With the exception of a forced change here or there, it would not be a stretch to say Martin Jol has settled on HIS lineup as of late.
And, its interesting to note the name and age of the lineup. Especially when looking at the players who are not playing.
Below are all the players and their ages that saw at list 1 minute of playing time in the last five matches:
|John Arne Riise||30|
When crunching the numbers, our squad age in this span comes out to be:
Standard Deviation: 4.08
It’s worth noting that if we were to exclude Frei’s performance, the average age would jump to 28.9. Just compare that to what we had back in December:
Standard Deviation: 4.95
An easy reason for this uptick in age is the absence of several young players. Kasami hasn’t played (in the league) since Boxing Day (he did play a few minutes in the FA Third Round mauling of Charlton). Orlanda Sa: since that goal-scoring performance at Norwich on New Years Eve. Matty Briggs: that awful Europa-League match against Odense in December, and hasn’t seen the pitch since (he is currently on loan at Peterborough).
And then those youngins that have been playing seem to be when all is lost/won. Marcel Gecov came on in the 84th minute when we were down 3-0 at City. Before that, he hadn’t played since that Odense match.
Kerim Frei’s past two appearances (Sunday, 1/21 vs Newcastle) have been when we’ve had 5 goals on the board, while before that was that damning match at Blackburn where was subbed on…only to be subbed off about 50 minutes later.
So, despite the mandate and although it’s comparing two different sample sizes, the average age of this current squad that’s been playing beautiful football in the past 5 matches is older than the entire squads of the past few seasons. Even Roy’s.
Yet we’ve won three matches in a row for only the third time in 10 years. Go figure.