Sunday, October 4, 2009

English Premier League Review - Matchday 7.5

My in-laws made a late decision to visit this weekend and for the next couple days, plus I am getting ready for the World Cup Qualification articles, so I'll be quick with this.

Arsenal 6 - 2 Blackburn
Bolton 2 - 2 Tottenham
Burnley 2 - 1 Birmingham
Chelsea 2 - 0 Liverpool
Everton 1 - 1 Stoke
Hull 2 - 1 Wigan
Man Utd 2 - 2 Sunderland
West Ham 2 - 2 Fulham
Wolverhampton 0 - 1 Portsmouth

I watched a lot of Manchester United - Sunderland, which to be honest I wasn't expecting. I hadn't seen Sunderland play this season, but based on their results and how well Man U had played I thought it would be the kind of match where non-Manchester United fans such as myself would quickly change the channel. I was pleasantly surprised with the way the match went as well as with Sunderland's play. They were definitely the better team out there and deserved the three points. United fans should, and based on what I've read do, feel fortunate with the result even though it is two points less than they expected Friday night.

The other match I watched in was Chelsea - Liverpool. I only saw the second half, but in my view Chelsea simply outclassed the scousers. Torres and Gerrard both looked lost out there and it seemed liked Chelsea controlled play. Based on what I've read of the match it seems like Liverpool were better in the first half, so I guess I caught the bad half for them. They certainly can't play like they did in the second and still be in the hunt for the title.

The only other match that I feel warrants a comment is Wolverhampton losing at home to Portsmouth. While that is Portsmouth's first points of the season, it puts them just four back of the Wanderers. That should make the relegation battle more interesting.


Arsenal? Really?

One of my fears with putting up my rankings this early is that I would turn away readers because things could look ludicrous. While I am exaggerating a bit, this is one of those cases. I think Arsenal are a good team and fully expect them to finish in one of the 4 Champions League spots with a great shot at the top 3, which sends a team automatically to the group stage. Them winning the league I don't expect, but it wouldn't be the biggest surprise. None the less, I think them in the top spot demonstrates the downside of these sorts of rankings at this stage of the season.

The rankings say the following: if we played a full season (starting over) at the level the results thus far have indicated, then what would be the expected goal differential for each team? Their results thus far have been unsustainably good from a goal-differential perspective. They've played 3 home matches, admittedly against mediocre or worse opponents, and won 4-0, 4-1 and 6-2. Away from home they have a 1-6 win over Everton, a 2-1 loss at Old Trafford, a 4-2 loss at Man City and a 0-1 win at Fulham. So they've had spectacular home results, one similarly ridiculous away win, and three away matches that don't look great or bad. At some point it's inevitable that they will have some "bad" matches and only beat weak opponents by a goal. At that point they will take a serious dive in the eyes of the model and their ranking will be closer to where they probably are. Then again, I suppose it's possible that they really are this good at scoring. I think this is extremely unlikely though. At some point if they keep putting up 4+ goals just about every match we'll have to give them credit for being a ridiculously good team at scoring, but that day is still several matches off.

No comments:

Post a Comment