2015-16 Bundesliga Preview: Variety at the top, goals all the way through

August 17, 2015

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“The Bundesliga was my gateway drug into the high-flying, groupie-gathering, time-sucking, spreadsheet-staring, decimal-point debating, fantastic world of soccer analytics. I was your run-of-the-mill World Cup and EPL viewer before deciding one day I wanted to know more about the soccer world elsewhere and simply chose the Bundesliga to follow for a year. I put $200 in a betting account and began working to beat the bookies. I read Colin Trainor here on expected goals and built my own model. I manually input shots from all these different zones and adjusted for schedule.” StatsBomb


3-5-2 or 4-1-4-1: What approach best suits Pep Guardiola’s Bayern?

August 17, 2015

“Predicting Guardiola’s approach may be one of the hardest duty a football enthusiast could undertake. But despite the alterations and flexibility, Alankrith Shankar has narrowed down the options to two wide-scoped approaches that the Bayern Munich could implement. New Year, new squad, same manager. Pep Guardiola is into the last year of his current contract at Bayern Munich and early signs show that there may not be an extension offered to the Spaniard unless he pulls off a treble that the fans and board have been wanting ever since he set foot at the club’s training grounds.” Outside of the Boot


Examining Olympique Lyonnais’ reformed attack

August 17, 2015

“It’s very, very early into the 2015-16 Ligue 1 season so any overarching analysis must be taken with a massive grain of salt. We’re only 5.3% through the season and as last season proved for a lot of teams, nothing can really be deciphered with any sort of validity until perhaps 10 weeks into the season. That being said, it’s been curious to see how Lyon has reshaped their attack for this season. Lyon sold winger/forward Clinton N’Jie for around €17 million after just completing his first season in Ligue 1 last season. Claudio Beauvue was brought on earlier this summer from Guingamp and Lyon only a few days ago signed Mathieu Valbuena from Dynamo Moscow.” backpagefootball


Tactical Analysis: Athletic Bilbao 4-0 Barcelona | Bilbao’s 4-4-2 and pressing exposes Barca’s vulnerabilities

August 17, 2015

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“San Mames is a notoriously hard stadium to play in, as visiting teams often find themselves wavering in front of the intense Bilbo crowd and team during the 90 minutes of the game. Since the first sound of the whistle, Bilbao approached the game with a robust and intense style. Playing hard, aggressive and direct, the first 10-20 minutes of the game did not see Bilbao risk anything in the build up, but instead preferred to play longer towards the opposing half, in order to force the high-lines of Barcelona to drop deeper. This long balls approach worked as it forced Ter-Stegen out of the goal to head it away, leaving his goal completely exposed which was duly punished by what may turn out to be a contender for goal of the season. San Jose got to the 2nd ball and shot directly into the open goal from 40 yards out, resulting in a 1-0 lead for Bilbao after 15 minutes of the Super Copa Espana.” Outside of the Boot


Record fourth straight Bundesliga title all but a given for Bayern Munich

August 17, 2015

“No team has ever won four German titles in a row before. Not in the Bundesliga, and not in the complicated days before the national league when the champion was decided by regional tournaments feeding into a knockout. When Bayern won a third straight title last season, it was the fifth time since a national championship was inaugurated in 1903 that a team had completed a hat trick. But nobody’s ever done four. This should be the story of a great quest, of a champion struggling against the entropic imperative to register the greatest run of sustained success in history, but it’s not. Bayern will, almost certainly, win the title.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Continental schism presents a tough question

August 17, 2015
epa04873815 Players of River Plate of Argentina celebrate after winning the Copa Libertadores Cup after defeating Tigres of Mexico at a soccer match held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 05 August 2015. EPA/David Fernández

epa04873815 Players of River Plate of Argentina celebrate after winning the Copa Libertadores Cup after defeating Tigres of Mexico at a soccer match held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 05 August 2015. EPA/David Fernández

“Buenos Aires giant River Plate won its third Copa Libertadores title earlier this month, beating Tigres of Mexico 3-0 on aggregate in the two-legged final. Some in Europe were gripped by the fact that this triumph came only four years after the club had been relegated to Argentina’s second division. In reality, though, there is no need to be astonished. Such wild oscillations have become almost par for the course in the South American club game. The previous winner of the Libertadores was another Buenos Airies side, San Lorenzo. It did not go down to the second division. But it came very close. In the middle of 2012 it was forced into a play-off to determine its first division survival. It won – and two years later it was champion of its continent.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


Tactical Analysis: Barcelona 5-4 Sevilla | How Barca created space in the middle by playing out wide

August 17, 2015

“Last season treble winners Barcelona came up against Europa League champions Sevilla in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. For what was expected as a mouth – watering game by many, I’m sure they weren’t disappointed with the final outcome.” Outside of the Boot


Three Lingering Questions After Manchester City’s Win Over Chelsea

August 17, 2015

“There was plenty of good football played this weekend, from Stoke’s thrilling comeback against Spurs, Arsenal’s righting of the ship against Crystal Palace, and another impressive performance from Swansea. But the main event happened Sunday, when Chelsea traveled north to face Manchester City. The home team registered an emphatic 3-0 victory, but there are still some lingering questions that need answering …” Grantland (Video)


Early Skews, Man City Impress And Other Stat Stories: EPL Week 2

August 17, 2015

“We’ve hit the crucial juncture of two (!) games now and already firm story lines are appearing around the media. Simple hooks are readily available to explain any positive or negative deviation, depending on which direction a team appears to be turning. Take Southampton; last season they conceded four or more shots on target on 14 separate occasions and yet in only five of those games they conceded twice or more. In all those matches combined, they ran a pretty much bang on league average 70% save percentage.” StatsBomb