I hate the third day of a four day weekend. Four day weekends always seem to start out with a bang. It’s like a Wednesday night and you’re going out with friends because you have the next day off! Then before you know it Friday has come and gone. And then you’re sitting there on a Saturday with a massive hangover and you can suddenly see Monday on the horizon. Filled with dread, you scan your mind for some way to make the day last longer.
If you choose to mow the lawn, turn to page 23. If you decide to take a nap instead, turn to page 6.
You lay your head down on your pillow and try to take a nap but some smell keeps bothering you. In a fit of pique you spend 30 minutes playing “where’s that smell” before realizing it’s your pillow. You should have mowed the lawn. If you choose to mow the lawn turn to page 23. If you choose instead to wash your filthy bedding turn to page 17.
And that’s how I clean my house, choose your own adventure style.
Anyway, there’s not much going on Arsenal-wise this morning. Yaya Sanogo scored for France and probably should have had two off a great cross on a breakaway but for a mis-timed kick. It was clear he was trying to do too much with the ball, probably lift it rather than just poke it in. I already saw some tweets about how he was “Gervaise Sanogo” but just a few minutes of watching him run channels, spray passes, hold the ball, and makes adroit runs was all I needed to see that he’s probably a better option at center forward than Gervinho or Chamakh. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see, he’s very raw. He reminds me of the good things I liked about Adebayor. Let’s hope he doesn’t have any of the bad things.
Anyway, I wanted to leave you with some stats that I made up. In thinking about measuring a forward’s efficiency I went back through the last 5 months of the Premier League season (January-May) and marked down all of the game winners. That means any player who scored the goal that broke the tie +1. So, for example, in the 4-1 win over Wigan, it’s Arsenal’s second goal which is the winner. That one was scored by Theo Walcott in the 63rd minute.
I tend to try to find elegant or simple stats when possible, but there is another option, which is to assess goals based on the time the goal is scored cross referenced with the percentage of those goals that win games. So, again going back to that 4-1 win, Podolski scored the third in the 68th minute and it’s common for us to say things like “that put the game to bed” or after Ramsey’s goal in the 71st minute, to say, “that really put the game out of reach”. So which one is the real winner? Is Walcott’s goal more valuable than the others?
I tend to think so, but how much more valuable is debatable.
Anyway, I compiled all the game winning goal scorers from January to May and there were a few surprises.
First, remember that we are only talking about Premier League games here. Second, I chopped off all the players who only won 1 game because they would have made my graphic unbearable!
With that in mind, you can see that Bale scored 6 game-winning goals in Tottenham’s last 18 games. They only won 10 of their last 18 games, meaning a Bale goal won 60% of their games in the run in. I bet if I count goals that earn a tie (down a goal and he gets the tie) that number goes up even higher — and assists as well. He probably won all of their games.
Arsenal meanwhile, had 19 matches from January to May and won 12. A Cazorla goal won three, Giroud two, Walcott two, and Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Podolski, and Rosicky won one each. Cazorla also had 6 assists in that run, though I can’t tell how many were “game winning” because I haven’t looked, plus, I kind of hate the way some places count assists. Just because I pass someone the ball and they score 10 seconds later does not mean that the pass deserves an “assist.”
Another thing you may have noticed (because I highlighted it!) is that Gerrard won three games for Liverpool in their run in and all three were penalties. Conspicuous in his absence is Luis Suarez who won Liverpool ZERO games in the run in. I have no idea why this guy gets so much hype. Honestly. Any time I look at any stats with Suarez he comes up looking like a ball hog who doesn’t win you games: he misses more shots than anyone, he loses out on more dribbles than anyone else, he turns the ball over a ton, and he didn’t win Liverpool a single game in their push to 4th (partially because he was suspended for the last 4 games of the season FOR BITING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING).
Another interesting wrinkle in all this is that a Rooney goal won Man U 3 games and Robin van Persie’s goals in the last half the season only won 1. Van Persie got all the credit for the trophy but it was a real team effort from United with Rooney helping more than van Persie according to this metric.
Anyway, just something I was playing around with on a Saturday. Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have to go mow the lawn.