeks coming up soon, but I don’t want to upset myself by discovering when said weeks actually are.
Newcastle v Liverpool Newcastle away might be a nice little test for Liverpool. Newcastle are a pretty good shots team and Liverpool are, well, average. Score effects play a part in this, though. Liverpool are carrying a very good save% (opposition goals to shots on target) at 86.1% or 94% better than league average. Newcastle save% is at the other end of the spectrum at 60%. I find it hard to believe Liverpool can continue to spend an average of 59 minutes per game in a winning position, that number has to regress at some point. I also think Newcastle impressive raw shots numbers will fall away soon enough. Let’s call this the regression derby. Newcastle double chance is even money. Arsenal v Norwich Arsenal, at home, against sub-par shots opposition? Arsenal, moving closer to full health? Add those two things together and this should be a routine home win. Norwich aren’t a bad possession team at 48.9%, their PDO is a shade under league average, but The Canaries are being butchered by the TSR and SoTR count, with both of Norwich’s numbers under 40%. I’m trying to think of ways Norwich can win at The Emirates, but I don’t have all day to think of those reasons, and it may take all day just come up with a single one. Except for sheer luck or the fear of Dortmund at home on Tuesday! Chelsea v Cardiff Cardiff have faced some pretty tough quality of opposition so far this season and this skews their shots number to hell. Cardiff have a Total Shots +/- of -52 and a shots on target +/- of -28. Both of those numbers will look worse after today and nor will Cardiff’s point total look any better. All of Chelsea’s underlying numbers look pretty darn good, except for their scoring% which sits at 24.39%. Today could be the day to improve that scoring%. Could be as tough a day for Cardiff as Chelsea want to make it. Then again, an away trip at Schalke looms for Chelsea on Tuesday, so rotation may be a thing. Everton v Hull Let’s take Hull first: Hull are in the bottom four teams in TSR, SoTR, Unblocked Shots ratio and Final Third Passing% – which is really bad. Things Hull are good at: PDO at 105 and shots on target rating at 103, which is either efficient or lucky, just depends on your outlook, really. Everton are the fourth best shots on target team in the PL, have Gareth Barry available for selection again and have enough guile and talent to cause Hull serious problems. Oh, and Robbie Brady, Hull’s most influential shots player (involved in 31% of all Hull shots while on the field of play), is out with a hernia op. Everton are 1.50 for the flat win. Stoke v West Brom I’ll struggle to write a hundred words for this. Both teams’s shots profiles in terms of TSR and efficiency (SoT rating) are awfully similar. West Brom are riding a PDO of 115, Stoke a PDO of 94. Regression to rear it’s beautiful head? Man United v Southampton Apparently United have Carrick, Fellaini and Cleverly out injured. That means two of Jones, Anderson, Giggs or Bryan Robson will start. I’m not sure that will be good enough against a Southampton side that have impressed so far. 2013/14 Man United don’t really look like 2012/13 Man united, at least not by the numbers. And that may be a problem when facing a Southampton team who have faced some pretty tough competition so far and come out of the other side with some mighty impressive shots numbers (+13) and shots on target numbers (+10). Southampton’s save% is the real story though: 90.48% through the first seven games is 184% above league average. There is either some mighty impressive things taking place in Southampton’s defensive scheme or that number is going to regress hard at some point. We just don’t know if that point will be today. Southampton double chance is 7/5, then again players like Rooney & RvP exist and that may just be enough for United. Fascinating game, though. Swansea v Sunderland Sunderland have a new manager, so we need to wait to see how or if he can change this team. Swansea are aplus shots and shots on target team who also are pretty efficient at getting shots on target and preventing the opposition form doing likewise. Swansea PDO of 82.85 is the worst in the league, just behind Sunderland (83.3). Swansea are especially poor at converting their shots on target into goals, Sunderland are poor at preventing the opposition from preventing the opposition from doing the same. West Ham v Man City Do not trust Man City away from home until they prove they can be trusted. City come up against a West Ham team who are pretty darn good at restricting opposition shots on target through the first 7 games. City’s strength? Managing to get a good percentage of their shots on target. City have the excellent underlying numbers and West Ham, save for their ability to restrict the opposition, don’t have good numbers. Could well be a siege around West ham’s box, with City being frustrated for long spells. A little biased here, but I think City may get a breakthrough eventually. The focus may then turn towards City’s underperforming defensive unit, which will have to come good at some point. Man City’s save% is the third worst in the league. Shirley it has to come good at some point?! Doesn’t it…..