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Football Thread 2018/19


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19 minutes ago, Stopharage said:

You have to be a special kind of stupid to post nasty shite like this. But it’s pretty uncomfortable to see others post his address in reply. The court of popular opinion can be a troubling place at times. 

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What a cunt!

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Love that the league has fights going on for the title, top 4 and relegation. This weekend has blown the top 4 and relegation wide open. I'd prefer not to be in a title fight and cruising but at least we're in for something major. Everything big in the league is all coming down to the wire.

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1 hour ago, Stopharage said:

You have to be a special kind of stupid to post nasty shite like this. But it’s pretty uncomfortable to see others post his address in reply. The court of popular opinion can be a troubling place at times. 

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Barrington Patterson has invited himself round to have a word. He's a bit of a local celebrity, reformed hooligan type who was a big deal in the Blues firm in the 80s and 90s. Probably the best outcome if truth be told, the kid will be dishing out soup and making tea in some of the homeless shelters around town for the next few weekends though. 

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On 07/03/2019 at 09:09, Gotters said:

 

He’s doing well but in the same way Emery was earlier in season

 

So xG today was 1.5 for Arsenal and 2.5 for Utd.

 

This has been coming for Utd.

 

Xhaka’s goal had an xG of 0.03.

 

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7 hours ago, deerokus said:

It seems like something invented for Americans who need stats to understand sport. 

 

 

yes, its for Americans and little known managers like Pep Guardiola, who's attacking ethos is based around players only taking shots from the high probability scoring zones and not responding with a hoof every time the crowd shout 'shooooot' when the player is 35y out (hence the number of almost identical City goals of cutbacks and tap ins).

 

you xG flat earthers are going to hate it when xA (for assists) and the stats for teams holding their shape/formation start to get quoted.

 

I just don't get the resistance to the idea, its not about modelling fortune, sure in 1 match it may show that but over time it becomes a pattern and data that is actionable.

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12 hours ago, Gotters said:

 

So xG today was 1.5 for Arsenal and 2.5 for Utd.

 

This has been coming for Utd.

 

Xhaka’s goal had an xG of 0.03.

 

Doesn't the xG from this game show that while United had this coming this shouldn't have been the game it came in?

 

On another point does xG take into account the player who the chance has fallen to?  Or in theory does that not matter?

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2 hours ago, Chooch said:

Doesn't the xG from this game show that while United had this coming this shouldn't have been the game it came in?

 

Yes but there is no game that it "should come in". The luck happened in the past and is not relevant for future predictions.

 

2 hours ago, Chooch said:

On another point does xG take into account the player who the chance has fallen to?  Or in theory does that not matter?

 

No it doesnt, and yes it does matter. You expect the best players to perform above xG over a decent sample size.

 

Gotters - there is always resistance to posting xG data in the football threads. I have given up. I have no idea why when it comes to sport people use a different methodology to assess results or predict the future than they would in pretty much every other field. 

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I think xG rankles me when it's used for individual incidents or even single matches. I'm not picking on Gotters here, just using this for my point:

 

15 hours ago, Gotters said:

Xhaka’s goal had an xG of 0.03.

 

This is mostly meaningless guff in isolation. A guy takes a speculative shot from 30 yards which hits a defender and loops off a goalkeeper, anyone can tell that it's fortunate. What is xG telling us here that we don't already know? In a single match, xG can tell the difference between a team being poor and a team being unlucky, but generally that's clear from watching the game anyway. It adds little. 

 

Like any mathematical model, xG works in aggregate as it can show useful trends - players or teams who are creating opportunities, teams that are riding their luck or not having things going their way. A system of helping determine if a side's play is strong even if recent results are not can be of use. I can totally understand, accept and even expect that top coaches use this information to guide their decision making, to set out how to play, and to determine whether or not they change things up when the results aren't arriving. With the information to hand, It'd be negligent for any tactical minded coach to not use it.

 

As a side note, I hate the abbreviation, with its wanky little lower case x. Call my old fashioned, but I like the simplicity of just using the first letter of each word, e.g. EG.

 

Oh.

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16 minutes ago, Fry Crayola said:

This is mostly meaningless guff in isolation. A guy takes a speculative shot from 30 yards which hits a defender and loops off a goalkeeper, anyone can tell that it's fortunate. What is xG telling us here that we don't already know? In a single match, xG can tell the difference between a team being poor and a team being unlucky, but generally that's clear from watching the game anyway. It adds little. 

 

You say it is clear from watching the game but that's not how the narrative goes either in terms of how the match analysts / commentators explain the game or in terms of how most fans post about how a game went. Most fans are not aware of how lucky or unlucky their team has been in any given season or even on a match by match basis. Your natural bias remembers events where your team missed chances (or increases their quality) and forgets about events where the other team missed chances.

 

Compare the posts in the relevant threads here to say Man U's performance vs Arsenal to their performance vs PSG. Almost every fan and match commentator / analyst has completely results oriented thinking.

 

The last time I brought up xG on this board was with relation to explaining how lucky Burnley were during last season and that they should have expected to be caught up in the relegation battle. This was rejected by the result Burnley fan (forgotten your handle sorry), and in general was not well received so I dropped it. This season they are back to performing pretty much as you would expect in xG.

 

Last season one of the other big stories xG wise was how lucky Man U were particularly with regard to goals conceded. When I pointed this out it was also badly received - De Gea is just a world class shot shopper - of course he is stopping all these shots. This season they are back to performing pretty much as you would expect in xG.

 

You cannot expect your brain to well assess probability without help because it doesnt.

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The problem with xG as far as I can see is that all it really is is a more nuanced form of the shots at goal stat. It takes into account where on the pitch the shot was taken from, and (I think - going from memory here) whether it was a header or not. Nothing else. It doesn't take into account the position of defenders, or whether the chance is a clear tap-in or an overhead kick in a crowded penalty area. So as an example from the Arsenal vs Man Utd game, when Lukaku half went round Leno, who pulled off a fantastic save, and then had a swing at the rebound while off balance and with two defenders on the line, xG would give both those chances the same number as they were from the same spot. 

 

As a statistic it has it's uses, certainly, and it is better than just looking at shots on goal, but it's a trap. The self-aggrandising name and the fact that it gives something approaching a scoreline leads to people over-valuing it's importance. It's easy to look at that 1.5 - 2.5 xG scoreline in the Arsenal Man Utd game and see that as somehow the "true" scoreline, when it was obvious from watching the game that Arsenal were the better team on the day and very much deserving of the win. 

 

It gets misinterpreted too. When Burnley were doing very well last season playing a very defensive, very organised style, people brought up their xG statistics to try and show that they were somehow lucky, rather than that they as a unit were dogged and habitually got into position to block shots, and didn't let opposition forwards have clear chances very often. They defended deep and in numbers, Tarkowski and Mee are quite old school defenders who throw themselves into the way of shots, and behind them was a very tidy and in-form goalkeeper in Pope. Their xG was used to "prove" that their run was entirely down to luck, but xG simply does not account for good defending, or at least this kind of last-ditch defending. A more interesting use of the stat might have been to look into why they were performing above xG, but it's just dismissed as luck. 

 

I am not against xG by any means, but it is not some kind of all-encompassing unifying stat that eclipses all other ways of looking at the game, which is how it's disciples tend to present it. It basically tells us that shots from closer in and more central to the goal are more likely to go in. Duh. I'm sure it's more useful as a coaching tool, and Guardiola can use it to communicate to his players that working the ball into the box results in better chances than shooting on sight. 

 

It's just a stat, an oddly fetishised stat. Stats can only ever tell us a part of the picture. In the case of xG being used in individual games it doesn't tell us very much at all. 

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My two problems with xG. 

 

1. It's another stat wallies will try and shit up my timeline with in an attempt to back up their poorly constructed arguments. The usual throw enough numbers into your argument to make it look good guff even though the numbers can be easily dismantled. 

 

2. It's success will just encourage gimps to try and get their own new stats measure established as a thing. Anfield Index have been trying to create some sort of pressing stat for players. It's the worst kind of bad aids though. It's just so happens that players they already have a hard on for, like Mama Sakho are totes amazeballs when it comes to their definition of a passing stat. Lovren, who they truly hate, was a mysteriously awful presser. 

 

So in closing, xG is fine as a stat if it's used by people who aren't idiots. 

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Yeah, it's a good stat, it just gets used a bit oddly, and is often given too much weight. 

 

Incidentally, apologies @rjpageuk - my post reads like a direct contradiction of your example of Burnley, but I started writing it this morning on my break (before you had posted) and only finished it on my lunch hours later, so I hadn't seen your post! It's a coincidence that we both brought up the Burnley example. It's one I've seen a few times and it just stuck in my mind. 

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