ANALYSE THIS: Euro Club Index makes unfamiliar opponents familar

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

ANALYSE THIS: Settled team one of the keys to Leicester’s success

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.
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What are “Scoring Opportunities”?

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.
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ANALYSE THIS: Premier League rich but performs below par

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.
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THE WAVE: Liverpool v Manchester United

FOOTBALL – Manchester United won 2-1 at Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday. Liverpool were down to 10 men after Steven Gerrard was sent off only 42 seconds after coming on at half time. Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said: “The best 45 minutes, we played them off the pitch in the first half.” See for yourself in our Wave. Continue reading

ANALYSE THIS: Is Experience a Denominator for Success?

FOOTBALL – How important is experience for a team’s success? Do teams with more experienced players perform better in the league or do they benefit more from fresh, new players? While ‘experience’ is a difficult concept to actually capture in numbers, we came up with a simple way of trying to compare experience with success, taking the 2014/15 Premier League as an example. Continue reading