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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Numbers Game

Football used to be about playing a game every weekend. Dull perhaps but nice and simple. Two points for a win and one for a draw - no transfer windows where you have to keep track of how much we've spent that we haven't got and no worrying about Work Permits where someone pays for us and then has to go home again.

Nowadays its all about numbers. Huge numbers. Chelsea spend £130 million of old Russian money and some guy called Rio F gets paid £120,000 per week just for strolling about. He must be good. Even the ex-England manager Sven, though he´s presently not working of course, is being paid by our very own FA a cool £13,000 a DAY till sometime next year. Less than Rio I know but at least Sven can get his lying down. Lying down on who I don't pretend to know.
But until Chelski manage to change the rules, its still 11 players against 11 and its therefore refreshing to see that Martin O´Neill can change Aston Villa from being odds-on for relegation to a team in mid-table in a matter of weeks. Thats one less team below us then.

So to make us all feel just a little bit better, I thought I´d look at the stats from last weekends games to see if any numbers can be made to look good for us. At a loose end and clearly bored with life I decided to add up all the players scores awarded in Mondays Guardian and found that we totalled 65 for the team. Adding up the rest I found that only 4 teams, Bolton, West Ham, Arsenal and Liverpool, of the eighteen teams playing over the weekend had less. Rather worryingly, in the top six scorers were Watford and Sheff. Utd with 73 and 71 respectively. What does it all mean?

Who were our top scoring players, you might be asking? Jimmy-Floyd, Scott Carson and Brian Hughes all got 7 out of 10. JF against his former club, Scott for his many saves including the penalty from Lampard and the indefatigable Hughes desperately fighting for his place with Omar presumably watching from the wings.

On a brighter note, our high-scoring "passing" score of 78% presumably means that we at least completed most of our passing. In fact, only 3 teams, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manure had a higher passing score.

Our total shots was rather less impressive with 5. So despite our successful passing, presumably mosting backwards, only one team, Middlesbro, at Arsenal, managed less shots. Spurs equalled us with 5 shots at Old Trafford thus adequately demonstrating the 3 most difficult places to visit are Arsenal, Manure and Chelski.

And Monica´s request prior to the game to be horrible obviously wasn´t read by the players as our total number of fouls – 9 - was only bettered (!) by those nice boys at Arsenal who had 8.

Everton, in their derby with Liverpool, get the award for top performance of the week. They had the highest player total score of 79, the most fouls 23, only managed 6 shots but scored from half of them and the highest number of goals scored 3.

Not to be taken seriously, of course, this is all very objective and suspect and please don't encourage the kids to do it as they really should be doing something more constructive.

And to add to the confusion, the sportinglife comes up with different numbers, giving us different shot totals - obviously two of our "off-target" shots were rather near the corner flag and therefore didn't qualify.

Searching for other numbers to cheer us up I found that Blackburn, Sheff. Utd and Man. City are all having trouble scoring, as they´ve all only scored once in their 4 games. Spurs and Arsenal have only scored twice each. This seems to be one statistic that doesn´t lie, the teams scoring the most goals, Manure, Portsmouth, Everton and Chelsea all sit at the top of the league.

But at least Monica´s more adventurous 4-4-2 is getting us goals. In fact, in the bottom half of the table only Middlesbro have scored more goals than we have, although to further illustrate that nothing comes cheaply we both also have the biggest minus goal difference.

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