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  16-Dec-2018 05:02 GMT  

A Bunch of Fives

So when all is said and done, we analyse where, when and the quantity of times a ball has landed in the back of a net, past and present, or failed to, and somehow deduce why it was destined to be so. That’s the unenviable task of our resident expert Professor Statto, who brings us the benefit of his incisive intellect allied to half a century of football scholarship. And not least, his wry sense of humour.您的瀏覽器可能無法支援顯示此圖片。

He leaves the predictions to others, but he’ll provide you with the ammunition to sustain your challenge through your Score Five campaign. He’ll keep you up-to-date with what’s happening in the competition. He’ll lead you along byways exploring weird and wonderful facets of the game past and present, but always in his own inimitable style.

Some comedian once suggested that “98% of all statistics are made up”, but the Prof. cordially invites you all to verify any information he presents – if only because he does most of the calculations in his head. Professor Statto and his amazing statistics.

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Visit the Prof's 2008/09 season archives.

Previous analysis

2011-12 Round 21-24.... 2011-12 Round 17-20.... 2011-12 Round 11-16.... 2011-12 Round 8-10.... 2011-12 Round 5-7.... 2011-12 Round 1-4

Hello again pals, and welcome back!

Or welcome, if you're here for the first time. Although the Premier League teams are preparing themselves for the charge towards the season's finishing line, here at ScoreFive we're still seeing new arrivals starting in the competition. During the past week, our ranks have been swelled by players from Nigeria, the UK, Finland, Myanmar, Indonesia, Canada, Thailand, Brazil, Mauritius and the Philippines. And sincere congratulations to all of you, new or long-term, who are competing in a foreign language.

In the month since I was last with you, a few Premier League issues have resolved themselves:
- the title is going to Manchester
- the third and fourth Champions League places will go to London clubs, whatever Stevie G. thinks.
- it's any three of the bottom five for The Drop.

The bookies all have Man. City as odds-on title favourites, but United's remaining fixtures look less difficult, so I'm hoping we'll all still be unsure of the outcome at 3pm on May 13th when City kick off their final game against QPR while United are facing Sunderland on Wearside.

City, by the way, have now won every one of their home league games for a year, and are en route to becoming the first team since Sunderland in 1892 to go a full season with a perfect home record. So far, it's 14 down, five to go. Who can stop them? Chelsea (Monday, March 19th) are obvious contenders, but QPR, West Brom and Sunderland less so. Their other game? On Monday April 30th, their visitors are....United! If one game is going to decide the destination of the title, that's it.

At the bottom, there's an eight-point chasm between the Villa, in 15th place, and the Floundering Five below, who exchange positions week to week depending on who has suffered the biggest tonking. None of QPR, Blackburn, Wolves, Bolton or Wigan has managed better than a point a game over the last eight rounds, and their combined record in that time is P40 W7 D9 L24.

If the fixtures offer any sort of guide, QPR's prospects are the bleakest, as they still have to meet all the Top 6, and have only one game against a fellow-struggler. If we consult the bookies, they have all five as odds-on for relegation, which is clearly illogical, but hey, it makes them more money that way.

It would be too much for us to hope for another finale like last season, with five teams battling to escape the drop on the last day, but May 13th will bring us a game where I'm certain at least one of the combatants will be saying goodbye: Wigan v Wolves. In the meantime, four of the five meet in this weekend's Round 28, with Wigan as the bystanders, no doubt hoping for two draws.

Good weather forces games to go ahead
This season, a regular feature is missing from fans discussions concerning their Prem teams. “Ah, but if we win our games in hand....” We're almost in the middle of March, the warmer days are coming, and we haven't had a single game called off due to a frozen pitch. This has never happened before. Perhaps it will put an end to calls for a Continental-style Winterstop.

There have been only two postponements., and one of those was contrarily on the warmest day of the season in August. This was due to things, principally the locals, becoming overheated in the Tottenham area on Opening Day. The other occasion was the routine deferred game on the weekend of the League Cup Final. In both instances, the visiting team was due to be Everton. He doesn't have much luck, that David Moyes.

The best value-for-money manager?
Speaking of DM, he celebrates 10 years as boss of Everton this week. To my mind, no other manager achieves as much as Moyes with such limited resources. As the Toffees board rarely provide him with cash, he needs to be efficient. He also manages to retain his enthusiasm while conducting himself with a dignity that some other managers (think red) would do well to emulate.

Buying players cheap and selling them on at good profits is routine for him, as is bringing talent through the Goodison academy. His squad is small, so Cup or League, he sends out pretty much the same squad, injuries permitting. Phil Neville now looks twice the player he was at Old Trafford. Baines and Jagielka have multiplied their values, Rodwell and Fellaini are widely coveted, while (a fit, at least) Cahill would be welcome at any of the top teams.

Moyes began preparing for his future career as early as 22, using his holidays to acquire coaching badges. By the time his playing career was prematurely ended by injury at Preston North End, he had more qualifications than some who had been 20 years in management. You can’t collect good judgement and motivational skills in the same manner, but he clearly has more than his fair share of those too.

He probably doesn't have a big enough name or ego to succeed Sir Alex – who's a big Moyes fan – but don't be surprised if he's lured away to one of the other top Prem clubs if Celtic don’t grab him first.

He should know!
I noticed a column heading on a BBC football website article last week. 'Rubbish players earn too much' it shouted. Surprisingly, this claim came not from a director, manager or pundit, but from a member of the Players Union – that multi-millionaire clogger, Robbie Savage. 

Season Tracker
Here are the details of the last three rounds and the season to date averages. Season highs in any category have a yellow highlight and lows have blue

Round

Basic pts

+ Banker

Results

P5s

Bankers

Goals/games

Comments

 1 – 24 avges

 16.54

 19.92

 46.56%

 9.80%

 67.81%

 2.82 gpg

 

 25

 16.17

 20.16

 46.20%

 10.90%

 79.80%

 36 & 10

 

 26

 16.27

 20.4

 45.10%

 10.70%

 82.50%

 27 & 9

 Liv v Eve to be played 13 March

 27

 18.1

 22.28

 44.10%

 13.30%

 83.60%

 24 & 10

 

 Avge:

 16.64

 20.11

 46.57%

 1.00%

 10.04%

 764 & 269 = 2.84

Season avge score: 541 pts = global league #219

Round 25
For only the third time this season, the goalometer registered 36. Lots of goals usually coincides with low points scoring; we shouldn't be surprised that no-one forecast the 5s at Spurs and Wolves. 3-2 and 2-3 aren't popular scores either, but those games at Blackburn and Swansea did provide a few P5s with JD, Berzerksky, Bowla and Delico benefitting.

With several teams in the upper echelons meeting, we saw a few enterprising alternative Banker choices. What made Umairumair86 (not to be confused with Umair86) decide on Norwich (away at Fortress Swansea) to deliver his bonus 5, I cannot imagine, but somehow it worked. Good, but not as good as the 10-pt crackers enjoyed by Spartacus and Micko8, who Banked on a 3-2 at Ewood....they share Tip Of The Week for it.

We went a whole year without having to call on the tie-breaker to separate two players at the top of the weekly chart, but lately, it's been a regular occurrence. Our leading pair had 32 pts, with Canadian Rob in Malaysia edging out Warrior (Arsenal & Pakistan) by virtue of having more Perfectos. In third place with 31 was recent arrival Jbury (Arsenal & Cameroon) who nailed 9 results – excellent work when the average was below 5.

Round 26
A nine-game weekend with only four results matching your prediction consensus featured Midlands teams failing to do the expected. Having conceded five at home the previous week, Wolves spoiled the day for the 85% of you who backed Newcastle to beat them. Underdogs West Brom somehow brushed aside the rejuvenated Sunderland; and Aston Villa disappointed the 52% who expected them to come away from Wigan with all three points.

There was a marked division of opinion regarding the Spurs-Arsenal game. 28% said Home, 32% said Away, and 40% said Draw. Bankers were evenly divided. Your expected average score? 1.45 v 1.48. So what went wrong? No-one predicted a nap hand for the Gunners, but I think Maikankan deserves a mention for his 4-2 shout.

In our four seasons of ScoreFive, I can't recall a bigger endorsement than the 99.2% of you who backed Man. City to beat Blackburn. With no noteworthy P5s (unless you include the 35% who tipped a 3-0 City win), we have to peruse the Bankers in search of diamonds among the coal. A Fulham away win is rare enough to glitter, and 664NOTB picked up five shiny bonus points for their success at struggling QPR. Vic008 and Mainaeri decided that the Great Wall Of Stoke would be too much for Swansea, and they were right. I'll reserve judgement on the Tip Of The Week in view of the lack of anything approaching outstanding.

With the missing Liverpool-Everton game now scheduled for Tues. Mar. 13th, we'll know the Round 26 winner soon enough. At present, Hhempe in Mexico leads the way with 31 pts, with Titian, Supervlad and Andyson4real a point behind, though any of a dozen players could still snatch the top spot.

Round 27
Apart from West Brom's win over Chelsea, every game delivered a reasonable points return, with a high level of Perfectos at most games bar Fulham's. Another Man. City home game, and another monster endorsement, this time 98.3%. They were also the Banker favourites with a 75.5% share of your votes.

All this good news meant there weren't many rare P5s to celebrate. A quartet nailed West Brom's 1-0, namely Daberechi, Bunt, MickD and Nawoo. There was a single Banker gem, with JackFrost's icy finger pointing to a Swansea 0-2 at Wigan, to net him 10 pts and Tip Of The Week.

This was a high-scoring round with dozens of players bagging 30 pts or better. Top o' the shop was Amanovich (Ethiopia & Arsenal) with 36 pts. Among the 5 players sharing second place on 34 pts was Aussie Russdj: he only got 5 results, but every one was a Perfecto! Cramming onto the second sterp of the podium with him were Bunt, Blackbird, CaptainsFlat and the man you're all chasing, #1 JoshTz

The Global League
It's quite possible that a player who isn't even in the the current Top 40 will come through with a late burst to become this season's champion. Consider this: Muskir, who led the League at the season mid-point now languishes at #39. Italkid has declined from #=15 to #70. Bjp, #3 when the Christmas presents were being opened, is now at #80.

Who's on a charge? Trevorsio, who was off the radar in December, has made up more than 40 places to reach #=5. Ctz, 240574 and Vinylslider have all advanced from obscurity into the Top 10 during the same time. HongKongMui, Peevemeisters and Dunscar have remaining in the Top 20 for three months and gradually advanced to occupy the #2-3-4 slots. LadyInRed established herself near the top even before that, and has stayed there. There are half a dozen more limpets like LeicesterNil who are one big week away from joining the challengers to #1 JoshTz, who hasn't been below the podium places in nearly six months.

In our first three seasons, every time I checked the leading players, they always included a string of Liverpool fans, but the current Top 20 has only #14 JollyRoger62. I must send out a search party.

The original giant-killers
While I was writing this column, Spurs fell behind at White Hart Lane in their FA Cup 5th Round replay with Stevenage. Instantly, the commentators began to speculate on this becoming one of the great giant-killings. But where did this expression originate, and who were the first giant-killers? I did some digging....

The FA Cup began in the 1870-71 season, which was 18 years before the Football League itself. Unlike the League, which was founded by Northern and Midland clubs, the early years of the Cup were the preserve of universities, public schoolboys and gentlemens teams in the South. Presumably working men, who at that time toiled six days of eight hours didn't have enough leisure time or the funds to travel to away games: one of the rules in the Cup's early years was that all games from the 3rd round onwards had to take place in London!

Three years after taking up football in 1875, Darwen FC, a team of workmen from a suburb of Blackburn entered the Cup. Most of the players had no money for kit and played in old clothes, with trousers that were cut off at the knees.

Darwen were not without skill, and reached the 3rd round along with 10 other teams. (How come there were 11 teams? Because there were 44 entrants, since you ask. Yes, it did cause problems!). With one team (the long-forgotten Swifts) receiving a bye, Darwen were drawn against The Remnants, a Berkshire club made up of the moneyed and well-connected.

This was the first Cup meeting of toffs and toughs. It was rulers against ruled, rich against poor, champions who used old football tactics against underdogs who used new, the men who were supposed to have invented the game against the lower orders who had taken it up. To the consternation of the entire football community, Darwen, playing some surprisingly sophisticated football, prevailed 3-2 and before long, the phrase giant-killers was doing the rounds. What happened thereafter was even more remarkable, but I'll bring you that tale next month.

No upset here!
When South Africa's Premier League leaders Mamelodi Sundowns were drawn away at a Division 4 Regional League team in the Nedbank Cup, their players must have been wary. Their opponents Powerlines FC had nothing to lose by taking the game to the Big Boys. “So what if we lose by a cricket score?”, they must have thought. And that's exactly what happened. Want to see 24 goals without reply?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYjaSLmwBP4

Until next month, pals, take care of yourselves

Prof. Statto






 

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