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About duncanjwitham

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  • Birthday 23/09/1980

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  1. You can make rational arguments for any of the options - Marriott is our top scoring striker, he should be playing etc. But you can guarantee that if we'd left Marriott on the bench and still not scored, Lampard would be getting lynched on here for that reason.
  2. It's a symptom of the mess the squad is in. All of our central midfielders are better in a 3 - Huddlestone is too immobile to play in a 2, Johnson isn't disciplined enough, Bryson/Mount/Wilson/Holmes etc all need cover in behind to let them do their jobs and make forward runs and so on. That makes it difficult to play 2 up front as you can't play a flat 442. And we don't really have the players to play a back 3 in a 352 either - we only really have 2 senior centre halves, plus the untried Ambrose, or we play Wisdom or Bogle out of position. So we're stuck with one up front, and that either means playing Marriott as a lone striker and shunting Waghorn out wide (or dropping him), or leaving out your top goal-scoring striker. With the squad we have, whatever way you approach the team, you'll either have to drop a player that really should be playing, or hamstring some other part of the team to fit him in.
  3. Here you go: Maybe not quite as clear a trend as you'd imagine, but there's definitely one there.
  4. It's pretty simple - we can just do it better now than they did. A managers job is all about making decisions (who to pick, who to buy, how to set the team up etc), and if they are able to have more information available to base those decisions on, then it's borderline criminal if they don't make use of it. Plus it's pretty much an arms race - every other manager is potentially using these stats to inform his decisions, so you have to. Brian Clough wasn't up against a league filled with managers using data analysts and sports scientists, he was using the same level of info as everyone else. There are 11 players on the pitch for 90+ minutes - that's potentially 16.5+hours of individual performances to watch - there's no way a manager can re-watch all of that for every game, when we're playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday, on top of all of his other duties. If he can sit down and re-watch the game a couple of times with a checklist of all of the things that the stats have highlighted might be of interest, it's a much better use of their time. And for what it's worth, the xG table that was posted mid-season last season was proven correct - we were overachieving based on scoring and conceding at freakishly high and low rates. When those rates drifted back to normal, we started dropping down the table, and only a change of system late on turned it around.
  5. These stats aren't supposed to be taken on their own though. You're not supposed to throw a party because you're top of the xG chart. They're supposed to tell you something that you can then go and look at in matches to see what's actually happening. The fact we're scoring a decent number of goals, from a lot of shots, but have a relatively low xG suggests we're creating a lot of low-quality chances. And if you go and look at the shot totals and shot zones (whoscored.com has these), we have the 2nd most shots in total in the Championship, and by far the most from outside of the box. We also have one of the lowest shot counts from inside the 6 yard box. That points to the same conclusion, we have lots of shots, but quite a few of them are pot shots from outside the area. So you go and watch some matches and see why this is happening - and I suspect it will be the games against the likes of Bolton and Rotherham that sway it, where we struggle to break down massed defences and end up shooting from distance. That's maybe not the best example of using these kind of stats, as the conclusion is probably fairly obvious anyway, but there will be plenty of other cases where it can be very useful. I remember a previous manager (can't remember which) talking about a midfielder's yards-covered-per-match having dropped in the previous few matches. That's something you might not pick up from just watching the game (as you can't be watching all 11 players all of the time), so you go and look at the game and see why. Is he struggling a bit with fitness? Are we struggling to get the ball to him, so he can't make forward runs? Is he being lazy and not tracking back enough? Are we playing too many long balls and bypassing midfield so he's not getting involved enough? And once you know why it's happening, you can try and sort it - rest him if he's tired, tell him off if he's being lazy, tweak the midfield shape a bit, or whatever. But without that stat telling you something might be off, the issue might never have been spotted (or at least spotted as quickly).
  6. Deciding that is the point of xG though - separating good chances from bad ones, rather than just counting shots. If we have 13 shots from distance and 2 sitters a game, and score 1.5 of them on average, then that is pretty clinical.
  7. I think we could maybe do with more cover for Mount/Bryson, although Wilsons performances there in the last couple of games might change my mind on that. Aside from that, nothing needs changing.
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