Squawka: Four Bits of Squawking

Hello again! After more than a month without updating the blog, I’m back again, to write a quick ‘what I’ve been up to’ blog post.

Over the Christmas period I’ve written four stats-based articles for Squawka, one of them written while obeying the writer’s stereotype of being very tipsy and having a drink in my hand.

Before Liverpool played Manchester City, I compared David Silva and Philippe Coutinho, the flair players dribbling in from the left for both sides.

Click here to read David Silva v Coutinho

Also on Liverpool, I looked at the style of play and impact of Liverpool’s Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson at Liverpool, asking if, between them, they could compensate for the missing Steven Gerrard.

Click here to read Why Liverpool’s Midfield Are Proving They Can Cope Without Most Creative Red

On Boxing Day, I covered the Tottenham v West Brom match for Squawka, taking a statistical look at the events leading to a 1-1 draw in Timothy Sherwood’s first match as Tottenham’s permanent manager.

Click here to read Tottenham 1-1 West Brom

I haven't done any research, but I assume Tim was named after the forest. It can't be a coincedence.
I haven’t done any research, but I assume Tim was named after the forest. It can’t be a coincedence.

And finally, published on the 27th, I took a look at three players who the Express reckon Manchester United are trying to sign – Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus, Atletico Madrid’s Koke, and Southampton’s Adam Lallana. (This is the piece I wrote when tipsy, which might be evident by the fact that  one point I asked the reader “who do you think you’re looking at? Eh? Eh?”. Or maybe I got away with it.)

Click here to read Moyes Wishlist? Three Hugely Talented Superstars Who Could Join Man Utd.


And that’s my writing elsewhere brought up to date for now – I’ll be writing about other things in the days to come…


The Premier League is Up in The Air

A little earlier in the week, an article I’d written was published by BornOffside.

Following the abdication of Alex Ferguson, not just from the manager’s office at Manchester United, but as the working figure with the greatest influence over the English game, that role is now up for grabs.

Will Moyes, who’s never won a trophy, rise to the extra pressure? Will Mourinho recreate his earlier success at Chelsea? How will Andre Vilas-Boas and Brendan Rogers build on impressive but mixed first years at their clubs?

For years, the idea of Alex Ferguson and Manchester United being on top seemed to be the default status quo – if they didn’t win the title one year, the feeling was that they would next year.

But now, there is the possibility of real change. The landscape of English football could look very different this time next year.

Who will claim this trophy next year?
Who will claim this trophy next year?

This was before the fixture list revealed that Manchester United would play Chelsea on the opening day, and Arsenal made an ambitious move to sign Gonzalo Higuain – if anything, the points I made have been underlined since.

Click here to read Who Will Set the Standards for the Premier League?


Squawka: Lukas Podolski & Nani’s 12-13 Seasons

Over at Squawka, I’ve just written two articles, both of which went up on Thursday.

With Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski a year into his career at the Emirates, a year in which he’s scored a pretty respectable 11 goals, bids have come in, from Borrussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid.

I took a statistical look at Podolski’s season, his strengths and weaknesses, as well as his style.

Click here to read Podolski Rubbishes Transfer Speculation But Should Arsenal Consider A Bid?

The Two Subjects, Coming Together
The Two Subjects I Wrote About, Coming Together

Also, with Manchester United’s Nani being linked with bids from Monaco and Galatasary, I took a look at how he’s performed this past season. I was surprised how often he was available but not selected in the big matches, and how long he’d been out injured.

Click here to read Should Moyes Consider Bid For Perennially Promising Manchester United Winger?


The Truth About Loyalty

News is coming through this lunchtime that Roberto Martinez wants to leave Wigan, shortly after leading them to both the biggest triumph of his career (an FA Cup win) and a biggest relative failure of his short and impressive career (relegation from the Premier League).

It’s easy to look at this as the manager leaving a sinking ship, but the infrastructure will still be pretty good, and Wigan have a number of players who can play ‘the Wigan way’. On the other hand, the next boss will have to work in the shadow left by Martinez’ reputation – he’s almost certainly both the most successful manager in the club’s history, as well as the creator of their most stylish football.

You’d think, on paper, that leaving last summer would have been better for the club, but would it? The new boss would have to take over a club that had punched above it’s weight to a degree, with many people doubting whether Martinez’s record of style and substance could be matched. A sense of decay, of internal division, would almost be inevitable… but the new manager next season will take over a club who have faith in their ability to return to the top flight, and who realise that changes will need to be made, changes that may take time to pay off. So which option is the better really?

Roberto Martinez - The Smiling Spaniard
Roberto Martinez – The Smiling Spaniard

At the other end of the spectrum, Pep Guardiola will inherit a finely tuned Bayern Munich squad, one that has won the league and European Cup, dropping only 11 league points, and will probably be the first German team to win the treble. And, of course, his rivals’ star player is on the way.
But the pressure will be enormous – how can he top his predecessor?

Alex Ferguson has left Manchester United on a high, but David Moyes will need to deal with underperforming wingers, a dissatisfied Wayne Rooney, and a central midfield where only Michael Carrick is anywhere close to being ‘world class’ on a consistent basis. He’ll need to make significant changes, while being careful not to disrupt the winning mentality that’s dragged his new club to titles they shouldn’t have won several times.

So, when’s the least disruptive time to leave? Any option is fraught wih dangers, not just for the manager, but for the club, and the pressures placd on the new man. That’s the truth about loyalty.

This article first appeared at SportLobster at midday on Tuesday 28th.


Squawka: West Brom 5 Manchester United 5

Writing for Squawka, I’ve written a statistical analysis of Sunday’s match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United – a mad game that ended in a five all draw.

Too many more games like that would probably have given him a heart attack.
Too many more games like that would probably have given him a heart attack.

Click here to read my stats-based match report.


Dramatic Endings Good for England

Just a quick post to let you know I’ve written a post on Born Offside.

Today was the day of England’s first Euro 2012 match, and I’ve written a little thing about how the dramatic end to the domestic season could help England. The title was decided on the last day, Chelsea winning the European Cup against the odds, and Wigan going on a late run which was frankly unrealistic and badly written.

Click here to read Dramatic Endings

And, with Euro 2012 firmly underway, we at BornOffside have been covering the matches. My report of the Ukraine Sweden match is now up on the site.

My report of Ukraine vs Sweden