Focusing More on All Things FPL

I’ve been blogging here since August 2011, starting as a blog on the Fantasy Premier League and moving slowly to a link blog on the Premier League and stats based analysis.

Since starting I’ve moved the Fantasy based writing over to All Things FPL, where I write with a fantastic group of bloggers.

I’ve got a full time job and three kids so I can’t keep up writing on two sites in my spare time. So this blog will go on a much slower posting schedule. It will perhaps be a couple of times per week, perhaps even less.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out All Things FPL for your dose of Fantasy Football writing.

Manchester United’s Soft Underbelly

Dustin Ward for Statsbomb:

A couple interesting observations: Manchester United’s soft underbelly shows up here, nearly the easiest to complete passes against in this area and then allow nearly the highest shots/pass of any team. Those are simply unacceptably bad rates for a team with their payroll. Dortmund allow the fewest completions per game, yet when they are completed they were converted into shots at the 4th highest rate. This makes me think there is very high pressure on the players attempting the pass and maybe higher risk defending on the recipient.

West Ham Signs Angelo Ogbonna from Juventus

Carlo Campo for The Score:

Ogbonna, who joined Juventus from its eternal rival Torino two years ago, made 25 Serie A appearances last season, averaging 3.3 clearances, 1.4 interceptions, and 1.2 tackles per game, while recording the team’s best individual pass completion rate at 89.46 percent. Juventus lost just three of the 41 Serie A games in which he was deployed.

Mexico 6-0 Cuba

Michael Cummings for Bleacher Report:

Six goals scored, one overmatched opponent beaten and one victory down in the quest to reclaim the CONCACAF Gold Cup crown. Mexico dominated Cuba 6-0 on Thursday night at Chicago’s Soldier Field in both teams’ tournament opener, but while the result was a positive step after a poor recent run of results, the conclusions were minimal for El Tri and coach Miguel Herrera.

Fenerbahçe Sign Robin van Persie from Manchester United

BGN News:

Fenerbahçe will pay Manchester United a total of GBP 6.5 million while the Dutch international player will get more than the GBP 240,000 weekly wage he had at Old Trafford. The Dutch international underwent a medical check on Thursday afternoon in London.

That’s quite the wage package the Turkish team is offering. No wonder they are getting all these players in.

Sevilla Sign Steven N’Zonzi from Stoke City

Jack Pitt-Brooke for The Independent:

Sevilla’s signing of Steven N’Zonzi from Stoke City for £7m shows again what has been clear for a while: that they are almost as good as Atletico Madrid at recruiting and refreshing their squad while maintaining their same distinctive, successful style of play.

USA 2-1 Honduras

From the MLS website:

Thanks to the head of forward Clint Dempsey, the US national team kicked off their 2015 Gold Cup slate by earning three points in a 2-1 win Tuesday night over Honduras at Toyota Stadium.

Toby Alderweireld Signs for Tottenham from Atlético Madrid

Dustin Menno for Cartilage Free Captain:

The particulars of the deal, which were not confirmed by either club, are said to be for £10m plus an additional £1.5m in add-ons, with the Belgian center back accepting wages over £50k per week. Alderweireld joins a (currently) crowded stable of center back options for Spurs, but has the quality to straight away be in contention to play alongside Jan Vertonghen as Spurs’ first choice center half. Alderweireld was keen to join Spurs in order to play alongside his fellow Belgium national teammates Vertonghen, Nacer Chadli, and Mousa Dembele, and he credited the Belgian trio with his initial interest in signing for Spurs.

Great signing. Will be a boost to the Spurs defence.

Sporting Lisbon sign Bryan Ruiz from Fulham

Liam Happe for Eurosport:

On a serious note, Ruiz really is a class player and moving to a league with less of a spotlight on it, as well as a team which has focused on technical proficiency for many years, should be a good fit for him. Hopefully this is the boon his career needed after the Fulham switch, which, while promising at first, fell on its face thanks in part to the troubles the club have had.

Great player. Pity he was stuck at Fulham during their crisis. Also, love the £43 million release clause.

Nani Signs for Fenerbahçe

Andy Brassell for ESPN FC:

If that surreal scene goes some way to reflecting the level of fanaticism among Turkish football fans, this was on another level. Even if Nani’s stock at Manchester United fell considerably, his arrival means something. It’s important to Fenerbahce fans, of course, but it is also writing new international headlines for a league whose reputation has taken something of a battering in recent years, against a backdrop of violence and corruption.

Barcelona Buy Arda Turan from Atlético Madrid

Savi Marquez at Total Barca:

To answer this question, we first have to look at the current circumstances, those in which Arda will start to play his football in Barcelona; that is if he makes the move, given the unprecedented clause included in the agreement with Atlético. Number one, Barcelona is a team that is coming off the back of a historic treble win, with its coaches having worked hard to find a winning formula and polish it to perfection. Number two, with Xavi Hernández’s departure, Barcelona have lost a midfield metronome, a player with an uncanny ability to take over proceedings in midfield singlehandedly. And number three, because of the FIFA ban, Arda Turan will have to wait until January 2016 to play for his new club.

Southampton Sign Cuco Martina from AC Twente

The Curacao international has signed a two-year deal at St Mary’s after boss Ronald Koeman revealed on Monday that a move for the 25-year-old was close.

With left-back Ryan Bertrand having undergone knee surgery, Martina will now link up with his new team-mates for a pre-season tour of Austria knowing there is a chance to establish himself in Koeman’s side before the new Premier League season kicks off.

Martina’s versatility also appears to have convinced Koeman to once again return to the Eredivisie to strengthen his ranks.

FPL Rotations

Tommy at All Things FPL:

A rotation pair is two clubs whose fixtures when combined provide a sustainable fixture route as the gameweeks progress. Often these can be found as home rotation pairs where two clubs alternate their home fixtures to provide a fantasy manager with a position in their starting XI that is always at home. Used predominantly in defence, rotation pairs can be seen as the cornerstone of any squad as these pairs barring injury can be left alone allowing fantasy managers to prioritise their transfers on more important matters such as transferring in the surprise package, big hitters with the upcoming fixtures or players who have displayed incredible previous form.

“Persuading a Nation Finally to Fall in Love with Women’s Football”

Louise Taylor for The Guardian:

England arrived in Canada in search of a new identity and departed with that wish fulfilled. The pride of Lionesses that left London as near-anonymous figures in late May will attract plenty of second glances as they make their way back through passport control at Heathrow on Monday morning.

After persuading a nation finally to fall in love with women’s football and, they hope, inspiring an entire new generation of young female players, Mark Sampson’s squad are suddenly household names. England’s coach described his team’s 1-0 defeat of Germany – a side the Lionesses had never beaten in 31 years of internationals – as “awesome” and “amazing”.

Odenheimer on Shot-Takers and Shot-Makers

Max Odenheimer, writing at Statsbomb, on Shot-Takers and Shot-Makers:

What happens when you stick a bunch of high-usage players (shot-makers) on a team together? Basketball fans might know this as the ‘Miami Heat Conondrum’, but football has its own ‘super-friends’…

This is what happened when Luis Suarez joined Lionel Messi and Neymar in Barcelona:

Together, they took less shots, yet scored more goals. In other words, they scored more efficiently.


Chile’s Crowd All Flagged Up

Ryan Rosenblatt for Fusion Soccer Gods:

You might guess that the country is excited. As in “blow the top off the damn place” excited. The Estadio Nacional will be absolutely insane before and during the match. And now, the stadium will also make for quite the visual thanks to a local businessman who paid for 40,000 Chile flags to be given out to every single person at the match.

Chile Win the Copa América

Jonathan Wilson for The Guardian:

After 99 years, it came down to Alexis Sánchez against Sergio Romero from 12 yards. The Arsenal forward attempted a Panenka, scuffed it badly, and scored anyway as the goalkeeper dived to his left. Misses from Gonzalo Higuaín and Éver Banega in the shootout proved decisive and, finally, Chile, one of the four participants at the inaugural Copa América, had a first international trophy. For Argentina the drought goes on: 22 years since their last trophy and an increasing sense that this gifted generation of players will remain unfulfilled.

Alexis Sánchez’s penalty secured the win after an intense scoreless game. There was not much in it, but I felt Chile were deserved winners after 120 minutes.

England 1-0 Germany

Adam Wells for Bleacher Report:

This was a huge steppingstone win for England’s women. The national squad led by Sampson has been building to this kind of moment for a long time, making it to the quarterfinals in 2007 and 2011. One wrong bounce in the semifinal is all that kept it out of the title game.

Having finally finished in the top three and conquering Germany in the process proves that England is on the right track and will be a force in the years to come. For now, though, it’s time to let the women on this roster celebrate their moment.

Chelsea Sign One Year Loan Deal for Radamel Falcao

Rob Parker for Off the Post:

Falcao, aged 29, endured a difficult campaign at Old Trafford as he fought back from a serious knee injury suffered at the start of 2014.

He failed to find the form that had earn him a reputation as one of the best strikers in European football during his stint with United, which led to Louis van Gaal’s side declining to take up a £42m option to convert his loan into a permanent transfer.

Aston Villa to Sign Idrissa Gueye

Laurie Whitwell for Mail Online:

Idrissa Gueye has passed a medical at Aston Villa and is set to complete his £9million move from Lille next week.

Manager Tim Sherwood played a key role in convincing the box-to-box midfielder to join the club after talks at Bodymoor Heath training ground on Thursday and Friday.

Gueye has agreed terms but Villa must wait on paper work pertaining to the Senegal international’s work permit.

AC Milan Sign Luiz Adriano

Aiden Cusick for 90Min:

Adriano becomes the Rossoneri’s third major summer recruit and second of the day, following in the footsteps of Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca, whose signing is subject to a medical.

The two deals take Milan’s close-season spending to €58m, following the €20m capture or Roma midfielder Andrea Bertolacci last month.

Coverdale on Čech and Goal Prevention

Jimmy Coverdale for BSports Stats Insights:

Improvements here will help Arsenal, as it would it any club. As discussed by Chris Anderson and David Sally in The Numbers Game, a clean sheet was worth almost 2.5 points per match between the 2001/02 and 2010/11 seasons, so they are incredibly valuable, with clubs having to score more than two goals to surpass that value. Last season followed a very similar trend, with clean sheets proving to be almost as valuable as scoring three goals

Even conceding just one goal was again more value than scoring once, with teams averaging 1.95 points per match when allowing just one goal or keeping a clean sheet. Arsenal actually failed to win once last season on the ten occasions when they conceded two goals or more, drawing four and losing six of those games while averaging 2.54 points per match when conceding 0-1 goals.

Arsenal Sign Petr Čech

Russell Davis for BSports Stats Insight:

Arsenal have signed Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, paying a record fee for a goalkeeper at £10.9 million as the Czech Republic international has signed a four-year deal with the club. Arsene Wenger is hoping to solve Arsenal’s recent goalkeeping woes on a long-term basis, due in large part to the immature Wojiceich Szczesny and now likely departure of David Ospina. With Petr Cech’s stellar track record at Chelsea, winning four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Champions League, and a slew of decorated personal achievements, how will the Czech fare sporting the red and white of Arsenal Football Club?

Japan 2-1 England

Tony Leighton for The Telegraph:

England’s Women’s World Cup dream was ended in heartbreaking fashion as a stoppage time own goal by the Notts County central defender Laura Bassett handed Japan victory.

Attempting to cut out a pass into the penalty area, Bassett instead sent the ball past the goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and in off the crossbar.

Argentina 6-1 Paraguay

Ben Hayward for

Argentina were due a performance like this. Since throwing away a two-goal lead in the second half of their opening group game against Paraguay in this Copa America 17 days ago, Gerardo Martino’s men had threatened to take teams apart but had not quite managed it.

USA 2-0 Germany

Laken Litmanen, reporting for USA Today, on USA’s win against Germany to take them to the World Cup final:

The U.S. back line has been nothing but phenomenal all tournament, and against the most dangerous offense its seen with attackers like Celia Sasic and Anja Mittag, it held a team with 20 goals this World Cup to zero.

Becky Sauerbrunn controlled the middle and directed the rest of the defense. Julie Johnston played freely and Meghan Klingenberg and Ali Krieger owned the flanks.

Sweden Win U21European Championships

John Brewin for ESPN FC:

Portugal’s tear-soaked misery will take a while to abate since the best team in the Czech Republic blew it. Instead, the team with the best organisation and highest level of collective endeavour celebrated becoming continental champions. Sweden defended from the front, where the muscle of John Guidetti unsettled the calm that Portugal’s defenders had enjoyed in their four previous matches. Captain Oscar Hiljemark in midfield and Alexander Milosevic in defence formed an indomitable spine.

“They Are Romantics No More”

Jonathan Wilson for The Guardian:

They haven’t played anybody good enough yet to confirm the sense of insecurity has gone but the idea that Chile represent some sort of noble ideal certainly is no more. Sampaoli has always been an irascible coach, forever barking at linesmen and referees, as his disciplinary record while at Universidad de Chile showed, but this tournament has demonstrated a level of expediency that removes the sheen from Chile. That’s not to say they’re any more Machiavellian than anybody else but it is a little disappointing to realise they’re no different.

Chile 2-1 Peru

Rik Sharma for Bleacher Report:

The numbers don’t show it, but Chile were lucky to reach the Copa America Final after a weak performance in a 2-1 win over rivals Peru on Monday.

Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal were off their games, just as they were in the quarter-final against Uruguay. And if a team’s two biggest stars don’t shine, it means trouble.

Chile versus Argentina would be a fantastic final.

“Fundamental Differences in Perspective”

Doug Bolton and Mark Critchley for The Independent:

Nigel Pearson has been sacked by Leicester City, according to a statement posted to the club’s website.

Leicester said that the Board of Directors recognised the success that Pearson has brought to the club, but added that “fundamental differences in perspective” had made his position “no longer viable”.