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FOOTBALL – Johan Cruyff, one of the greatest footballers and visionaries of the beautiful game has passed away at the age of 68. From Ajax to Barcelona he revolutionised the game, always focussing on attacking football.
You can find his career overview here
FOOTBALL – The Champions League first legs have all been played and the favourites to progress generally look in good shape to do so. There are two common ways to assess what the likelihood of going through actually is – the first uses historical results and calculates the frequency with which teams recording a particular result went through. The second uses a statistical model based on team ratings to assess the chances of progress. The two methods give broadly the same chance for each of the four ties won by the away team but if a match is drawn or results in a narrow home win, the chances from the two methods begin to diverge. Continue reading
FOOTBALL – The reaction to Manchester United’s defeat by FC Midtjylland has been one of shock with the English club being derided as “dismal” in the media and the display described as “unacceptable” by one of United’s own players, Michael Carrick. Five days earlier, United lost by a similar scoreline to Sunderland without the same level of criticism from either outside or within. According to the Euro Club Index, Danish champions FC Midtjylland are actually at about the same level of quality as the Black Cats from England’s North East. Prior to Thursday night’s fixture, Midtjylland were ranked 136th by this pan-European ranking with Sunderland 132nd . The difference in opinion therefore lies in people’s perspective with the quality of smaller clubs like Midtjylland being underestimated by media and fans alike because of their lack of knowledge of the team or the league in which they play. Continue reading
FOOTBALL – Thirty-five years ago Aston Villa famously, and surprisingly, won the league title with just 14 players. Three years earlier, Nottingham Forest won the league immediately after promotion using just 16 players. Arsenal’s 1989 title win, their first for 18 years, was achieved with just 17 starters. This season, Leicester City have been the great surprises of the Premier League and have also followed a similar pattern in their selections. In the first 22 matches of the season, Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has picked just 17 players in his starting line-ups and the club could still equal the Premier League era record for fewest starting players in a season.
FOOTBALL – The Guardian’s analysis of Leicester City’s surprise season included a reference to scoring opportunities, one of the numerous variables that we at Infostrada Sports collect in our live coverage of football matches around the world. As explained in the article, this is a measure which counts major chances whether they result in a shot or not. Calculating the difference between scoring opportunities for and against produces a measure which is highly correlated with the league table standings. Below are some examples of goal attempts which would be classified as scoring opportunities.
FOOTBALL – The Deloitte Money League has been released and unsurprisingly, the Euro Club Index ranking, which rates clubs based on performance, is highly correlated with this annual ranking of wealth. Four of the top-five clubs on the Deloitte list are also in the Euro Club Index top-10. Manchester United are the big exception at third in the Money League but ranked only 13th by the Euro Club Index. Another Premier League club, Liverpool, are the ninth richest in the world but are currently only just hanging onto a place in the Euro Club Index top-25. All nine Premier League clubs in Deloitte’s top-20 richest are ranked lower by the Euro Club Index.