TTU Go Predicting: a Club-by-Club Premier League Preview 2014-5

August 13, 2014

Nudge
“Our divisional previews of a year ago were so well received that we decided to go one better and offer a full set for 2014-5 even if bloggers enjoy the luxury of not being obliged to cover irrelevances such as the Community Shield. TTU staffer Ben Woolhead has a little extra time on his hands now after the masterful Newcastle United blog Black & White & Read All Over finally closed its doors after a decade. Here, Ben gives a club-by-club lowdown on the top echelon of English football.” thetwounfortunates


Defenders becoming scarcer, costlier

August 13, 2014

“Because it was David Luiz, everybody laughed. Because it was Paris Saint-Germain, everybody sneered, just a little. And because it was Jose Mourinho, everybody had to stand back and admire, too, watching in wonderment at his alchemist’s touch, turning the basest of materials into wads and wads of notes. These were all understandable reactions to the fact someone had decided to spend 50 million pounds on a central defender as clearly and as abundantly flawed as David Luiz, to make the Brazilian the costliest defensive player in history ostensibly as part of a master-plan designed to win the Champions League. It was funny, and it was crazy.” ESPN


A Symbol Of Power: Hungarian Football and the Long Wait For Reignition

August 13, 2014

‘We have one of the best academies in Europe,’ Prime Minister Viktor Orban boasted about his local club Puskas Akademia just last year. Well, sorry Viktor but I’ve got some news. You don’t even ‘ave the best academy in Hungary. Actually, worse than that, your academy is the 9th best in the country. Puskas Akademia of Felcsut are a bit of a bizarre football club. Named after the greatest Hungarian footballer of all time, Ferenc Puskas has no affiliation with the club whatsoever, and it’d be surprising if he even knew Felcsut existed. Around 45 KM away from Budapest, Felcsut boasts a population of about 1500, which makes the construction of their recently built Pancho Arena (Pancho was Puskas’s nickname in Spain) even more ludicrous. Even more ludicrous until you find out it was funded by the government and their buddies. And then you find out that it’s the hometown of the semi-dictatorial Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the club where the PM used to ply his trade before the rebrand.” In Bed With Maradoma


Manchester United will finish above Liverpool in Premier League, predicts Michael Owen

August 13, 2014

“Ahead of the start of the Premier League this weekend former Manchester United and Liverpool striker, Michael Owen, gives his predictions for how he thinks the table will look at the end of the season and analyses where he thinks the strengths and weaknesses of each squad lie. Writing on his blog on Sportlobster, Owen says it’ll be a victorious Chelsea lifting the silverware come May and that former clubs, Manchester United and Liverpool, are likely to finish third and fourth respectively. Here’s how Owen’s full top ten looks…” Independent


Coaching’s greatest seminar: how Louis van Gaal shaped five top managers

August 13, 2014

Barcelona manager composite
“In 1997, Louis van Gaal arrived at Barcelona. He had initially been approached to be youth coordinator but with Bobby Robson’s side struggling in the league – despite winning both the Copa del Rey and the Cup Winners’ Cup – he was asked to take over as manager, with Robson taking on an ambassadorial role, becoming, as he put it ‘the world’s highest-paid scout’. On Robson’s recommendation, Van Gaal took on José Mourinho, who had become far more than a translator, to be his ‘third assistant’. In his midfield, he had Pep Guardiola and Luís Enrique.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Premier League Preview: What now for Southampton after mass exodus?

August 13, 2014

“There is a danger that Southampton will come to stand as a fable for modern football: this is what happens if you dare to dream. Fly too close to the sun, start talking – even in private as Nicola Cortese, the former executive chairman apparently did – of qualifying for the Champions League, and your best players will be plucked away, leaving you to plummet to earth. Perhaps the money Southampton has raised from its summer of sales will be wisely reinvested, perhaps in five years the sense of panic this offseason has induced will seem absurd, but even if that is the case, there is a horrible feeling of loss. Clubs have held fire sales in the past, of course, offloading players to stay afloat after relegation, the departure of a sugar daddy or some other financial catastrophe.” SI


Premier League Shot Location Analysis

August 13, 2014

“Before the World Cup I wrote a quick post on Shot Segmentation with the aim to classify the 10,000 or so shots taken during the 2013/14 season into a smaller number of groups to try and quantify the ‘quality’ of opportunities each side has (and concedes). The full background is here, but basically is a case of using a mix of Opta’s big chance metric to get beyond just using location data, combined with location and shot type (e.g., was the attempt a header).  It’s not as good as having the full video of every shot but is an improvement on just knowing shot volume.” We Are Premier League


UEFA Super Cup: James Rodriguez’s workload reflects the fact that he will not be the main man at Real Madrid

August 13, 2014

“If Radamel Falcao’s absence from Colombia’s World Cup squad had created a star vacuum to allow James Rodriguez to assume greater responsibility, it looks a very different story at Real Madrid – the world’s self-styled biggest football club. At the UEFA Super Cup in Cardiff, on a night when Gareth Bale’s homecoming saw him centre stage only for Cristiano Ronaldo to steal the show, there was a reminder that being the summer’s Golden Boot winner only gets you onto the cast list at Real – a lead role is some way away.” Sky Sports


When the Circus Came To Nottingham

August 13, 2014

“We all remember where we were when the circus came to town. That is, when Sven-Göran Eriksson came to Notts County, his long Swedish overcoat swishing through the corridors of Meadow Lane, lured by the promise of cash that was never actually there. I was at a pre-season friendly in Arnold as Notts beat a local non-league team 7-0, with Chinese whispers buzzing around the huge crowd that stood below a beautiful summer sunset. The strangest month of our lives was becoming even more of an intoxicating dream. A few weeks earlier I’d become the editor of Notts County Mad, a club website and messageboard that held the same quirkiness of any other lower league forum. I wasn’t up to much, having spent the previous few months largely asleep after quitting sixth form because they seemed to expect that I might actually do the odd piece of work. When the former editor offered me the chance to take on the role I was pretty grateful for just having something to whittle away the hours.” In Bed With Maradina