Monthly Archives: March 2012

Moyes Boys

The Guardian’s most recent ‘Five things learned this weekend’ featured Everton’s recent win record in the second alf of EPL campaigns. They quoted the increase in win percentage between the first and second halves of the past two seasons. Here are the results for their entire EPL history

The 2009/10 change represents an increase from 5 wins in the first 19 matches to 11 in the latter half. Their best ever half season was the beginning of 2004/5 wen they won 12 of 19 and were only six points shy of leaders, Chelsea. They finished that season 34 points in arrears but the 4th place finish still represents their best final standing in the EPL. As can also be seen their calendar 2006 year was a highlight

As the tables below show, Everton have led the league in both years. The top teams, typically, do well throughout a season so will tend to be near mid table in this category. Blackpool’s precipitous decline last year is highlighted as is the late season swoons of Arsenal. Currently boasting a seven game winning run, that is clearly unlikely to recur this year

Everton’s 31.6 increase in win percentage (representing six victories) has been equalled three times but never bettered. Five teams have won seven fewer games in the second half; this includes Man Utd’s 2003/4 campaign when they slipped from first to third

The best half in terms of wins was Chelsea’s 17/19 at the start of their 2005/6 championship season.

Wish Granted

A couple of years ago, Grant Holt was approaching 29 years old and playing in England’s third tier. With his twelfth club, the archetypal journeyman probably thought his chances of playing in the Premiership had gone. However, two promotions with Norwich later, he has taken his chances with both feet (5 right ft goals, 2 left) and  his head (5)

This weekend he came to more prominence by becoming one of the handful of players to be both dismissed and score two goals in an EPL match. In addition, he is currently only the second English born player after Wayne Rooney to score more than 10 league goals this season. Here are the current listings. It should be noted that although Steven Fletcher was born in Shrewsbury he is a full Scottish international

As the table below shows, there as a been a dramatic falloff in English goalscorers since the Premiersip began.

The first three years did feature an extra 10% games but also the number of English-born players was significantly greater. In fact, this is only the second season in the past seven in which an Englishman has scored 20 or more goals with Lampard (inc 10 penalties) and Darren Bent joining Rooney in 2009/10 on the mark

Early on in the Premiership, England were blessed with some prolific marksmen including Shearer, Fowler, Ferdinand and Cole, amongst others. Seven of the first eigfht seasons were headed by an Englishman – the most recent being a good pub question –  but since then it has been non-stop imports with van Persie likely to extend  this sequence with a five goal lead over Rooney with only eight games to play

Holt’s red card is a setback to is hopes of retaining the number two spot but if he does he is in some pretty good company.

It should be noted that all of these players have been internationals so maybe one more wish can be granted this summer



Muamba Factfile

At the time of writing, the prognosis for Fabrice Muamba is looking a bit more hopeful, following his collapse during Bolton’s game at the weekend
He is an interesting character fairly atypical for a footballer with a great education, interest in opera and devoutly religious

On the footballing side there is not so much to report. Probably the most interesting fact is that he was sold from Arsenal to Bolton for a reputed 4 million without appearing in a single EPL game.

His idol is Patrick Viera and – in a lesser vein – he does mirror the French star, playing in central midfield with defence more to the fore than attacking pretensions. He has only 12 points(5 goals, 7 assists) in 168 league appearances which places him in the bottom ten all time mid-fielders for points per game (min 100 apps). On the other hand, since he joined Bolton, he is second only to Kevin Davies in number of cards, leading the team with 10 in 2009/10
Prior to his collapse, he was compiling a pretty impressive number of games – although surprisingly for an established 23 year old on a struggling team had compiled 6 bench only games this year. Again, only ‘Mr Bolton’ had compiled more appearances in the past four years and Muamba figures in the top 20 all-time for number of EPL games played by his age. Hopefully, he will have a chance to build on that number in the future

Hat trick ramblings

As I reported on twitter @pssguy, Pavel Pogrebnyak scored the thirtieth perfect – three or more goals with at least one with each foot and a header – hat-trick in Premiership history at the weekend
Here is the full list of perfectos

There are a copule of interesting features.
Firstly Alan Shearer who scored a record 11 hat-tricks does not figure on the list. His shortcoming is that he favoured his right foot so much. He had a 10:1 ratio with just 19 league goals with the left peg
In contrast, the leading left footed striker in history, Robbie Fowler, is the only player with three perfect hat-tricks. He is one of only two players, along with Andy Cole, who has scored at least 25 goals with his head and both left and right feet. Indeeed in 1996/7 only with 7 to Fowler’s six scored more

Fowler peaked early. He is the youngest player to score 50 Premier League goals, pipping his great rival, Michael Owen, by just 4 days
They infamously failed to coexist as the following graph indicates

In terms of goals to games ratio, Fowler’s best years were before Owen made the team (he only played twice in 1996/7).  Thereafter,  Owen had the edge for a couple of seasons before Fowler fell off the cliff
Of course there may have been off the field factors that hastened Fowlers decline but there is little doubt the sum of their partnership was less than its parts. In games Fowler appeared for Liverpool without Owen the team averaged 1.70 points: in games in which they both played, 1.46. The difference equates to a hefty 9 points over a season