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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Stats For Stats Sake

Written by on May 10, 2012 | 17 Comments »
Posted in General

We seem to have gone from a time when statistical analysis meant the league table, top scorers and clean sheets to an absolute glut of information. You can spent an entire day reading about chances created, conversion rates, blocks, shots on target, shots off target, shots hitting the frame (normally Liverpool pieces), crosses, aerial duels and still not scratch the surface.

More often than not conclusions are drawn from the statistics and more often than not the writer can be accused of finding the data to fit his or her story.

I offer the following up based on nothing more than curiosity. It seemed to me that the teams involved in the relegation scrap had performed quite well this season against the top 6 teams and I wondered if there was a correlation between the top 6 and their records against the bottom six.

This then extended to how to top 6 and bottom 6 did against each other. Feel free to draw your conclusions. *The results are given in terms of points dropped and there remains one game between a top 6 side (Chelsea) and a bottom six side (Blackburn)and another between two in the bottom six – Wigan and Wolves.

Points dropped by top 6 against bottom 6 (*possible points 36)

Manchester City 0

Manchester United -6

Arsenal -13

Spurs -7

Newcastle -9

*Chelsea -8

Points dropped by top 6 against each other (possible points 30)

Manchester City -6

Manchester United -10

Arsenal -16

Spurs -21

Newcastle -21

Chelsea -23

Points dropped by bottom six against top 6 (*possible points 36) 

 Wigan -26

Aston Villa -31

QPR -26

Bolton -35

*Blackburn Rovers -30

Wolves -33

Points dropped by bottom six against each other (*possible points 30)

Wigan -16

Aston Villa -13

QPR -19

Bolton -8

Blackburn Rovers -21

Wolves -16

Anything in the numbers that you find of interest?

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17 responses to “Stats For Stats Sake”

  1. Ed Gomes says:

    Although the eye test is usually conclusive, even if it goes against stats, I do love looking at stats.
    Not so much interesting, but explaining why City will win the league. They defeated the teams they were suppose to beat and preformed the best verse the supposed toughest.
    To be honest I’m surprised City hadn’t sealed it earlier. Then again, I truly believe they would have if Balotelli wasn’t on he squad.

    The other thing that jumped out at me is that I can’t figure out how QPR is going to survive. It will be funny to see Hughes quit QPR once they get relegated.
    Then again, is there anyway that we can still get Villa to go down as well. There’s always next year.

    Side notes.

    Spurs would do themselves a favor if they go out and hire Martinez if, big if, they get a CL spot. He just might get the players to stay with the CL spots help and get the best out of them.

    I saw the list of players that City has put out on the market. The biggest issue with them selling these players won’t be City having to eat losses, but trying to get players to leave and take lesser wages. Not many clubs will be able to pay them.
    I do think that loan deals will be the most likely route, if anything.

    Did anybody else see That a club president in, I believe Luxembourg, went to the refs dressing room and threaten their lives should his club lose. I’m actually shocked that it got out and people will be supposedly be punished.

    AVB has now been linked to Roma, Inter, Fiorentina, Liverpool and now Villa. Yes silly season has begun.

  2. Pete says:

    It is statistical proof that the table does not lie. You look at the table and you can see the top 6 and the bottom 6 almost mimic your analysis to a T.

  3. Roberto Senyera says:

    Of the four categories it looks like only the top 6 v the top 6 mini league has an expected correlation. It’s been a while since my stats courses but I’d say that that category would show the best ‘line of best fit’.

  4. RS says:

    Bobby, I remember you mentioned the same kind of stats for Liverpool’s season somewhere. If I remember correctly their stats against top and bottom 6 were very similar.

    As Ed mentioned above Man City not dropping any points against the 6 bottom teams is the key to their successful season regardless of what happens this weekend.

    Chelsea’s stats show that they have not been strong enough to beat the big teams but did reasonably well with the bottom teams.

    Arsenal’s stats show that they have had what has become a typical Arsenal season during the last 5-6 years.

  5. epgomes says:

    Maybe not the forum but did anyone else see Hughes remarks. He’s come out and said the club will be completely gutted and revamped for next season whether they get relegated or not. Nothing like motivating the lads before such a big match.
    I actually think he’s set up his very own exit with his remarks. If relegated the funds won’t be there so he’ll walk due to broken promises from owner.
    If they somehow stay up, he’ll claim the same as above, by stating promised funds weren’t available.
    Cynical, but I think I’m right in this one.

  6. Astronomer says:

    Ed Gomes:
    “AVB has now been linked to Roma, Inter, Fiorentina, Liverpool and now Villa. Yes silly season has begun.”

    AVB is an interesting candidate to many clubs because of his insistence on his teams playing an attacking (and attractive) style of play.

    However, I would be stunned if Inter or Liverpool were to hire AVB. AVB’s tenure at Chelsea was at the very least a quasi-disaster. In fact, I wonder whether Chelsea would have accomplished what they have (in the FA and the CL) if he was still in charge.

    Massimo Moratti and John Henry have big aspirations for Inter and Liverpool, respectively, in terms of the CL and the domestic leagues. The owners of some of the other clubs listed above do not necessarily have similar lofty aspirations.

    Given how Chelsea were faring under AVB and the near-revolt that took place in the squad, I do not think Massimo Moratti would risk putting him in charge of Inter (a club that, like Chelsea, has quite a few old players on its payroll).

    The same argument, with minor modifications, applies to Liverpool also.

  7. Ed Gomes says:

    I could guaranteed you that Chelsea wouldn’t have won the FA Cup and it would of never reached the CL Final. AVB came in with the purpose of turning over the squad, so “the vets” would have never fallen in line. Once “the leadership” got rid of AVB they had to go all out in order to prove they still had it. The fact is in AVB’s system Lamps and Essian couldn’t last a season in top form and for that matter neither could Terry defensively. Drogba was just a victim of his contract, which has to be reexamined due to Torres continued failure. The Kalou issue is simple, in which I agree that he’s not worth big money/wages.
    I’ve never been a big fan of AVB, since I’ve always stated ths he was a product of a very good Porto squad, but he’s not a bad manager. Inter needs to retool and Liverpool and the others could do a lot worse.

    As for Chelsea, I think that DiMateo will lose his job de to his loss at Liverpool. Yes they ad beaten them in the FA Cup and Liverpool were home, but Chelsea didn’t need to rest anyone. They still had an outside chance at a CL spot, yet they were flat. Manager Terry looked bad, and assistant DiMateo couldn’t convince him to change lineup.

    Silly Season;
    I just read that Barca has come to terms with Bale and now just has to negotiate with Spurs. A cool 40 mil was mentioned. I’ve come a long way since mocking Bale for his hair clips, but then again do has Bale. I’m not sure if he would be the right fit for Barca, but he does need a better manager to help him attain new heights.

  8. Ed Gomes says:

    The following is brilliant.
    Then I actually thought about it and realized this is probably on every pundits wall. It’s most likely that it’s the first page of team reviews that’s given to pundits for the WC broadcast.
    Sad, but most likely true. I’m actually a bit sad now.

    I also wanted to thank soccer report extra for the plug. Great reading/viewing.

  9. I really wanted to get a post up today on the German Cup Final tomorrow between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. Time and other work got in the way unfortunately – none the less the game is being shown in Canada on SportsnetWorld at noon EST.
    It is a mouth watering prospect.
    Looking forward to this more than the final day of the premier League actually.

  10. Roberto Senyera says:

    Thanks Bobby for the heads up on that German Cup Final tomorrow. I’m surprised that SNWL is showing it though but I guess that’s because GolTV have the rights to the German Bundesliga and SNWL have the Cup rights.

    Another thank you to Eoin for introducing us to It’s quite the irreverent site on all things sports.

  11. Roberto Senyera says:

    Bobby — I’m seeing a kickoff time of 14:00 EDT for that German Cup Final on a number of sites. Hopefully, they’ll give us a two hour preview but I doubt it.

  12. Roberto Senyera says:

    Hot off the press — On Thursday night it was the turn of Liverpool’s long-serving head of communications, Ian Cotton, [to receive the axe] following a season of PR blunders for which the owners must share responsibility.

    Q) After the worst PR campaign of any EPL club in living memory, how did this ‘genius’ Cotton last until the near end of the season?

  13. Roberto Senyera says:

    Q) Who’s the next person to take the fall for Kenny?

    My guess is the tea lady.

  14. Roberto – you are correct 2:00 pm EST not noon – noon Mountain

  15. Ed Gomes says:

    King Kenny will somehow remain. The Chelsea win will get blown out of proportion. We’ll start to hear about how the lads came together at the end and the club had a strong finish.
    In reality;
    – they lost the FA Cup
    – their losing streak, which came in the final 10 league matches is longer than any winning streak, all season.
    – even if they defeat Swansea they will finish worst than last year.
    All’s good.

    Oh, oh, Wenger stating how Europa League is important. I guess for just in case.
    I for one, agree with him. It should be taken more seriously by EPL clubs. But for Arsenal, it would a huge let down. Luckily for them Harry was at the helm.
    Let’s not forget manager Terry didn’t take over until late on. Then again many would say Terry was anger all along and actually got his desired results all season.

    Incredible job by Dortmund. Heads will roll at Bayern.

  16. Roberto Senyera says:

    See. I told you guys it would be as easy as pie.

    Kun just wanted to see Mancini sweat and to get Old Red Nose all excited before he pulled the rug from under him.

    I swear, a Hollywood script writer couldn’t have written it any better. Seeing those dastardly red Mancs lose the title in the last 90 seconds on goal difference fills my heart with glee.

    I loathe Man IOU.

    I love the Glazers. Give us two more decades (minimum) of their fine ownership at The Swamp.

  17. Roberto Senyera says:

    Sad to see my second team in La Liga, the Yellow Submarine, get torpedoed down into the Segunda Division today 🙁

    Last year they finished fourth and eventually qualified to play in the UCL group stages. This year they finished 18th and got relegated. That’s a bi-polar team if there ever was one.

    At least Santi Cazorla finished fourth both seasons 🙂

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