Got stepped on eight times playing soccer but my team won!
Truck got broken into (AGAIN!) and wallet stolen 100 yards from where I was playing soccer.
But they didn’t steal my phone!
So, I canceled all my credit cards and jacked $100 out of my daughter’s wallet, which I will pay back, I SWEAR.
Watched Deadpool, which is a great film and a lot of fun!
Had a meeting with my mom, where she basically asked her children for money. Irony.
Had a great dinner at my sister’s house!
Stopped at the store and apparently my phone fell out of my jacket.
Got drunk and made an ass of myself!
I want a reboot of yesterday.
I want a reboot of this presidential race.
I want a reboot of this Premier League season.
In the hallway at work I have a constant reminder that John Terry and Steven Gerrard once slipped, fell, and lost their team a trophy. It’s a large yellow cone that says “Caution: wet floor” and several years ago I crossed out “wet floor” and wrote “John Terry”. I did that after John Terry slipped and fell with his penalty kick in the Champions League Final in 2008.
That joke lasted until 2014 when Steven Gerrard miscontrolled a simple pass, tried to recover, slipped, fell, and let Chelsea’s Demba Ba in on goal, where he scored, and thus prevented Liverpool from winning their first tile since the 90s.
At my real job, twice a month, the entire staff convenes for an hour to talk about work. There is no set agenda and no one person takes charge of the meetings. Instead, we have rotating job duties: less than once a year, for a month, every staff member gets to be the one who sets the agenda.
This results in my favorite moment of every month, the “I forgot we had a meeting and I’m in charge of the meetings, does anyone have an agenda item for this afternoon?” email. Oh yes, every month, on the first Tuesday, we get this email:
My followers are largely in the positive camp. We all, to a person, respect and understand what Arsene Wenger has given our club. When he retires he won’t need a statue at Arsenal because the Emirates Stadium is the monument to his legacy.
Wenger has consistently managed to keep Arsenal in the Champions League and as a result has also built up a massive cash reserve at Arsenal, £150,000,000. That’s an enormous sum. The Stadium only cost £390m to build, so, that cash reserve is 38% of the total cost of a new stadium. And that’s cash on hand before the season tickets are renewed and before the new TV deals are accounted for. Arsenal could have £200m easily this summer. And Arsenal are going to need that money because Arsenal are an ageing football club.
What we do is what we do
It’s all the same, there’s nothing new
What we do is what we do
It’s turnin’ ’round on me and you
What we do is what we do
Just different names, it’s nothing new
What we do is what we do
‘Cause all we do is what we do
I’ve been writing about Arsenal for eight years. And in that time, a type of comment has appeared in the comments section of almost every blog post after an Arsenal loss from here to Arseblog, and it goes something like
“More of the same from Arsene Wenger: irrationally placing his faith in weak players, who then put in an insipid performance in a
Seeing the muddy patches offered up by West Ham, Sunderland, Norwich, and Leicester, this morning I flew the confines of the Premier League and sought out greener pitches. In short, I watched Wolfsburg host Bayern Munich.
It wasn’t my first ever Bundesliga match but I was reminded of the differences in playing style between the two leagues. Where the Premier League puts a premium on the “pace” (by which they mean “acceleration”) and “power” (by which they mean “physicality”) of the game, the Bundesliga seems to reward technique and discipline.
One isn’t better than the other and no one is saying that the Premier League lacks talent or discipline or the Bundesliga lacks speed and power. The two leagues are simply slightly different.
Well aware that football fans rarely talk about the actual football matches and would rather discuss ticket prices, kickoff times, sponsorship deals, television money, player transfers, UEFA corruption, FIFA corruption, the latest Oasis album, whether some player they have never seen play football would be a star, whither Arteta’s legs, if such and such blog is culturally relevant, banter, formations, tactics, twitter, fancy dress, betting, injuries, announced attendance, player’s wives, and “the good old days” when players took showers in the local hotel and rode the trains home with the fans, Multinational Multimedia Real Estate Development and Player Exchange Firm Arsenal (formerly Arsenal Football Club) sought to distract readers from a spate of poor results on the pitch and released their latest financial results.
Stop me if you’ve heard this already: Arsenal aren’t converting their shots. In fact at this pace Arsenal could finish the season with the fewest goals in Wenger’s tenure, the lowest shot conversion rate, and the highest number of shots per goal in 16 years.
The chant among the Arsenal faithful goes “49, 49 undefeated. 49, 49, I say. 49, 49, undefeated. Playing football the Arsenal way!” That chant was forged in the era between 2001 and 2005 when Arsenal were the best team in England.
In that period, Arsenal won two League titles (01/02 and 03/04) and probably should have won three consecutive titles but for an epic collapse at the end of the 02/03 season. To top off the run, in 2003/04, as you know unless you’ve been in a stasis chamber on the way to LV-426, Arsenal went an entire season undefeated. In the 2004/05 season,
I have written over three thousand posts on this site and I feel like I have written this post a thousand times: poor finishing and errors have left Arsenal once again saying “what if?”
Arsene Wenger set the team up for success. Arsenal weren’t just sitting in two banks of four, they were controlling space. It wasn’t a full-bore press, probably because Wenger knew that if his team pressed, Barcelona would be able to break his lines. Instead, whenever Barcelona got the ball, the team moved as a unit to ensnare the man with the ball and force him to pass to a less dangerous option.
This whole plan, however, hinges on patience. If you set your team up that way, you’re waiting for the opposition to make a mistake, then you pounce.
You already know how Arsenal are going to play Barcelona: sit deep, hit them on the counter. It’s a plan Wenger has used against them for almost a decade and it’s almost worked each time, almost.
For example, 2006. What if Arsenal had held on to the 1-0 lead in Paris and won the Champions League in 2006? Despite being a man down, thanks to a foul by German keeper Jens Lehmann, Sol Campbell put the Gunners ahead with a magnificent header off a Thierry Henry free kick. Arsenal then held that lead for 40 minutes, a man down, against one of the best teams in world football.
Even within that game there were so many what ifs? What if Lehmann had just conceded the goal instead of fouling Eto’o? What if Wenger hadn’t subbed off Pires and instead taken off Hleb? What if Thierry Henry converted from a chance
Wenger described Hull as basically a Premier League team because they have so many former Premier League players and he’s right in that regard and another: they will probably make the Premier League at the end of the season. That means they are a dangerous opponent and could win a match like this.
Hull lead the Championship in goal difference not only because they score a lot of goals (third best) but because they have the second best defense in the Championship.
Expect them to defend first and hit Arsenal on the counter with Championship’s leading goal scorer Abel Hernandez.
Hernandez isn’t a great aerial threat (he only wins 0.8 aerial duels per game) and isn’t a back to goal forward, nor a great dribbler (one every two games)
Riyad Mahrez joined Leicester in January 2014 for £400k from French League 2 side Le Havre.
Mahrez helped the Foxes gain promotion to the Premier League, scoring 3 goals and providing a further 4 assists in 19 appearances.
Riyad’s first season in the Premier League was below average in terms of finishing but his production was high; he played 2084 minutes and scored just 4 goals and provided 3 assists but took or created 3.6 shots per game and made a respectable 2.6 dribbles per game.
He has played just 2031 minutes this season and has scored 14 goals and provided 10 assists, takes or creates 4.2 shots per game, and dribbles 3.2 times per game.
It looks like his chart only goes up to 2014 but I ran the numbers and this season the Premier League is at a historical low of 21.3 fouls per game. That’s counting both fouls for and fouls against.
What’s the difference? Well, it depends on your perspective.
For example, in a Valencia match this season, in La Liga play, on average there have been 32.8 fouls called per game. If we say that football lasts about 95 minutes per game, then that’s a stoppage less than every 3 minutes. Compared to the Premier League where we are getting a stoppage every
I got very little this morning in the way of insight. I probably need a few days to recharge the phaser banks.
The outflux of players continues to China as Nikica Jelavich makes a £2m move from West Ham to second division Chinese side Beijing Renhe. Salaries aren’t discussed but it’s such a weird move that I have to think Jelavich is only going there for the money.
Jackson Martinez was taken in January, for Euros 42m. That’s such a crazy amount of money to pay for a player of such limited ability. Martinez isn’t the only player, Obafemi Martins, Teixeira, Ramires (Chelsea), and many others are making the jump to the Chinese league.
“And therein lies the whole of man’s plight. Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.”
On my bedside, in a pile of books I have read and intend to read again is The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera’s love story slash philosophical debate on the nature of time with Nietzsche.
I will admit to having never read a single sentence of any book by Nietzsche. I have, however, read several analyses of The Unbearable Lightness of Being and in those writings I discovered Kundera’s argument.
Nietzsche believed that each life is infinite. That I have ocurred an infinite number of times in the past and will continue to occur an infinite number of times in the future. That every decision I make has had an infinite number Continue reading “The unbearable lightness of refereeing”
“We need to stop at Safeway” I say, “I need some wine.”
“What for?” She looks up at me as I park the car. Her eyes are huge, like she is worried about something.
“Just for the steak. To deglaze the pan. I forgot to get some earlier.” I unbuckle my seatbelt.
“Dad, why do people drink wine?”
“Uhh.. lots of reasons: it tastes good, it makes you feel good.” I laugh a little.
“You’re not going to put wine all over my food are you?”
Hahha.. “no, baby,” she likes to climb out my side, so she clambers over the center console and throws herself at me “that would probably be illegal.” She’s so small for a 7 year old that I can still lift her easily, though I have to let out an oof air when she crashes into me this Continue reading “Arsenal v. Leicester: Valentine’s Day Booze”
‘The weakest premier league ever’ is being thrown around simply because an unfashionable side have established a gap at the top, and traditional ‘powerhouses’ (IE those with bottomless pockets who would have been liquidated long ago if they were actually run like proper businesses) are floundering somewhat. It simply isn’t true. The fact is middling teams are stronger than ever due to the influx of television money and sponsorship deals; now, more than ever before, with a couple of exceptions (Villa, possibly Sunderland) anybody is capable of beating anybody else on their day. That in itself does not make the league weak, you could make a viable case for the opposite viewpoint – that it’s never been so strong.
We all follow the Arsenal; over land and sea (and Leicester!) — traditional
With a five point lead in the table Leicester City are on the verge of being crowned English Champions. First they need to beat Arsenal, the only team who have handed them a convincing defeat this season, and also one of their only real title rivals. But if they beat Arsenal, the remaining twelve games of the season should be a victory march for the little club from Leicester. And if they are crowned champions, Leicester will be the luckiest team to ever win a Premier League title.
What makes the Leicester story so unique is that they were bottom of the table last December and they are top of the table this February, that in itself is simply never done. In the modern era, where teams are built to win with vast sums of money
I know I promised yesterday that I would talk about the other teams in the title hunt, Tottenham and Man City but I have run out of time for that post. So, instead, I’m going to write that tomorrow. If you take nothing else from this post take this: Sunday is a title decider for Arsenal, win and they have a chance; lose and they are out of it.
Right now the gap between Arsenal and Leicester is 5 points and there are 13 games left to play. If Arsenal lose on Sunday that gap goes to 8 points and 12 games left to play. So, what? You think, 8 points is easily overcome.
This is what I want you to take away from this post: it’s not the most consistent team who wins the League, it’s the most consistently over performing team who win the League. And right now, the most consistently over performing team in the League is Leicester City.
Now what I mean by “over performing” is specifically about conversion rates. “Finishing” in football parlance. The team that is most consistently beating the average finishing rate typically wins the League.
Last season, teams finished 9.5% of all shots taken. Chelsea won the League and lead all teams with a 13% finishing rate. Chelsea also had the best 18 yard box conversion rate (minus penalties) with 15%, League Average was 11%. And Chelsea had the best 6 yard box finishing rate of 45%, while League average was 31%.
The season before Liverpool actually led the League in bulk conversion with 14.