Category - Stats

Best EPL Defenders Of 13/14

Previously in the season I ranked the top five EPL defenders after the first ten matchdays. With many more matchdays having since passed, I thought I would take a look at the best EPL defenders with the all important run in yet to come. Why do this you ask? Most anyone who follows the league can tell you who the outstanding offensive players are. The individual goals table tells you that the likes of Suarez, Sturridge, Aguero and Remy have been scoring goals. Yet, the evaluation of how well a defender has played can not be based on one single statistic. What would you use? Tackles? Blocks? Interceptions? Due to this question a combination of stats must be used and Squawka.com has come up with an algorithm that takes into consideration every touch of the ball and the position on the pitch of that touch to grade out players offensive and defensive contribution in a game. Here are their top five rated defenders (centerbacks, fullbacks midfielders) so far this season, with their total defensive score and a few notes on how they have played to date.

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Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal 552

It should come as no surprise the French defender tops this list. Koscielney when healthy has been in top form and is the glue that holds the Gunner backline together. He has been strong in interceptions averaging  2.8 per game, which is good enough to rank him 4th in the league. He has also been excelling with tackles (1.9 per game) and is tidy on the ball with a 93% pass completion rate.

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Curtis Davies, Hull City 524

This is a very odd name to see on this list but the Hull City center-back  has been in top form and is the clubs highest rated player to date. Davies is averaging 2.2 tackles, 2.8 interceptions and 7.8 clearances per game helping a Hull defense to rank 5th in the league in goals against only conceding 31 in 27 league matches. Does Curtis Davies play warrant him English national team duty for the first time? I think he deserves to be in the conversation given his play so far this season.

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Phil Jagielka, Everton 464

Jagielka was also on the initial top defensers list done in November. He has dropped from second to third but is keeping up a high level of play. The 31 year old English international has averaged 1.8 tackles, 1.8 interceptions and 8.1 clearances per match under the direction of new manager Roberto Martinez.

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Mile Jedinak, Crystal Palace, 463

The Australian is the lone midfielder to make this list (which is an impressive feat) and has done well for Palace in their first season back in the EPL. Jedinak has started 26 games and averaged 3.4 tackles, 3.5 interceptions, 3.5 clearances and 4.6 aerial duels won per match.

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Jose Fonte, Southampton, 461

Fonte has been very consistent this year ranking fifth in the first list as well. It is surprising to still see him on this list but Fonte is a very good story to tell having been with the Saints since their days in League 1. The Portuguese center back is a solid all around defender posting 2 tackles, 1.9 interceptions and 8.9 clearances per game with an 82% pass completion rate.

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Which EPL Title Contender Has The Hardest Remaining Strength of Schedule?

The 2013-2014 EPL title is essentially a three horse race with just three and a half months left to play. Arsenal are the current leaders on 55 points with Manchester City in second on 53 points and Chelsea in third with 53 points as well. Manchester City wins the tiebreaker over the west London club with their superior goal differential of +41 while Chelsea and Arsenal sit at +26 and +24 respectively. This gap in the goal differential between the three clubs is significant enough that the Citizens should win any tie breaker scenario at the end of the season and can be considered as having an extra point in the table. With just two points separating the three clubs the question must be asked which club has the easiest run in?

On paper it is quite clear that Arsenal have the most difficult remaining schedule of the three title contenders. The Gunners have all clubs who currently reside in the top 8 of the table (other than themselves) left on their fixture list. Whereas Manchester City and Chelsea only play four of the current top eight in their remaining fixtures.

The actual strength of schedule when calculated confirms the observations made on paper. The Adjusted Remaining SOS was calculating by taking the raw opponent 13/14 goal differential to every fixture which has proven to be a good way to estimate strength of schedule. Each individual match’s difficulty is tallied by dividing the opponent’s 13/14 home or away goal differential (depending on the location of the fixture) by 12 and then adjusting for the average home field advantage in the EPL so far this season (0.37 goals per game).

This adjusted strength of schedule figure is an estimate of how many goals each club should be favored by on average for the rest of their fixtures. A negative number means the club is favored while a positive number means you are the underdog. Arsenal have a very difficult remaining fixture list statistically with Manchester City’s being rather neutral and Chelsea’s being darn right easy with the likes of Fulham, Stoke and Norwich still on the schedule. The results of this analysis are presented below.

Club

Raw Opp.Goal Diff

Raw Remaining SOS

Adjusted Remaining SOS

Arsenal

+48

4.0

0.285

Manchester City

+12

1.0

0.018

Chelsea

-31

-2.58

-0.184

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Episode 25: USMNT Year In Review

USMNT_3

It’s Thanksgiving week and soon you will have your fill of turkey, pumpkin pie and the like. Well the Two Daft Yanks have had their fill of international football and with the 2013 FIFA calendar complete it is time to take a look back at the year that was for the USMNT. Joining us this week is Joe Gould AKA “The Twelfth Yank” on Twitter. Perhaps things will be a little less daft with someone who actually knows what they are talking about on the show. On this week’s episode:

-2013 USMNT accomplishments

-Player stats and factoids

– Who is the player of the year and MVP?

– Most disappointing player

-Evaluating Klinsmann’s culture and system

-Names for the future

-2014 predictions

Link to Joe’s street soccer program, JOGA SC: http://www.jogasoccerinc.com/

Listen to or download the podcast below:

Two Daft Yanks Episode 25

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EPL Brick Wall Defenders

With ten matchdays gone in the EPL season so far most everybody who follows the league can tell you who the outstanding offensive players have been so far. The individual goals table tells you that the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Sergio Aguero, Aaron Ramsey, and Loic Remy have all hit the ground running. Yet, the evaluation of how well a defender has played so far this season can not be based on one single statistic. What would you use? Tackles? Blocks? Interceptions? Due to this question a combination of stats must be used and Squawka.com has come up with an algorithm that takes into consideration every touch of the ball and the position on the pitch of that touch to grade out players offensive and defensive contribution in a game. An average player would produce a score of around 15-20 per match. Here are their top five rated defenders (centerbacks and fullbacks only) so far this season, with their defensive rating per game and a few notes on how they have played to date.

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Sylvain Distin, Everton 31.1

The French defender has been a rock for Everton the past 4 seasons making 27 or more starts each year. This season he is averaging 1.8 tackles and 2.1 interceptions per game while winning 70% of his headers. He may be 35 but it looks as if Distin will not be slowing down anytime soon.

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Winston Reid, West Ham, 29.7

It was just announced the Kiwi Hammer would be out a few weeks due to injury but he has been very impressive to start this season. Reid is avereging 2 tackles, 2.8 interceptions and 8.8 clearances pergame helping a West Ham defense concede only eight goals in ten league games.

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Dejan Lovren, Southampton, 29.6

If you listened to our transfer window podcast you know both Corey and I where very surprised the Saints could land such a quality player for only 8.8 million pounds. Lovren has been nothing short of outstanding this season in the center of the Southampton defense posting 2.3 tackles, 2.3 interceptions, 7 clearances and 4.4 headers won per match.

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Phil Jagielka, Everton, 26.6

The English international has been with the Toffees seven seasons now and has adjusted well to Martinez’s new tactics on the blue side of Liverpool. The 31 year old has averaged 1.4 tackles, 1.6 interceptions and 9.7 clearances per match.

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Jose Fonte, Southampton, 23.0

Fonte is by far the most surprising player on this list and has a very good story to tell having been with the Saints since their days in League 1. Fonte is a solid all around defender who can pass some and has formed a nice partnership with the number three player on this list Dejan Lovern.

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EPL Shots Per Goal Analysis

The international break is about to get into full swing and now is a good time to take a pause and look at which clubs are the most efficient or clinical finishers seven games into the long Premier League season so far. I compiled these stats from squawka.com and I urge you all to checkout the wide depth of information they collect if you are at all interested in the statistical side of European football. The early results from this data collection show a wide range of efficiency levels from 5.2 to 17.3 which really isn’t much of a surprise considering we are still in the early portions of the season and many clubs are still trying to determine who their best starting XI is.

 new_shots_per_goalFor a tabular view of this data click: HERE

 

Manchester City and Arsenal have been lethal in their finishing and are joint top in the shots per goal table at 5.2. They also sit one and two in the goals scored table with 17 and 14 goals respectively. The Citizens’ numbers are boosted by Yaya Toure who has 4 goals in 9 shots, Sergio Aguero 4 goals in 10 shots and Alvaro Negredo 3 goals in 12 shots. While Arsenal’s numbers have been aided by the duo of Aaron Ramsey (4 goals in 12 shots) and Olivier Giroud (4 goals in 19 shots) in a more counter attacking system under the much talked about Arsene Wenger.

Read the rest of the analysis after the jump.

Read More

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