Taking a break from defending the latest Chelsea player to feel fans' wrath (Bosingwa, take a bow; Kalou, Lampard, Sturridge, sit down), it's time for a statistical update.
I know, I know, you're all VERY excited.
But you should be, as we haven't checked in with these
damned lies figures in over a month. Since then, we've played 2 Champions League matches (@ Valencia, v. Genk) and 4 Premier League matches (@ Bolton, @ QPR, v. Everton, v. Arsenal)...and have won only half of them (no, we don't count the Carling Cup in this post) and that's even before our somewhat disappointing turn at playing in Belgium.
So that's certainly not a good run...perhaps through the oracle of statistics we can glean some knowledge as to what has gone wrong...
The big improvement in method for this update is the inclusion of a baseline from last season for certain statistical categories (mostly the ones measured in percentages and per-90-averages) and an accompanying change in the coloring scheme. The way it goes now is:
- If the player is new to the team, he gets a yellow background.
- If the player is performing better in a specific category than last year, he gets a green background.
- If the player is performing worse in a specific category than last year, he gets a red background.
- If the player is performing the same in a specific category as last year, he gets a normal background.
To compare how the player is performing compared to the last statistical update, typographic emphasis is used:
- If the player is performing better in a specific category than last month, he gets bolded.
- If the player is performing worse in a specific category than last month, he gets italicized.
- If the player is performing the same in a specific category as last month, he gets no emphasis.
To the Idiot Mobile!
Our dynamic full back duo Captain Unibrow and Angry Man With A Woman's Name continue to lead the team in appearances and minutes played...the latter of whom would have played every single minutes of every Premier and Champions League match if not for 45 minute cameo of Team Mascot Paulo Ferreira.
Frank Lampard continues to play like a man 10 years his junior (can we give credit to AVB here for some stellar man management?), perhaps explaining why Josh McEachran can't get a meaningful game outside of the Carling Cup, while our collection of yellows and reds and starting to overflow the trinket box.
One thing is for certain though...we're passing and shooting (although not necessarily "finishing") much better than last year and Branislav Ivanovic has had a very nice month statistically, even becoming our highest ranked player in the Castrol Rankings.
Daniel Sturridge - SHOOTAH - carries the goalscoring/shooting flag for the team, along with Fernando Torres (maybe that's why he's a bit averse to passing to him?). Florent Malouda & Raul Meireles continue to blast hopelessly from long range, while Ivanovic remains far and away our greatest threat from set pieces.
Oriol Romeu and Juan Mata are your unsurprising leaders in this area, the former of whom sports impressive per-game averages and incredible accuracy with his basic, midfield-engine-room passes.
We can see some patterns emerge here as to how our passing has changed from last year: not only have we improved in accuracy, we're passing it a lot more (and not just in our defensive/neutral zone). There's a clear increase in medium length passes (which aim to move the feet of the defense) and an emphasis on direct north-south passing (defenders having a greater preference for forward passes; attackers having a greater preference for backward passes) rather than sideways uselessness.
Minor formula alterations aside, Juan Mata is still our creativity leader and, along with Frank Lampard, is the only player seemingly capable of consistently (at least 1-in-3) delivering good crosses.
Thanks to our recent struggles, a lot of our passing metrics are lagging behind last year's ineffectiveness, although there a few standouts who have clearly played better (Jose Bosingwa, stand up - also Nicolas Anelka and Lampard). Despite the sea of red, the passing mobility metric is mostly green, which is another confirmation of our increased directness this season.
And somebody please find the real Florent Malouda and show him some tapes from last season. The man can't be getting much sleep with all that red (neon) glowing in his row.
Oriol Romeu provides another bright spot here, along with Branislav Ivanovic...but the rest is not pretty viewing. What Florent Malouda's line is to Possession, Ashley Cole's line is to Defense. Can we start railing on him and leave our favorite Portuguese Defensive Liability to continue his London-wide hunt for some eyebrow tweezers? Just look at those two lines and tell me how we can be so angry with the Unibrow, while largely giving Ash a free pass.
So that about wraps it up. See you next time, at the end of November. By then, I should have further improvement in method, including some fantastic stuff from whoscored.com, which improves the readily available OPTA statistics with the inclusion of some key categories, such as turnovers, giveaways, errors leading to goals, etc.