Leverkusen 4 – 4 AS Roma: Schmidt’s Zunkunftfußball on Tour

October 21, 2015

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“Regardless of what happens today, yesterday’s 4-4 feast of a draw between Bayer Leverkusen and AS Roma at the BayArena is the match of the round. Perhaps feast is the wrong descriptor. Let’s try avant-garde installation piece instead. Adapting this descriptor instead, has avant-gardeism ever been so much fun? (Hmmmm.) Of course, all the fun should be attributed to Roger Schmidt’s vision and tactics for Tuesday’s match. For over a season now, in the Bundesliga, we’ve come to identify Schmidt’s hyper-pressing system at Leverkusen, which features an excessive number ball-seekers flooding forward to win back the ball quickly (a la Kloppian gegen-pressing) then flooding the width of the opponent’s box.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Tactical Analysis: Inter Milan 0-0 Juventus | A stalemate of two halves

October 21, 2015

“Sunday saw one of the most important matches in European and world football, the Derby d’Italia, which pitted at the Giuseppe Meazza Internazionale Milano of Roberto Mancini who arrived in second place in Serie A and Juventus of Massimiliano Allegri, who have not had a good start this season and in this game looked to raise their performance. The Nerazzurri lined up in a 4-4-2 system, with two central midfielders (Medel and Melo) who would lend aid to the defense if necessary.” Outside of the Boot


Football Cities: Liverpool

October 21, 2015

“The history of the balance of power in football can arguably be understood by one simple factor; money. For all the talk of the ‘glory game’ and clubs defying the odds, sustained success has overwhelmingly correlated to club wealth, a trend dating back to the early twentieth century with such figures as John Henry Davies of Manchester United and Sir Henry Norris of Fulham and Arsenal. Both took clubs from near extinction to the top of the First Division. Money is not an automatic guarantee of success of course – the history of the game is littered with those who’ve crashed and burned trying to raise themselves to the level of the game’s elite but failed, thanks to toxic combinations of ill fortune and bad management. But for sustained success money has always been a vital factor, a trend the wealth trap of the Premier League had only succeeded in exaggerating.” thetwounfortunates


The Frustrating Promise of Analytics: Soccer Has a Left-Handed-Pitcher Problem

October 21, 2015

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“… The field of public soccer analytics has a left-handed-pitcher problem. Since it consists of so many events, baseball is fertile ground for analytics. A whopping 143 players in Major League Baseball had more than 500 plate appearances this season. Meanwhile, in the Premier League last season, only seven players took 100 shots, and only two had more than 50 shots on target. To get around that problem, most of the advances in soccer analytics have come from working with aggregates. Whether it’s some of the more basic concepts (like total shots ratio or comparative shots on target) or slightly more opaque metrics (like expected goals), the process comes from looking at the totals across leagues and then drawing conclusions.” Grantland


Decision Making And Expected Value

October 21, 2015

“In the 69th minute of the most important derby in English football (that’s still the case right?) Manchester United lead Liverpool 1-0 with the game obviously still very much open. An average team in Liverpool’s position would still expect to draw or win the game about 21% of the time, not ideal but nowhere near a lost cause. With United on the attack and the ball in the final third Carrick plays a weighted ball through to Ander Herrera who latches onto it on the edge of the penalty area. Right here Gomez has a decision to make, he can accept that his positioning wasn’t great but just try and track Herrera as quickly as possible, or he can try and redeem himself with a last-ditch tackle near the byline.” Stats Bomb


Manchester City – The Modern World

October 21, 2015

“Most football clubs would be very satisfied if they ended up with a second place Premier League finish and qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League, but not Manchester City. In fact, chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said, ‘it is hard to look back on the 2014/15 season without a degree of disappointment’, as there was no title to show for their efforts.” The Swiss Ramble


Platini and Blatter’s “thing between two men” defense explains why neither should be FIFA president

October 21, 2015

“This has not been a good month for Michel Platini. When September turned to October, UEFA president Platini was the clear front-runner to replace beleaguered FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who was supposedly planning to finally step down after the February 2016 FIFA presidential elections. Platini had it good. Europe had his back, so did many Asian and South American nations. Everything was rainbows and champagne, even though there were always plenty of questions about Platini’s past and candidacy. And then everything crumbled. It must have been devastating.” Fusion