Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Statistically Challenged


The Premier League starts back next week. I have my fantasy football team ready and there is money in my online bookie account. So begins another year of me using my skills of educated guesses combined with some questionable statistics to try to win stuff.

Some people are able to say why Manchester United will win the league using their knowledge of the game. Van Persie's movement, Carrick's passing and Vidic's tackling. That kind of stuff.

I can only offer my view based on statistics and historical facts. Manchester United have a good chance of winning the league because they won it easily last year.

Obviously using statistics is a much different way of looking at the game than actually watching the gameplay. It can lead to vastly varied views and opinions. Allow me to explain with a very annoying example.

After the 20th Premier League season they published a 'Best Team of the Last 20 Years'. That team was this: Schmeichel, Neville, Adams, Ferdinand, Cole, Ronaldo, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Shearer, Henry. Ferguson was named as manager.

That's a good team but statistically it is not the best team available. Here is my team based on my precious facts and figures.

David James - He has kept the most clean sheets in Premiership history. Goalkeepers are meant to stop goals being scored. He has the best record for that with 173.

I couldn't find information on defenders with the most clean sheets so I went for the ones with the most goals instead.

Dan Petrescu - 24
David Unsworth - 38
John Terry - 26
Ian Harte - 28

These four defenders all got a great return of goals for their teams. The best form of defence is attack. The best form of attack is scoring goals. Obviously these players were the best at their job.

Midfielders need to be able to score and create goals. I have picked the players that have been involved in the most goals in the Premiership.

Ryan Giggs - 387 (109 goals, 278 assists)
Frank Lampard - 331 (164 goals, 167 assists)
Steven Gerrard - 240 (99 goals, 141 assists)
David Beckham - 214 (62 goals, 152 assists)

These players have contributed the most to their teams goal scoring. They are the top midfielders in Premiership history.

Strikers need to score goals. Plain and simple. Goals win games. In Italy goals and bribes win games but that's a different matter.

Alan Shearer - 260
Andy Cole - 189

These two lads are leading the way in that respect so they get the nod.

Now for the matter of the manager. It's Fergie right?

Wrong.

Fergie won 13 titles in 21 seasons. Mourinho won 2 in 3 seasons. Fergie's win rate is 62% but Mourinho just edges it with 66.66%. Mourinho's succession rate is just that bit better than poor Fergie.

Conclusions

1. Manchester United dominated one team but only had 3 players in the other. I think this means that they are a great team with no real stand out players. They work well as a unit but don't have the best players.

2. Only two players were included in both teams. Alan Shearer and Ryan Giggs. Taking point one into consideration, it is clear that as a United player Giggs is just a member of a great team rather than a great player. Therefore Alan Shearer is the greatest Premiership player of all time.

3. You can use statistics to spout out any kind of shit but it doesn't necessarily mean anything.