Sunday, May 16, 2010

Arsenal Under 18's 5-3 Nottingham Forest Under 18's

After a week delay, I finally have an article about Arsenal's youth team triumph 5-3 over Nottingham Forest. If you have Arsenal TV Online, I recommend watching the game.

Arsenal Under 18's captured the Premier Academy League title on Monday (Silverware!) after a 5-3 victory over Nottingham Forests' Under 18's. The played like an Arsenal team, attacking well, and defending poorly.
Football Fans Know Better
They lined up in a 4-3-3, but as the graphic shows, with Ozyakup drifting in, it was more like a 4-1-2-1-2. Freeman played on the left, but drifted in in the second half, and got more involved.
Arsenal pressed up high on the pitch, and started to dominate after going behind. Nottingham Forest had trouble getting out of their own half, and Arsenal were on the brink. They did, when a long pass from Henderson played in Afobe, and he scored after a rebound and pass from Freeman. Chucks Aneke, who reminded me of Abou Diaby and had an imperious game, played in Afobe for the second.
Ozyakup had a very good game, and it was his pass that led to the penalty won by Afobe. Freeman put away a second penalty and after Forest made it 4-3, Freeman ended the game with his second after a cross from Henderson.
Aneke, Afobe Ozyakup, Frimpong, Freeman and Miquel were all impressive, and I'm looking forward to seeing them in the Carling Cup.
For more on the youth team, check out

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Arsenal 4-0 Fulham

Arsenal concluded the 2009-10 season with a 4-0 victory over a disinterested Fulham, securing 3rd place and an automatic spot for next year's Champions League.

It was a good performance from Arsenal, as they dominated possession, and made 589 passes. Better finishing from Walcott and Van Persie and they would've had 6, and it was a good response to successive defeats.
Football Fans Know Better

Arsenal lined up in a 4-3-3, with Samir Nasri deeper than Abou Diaby and Emmanuel Eboue, who was the most advanced midfielder. Fulham lined up in a 4-4-2, with Stefano Okaka playing higher up than Nevland, while the 2 wide midfielders, Demspey and Riise, were forced to play deeper as Arshavin and Walcott saw a lot of the ball early, and were threats. The first goal had a bit of luck about it, but the second and third goals came after great team play.

Carlos Vela and Henri Lansbury made impressive cameo's: Vela scored with an esquisite chip
after brilliant play from Lansbury, Eboue and Nasri, while Lansbury, making his senior Arsenal debut after a spell at Watford, was impressive in the centre of the midfield, only making 2 errant passes.

by Guardian Chalkboards
He played a key role in Vela's goal, and it will be interesting to see how he fits in next year.

This game had some similarites to the 4-0 victory at home v Wigan earlier this year; 4-0 victories, and also the same kind of incising passing into the box that Arsenal didn't have when they missed Robin Van Persie.

by Guardian Chalkboards
Out of all the players Arsenal missed this season, it was Van Persie who was missed the most; not only did he have 8 goals when he went down, but he also was linking up extremely well with Fabregas, Arshavin and the right sided midfielder, and it is possible that with him fit, Arsenal would've won the league, and scored 100 goals, like Chelsea did.

Also, congratulations to the Under 18's for their Title winning 5-3 victory against Nottingham Forest, and we'll have a report on that game.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Best League In the World Series™: South America

This is the first installment of a 6 part series, talking about the most competitive league. You can find the intro here, and here's how I'll be calculating it:
To find the most competitive league, I'm going to use Standard Deviation, a statistical measure of spread. It finds the spread from the mean; the lower the Standard Deviation, the more competitive league. I'll then rank each league in Standard Deviation and goals/game, add the ranks together, and divide by 2. For example, a league that ranks 15th in competitiveness, and 10th in goals/game will have a rank of 12.5 (15+10=25/2=12.5).

First up is South America, with 10 leagues.
The Data is here, but I'll put it below.
CountrySDRankGoal/gameRankTotal RankNote








Uruguay14.592.846.5excludes 1 team



sheet 2=database

The best league in South America, in terms of excitement is Boliva; first in competitiveness, first in goals/game, it's the most exciting, though maybe not the best quality. The worst league, in terms of excitement, is the Paraguayan league, which has the second least goals, and lowest competitive ranking.

Next up: Oceania

Best League In the World Series™

When watching the Barclays Premier League, you are often told "It's the Best League in the World™". But is that really the case? Well to figure out what the best league in the world, or least the most exciting is, I'm going to find out tw0 things: One, which league is the most competitive, and Two, which has the most goals per game (because goals are entertaining, even if rubbish). To find the most competitive league, I'm going to use Standard Deviation, a statistical measure of spread. It finds the spread from the mean; the lower the Standard Deviation, the more competitive league. I'll then rank each league in Standard Deviation and goals/game, add the ranks together, and divide by 2. For example, a league that ranks 15th in competitiveness, and 10th in goals/game will have a rank of 12.5 (15+10=25/2=12.5).

I'll be doing installments by continent, and the first up will be South America.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Best Games of Arsenal's league campaign

Me and Berty worked on the best league games of this year, and this is what we have:
Everton 1-6 Arsenal
Arsenal start their season off with a bang with 6 goals away to Everton, who'll finish 8th this year, beat United, Chelsea and City at home (and drew with Chelsea and City away) and finished 5th last year.
Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn
The day that marked Arsene Wenger's 13th season at the club saw Arsenal come back twice to score 6 of the best against Blackburn.
Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham
North London derby: check. Tottenham in Top 4: Check. Is there any reason not to have this game?
Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal
Arsenal come back away to Liverpool, who lets not forget, beat United at home, as Arsenal reinvigorate the title race.
Arsenal 3-0 Aston Villa
3 against the best defence in the league at that point, and holding Villa scoreless for the first time since the opening game was all part of this Boxing Day thriller (alright, it was December 27th) as Cesc's 22 minute cameo won it for Arsenal.
Arsenal 4-2 Bolton
Arsenal come back twice to beat Bolton 4-2 and go top of the league for the first time since the opening day.
Arsenal 1-0 Liverpool
Days after losing to Chelsea 2-0, the title race was turned back on after Chelsea lost to Everton, United drew with Villa and Arsenal won with a Diaby header.
Stoke 1-3 Arsenal
The most debatable game in the compilation because of the horrific injury suffered by Aaron Ramsey, but it showed the great spirit in the side to comeback and win 3-1.

And now the video:

Arsenal 2009-10 from Aidan Gibson on Vimeo.

Death of the Poacher or ode to Kevin Phillips

Many positions in football have died over the years. Wingers became useless in the 4-3-1-2, the 3-5-2 became rare and so did the sweeper, and now the poacher is joining them on the scrap heap. Poachers aren't completely dead, but the poaching sort of player like Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Ruud Van Nistelrooy do not exist at top level clubs. Owen played with United this season, and scored a few goals, one which was a classic poachers goal, against Manchester City. Poachers no longer work for good teams because besides putting away chances they don't add anything else to team play, unlike a false nine or more complete forward does.

False Nine/More complete striker vs The poacher
One reason for the death of the poacher is that false nines and more compete strikers simply add more. They create chances by dropping deep, like Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Lionel Messi do, and allowing midfielders to make runs into the box. There is also the Big Man holding the ball up and creating chances, like Emile Heskey, Carlton Cole, Bobby Zamora and Peter Crouch, who is 7th in assists, and 11th in chances created. The poacher usually doesn't create chances unless he has pace and can use it to create chances like Michael Owen did in his hey day. However, if the poacher doesn't have pace, he's not going to create chances by getting into the box or sitting on the shoulder of the last defender; he may score the chances, but he won't create them.
What Can the Poacher do?
The poacher still has some value, though not for the top teams. One example is Kevin Phillips, whose 250th career goal, which came for Birmingham against Arsenal, showed the value of a poacher. Despite the goal coming off his nose or shoulder, he got into the box, and he finished a chance. Poachers still have some value for a midtable or lower team, or for a team that isn't playing well and needs the goals. A case in point is Darren Bent, who Tottenham seemed quite happy to go, despite him being their top scorer. The reason is with Pavlyuchenko, Crouch, Defoe and Keane they had more complete strikers; of all strikers, Defoe is 14th in assists, while Bent is 47th, with only one.
The poacher isn't dead, not by a long shot, but the days of a poacher being at a top club, like Ian Wright at Arsenal, Van Nistelrooy at United and Fowler and Owen at Liverpool are over.

The reason for the title being "ode to Kevin Phillips": Phillips is one of those poachers, and despite 36, has still has the quickness to score goals, and now has 250 in his career. He never played for a top team, but put together a good career, and is the kind of player whose breed is dying.