Category: Predictability Indices

MLS Playoffs – Predictions with Purpose (Updated)

To the chase…  my PWP Predictability Index leveraging my Possession with Purpose Analysis.  Click here for my latest revision or click here to read the initial revision.

NOTE:  Updates for the Red Bulls v DC United and Sounders v Dallas match are at the end of the article.

The Predictability Index itself is the CPWP Index data minus Goals Scored / Goals Against and is split into two diagrams – Home Predictability versus Away Predictability.

Here’s the CPWP Strategic Predictability Index for teams at Home:

CPWP PREDICTABILITY INDEX END OF SEASON 2014 HOME

Here’s the CPWP Strategic Predictability Index for teams Away from Home.

CPWP PREDICTABILITY INDEX END OF SEASON 2014 AWAY

Note the significant differences in how the teams are predicted to perform at home versus on the road; four teams really sucked at home this year, while four teams were expected to perform quite well on the road.  

Here’s how it works; I will compare the two digit number of the home team with the two digit number of the away team.

Whichever number is higher it’s that team which is predicted to win… again… based upon their history of team performance in overall attacking and defending, exclusive of goals scored; this year.

And now the PWP Predictions:

FC Dallas versus Vancouver Whitecaps matchup.  FC Dallas at Home (0.00) while Vancouver on the Road (-.11)  FC Dallas wins.

FC Dallas key indicators are ceding possession and creating quick counter-attacking scenarios that use time and space created by Vancouver being too aggressive in attack.

Vancouver key indicators are maintaining patience in possession and not losing position in defending – they are one of the top defending teams in MLS; they will need to be at their best to beat Dallas.

Next up; New York Red Bulls versus Sporting Kansas City.  New York at Home (0.10) while Sporting Kansas City on the Road (0.05) New York wins.

New York key indicators are their attack from a number of different angles.  They are simply one of the top attacking teams in all of MLS – they need to attack, attack, attack, and hope, with all their hope, that they can keep Sporting KC from scoring a goal.

Sporting KC key indicators are their ability to defend; they are still one of the best defending teams in MLS.  If they can control the wide open attack, I’d expect from New York, and their propensity for fouling in their own defending final third, I can see some individual talent from Zusi or some set-pieces giving them the edge to win.

Columbus Crew versus New England Revolution.  Columbus Crew at Home (0.06)  while New England on the Road (-0.08).  Columbus wins game 1.  Columbus Crew on the Road (0.06) while New England at Home (0.23) -> New England wins game 2.  I offer Columbus advances over New England on away goal difference.

Columbus key indicators include being one of the most consistent teams in overall attacking and defending team performance in MLS – with this being a two game set I’d imagine consistency in attacking and penetration as well as consistency in defending the danger spaces will see them through.

New England key indicators are slightly changed with Jones on the pitch – his leadership may give the edge to a Revolution team who are, in my opinion, outgunned in almost every other category.  They are a big under-dog in my opinion but not everybody rates Columbus as strongly as I do…

Real Salt Lake versus LA Galaxy.   Salt Lake at Home (0.33)  while LA Galaxy on the Road (0.12).  RSL wins game 1.   LA Galaxy at Home (0.19)  while Salt Lake on the Road (-0.01).  LA Galaxy wins game 2.  I offer LA Galaxy advance over Real Salt Lake on away goals difference.  

Salt Lake key indicators include, as noted, a stingy defense at home and a propensity to win in Rio Tinto.  They also have pedigree not unlike LA Galaxy, and perhaps an even more veteran line-up when it comes to big games.  Lest we forget Salt Lake could have done much better last year and didn’t – they will have added energy that might surpass the emotions LA bring with them in pushing to help Donovan raise the Cup once more.

LA Galaxy key indicators are pace, possession, penetration and all around purpose that operated at peak performance for almost the entire year.  It should be noted that they didn’t collect the silverware last week and in all likelihood they could stumble here as well as they may look past Real and consider the Cup is theirs…  So arrogance is an enemy as is the continued lack of mental awareness by Gonzalez…

More to follow after the games midweek after seeing who qualifies to play Seattle and DC United…

As for my own personal predictions I can see New York advancing as well as FC Dallas but the Vancouver defense is very good as is the Sporting KC defense.

I will go with Sporting over New York and Vancouver over FC Dallas because I think those team defenses are better – and for me it’s all about defense.

With respect to Columbus – I agree with my PWP Prediction model for that game as well as the game between LA and RSL…  and in this case I also happen to think the defenses for Columbus and LA are better.

More to follow:…

Seattle Sounders at Home (.22) while Dallas on the Road (-.20).  Seattle wins when playing at Home.  FC Dallas at Home (.00) while  Seattle on the Road (-.04).  FC Dallas wins at home.  Seattle advances on away goals difference.

For me, I can see Seattle beating FC Dallas at home and on the road.  Dallas may be a bit tired for game 1 and the Predictability Index hasn’t been built to address ‘tired legs’…

At the end of the day this should be a clean sweep for the Sounders…

DC United at Home (.03) while New York on the Road (-.03).  DC United wins at Home.  New York at Home (.10) while DC United on the Road (-.08).  New York wins at Home.  New York advances on away goals difference.

For me I can see a clean sweep here as well – it may be surprising but I can see New York, riding the wave of Phillips and, most likely, the last season for Thierry Henry, all the way into the Finals.  This is not intended to diss DC United.

They are a very good team but somehow I don’t see the ‘tired legs’ syndrome impacting the Red Bulls as much as Dallas… too much at stake for a team that has invested huge money in their players and program.

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT, All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark.

 

Expected Wins Five – Europe

In my previous series on Expected Wins Four – probably more appropriately entitled “Expected Points” – I’d taken a look at how the general tendencies of four primary Leagues in Europe (England, Germany, Spain, as the UEFA Champions League) compare to Major League Soccer – Is European Football Really Higher Quality than Major League Soccer?

This time I’m focusing strictly on Europe and offering up how things stand in PWP with the season coming to a close soon.  But before digging some things to share about PWP to date:

A reminder – PWP is about two things:

  1. The End State in that the final Index comes as close as possible to the League Table without using points earned in any of the calculations, and
  2. Recognizing that soccer is a game that is played in a free flowing environment – picture two amoeba fighting against each other in a confined space…. There is attempted control by the Head Coach that includes tons of preparation to set the stage for ‘an approach’ to earn three points – and then there is the game itself where there is but one time out (halftime) – no namby pamby huddles or official stoppages of play between possessions.  Meaning these guys play a full-on, in your face (sometimes literally), non-stop, constantly thinking and reacting to the game that can literally see the ball go in any direction at any time… not purely random but close.

Given that, PWP attempts to tone down all that volatility and parse out general tendencies that fall within the bell curve of activities – it’s not perfect – but it’s bloody good… and yes – I have made a few mistakes along the way (if you don’t work you don’t make mistakes).  The latest has been a technical mistake – the relationship of CPWP to the League Table is not an R Squared number (Coefficient of Determination) it is an R number (Correlation Coefficient).

For the stats followers that may be an issue… but even with the Modernized TSR (read here) the CTSR “R” is still generally lower (team to team) and certainly lower (table to table) than CPWP – meaning there still remains room for both statistical analytical approaches in a gmae that is played across the world…

Also, my thanks to some great research by Rob Lowe, a mate with the same passion for footy, who has asked to collaborate with me in the future.  He has done some additional regression analysis on the data points of PWP with respect to goals scored and points earned.  I should point out that his results show that not all six of the data points in the PWP equation independently-directly relate to goals scored or points earned.  For me that is okay – and actually great news for a few reasons…

  1. Both of my two new statistics (Passes Completed in the Final Third per Passes Completed across the Entire Pitch – Step 3 of PWP) and (Shots Taken per Completed Pass within and into the Final Third – Step 5 of PWP) did statistically relate to Goals Scored and Points Earned (independently).  Meaning those new statistics are relevant – both within the context of PWP and outside the context of PWP.  It’s this statistical regression type information that should solidify these two new statistics in the world of soccer.
  2. For both Possession (Step 6 of PWP) and Passing Accuracy (Step 5 of PWP) – as you will see a bit later – those two derived data points were never supposed to directly (independently) relate to goals scored or points earned as a matter of course I have advocated for quite some time that they shouldn’t.  PWP was built with the intention that the six derived data points only needed to relate to each other in a stair step relationship recognizing that in every game a team needs to possess the ball, move the ball, penetrate the opponent’s final third, take shots based upon that penetration, put them on goal, and score goals – all while preventing the opponent from doing the same thing.
  3. Another view on the outcome that Rob has noted – it’s unreasonable to analyze a game of soccer without taking those activities into account.  Rob’s positive feedback was that both possession and passing accuracy act as a “smoothing agent” within the Index – I agree but with beginning to learn the nuance of writing an Academic Paper I would put it this way.
  4. Possession and Passing Accuracy stats have limitations when vewing overall regression analysis relative to goals scored and points earned – but those limitations actually give the overall analyst of soccer a much better understanding about the context of activities that occur when a team is performing better than another team.
  5. In addition, Passing Accuracy statistics provide a coach a great measurement tool for how well some players may develop and progress into higher levels of competition – to exclude data of this import really ignores some of the most fundamental training aspects a team needs to do in order to improve.
  6. Also, there is excessive volatility in the percentages associated with Shots on Goal versus Shots Taken and Goals Scored versus Shots on Goal – if I only look at those two things then evaluating a game is all about (pass-fail) – granted winning and losing is pass-fail.  But to develop a “winning culture” a grading system perhaps more appropriate is A-B-C-D-F – in other words there are levels of success above and beyond pass-fail – especially when you are a team that isn’t at the very top of the league.
  7. By having Possession and Passing Accuracy in the equation you get a much larger (explanatory) picture on the culture of success – and as things appear to take shape, the Index itself, gives better clarity to that level of success for teams that are mid-table as opposed to bottom dwellers or top performers…

Now for the grist in Europe – first up – England: 

Note that the first two diagrams (in each four diagram grouping) highlight where the highest quantity and highest quality occurs within each competition – after some growing pains (earlier Expected Wins measurements) all four competitions now see the teams that win having the highest averages, in all categories, for both quantity and quality… proving (for the most part) that more is better and more results in more…

Barcleys Premier League PWP Data PointsBarcleys Premier League PWP Derived Data PointsEnglish Premier League CPWP IndexEnglish Premier League CPWP Predictability Index

All told the correlation, at this time, remains very strong – note that the “R” has replaced the “R2” in my third and fourth diagrams.

If I remove Possession and Passing Accuracy from the CPWP Index – the R value drops to .78 – statistically reinforcing that the Index, itself, better represents the standings in the League Table by including Possession and Passing Accuracy data.  Proving yet, another way, that goals scored and shots taken simply do not provide adequate depth on what activities occur on a pitch relative to earning points in the League Table!  And if you’ve read Moderning TSR this doesn’t mean ATSR/DTSR or CTSR doesn’t have value – it does…

As things stand today Chelsea take the League and since Man City, Man United, and Arsenal round out the top four (different orders) in both CPWP and CPWP-PI I’d offer it’s those four that advance to the UEFA Champions League next year.  The bridesmaid looks to be a two horse race (Spurs supporters may argue that) between Liverpool and Southampton.

Note that Southampton edges Liverpool in CPWP but that Liverpool edges Southampton in CPWP-PI – meaning when excluding Goals Scored – Liverpool has better quality than Southampton – so for Liverpool it’s more about converting Shots on Goal to Goals Scored – while for Southampton it’s more about getting clean sheets and scoring at least one goal; at least in my view – others may see that differently?

In retracing the earlier discussion on the data within the six steps of PWP – as you can see in both the first and second Diagrams (for all competitions) the Exponential Curve (Diagram 1) and well as Power Curve (Diagram 2) the stair step relationship between the data – point to point – are incredibly high…  Even more intriguing is how close those “R2” numbers are for both winning, drawing, and losing… really driving home the point, in my view, just how small the margin of error is between winning, drawing, and losing.

For goals scored (for or against) we really are talking about 5 or 6 standard deviations to the right of the bell curve…

Germany:

 Bundesliga PWP Data PointsBundesliga PWP Derived Data PointsGerman Premier League CPWP IndexGerman Premier League CPWP Predictability IndexPerhaps the most intriguing issue this year isn’t the FC Bayern story – it’s the lack of goal scoring in Borussia Dortmund – when viewing the CPWP Predictability Index clearly Dortmund is offering up all the necessary culture the team needs in order to succeed – with one exception – goal scoring…. wow!

Another surprise may be Wolfsburg I’d pick them, and Bayer Leverkusen to finish two-three in their League Table – both show pedigree in team performance both with and without considering goals scored…

Spain:

La Liga Premier League PWP Data PointsLa Liga Premier League PWP Derived Data PointsSpanish Premier League CPWP IndexSpanish Premier League CPWP Predictability Index

Barcelona and Real Madrid are locked in for the top team battle – my edge goes to Barcelona.  I’d offer more here but I’m simply not up on the La Liga as much as I’d like to be…

UEFA Champions League:

UEFA Champions League PWP Data PointsUEFA Champions League PWP Derived Data PointsUEFA Champions League CPWP IndexUEFA Champions League CPWP Predictability Index

The top eight teams that advanced are identified above – given the general success of CPWP relative to the top eight I’d expect FC Bayern Munich, BArcelona, Real Madrid, and Juventus to advance to the semi-finals.

In Closing:

My first of at least 4-5 Academic Papers is soon to be published – my thanks to Terry Favero for helping me work through this new experience – his support, patience, and knowledge in navigating all the nuance associated with writing an Academic Paper has been superb!

All four European competitions show more gets you more – this was not the case for Major League Soccer last year:

Major League Soccer Expected Wins FourWinners Expected Wins PWP Data Relationships Four

When more gets you more in MLS then I sense MLS has reached the BIG TIME – until then I think it’s a great breeding ground for Head Coaches that simply can’t get a job with a soccer club that has huge pockets of money.

Put another way – and many may disagree… I think a Head Coach who really wants to challenge their intellectual grit against another Head Coach can have greater opportunity to do that in MLS than they can by Head Coaching most clubs in Europe.

Why?  For at least one reason – a Head Coach in MLS really has to do more with less…

Errata – the first MLS slide indicates 654 events – the correct number is 646 events…

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT – All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark

Gluck: Fourth Year Anniversary Edition

My thanks to everyone who has supported my web site the last four years!

It’s been a learning experience for me and, I hope, for you too.

As the new year starts I’ve got at least five new articles planned; here’s a quick synopsis on what to expect:

  • Following up on Coaching Youth Soccer Part I and Coaching Youth Soccer Part II, I’ll be offering Coaching Youth Soccer Part III – digging into which team statistics to use, why, when, and how to use them.  For those who don’t know me these three articles highlight my coaching philosophy into one three word catchphrase “muscle memory mentality“.
  • Two new individual soccer statistics:   This (may?) be controversial – My intent is to submit two new, professional level, individual, soccer statistics that could transform the player market value system.

Said differently; are private statistics companies, like Prozone Sports, OPTA, and InStat (along with player agents) manipulating the player market value system by ignoring what might be the most logical, intuitive, individual soccer statistics ever?

  • Expected Points – An updated version of my previously created Expected Wins series of articles.  A follow on to what was offered at the World Conference on Science & Soccer 2017, Rennes, France.
  • Expected Goals – A new way to calculate this over-hyped soccer statistic that brings it a bit closer to reality.
  • World Cup 2018 Total Soccer Index; to include predicting the winners after round one is complete.

For now, in case you missed one or two, here’s my rundown on the top five articles in each of the last four years.

In Closing:

  • I called for Jurgen Klinsmann to be sacked after WC 2014 because his tactics and in-game adjustments weren’t up to snuff.  Three years later the rest of the american mainstream soccer media world agreed and Klinsmann was sacked.
  • I called for Sunil Gulati to be ‘ousted’ after WC 2014 because his leadership in helping youth development and head coach selection weren’t up to snuff. Three years later the rest of the american mainstream soccer media world agreed and Gulati is out.
  • In hindsight – I wonder where we’d be in youth soccer development if we’d have made those decisions three years ago?
  • No, I do not favor Caleb Porter as the next US Men’s National Team head coach.  I like Caleb, he’s a stand-up guy and always took time to share and listen.  That said, in my opinion, he’s not (consistently) good enough at reading in game situations and making tactical adjustments that lead to better performances; the exact same issue I had with Jurgen Klinsmann.  .
  • I’m hopeful either Eric Wynalda or Steve Gans are elected as the next United States Soccer Federation President; electing Kathy Carter is a NO-GO in my view as there’s perceived ‘collusion’ between MLS and SUM.  As a retired Air-Force veteran perception is reality until proven otherwise – some may disagree?

I wish you all the best for the new year.

Best,

CoachChrisGluck

 

Will 2015/2016 MLS Champs be Chumps by the End of this Season?

The Portland Timbers have opened their season no different than the four previous seasons under Caleb Porter – on their back foot.  But is there something different about this years’ team that may cause one to wonder how this season ends?

Yes…

Here’s why – and yes it’s down to statistics.  At no time in the previous history of the Timbers have they started so low when it comes to statistical team performance.  Evidence for your consideration is provided below:

 

Note this is big picture – what I feel and think the senior leaders should be viewing to get a feel for how the Timbers are working, as a team, versus the quality and quantity behind those numbers.  Have no fear I’ll get there too..  Let’s not kid ourselves – the Timbers have access to this information and much more – so this shouldn’t be new news to the Timbers front office; it should be an early warning sign of a potential earthquake that could shake the foundation of this team.

For now let’s take a look at what this data offers…

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So with those big picture stats offered – here’s some deeper grist for grinding the teeth if you’re a Timbers supporter:

Quantity:

Passing volume in total:

Passes outside the attacking final third:

Passes within and into the attacking final third:

Shots taken:

Shots on goal:

Goals scored:

 

Quality:

Possession percentage:

Passing accuracy:

Percentage of passes within and into the attacking final third:

Percentage of shots taken per completed pass within and into the attacking final third:

Percentage of shots on goal per shots taken:

Percentage of goals scored per shots on goal:

 

Predictability:

I don’t dig into this part of possession with purpose too much as it’s more relative to betting than anything else.  But I do think it’s worthy to show others what the Timbers predictability index offers.

As a reminder the PWP Predictability Index is the PWP Index (minus) all activities relative to a goal scored – a real prediction model does not use the projected end-state data to predict the future end-state – it uses the data leading up to the end-state to predict the future end-state.  So all those who track Expected Goals – it’s not a prediction model at all…

 

Now the tough questions:

Or………  Is Caleb Porter really just tinkering as he prepares the Timbers for CCL and the stretch run through the hot part of the season?

Or………  Is Caleb Porter human, like the rest of us, and he’s scratching his head as much as we are about what isn’t working this year that worked previously?

As a previous youth head coach and general manager I think it’s a little of both – there are times, early in the season, at any level, where it’s worthy to try out different things.  An offshoot on doing that is the team gets to gel and work out kinks that are likely to help them take more points as the season progresses – or in the case of the Timbers – not only help them make the top six in the Western Conference but also help them in CCL.

That said I do think it’s worthy to bring up one point about this year versus last year – Jorge Villafana is missing.

I don’t say this to personally dig anyone this year – instead two diagrams for your consideration – on how I think last year is different from this year:

Left fullback area in red for last year – a no go spot for most teams in attack – i.e. where Portland was inordinately strong in defending.  Ther ewere games last year where Jorge Villafana had virtually no defensive touches in a game – this year the left fullback position cannot say the same.

So with the opponent now having a complete width of the pitch to use the Timbers defense is stretched – not unnaturally compared to any other team – but unnaturally compared to last years’ team…

And that’s why I think their is considerable cause for  concern this year – the Timbers simply don’t have the shut down capability on either wing to decrease the size of the attacking space the opponent has available.  And with that normal size of space the opponents are now getting better shots on goal.

Path forward – with Jorge Villafana out I am stead

 

CPWP Predictability versus MLS Results (Week 18 and 19)

Having been away on business last week I was unable to publish last weeks predictability versus reality results; in catching up here’s how things went in Week 18 and Week 19 versus the Composite Possession with Purpose Predictability Index (CPWP PI); excluding the Chivas USA v DC United match later this evening.

To begin here’s the CPWP Predictability Index for teams at Home, followed by, the CPWP PI for teams playing Away for Week 18/19…

CPWP PI HOME WEEK 18

CPWP PI HOME WEEK 18

CPWP PI AWAY WEEK 18

CPWP PI AWAY WEEK 18

Before digging into the results versus predictability note the significant difference in team performance at Home versus Away.

Pretty compelling evidence to reinforce what most believe, the home team usually does better… but… some teams can and will perform very strong on the road.

In reviewing the results… 

If you want the game by game comparison for Week 18 & Week 19 it can be found at the end of this article.

For now know that the CPWP PI accurately reflected five of the eight wins (draws excluded) for Week 18.

In addition, the CPWP PI accurately reflected seven out of seven wins (draws excluded) for Week 19.

If keeping track (after four weeks of leveraging the CPWP PI) it has been accurate in predicting 20 of 27 games (excluding draws); that’s a 74% success rate.

In Closing…

In general, the home team has won 74 games at home; while the away team has won 47 games on the road – the home team average percentage chance of winning based purely on results is 62%.

It would appear that the use of the CPWP, as a predictability model, gives someone a 12% better chance of predicting the outcome of a game then by purely picking the home team to beat the away team…

Perhaps others have a different view?

Best, Chris

+++++++++++++++++++++++Detail+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Week 18:

San Jose, at home, lost to DC United 1 – 2.  San Jose, at home, has a .0368 CPWP PI while DC United, on the road, has a -.2174 – the CPWP PI was not accurate.

New York, at home, won against Columbus 4-1.  New York, at home, has a .1184 while Columbus, on the road, has a .1047 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Toronto, at home, won against Houston 4-2.  Toronto, at home has a .0886 while Houston, on the road, is -.1706 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Philadelphia, at home, drew with Colorado 3-3.  CPWP PI does not measure for draws.

Montreal, at home, lost to Sporting KC 1-2.  Montreal, at home, is -.0170 while Sporting KC, on the road, is .1112 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

New England, at home, lost to Chicago 0-1.  New England, at home, is .2516 while Chicago, on the road, is -.2241 – the CPWP PI was not accurate.

Vancouver, at home, lost to Chivas 1-3.  Vancouver, at home, is .1912 while Chivas, on the road, is -.1827 – the CPWP PI was not accurate.

LA Galaxy, at home, won against Real Salt Lake 1-0.  LA, at home, is .0476 while RSL, on the road, is -.1278 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Seattle, at home, won against Portland 2-0.  Seattle, at home, is .2669 while Portland, on the road, is .0486 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Week 19 (with the Chivas versus DC United game left to play):

Philadelphia, at home, defeated New York 3-1; Philadelphia, at home, is -.0107 while the New York, on the road, is -.0711 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Columbus lost, at home, to Sporting KC 1-2;  Columbus, at home, is.0797 while the Sporting KC, on the road, is .1112 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Toronto, at home, drew with Vancouver 1-1. (not measured).

LA, at home, beat New England 5-1; LA, at home, is .0476 while the New England, on the road is -.0565 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Portland, at home, beat Colorado 2-1.; Portland, at home, is .0271 while Colorado, on the road, is -.0452 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

Sporting KC, at home, beat LA 2-1. Sporting, at home, is .3362 while LA, on the road, is .1393 – the CPWP PI was accurate.

New York at home, drew with San Jose 1-1. (not measured).

Columbus, at home, beat Montreal 2-1; Columbus, at home, is .0797 while Montreal, on the road, is -.0950 – the CPWP was accurate.

Chicago, at home, drew with Philadelphia 1-1. (not measured).

Dallas, at home, beat New England 2-0; Dallas, at home, is .0599 while New England, on the road, is -.0565 – the CPWP was accurate.

Houston, at home, drew with Toronto 2-2.  (not measured).

Real Salt Lake, at home, drew with Vancouver 1-1. (not measured).

 

Gluck: Updated Possession with Purpose and the New Total Soccer Index

Much has transpired in the world of soccer statistics over the past four years since I first published: Possession with Purpose – An Introduction and some Explanations.

CLICK this link for my NEW simplified power point presentation update of Possession with Purpose the Total Soccer Index

  • The .pdf version should make it easier to print and use as reference material.

Within you’ll find:

  • Definition of TSI
  • Purpose of TSI
  • Premise of TSI
  • Parts of TSI
  • Leagues / competitions analyzed
  • Application of TSI and its parts
  • The data for leagues / competitions analyzed
  • Observations & conclusions by league / competition as well as reviewing TSI across leagues / competitions

My thanks to all for your support and kind words throughout the years.

In Summary:

  • The sum of the parts has greater correlation to points earned than the parts independent of each other.
  • Player A, from Team A, within any given league, has a different correlation to points (performance/outcome) than Player B, Team B, Player C Team C, etc in that same league.  In other words outcomes of individual player statistical analyses are NOT EQUAL from team to team and league to league.
      • Said differently, clearances or crosses (used as a measurement in fantasy soccer) for one player, on one team, DO NOT have the same weight/value of clearances or crosses for a different player on a different team.
      • Same can be said for passes or shots taken, etc.
      • Therefore, Calculations such as Expected Goals are not an apples to apples comparison between teams within the same league.  Yes, it’s a predictive tool, but flawed/
  • The lower the overall correlation of the Total Soccer Index to points earned the greater the parity within the league or competition; this also intuits those are less predictable.

Best, Chris

@ChrisGluck1

Gluck: Getting Hot in Portland?

Normally a headline like this could be attributed to the beginning of summer and the secret heat wave we experience in Portland, or… it could be attributed to Portland Timbers heating up for a mid-to-late season run like they did in 2015.

But no, today it’s about Caleb Porter and whether or not he’s in the hot seat.

Some might offer this isn’t a worthy discussion – I disagree.

Last year – a year where the Timbers gave away a record 53 goals against – is looking to be matched, if not eclipsed this year (28 goals against in 18 games).  

Previous articles showing trends of dysfunctional defending in 2016 and 2017

As such, I felt it worthy to poll supporters in one of the many Timbers Army Facebook sites.  I got a good variety of responses to this:

Reasonable question or not?  Is Caleb Porter on the hot seat?  What are your thoughts as I get ready to put pen to paper on this question.

Responses varied in scope to include:

  • I love Caleb Porter and have defended him through the years says Wesley Halverson, but I think his seat is warm (not hot).  I honestly think if we miss the playoffs he’s gone because that would be 2 playoff appearances in 5 years.  In a league where over half the teams make the playoffs, that’s not good enough.
  • Matt Devore added; I would agree it’s warm but getting warmer with each game. ….It’s a long season so there will be ups and downs but if you can’t be motivated at home against your biggest rival there are issues.
  • Shelli Whitmarsh added, I think, regardless of specifics with Porter, sometimes a team needs a new coach with a fresh set of eyes and a willingness to challenge the status quo & shake things up.
  • I’m generally loathe to start calling for a coaches job just because things aren’t going the greatest on the field says Steven Seibos.  To me, the question is “Has Porter lost the team?”
  • Hot seat, yes says Fernando Xavier, but why can’t our crack scouting team find valid CB’s in the off-season.  Our drafts are busts, T2 is a mess.  Is it CP or GW and MP micromanaging?

These only scratch the surface of discussion but I sense it’s of import to recognize there is no vitriol here; these are reasonable thoughts/questions from a well-educated fan-base.

My thoughts.

First and foremost I always like to see what the data offers (science) and then leverage it, where appropriate, as I blend in my own personal experiences (art).

The science: 

Below are four diagrams highlighting my Possession with Purpose analytical approach published last year in England.  A general summary is provided for each year.

Legend:

X Axis = Points Earned   ///    Y Axis = Games Played

Blue Dotted Line = Trend-line of Points/Game    ///    Red Dotted Line = Trend-line of PWP/Game

What’s this mean for 2017?

When you start out the season with three straight wins, and follow with a swoon of 2-6-3 in the last 11, you’re likely to see a drastic change in these curves.

What’s heartening (maybe) is an uptick in productivity starting after week 10 (dotted red line) when they lost 3-nil to San Jose.

Statistics, not provided, also show quality in attacking has helped keep Portland Timbers from free-falling this year.  Their pace looks to match goals scored totals of 61 in 2014 but…

They are also on pace to match their goals against of 53 in 2016.

In both years they failed to make the playoffs.

Correlation: (relationship of the data to the league table)

Strong:  Greater than .75 all four years.  As points earned move up or down so to does the PWP index.

In other words the index is a good indicator/predictor and could be used to forecast future point totals.

PWP as a Prediction Model in MLS and elsewhere: my most recent topic of discussion presented at the World Conference on Science & Soccer 2017

As noted many times after putting together my analysis – you need to be good on both sides of the pitch in order to have success in soccer.

Takeaway on the science – if things continue trends lead me to believe Portland Timbers will not make the playoffs in 2017.

The Art:

Extenuating circumstances?  

  • Portland lost proposed starting right center-back, Gbenga Arokoyo, before the season started.
  • Liam Ridgewell has been out for long stretches.
  • Center-back (type) players added (Roy Miller, Lawrence Olum, and Amobi Okugo); none of which I’d classify as a prototypical center-back have provided inconsistent (but) spirited support.
  • Larrys Mabiala, a true center-back, has arrived and is likely to see playing time mid-to-late July; too late?
  • Alvas Powell and Zarek Valentin have played musical chairs on the right; Powell far more inconsistent that Valentin; weighing the balance of ‘nous’ versus ‘speed’ is hard.
  • Jake Gleeson is a shot stopper and Jeff Attinella isn’t (for the most part).
    • Attinella is good in distribution and Gleeson isn’t.
    • Attinella is probably a better sweeper-keeper – like Adam Kwarasey.
    • Gleeson reminds me of Donovan Ricketts.
    • Portland Timbers won the league with a sweeper-keeper; not shot-stopper.
  • David Guzman has been added as a partner to Diego Chara; that partnership seems to show well.
    • Though I would offer with two destroyers on the pitch it now means opponents are twice as likely to earn a foul/free kick in the Timbers defending third than previous years.
  • Sebastian Blanco has replaced the Much Maligned Lucas Melano and Dairon Asprilla has returned.
    • Dairon adds value in attacking and some in defending.
    • Sebastian adds value in attacking and some in defending.
    • I’d offer both are the polar opposite of Rodney Wallace, who added value in defending and some in attacking.
    • Portland Timbers won the league with some added value in attack and added value in defending
  • Substitutions or lack thereof.
    • With injuries and suspensions some younger players have been on the bench this year.
    • None have been called on with any frequency and in the last three games when some young, fresh, and energetic players may have been warranted we’ve seen old faces offering nothing new.
    • Portland Timber supporters have grown (I think begrudgingly) to expect Ex-Akron Zips players getting substitution minutes over others.

Regardless of who plays where, and when, the Head Coach and supporting staff ARE responsible for results.

If players in the squad aren’t capable of executing the existing defensive scheme, on-pitch, then the coaching staff has failed to create the right platform to minimize risk given those same players technical skills.

A motto most successful leaders live by is ‘criticize in private – praise in public’.  I’d offer that’s a pretty good one to live by.

In my limited experience I see no value – absolutely no value – in criticizing player performance in public.  Suck it up during the press conference and work it out privately.

Defenders are doing a very good job of supporting the team in attack so at least half of their game is technically sound.

But I’d offer the reverse of that is NOT true.

Midfielders (especially on the wings) are not doing a very good job in supporting the defenders when without the ball.

This lapse in supporting the fullbacks, who are asked to participate in the attack, creates a knock-on effect.

As central midfielders get pulled wide to support the wings, the center, above the back-four is getting exposed.

If Portland Timbers, when attacking, expect that philosophy to gain time and space in the middle, it’s reasonable, if not down right rude, not to expect the opponent to do the same thing.

Conclusion:   Since lack of consistency in defending has been an issue since the start of 2016 I’d submit Caleb Porter is on the hot seat; others may think differently.

Closing thoughts:  

In business it’s rude to walk into your boss’s office and present them with a real or perceived problem without providing a proposed solution.

Proposed Solution:  The 4-2-3-1 isn’t working; convert to a more conservative 4-3-2-1 or a 3-5-2.

I’ll disregard the 3-5-2, for now, Portland Timbers don’t have much in the way of center-backs.

A basic description of the 4-3-2-1:

  • If your a team that cedes possession and strives to execute the counter-attack, with attacking fullbacks, this is a really good formation to use.  Key positions include:
    • Fullbacks who are asked/expected to participate in attack.
    • Holding Central Midfielder:  Ball winner who doesn’t foul often.  Offers great distribution and great ball control.  The fulcrum for ball movement.
    • Outside Central Midfielders:  Box-to-box players with great (strong) ball winning skills across the width of the pitch, good ball control and distribution skills.
    • Attacking Midfielders:   Goal scorers with sublime ball control and creativity across the width of the pitch; slightly less immediate defensive response needs but must be able to work back and support the wings if the opponent sustains possession.
    • Lone Striker:  Play with his back to goal, great striking instincts, and a hard worker in moving when without the ball.

Players who I think best fill those roles are:  Fullbacks = Zarek Valentin & Vytas; HCM = Darlington Nagbe; OCMs = Diego Chara and David Guzman, ACMs = Diego Valeir and Sebastian Blanco, Striker = Fenando Adi

Why Darlington Nagbe as the Holding Central Midfielder?

  1. He’s the best ball control player on the pitch – put him in the center where he’s likely to get the most touches.
  2. It saves his legs since he won’t be asked to play box-to-box anymore; that job will fall to Diego Chara and David Guzman, players who have the engines to do that.
  3. Prohibits him from disappearing during the game, and
  4. Since Darlington doesn’t (or won’t) “inflict” his will/personality on the pitch (in attack) and he doesn’t often take an ego-type penetrating run into the 18 yard box it leaves room for other players like Sebastian Blanco and Diego Valeri to do that more often.

Those are some of my reasons why I think Portland Timbers should change their formation in order to mitigate defending weaknesses across the pitch.

Oddly enough, this formation also supports mitigating Nagbe’s weaknesses while also maximizing his strengths.

I call that a win-win-win as this change should get Portland Timbers more wins.

What are your thoughts?

NOTE:  The latest breaking news indicates Diego Chara is out for 4 weeks, or so, with hamstring issues, Amobi Okugo out for 4 months, or so, with strained MCL, and Darlington Nagbe likely to miss at least one game with re-strained hamstring.

Two views:

  1. Not good as the injuries pile up as well as the goals against – teams in this league will have no pity for Portland Timbers.
  2. If ever a time is needed to circle the ’emotional wagon’ it’s now…  these injuries should actually force Caleb Porter to dig into his bench – the silver lining – as painful as it may be – could be these mid-season injuries see players who haven’t been called on, in the past, to get their chance to succeed.  Even if they don’t see immediate success those minutes will be valuable to them for the future.

Best, Chris

@Chrisgluckpwp

Possession with Purpose:  PWP is a composite Index of both teams possession percentages, passing accuracy, penetration percentages, shot creation percentages, accuracy of putting those shots on goal, and goals scored – a bell curve of major indicators in the game of soccer.

Gluck – Predicting Team Standings in Professional Soccer

CAN IT BE DONE?

Over the last four years I’ve conducted research on various professional soccer leagues and competitions.  To include Major League Soccer, the English, German, and Spanish Premier Leagues, as well as the UEFA Champions League and the Men’s World Cup of 2014.

Here’s my latest analyses on how the Possession with Purpose Index can be used to predict which teams will make the playoffs, qualify for the UEFA Champions League, or make the semi-finals of the World Cup..

Before beginning here’s a rerun on a few important items of interest about Possession with Purpose:

Intent:  Develop a simplified, strategic set of performance indicators to better understand the outcome of a game based upon primary inputs.

End State:

  • A documented method for measuring team performance from those indicators.
  • An index that ranks teams for their performance based on this method.
  • The index, while excluding points, comes close to matching results in the MLS league table.
  • Bonus – unexpected outcome – a tool to predict teams making the MLS Playoffs.

Key events to date:

  • Objective index developed in 2013
  • Results presented at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014
  • Approach published in the book – International Research Science and Soccer II – Routledge, Taylor, and Francis 2016
  • Leagues/Competitions evaluated
  • MLS 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    • English Premier League 2014
    • Bundesliga 2014
    • La Liga 2014
    • European Championship League 2014
    • Men’s World Cup 2014

Major League Soccer 2013 – The Maiden Year for PWP:

mls-2013

  • Nine of the top ten teams in the CPWP Index made the MLS Playoffs in 2013
  • Internal outputs from team performances showed that teams who cede possession (have lower than 50% possession) can be ranked within the top ten so the index is not biased towards teams that possess the ball greater than 50%
  • This doesn’t even include all the internal evidence on the various tactical styles of play each coach advocated.
  • Three of the bottom four teams replaced their head coaches as well.
  • It’s the initial results here that provided me compelling information to investigate deeper into what the outputs of the index might offer.
  • Each subsequent index shows a gold and red star – indicating which team finished first and last in the league table.

English Premier League 2014:

epl-2014

  • Winner of the League, Chelsea, finished 2nd in the index.
  • All four of the top four teams in the index advanced to the UEFA Champions League; those teams with green bars.
  • –By week 16, of 38 weeks, the four teams who advanced to 2015 UEFA Champions League were the top four teams in the Index; and they didn’t move out of the top four the rest of the season!
  • Three of the bottom four teams in the index were relegated in 2014; those teams with red bars.

Germany Premier League 2014:

bl-2014

  • Winner of the League, Bayern Munich, finished 1st in the index.
  • All four of the top four teams in the index advanced to the UEFA Champions League; green bars.
  • –By week 21 the four teams who advanced to 2015 UEFA Champions League were the top four teams in the Index; and they didn’t move out of the top four the rest of the season!
  • Augsburg and FC Schalke, who advanced to Europa League, finished 6th and 8th, respectively, in the index (light green bars).
  • For those teams relegated (red bars), SC Paderborn, finished worst in the league table and index, while Freiburg was 7th worst in the index and Hamburger SV was 3rd worst in the index.

Spanish Premier League 2014:

spl-2014

  • Winner of the League, Barcelona, finished 1st in the index.
  • All four of the top four teams in the index advanced to the UEFA Champions League; green bars.
  • By week 14 the four teams who advanced to 2015 UEFA Champions League were the top four teams in the Index; and they didn’t move out of the top four the rest of the season!
  • Sevilla and Villarreal, the two teams advancing to Europa League finished 5th and 6th, respectively, in the index; light green bars.
  • The three teams relegated in 2014 were Cordoba, Almeria, and Eibar.  They finished 2nd worst, 3rd worst, and 4th worst (respectively) in the index; red bars.
  • Of note; Levante, who finished worst in the 2014 CPWP Index finished last in the 2015 La Liga Standings.

UEFA Champions League 2014:

uefa-cl-2014

  • Winner and top team in the Index – Barcelona
  • Four of the seven top teams in the index advanced to the semi-finals
  • –Barcelona 1st, Real Madrid 3rd, FC Bayern Munich 5th, and Juventus 7th; green bars.
  • By the end of round one the top four teams to make the semi-finals were all in the top 10 for the index; with Barcelona 1st, Bayern Munich 3rd, Real Madrid 4th, and Juventus 9th.
  • Poor performers, APOEL Nicosia and Galatasaray finished 2nd and 4th worst (respectively) in the index; red bars.

Men’s World Cup 2014:

mwc-2014

  • Winner of the World Cup. Germany, finished 1st in the index, with 2nd place finisher, Argentina 5th best in the index.
  • Four of the top seven teams to reach the semi-finals finished 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 7th in the index; green bars.
  • By the end of round one, the four teams to make it so the semi-finals were all in the top six of the CPWP Index; with eventual winners, Germany 1st, Argentina 3rd, Netherlands 5th, and Brazil 6th.
  • With Brazil giving up seven goals to Germany in the semi-finals they dropped from 7th to 18th in the index.
  • France, Colombia, Belgium, and Costa Rica are the teams who made it to the quarter finals; light green bars.
  • All three teams that failed to earn a point in the World Cup finished worst (Australia), 2nd worst (Honduras), and 4th worst (Cameroon); red bars.

Side note about the Men’s World Cup:

  • USA finished 5th worst in the index (blue bar).
  • At that time I called for Jurgen Klinsmann to be sacked.  Why?
  • My two most compelling reasons were:
    • –Omitting Landon Donovan from the squad (huge reduction in squad mentality/leadership without his presence – plus he was simply the best striker/forward in the USA).
    • Replacing Graham Zusi with Omar Gonzalez late on in the game against Portugal – that replacement (a huge tactical error) created a vacancy in the area where Graham Zusi was defending; the exact same area where Ronaldo delivered his killer cross from.
  • Two years later, after numerous tactical and mental leadership errors, Jurgen Klinsmann was finally sacked.
  • I wonder where our team would be (NOW) if Sunil Gulati would have had the backbone to sack Jurgen Klinsmann back then?
  • I’m not afraid to say I told you so Sunil Gulati…

Major League Soccer 2014:

mls-2014

  • Four of the top ten teams, after week 1 CPWP Index, made the playoffs; with SSFC, eventual Supporter Shield winners in third.  After week 13 Seattle never fell further than 3rd in the Index.
  • Eventual Cup winners, LA Galaxy, were 11th after week one.  By week 8 they were 1st in the Index and did not fall out of the top two after week nine.
  •  Slow starter award goes to DC United, who were bottom of the Index until the end of week 5; when they finally breached the top ten.
  • It was here, along with seeing FC Dallas, at the top of the Index, that reinforced the Index was not overly influenced by teams who have high amounts of possession.
  • In other words, the Index would, and does, rank teams in the top ten even when they cede possession and play more direct/counter attacking football.
  • Although the first four weeks of the Index didn’t predict more than four of the top ten teams making the playoffs by week eight the Index showed nine of the top ten teams making the playoffs.
  • The level of accuracy, from week eight, going forwards never dropped below 70% and reached (and sustained 90% accuracy) by week 25 for the remainder of the year.
  • Accuracy in predicting the top ten teams making the playoffs was no worse than 40% (the first four weeks) and no less than 70% throughout the remainder of the year with 90% accuracy first attained by week eight – and sustained by week 25.

Major League Soccer 2015:

mls-2015

  • Seven of the top ten teams, after week 1 CPWP Index, made the playoffs; with NYRB, eventual Supporter Shield winners in ninth.
  • Eventual Cup winners, Portland, were 8th after week one.
  • Slow starter award goes to New England, who started at bottom after week one, but had breached the top ten by week seven.
  • At no time did the CPWP Index have less than seven eventual playoff teams in the top ten.  And by week seven nine of the top ten teams in the Index were bound for the playoffs.
  • Accuracy in predicting the top ten teams making the playoffs was no worse than 70% at any given time – and as high as 90% accurate by week seven.

Major League Soccer 2016:

mls-2016

  • Seven of the top ten teams, after week 1 CPWP Index, made the playoffs; with FCD, eventual Supporter Shield winners in first.
  • For those who were surprised by the Colorado Rapids this year – you shouldn’t be.  By week four, the CPWP Index had Colorado Rapids as third best in MLS; and they didn’t move out of the top four, in the Index, the rest of the year.
  • Slow starter award goes to New York Red Bulls; it wasn’t until week 12 that the Red Bulls breached the top four, but by week 14 they found their place at the top of the Index.
  • At no time did the CPWP Index have fewer than six of the eventual playoff teams out of the top ten.  And by week 25 nine of the top ten teams in the Index were bound for the playoffs.
  • Accuracy in predicting the top ten teams making the playoffs was no worse than 60% at any given time – and as high as 90% accurate by week 25.

Closing Thoughts:

  • The CPWP Index, and the sub-indices for team attacking and defending, show great value in looking to understand where failure/success may be occurring relative to team results.
  • It’s evidence – one piece of evidence – that shareholders should pay attention to when looking to make changes – it is not a substitute for what the eye sees or the gut feels.
  • I know more can be offered in drilling down into individual statistics relative to these team statistics.

Best, Chris

You can follow me on twitter @Chrisgluckpwp.

COPYRIGHT – All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark

Barcley’s Premier League – How Goes It?

In my latest installment of Possession with Purpose in Europe I have a number of diagrams to offer to include the latest on the PWP Predictability Index.

You’ll note that in every case the PWP Correlation to the League Tables for all four competitions has stayed the same or gotten better.

Also of interest is that a number of youth soccer teams, and another writer, have joined the queue in leveraging the PWP approach in analyzing soccer games – what remains, after publishing my Academic Paper (real soon as things go) is my ability to get data quicker and to set up a software system – probably using MS Access – to better enable match reporting.

It’s slow going – but that’s okay…  patience is a good thing…

Now for the grist in the English Premier League:

Last we spoke (after Week 26) here was the latest on CPWP Predictability;

  1. Eight of Ten
  2. Seven of Ten
  3. Eight of Ten
  4. Eight of Ten

In looking at Week 27 the CPWP Predictability Index was Six for Eight (hitting the 75% target).

For Week 28 the CPWP-PI had Man City earning at least a point vs. Leicester City, Chelsea earning at least a point vs West Ham, Man United earning at least a point vs Newcastle, Arsenal earning at least a point vs QPR, Everton earning at least a point vs Stoke, Spurs earning at least a point vs Swansea City, Liverpool earning at least a point vs Burnley, Aston Villa v West Brom dead even, Hull City earning at least a point vs Sunderland, and Southampton earning at least a point vs Crystal Palace.  Last but not least there was an off-game played between Spurs and QPR – the CPWP-PI had Spurs earning at least one point – they did.

  • In every case this week the CPWP-PI got it right with one exception – Stoke City took all three points against Everton!  So that made it ten for eleven in identifying whether or not a team would earn at least one point based upon the CPWP-PI.  In only two cases did the team expected to earn a point didn’t get three points – Aston Villa and Hull City.

For Week 29 the CPWP-PI had Chelsea earning at least a point vs Southampton, Everton earning at least a point vs Newcastle, Man United earning at least a point vs Spurs, QPR earning at least a point vs Crystal Palace, Arsenal earning at least a point vs West Ham, Hull City earning at least a point vs Leicester City, Aston Villa earning at least a point vs Sunderland, Stoke City earning at least a point vs West Brom, Man City earning at least a point vs Burnley, and Liverpool earning at least a point vs Swansea City.

  • Burnley had the upset of the week while Crystal Palace and West Brom continued their good, recent, run of form.  All told CPWP-PI correctly identified seven of ten teams earning points that week.

For Week 30 the CPWP-PI had Man United earning at least a point vs Liverpool, Chelsea earning at least a point vs Hull City, Everton earning at least a point vs QPR, Man City earning at least a point vs West Brom, Swansea City earning at least a point vs Aston Villa, Arsenal earning at least a point vs Newcastle, Southampton earning at least a point vs Burnley, Stoke City earning at least a point vs Crystal Palace, Spurs earning at least a point vs Leicester City, and West Ham earning at least a point vs Sunderland.

  • In every case but one the CPWP-PI correctly predicted what team would earn at least one point except for the loss Stoke City had against Crystal Palace – again – a team in good form since the coaching change!  That makes it nine of ten again this past week.

In summary:

  • Eight of Ten
  • Seven of Ten
  • Eight of Ten
  • Eight of Ten
  • Ten of Eleven
  • Seven of Ten
  • Nine of Ten
  • Totaling 57 of 71 for an 80% accuracy rating

Here’s the CPWP Index after Week 30:

CPWP Through Week 30 EPLHere’s the CPWP-PI Predictability Index for Week 30:

CPWP Predictability Index Through Week 30 EPL

For this next week CPWP-PI has:

  • Arsenal earning at least a point vs. Liverpool
  • Southampton earning at least a point vs. Everton
  • West Ham earning at least a point vs. Leicester City
  • Man United earning at least a point vs. Aston Villa
  • Swansea City earning at least a point vs. Hull City
  • West Brom earning at least a point vs. QPR
  • Chelsea earning at least a point vs. Stoke City
  • Spurs earning at least a point vs. Burnley
  • Newcastle earning at least a point vs. Sunderland, and
  • Man City earning at least a point vs. Crystal Palace
  • Another odd game has Aston Villa earning at least a point vs. QPR

In Closing:

Completion of my Academic Paper on Possession with Purpose nears…  another writer has asked to begin leveraging PWP analysis to their own team writing efforts and there are now three youth soccer clubs using the concepts and philosophy of PWP in trying to help their teams improve – both collectively as well as for their individual players.

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  PWP – Trademark

Barcley’s Premier League Week 26 in Review

The CPWP Predictability Index has been on a pretty good run since starting it up about 3 weeks ago; so if things go well I’d expect about five/six out of eight games being spot on after this weekends games.

For now here’s what I offered last week followed by the outcome:

Aston Villa v Stoke City: Stoke City should earn the points here and this (could?) be the beginning of a stretch where Stoke may maximize 21 points out of 27 in the next nine games.

Stoke City took three points…

Chelsea v Burnley: Chelsea should earn maximum points here but on short rest it is likely the squad taking on Burnley will have a few regular non-starters…

Chelsea “should” ahve earned maximum points but they didn’t – they still got a point however.

Crystal Palace v Arsenal: Arsenal should take maximum points here but given they have Monaco in four days time it is likely, they too, rest a starter or two. Intriguing here is that Monaco is a team who likes to cede possession – with that perhaps Wenger has one or two players going back to back games that we might not normally consider happening. Both games are a must three points given the severity on what’s at stake…

Arsenal earned maximum points.

Hull City v QPR: Hull City should earn points here, I’d expect a happy face from Steve Bruce after this one.

Hull City earned maximum points.

Sunderland v West Brom: Although playing away from home I can still see West Brom earning at least a point here.

West Brom did earn that point.

Swansea City v Man United: United really need to continue taking maximum points and this game may take the shape where Swansea actually wins the possession battle but loses overall control when it comes to goals scored. United earn points in this one.

Swansea lost the possession battle – big time – and took three points!

Man City v Newcastle: Like Arsenal, Man City have their Premier League game first – they need three points here or even the confidence of making Europe next year could come into question… Man City earn points.

Man City took three points in a BIG way.

Spurs v West Ham: Again a wicked good London derby – I see Spurs taking maximum points here but never-ever doubt the will of Allardyce and the Hammers – Sam would be glowing if he got three points but, in the end, I think he would settle for one… I doubt Spurs think the same way on that score…

Never-ever doubt the will of Allardyce – Spurs got a point – but not maximum points.

Everton v Leicester City: Martinez needs his team to take three points here – anything less would begin to fuel the talk that perhaps another leader is needed to manage the blues… or at least it would be crystal clear their current set of strikers really suck…

Martinez failed to take maximum points – they got a point but that’s it…  given the past track record in teams performing badly, as rated through PWP (using MLS as an example – as well as Paul Lambert) Martinez may be on his last legs with the Toffies…

Southampton v Liverpool: This is the best game (outside of Spurs/Hammers) this next round – a can’t miss if your any type of football fan! The Saints are not underdogs here – I see them as favorites even though the Pudlians are on a bit of a run… Koeman v Rogers… game on – Saints should earn the points here – if not – then perhaps the chrome fenders are beginning to show some rust?!? As for Rogers – he really needs to get points here to!?!

The chrome fenders may be beginning to rust – but have heart there were some dubious calls in this game and PWP does not account for odd non-call PK’s… anyhow – no excuses Southampton did not earn three points or even one.

All told eight of the ten games showed the CPWP Predictability Index team getting at least a point – that makes the CPWP Predictability record:

  1. Eight of Ten
  2. Seven of Ten
  3. Eight of Ten
  4. Eight of Ten
  5. for a combined 31 out of 40… seems like a good bet where the odds show ~75% accuracy in picking the teams who take points…

So how about Week 27?  A short week so to speak…

West Ham v Crystal Palace:  West Ham should take at least a point here but really should take maximum points – but there may be a slight let down given that late equaliser on the PK rebound against Spurs…  That being said Crystal Palace will most certainly play for a point knowing that any sort of mistake by West Ham could see them taking three…

Burnley v Swansea City:  Who knows how this will go given the point Burnley stole from Chelsea – that said Swansea should take at least one but very likely three – no thanks to the Ref I might add.

Manchester United v Sunderland:  No brainer this one?  MUFC take three – if they don’t – wow…..

Newcastle v Aston Villa:  I don’t see Tim Sherwood getting any better result here than he did last week – Newcastle should get the point – if not three.

Stoke City v Hull City:  This game may be closer than some expect – even with Hull City playing at Stoke City.  That said a draw may be the eventual outcome but the initial odds indicate Stoke should be on the pluc end more than Hull.

West Brom v Southampton: Critical mass here for Southampton – three points really is a must – and going against West Brom should get them three; or at least one point at a minimum.

Liverpool v Manchester City:  The tough one this week – Liverpool are on a run and I spurned that run last week against Southampton – that said Man City have the best overall team possession statistics of anyone in the BPL – it’s really hard to bet against Man City in this one; even with Liverpool at home.  My call is Man City gets at least one point here.

Arsenal v Everton: This game will be even tighter than the Liverpool v Man City game – Everton continue to be one of the top teams in possession-based attacking – what they have lacked is finishing.  Given that Monaco just came into London and took three points in the UEFA Champions League I really doubt Wenger will be in the mood to see his team drop three points here.  My call is Arsenal takes at least one point – with three points really being the expectation – and another nail in the coffin of Martinez (didn’t I use that phrase the week before Lambert got sacked?).

All to play for this weekend…

PS:  When I get time I will go back and try to show how the CPWP Predictability Index has faired for the Bundesliga and La Liga – just finding it hard to find the time.

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT, All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark