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What the pundits & media are saying about us

taidgh

Well-Known Member
Aug 13, 2004
8,068
16,710
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International break, innit. There's tons of threads like this at the moment and people are tetchy. All will be rosy now that football is starting up again.
 

smallsnc

Well-Known Member
Mar 30, 2017
699
1,237
You call it 'soccer' because you already have a game called 'football'. The irony is that in American Football you have about 300 players on each team and only 2 of them actually make contact with the ball with a foot. Go figure (as you like to say ;))
I expect we call it soccer because that is the slang term used in England starting in the 1880s to refer to football and differentiate from Rugby Football. We needed to differentiate from American football so "soccer" became the term.
 

Tucker

Shitehawk
Jul 15, 2013
32,085
150,165
Did I hear the soporific tones of Martin Tyler asking questions during the press conference? (including an out of date cliched one about Harry leaving.)

Who the hell let him in?
 

offside_ruel_fox

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2010
857
3,239
On TalkSport yesterday they had someone on from ESPN looking at what the table would be like without VAR. He somehow argued that Liverpool would have got 3 points from our game without VAR. I’m not sure how he came to that conclusion. Without VAR they’d still have had the goal ruled out and Jota sent off. Admittedly Jones wouldn’t have seen red but I really can’t see how he awarded a theoretical win to Liverpool based purely on that.
 

Spriggan

7 inches from the midday sun!
Jun 15, 2012
998
1,990
On TalkSport yesterday they had someone on from ESPN looking at what the table would be like without VAR. He somehow argued that Liverpool would have got 3 points from our game without VAR. I’m not sure how he came to that conclusion. Without VAR they’d still have had the goal ruled out and Jota sent off. Admittedly Jones wouldn’t have seen red but I really can’t see how he awarded a theoretical win to Liverpool based purely on that.
The person was from ESPN, ‘nuff said 😡
 

tevezito

In the cup for Tottingham
Jun 8, 2004
986
1,694
Just to give Trix more ammunition, but it really does show / confirm our eye tests just how well a lot of our players have been playing so far this season.

https://theathletic.com/4973281/2023/10/20/premier-league-underlying-performers/

The tackles graphic in particular is a thing of beauty.

Hot streaks and wild misses: Assessing Premier League player performance in 2023-24 so far​

Thom Harris
As the 2023-24 Premier League campaign begins to take shape, so do some of the statistical models that we love employing to evaluate individual performance.

Much like the Premier League table itself, many of the lists we look to on the player level — top scorers, passers, tacklers — can be skewed throughout the early weeks, thrown by varying fixture schedules, game states and elements of good fortune and/or unsustainable bursts of form.

There is still plenty of time for things to change, but as top-flight football returns to England this weekend, let’s look at the underlying numbers and pick out some trends.


Shooting​

We start with the big one, expected goals (xG).

While eight games is far from an ideal sample size to draw conclusions from a metric best applied over multiple seasons, narratives have already started to form in front of goal this campaign.

On the positive side of things, no player has enjoyed a more clinical start to the season than Wolves’ Hwang Hee-chan, having scored five goals — 55.6 per cent of his team’s total this season — from an xG of just 1.2, representing an overperformance of 3.8.

Already equalling his best scoring season in the Premier League along the way, Hwang’s blistering start puts him just ahead of fellow South Korean Son Heung-min, whose exceptional start to the season has quickly become something to be expected.

Across the last six campaigns, no player has finished above their xG as consistently as Son, with this season’s haul of six goals from 3.2 xG meaning he has scored 23 goals more than the quality of his chances suggests he should since the start of the 2018-19 season.

For context, only Harry Kane (+17.3), Kevin De Bruyne (+13.1) and James Ward-Prowse (+10.3) can boast overperformance that exceeds +10.0 across that time.

son_heung-min_xg_timeline.png.png


While other players in the early top 10 might be enjoying purple patches, Son’s start to the season is an encouraging sign that he is still at the top of his finishing game.


Conversely, a handful of Premier League players are probably “due a goal” in the coming weeks — none more so than Nicolas Jackson, who trails only Erling Haaland and Alexander Isak for expected goals this season.

But with just two goals to his name from a collection of chances worth over 4.1 xG, the 22-year-old has missed plenty of opportunities throughout an interesting start to his Chelsea career.

Jackson has been lively across the opening weeks of the season, with his off-ball running resulting in plenty of chances. He scored nine goals and provided two assists in his final eight La Liga games for Villarreal last season in a devastating show of what he can bring when his finishing clicks into gear.

Joining Jackson on this unwanted list are a group of players well used to fluctuating fortunes in front of goal, with the likes of Richarlison, Beto and Jacob Brown all trying to find their feet this season.

A more surprising name alongside them is Marcus Rashford, who has taken more shots than any Premier League player this season at a rate of 4.2 per game, the highest of his career. A well-taken England finish against Italy on Tuesday, for a player who has finished above expectation in each of his last three seasons, should inspire confidence to chip away at that negative figure as the season wears on.

pl_xg_below_2023-1.png


Of the goalless players on the list, Philip Billing, Jordan Ayew and Enzo Fernandez have all taken 15 non-penalty shots without scoring, while the latter has also missed from the penalty spot.

Even more unfortunately, Neal Maupay finds himself on the longest active streak of shots on target without a goal, having tested the goalkeeper 20 times since he last scored a Premier League goal, almost 400 days ago. Only John Arne Riise — who didn’t score with any of his last 33 shots on target between 2006 and 2014 — has endured a longer luckless run.

Using expected goals on target (xGOT) to measure the quality of those attempts, a metric that takes into account shot placement and angle, Maupay would have been expected to score 5.1 goals against the average goalkeeper, yet has been completely blank since he beat Lukasz Fabianski last year.

neal_maupay_shot_locations.png


Even the biggest players miss golden opportunities, though, as this season’s ‘Big Chances’ ranking proves.

Defined by Opta as “a chance where the player should reasonably be expected to score”, or any shot with an xG value of above 0.38, the table below shows that the big hitters have all missed their fair share.

big_chances.png


While Ollie Watkins has only converted one of his eight big chances, Erling Haaland has missed more than any other player, after failing to score with 28 such opportunities last season, a Premier League record.

On top of that, his five missed big chances against West Ham earlier this season is the most in a single Premier League game since 2016-17, amassing 2.6 xG in the process.

That said, Haaland’s unbeatable ability to generate danger — with 1.9 big chances per game falling his way since his Premier League debut — makes those misses more annoying than costly for the Norwegian and his club.


Goalkeeping​

From shot-takers to shot-stoppers, the Premier League’s goalkeepers can see-saw just as much as attacking players when it comes to expected goals.

Using the xGOT metric, we can compare the number of goals a ’keeper concedes with the cumulative expected variety for the season, based on the quality of the shots they have faced. This leaves us with “goals prevented” as a helpful way to indicate shot-stopping performance.

Perhaps surprisingly, Bournemouth’s Neto leads the way so far this season, while Alphonse Areola has wrestled the starting spot at West Ham from Fabianksi with a string of sensational performances.

Jose Sa is bouncing back strongly from a below-average season last year, while newcomers Guglielmo Vicario and Wes Foderingham have brought excellent form into the Premier League.

gk_stats_2023-1-1.png


Elsewhere, Fulham’s Bernd Leno continues to impress — only Alisson (+21.8) and Hugo Lloris (+21.2) have prevented more goals than the German since he moved to the Premier League, saving around 20.4 goals more than the average goalkeeper would be expected to.

As the graph below shows, since his move to West London at the start of last season, Leno has been in consistently excellent shot-stopping form, only suffering a dip this season due to a 5-0 thrashing away at a ruthless Manchester City.

bernd_leno_xg_conceded_timeline.png


But things aren’t working out so well for Brentford’s Mark Flekken following his move from Germany this summer. He is statistically the most worrying goalkeeper of the new campaign so far.

Having over-performed in relation to xGOT in each of his past four seasons at Freiburg, time should heal a shaky start at Brentford, although the Dutchman’s form will be key to ending a six-game winless run for Thomas Frank’s team.

Also struggling is Andre Onana, despite leading Inter Milan to the Champions League final last season with an overperformance of 7.8 in Europe’s most prestigious competition.

Few players have come under such scrutiny as Onana since his move to Old Trafford, with his ability with the ball at his feet seen as the missing ingredient as United look to build out confidently from the back. A lack of confidence has so far undermined those efforts, but a return to goal-denying form is surely realistic given his performances with Inter.


Getting stuck in​

Away from goals, we can use ‘true’ tackles to analyse defensive performance, a metric that combines tackles won, tackles lost and fouls committed while attempting a tackle, to measure how often a player — in time-honoured fashion — looks to stick a foot in.

Plotted against win rate, the below scatter chart reveals three standout clusters; defenders who make few challenges, but are usually immaculate when they do; midfielders who make lots of attempts to win the ball with mixed success; and a handful of players who combine high work-rate with solid ball recovery.

truetackles.png


In the top left, usual suspects William Saliba and Ezri Konsa have been joined by Spurs revelation Mickey van de Ven, who has so far been able to combine his impressive speed with clean tackling, having committed just two fouls so far this season.

Aaron Hickey also joins the ‘luxury’ defenders, level with Konsa for the highest true-tackle win rate of the season so far.

Over on the right side of the graph are some of the Premier League’s most intense ball-winners, with Connor Gallagher so far attempting the most tackles per 1,000 opposition touches (11.0) this season.

Marvelous Nakamba has made the most tackles in the division, while Destiny Udogie has certainly not shied away from a challenge since his arrival at Spurs.

Continuing with the Tottenham theme, both Cristian Romero and Yves Bissoumahave been amongst the most intense and effective ball-winners of the season — perhaps tough tackling has been an underrated factor in Spurs’ storming start to the campaign.

It’s all very interesting, but it remains to be seen how sustainable the player form which has shaped the early weeks of the season really is. Some of the players mentioned are likely to have a very memorable 2023-24, while others may end the campaign wondering where it all went awry.

As always, it will be fascinating to find out.
 

Hoopspur

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Jun 28, 2012
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I'm happy to be going as far 'under the radar' as possible but these bloody pundits are now predicting us to do things like win games. I'm secretly still expecting it to go a little pear shaped. Tomorrow?
 

leffe186

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2004
5,387
1,909
I'm happy to be going as far 'under the radar' as possible but these bloody pundits are now predicting us to do things like win games. I'm secretly still expecting it to go a little pear shaped. Tomorrow?

The only thing I’ll say after the games so far is that a lot of teams are looking good. We know Liverpool are strong, City are City, Arsenal are still unbeaten. Newcastle clicking, Aston Villa clicking, Chelsea starting to click. It’s looking like an incredible season. Let’s just keep on riding and see what happens.
 
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