Okay. Well yesterday we used the power of high level analysis to try to find some players. I had to use some quite high level numbers because that’s all I have, but the thinking felt sound: identify teams who do a certain thing extremely well then try to identify which player might be behind this. Did it work? Who knows, but I enjoyed the process, so I’m back again today with the Championship.
I use standard deviations, which is a statistical measure of dispersion: the further away from the average you get the more unusual the skill. Generally speaking, anything over 2 SDs is pretty amazing. So:
Bournemouth are two standard deviations above average in scoring, shooting and getting shots on target. It’s clearly an attacking setup so hard to pull out individuals, but to be fair the defence is doing pretty well too. Looks like a fine all around team, well coached, and unmistakably for real. How do you pick a player or players blind like this? You can’t.
Middlesbrough are two SDs above average in not conceding, and in not allowing shots on target. They are not quite so good in preventing shots overall (still very good) which suggests that teams rarely get a good sight of goal and that there are men behind the ball doing a very effective job. So, as yesterday, we’ll look for players 27 or under who are in the right areas.
George Friend 27D, recently player of the year (12-13), signed from Doncaster (where he was supporters’ player of the year) with Ipswich and Forest wanting him.
Adam Clayton 26M, Manchester City from age of 7, Leeds in the pedigree, England U20, signed from Huddersfield last year, where he had also been that club’s player of the year
Ben Gibson 22D North East Writers Player of the Year 2014, up through the ranks
Daniel Ayala 24D much touted as a youngster at Liverpool, now apparently playing extremely well for Boro
Norwich look awesome by these measures, good at scoring and shooting, and hardly allowing anyone to shoot against them (2.5 SD above average). The fact that they are shooting a good amount suggests a near absolute control of football matches.
Bradley Johnson 27DM
Nathan Redmond 21AM
Martin Olsson 26D/M
Jonny Howson 26MC
All of the above have been around the block a bit, playing at the top level and with some plaudits. Redmond well hyped, of course.
Watford don’t shoot that often but do score often. Top finishing or expert chance creation? Either way, some top notch front play.
Troy Deeney 26F has scored at a goal every other game for three years.
Odion Ighalo 25F I’m in love with Ighalo. He looks like a faster Clint Dempsey, apparently capable of scoring any type of goal you might imagine.
Matej Vydra 22AM aslo via Udinese, Czech international, another lovely player.
And we can’t do this without mentioning Fulham. If we were scouting Fulham we’d note that the attacking element is passable but defensively less so, to the point where nobody at all in the division has allowed more shots on target. That’s terribly damning: not awful in preventing shots overall, but give away really good chances, suggesting attackers not being picked up or closed down. There’s nothing here that Fulham do well, so as an analyst, searching for hidden value (alright, hardly hidden), you’d take a quick look at those Fulham numbers and move onto the next team without dwelling for long.