Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

Archive for the ‘Non-United’ Category

A brief note on Fabio’s principles

Posted by hakanrylander on February 9, 2012

Man of principle?

Fabo Capello yesterday resigned as England manager on a matter of principle. He couldn’t accept that the FA board demoted John Terry as England captain. Capello strongly believes that the manager should decide who is the captain. So why then did he sign a contract stipulating that it is up to the FA board to decide who is captain? Maybe it was the money.



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Level-headed Analysis of the Week

Posted by hakanrylander on November 24, 2010

Former West Ham assistant manager Zeljko Petrovic has quickly moved to shed some light on why he parted company with the club yesterday. In the Sun this morning he is quoted saying:

“The Premier League is a crap league, it is nothing. In truth the level is shocking. Every team has just three good players. If you take those players out of the teams then there are only players left who would not be playing in the bottom team in Holland.”
Interesting analysis coming from the bottom team in the PL. Sort of makes you wonder why West Ham didn’t bring in a number of average players from the Dutch League. Should have been enough to lift them to mid-table security, at the very least.

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Berbatov and Puccini: A Comparative Study

Posted by hakanrylander on April 13, 2010

This might be slightly off topic, but while browsing youtube this morning I came across this wonderful performance. Not quite up there with Berbatov bamboozling Collins, but almost.

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“He who smooths with the hammer spurs on him who strikes the anvil”

Posted by hakanrylander on December 16, 2009

The Guardian’s eminent The Knowledge today takes a look at the crucial question of which football teams appear in the Bible. No mention of United, I’m  afraid.

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“England at last have a coherent model of play”

Posted by hakanrylander on December 2, 2009

Just one article for you to read today. Jonathan Wilson in the Guardian takes a long-term look at England’s lack of a natural left-winger and finds it might even be an advantage. He also explains how to get the best out of both Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney. In many ways the article is an Executive Summary of Wilson’s excellent book “Inverting the Pyramid.” Not to be missed.

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Between the Lines Recommends

Posted by hakanrylander on November 17, 2009

Dirty Tackle shows that linesmen sometimes don’t really appreciate jokes.

101GreatGoals provides proof as to why we’re tracking Igor Akinfeev.

Tom Maginn at SoccerLens makes some interesting points about diving.

RoM talks to Jeff Winter.

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Riverdancing around the office

Posted by hakanrylander on September 3, 2009

Today I find I have absolutely nothing to add to this “analysis” from the peerless Fiver, the mother of all tea-time footy newsletters.

“When the Fiver read on Big Paper Website that Chelsea had been banned from signing any new players in the next two transfer windows, our first course of action was to find a more reputable source to confirm the story. Upon establishing from the Sky Sports News Yellow Ticker Of Fact that it was indeed true, we quickly sped through a kind of reverse Kübler-Ross Five Stages of Ecstasy: amusement, pointing at pictures of Peter Kenyon and laughing like Nelson Muntz, raucous jubilation, teary rejoicing and Riverdancing around the office swigging from a salmanazar of Champagne.”

Read the full story here.

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Barking up the right tree

Posted by hakanrylander on April 8, 2009

Honorary member

Honorary member

It seems that everyone and their dog tend to regard themselves as football analysts these days. Even bloggers such as yours truly occasionally make cocksure statements like “Porto is the perfect draw” etc etc.

But while “everyone” is telling Fergie and Arsene how to do their jobs, another major analyst sub-group is finally getting organised with the founding of the Association of Canine Match Analysts.

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Hiddink the perfect choice for Chelsea

Posted by hakanrylander on February 11, 2009

We might as well admit it. One of our main rivals, Chelsea, have gotten themselves a great manager. It’s only part-time and only for the rest of the season, but given the circumstances I still think Roman Abramovich has made a perfect choice by appointing Guus Hiddink.

His career has many high points such as winning the European Cup as well as three successive Dutch championships with PSV.  He took both Holland and South Korea to the semi-finals of the World Cup, and came close to beating Italy with an unfancied Australian side in the World Cup 2006. On the other hand he has also been sacked quite quickly at Real Madrid, Real Betis and Fenerbache.

Park Ji-Sung is one of his many admirers among former players. Park played under Hiddink for both South Korea and PSV and says “I owe him everything and I won’t be able to repay it in my lifetime”. Hiddink is widely acknowledged as one of the best man-managers around (look out for an upturn in the form of Didier Drogba!).

And on top of all that he knows how to play attractive attacking football. Let’s hope he isn’t too successful this time.

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Review: Myths and Facts about Football

Posted by hakanrylander on February 11, 2009

mythsandfactsThis book draws together academic research from around the world, exploring a number of wellknown “facts” about football and submitting them to scientific and mathematical tests. Some are found to be myths, such as “teams run a greater risk of conceding just after scoring” and “taking the lead just before half-time makes a win much more likely”. While others are found to be true, e.g.  “goalkeepers dive too often for penalties” and “teams who celebrate goals collectively achieve better results”.

More than 40 scientists contribute to 20 chapters covering areas both on and off the pitch such as strategic choice, team behaviour, referee behaviour, demand, expert predictions, labour market and stock market. With so many contributors involved I suppose it’s more or less inevitable that the standard of the findings varies quite a lot. In previous posts I’ve touched upon post-scoring behaviour and the chances of scoring a penalty. Other interesting chapters deal with second leg home advantage and how accurately markets could predict the outcome of the Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup.

Some of the other chapters I find rather less interesting. In one case research even seem to take a step backwards when a study of stock market reactions to match results fail to use betting odds to control for expectations, unlike in previous research by Dobson and Goddard. This seems rather important as only deviations from expectations should, in theory, affect the stock market.

Nevertheless, this book is well worth a read, but I got a bit tired of it towards the end. It’s probably best enjoyed in small doses.

Myths and Facts about Football: The Economics and Psychology of the World’s Greatest Sport, Editors: Andersson, Ayton, Schmidt. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

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