Categorized | State of the Liga, Statistics

State of the Liga: 6 Down, 32 To Go

Lies, damned lies, and pie charts.

Lies, damned lies, and pie charts.

Everyone has their own point-of-view on things. Mine is usually that pie is a solid breakfast. Also, I like statistics mixed with a heavy dose of perspective. I’m a fan of numbers because they sound fancy and you can bend them to your will fairly easily, yet I can claim to not understand them.

Today’s statistical analysis is merely an overview of what has transpired so far this season, focusing mostly on Barça’s current achievements and personnel, for obvious this-is-a-Barça-site reasons.

After 6 matches, there is one undefeated team and no teams without any points. Because Xerez scored this past weekend, there are also no teams who have failed to score a goal this year. With just over 15% of the league completed, that shouldn’t be a particularly impressive feat, but until Emiliano Armenteros scored in the 47th minute to give Xerez the 1-0 lead, some were pondering if they could go an entire season without a goal, earning points merely on 0-0 draws. Now the nay-sayers will move on to whether or not they can get a win.

Because of a fairly absurd run of results — 6 matches, 6 wins — Barça are top of the league, 3 points clear of Sevilla in 2nd and Real Madrid in 3rd (who are in 3rd despite having a better goal differential based on their head-to-head record; for me Sevilla is in 3rd). Depor are back to their Super ways, coming in 4th with 12pts. A note about Mallorca in 6th: they’re the only team to have allowed 0 goals at home this year (9GF 0GA). Only Real Madrid have scored more at home (11) while Barça have scored the same number.

At the bottom of the table we have Malaga (4pts), Villarreal (3pts), and Xerez (2pts). The surprise is, of course, Villarreal, who are so far down, but for one silly blogger, it’s a double whammy because he predicted both they and Malaga would be in European contention by season’s end. It could still turn true, of course, but at this rate Villarreal are estimated to get 22.80 points via Pythagorean Expectation (using 2 as our exponent, by the way). Of course, Xerez is estimated to get 0.79 points for the entire season…which is awkward because they already have 2 full ones.

Regardless, here are my predictions vs the reality:

Predictions Current table
Real Madrid
Real Zaragoza
Athletic Bilbao
Sporting Gijon
Real Madrid
Depor La Coruña
Athletic Bilbao
Sporting Gijon
Real Zaragoza
Atlético Madrid
Rac Santander
Correct: 2

So I only have 2 of them correct. Whatever. I’d have 4 if it weren’t for the numbskull approach that the LFP takes towards determining standings. Goal differential means more to me than head-to-head record. I’d be more than happy to explain why to anyone in the comments if they so choose, but for now I’ll stick to what we have at hand, though I will note that Marca, surprisingly, lists RM in 2nd.

Pichichi: David Villa (6 goals); Ibra, Messi, Crynaldo (5 goals)
Zamora: Valdes (0.50 goals); Palop, Casillas (0.67 goals)
Fair Play: Mallorca, Depor (8 points); Barcelona (9 points)

Here’s a perfect example of why I don’t include assists: when compiling stats, commenter Boat Forever has previously taken into account the fact that if you give someone the ball on the wing and they cut inside of 6 defenders, shoot, and score, you shouldn’t receive an assist. Soccernet makes no such statement on their assists page, meaning I’m stuck wondering what the criteria is. After all, even the NBA has no defined assist rule; if they can do this, they can do anything. So I prefer to ignore the assist as a concrete stat and merely understand that creative passing happens and that is part of the overall value of a player. Feel free to point out that I use decimals to discuss goals (see below) and could just come up with my own criteria for the assist if I so chose.

Now, to Barcelona.

For those of you wondering, I’m going to be focusing entirely on the league here, so leave your CL and SuperCup stats at the door. We’re going purely on the league results, which I think are stand-alone insofar as it is possible to be because there’s a different level of competition and a different style of reffing that creates massive differences between the various leagues and tournaments. A one-off final is immensely different from a league match both in approach and in, ultimately, the way it is viewed by those in charge (ref, coach, etc). So it’s just the league we’re talking about.

No bonus points for guessing which outfield player has the most total minutes, but what about most minutes per appearance? That’d be Carles Puyol, averaging 88 minutes 36 seconds on the field every time he gets out there. Xavi, for his part, is slacking, appearing for only 88:30 every appearance. Sheesh, step it up, Xavi! We’ve played 561 league minutes (including extra time), of which Xavi has played 531.

But to the goodies:

Fewest minutes played per league goal: Messi, 76:12 (5 in 381:00), followed closely by Bojan (1 in 81′).
Least expected minutes-per-goal stat: Pique, 189:30 (2 in 379:00).
Yellow cards accumulated by team: 9 (1 every 62:20)
Red cards accumulated by team: 0 (1 every infinity +1 minutes, booyah)
Most yellow cards for a player: Ibrahimovic, 2
Fewest minutes per yellow card earned: Iniesta and Chygrynskiy, 1 every 185:00.

I’m going to highlight a specific player during these statistical posts and go more in-depth on their stats. This is possible thanks to the record-keeping going on over at the FCB Official Site. You can find everything here. Because it’s the first of its kind, I’m going with, well, the one who always go first in our world: El Capitan, Sir Carles Puyol.

5 league appearances, replaced once. 443 minutes played, 1 yellow card, 3 fouls committed, 3 received. The subjective numbers are 47 balls won back, 7 balls lost, 3 corners conceded.* When you compare his minutes per league appearance (88:36) with all of his appearances, you find that the Captain is holding back. Because of the UEFA Super Cup, in which he played 120 minutes, that total average is 93:00. That’s a lot of minutes per appearance and proves that our beating heart also has one of his own.

Rock on, all, let’s hear your thoughts about this information in the comments.

*They’re subjective because you can call these things either way; it’s true.

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29 Responses to “State of the Liga: 6 Down, 32 To Go”

  1. inNYC says:

    I really like pie.

  2. inNYC says:

    And thanks for f****n Hectoring me.

    • Soto says:

      I think being Hectored should be considered a badge of pride. You have to be a really active participant on this blog to be Hectored (for example, I have never been Hectored).

      And in your case, it was done in style. You were actually responding to Hector when you got Hectored. It’s hard to be more meta than that. :-)

      • inNYC says:

        Yeah, but…I was making a SOOPER important point and all.

        • Boat Forever says:

          Sorry for my lack of knowledge… And what’s ‘being hectored?’

          • eklavya says:

            In the old days every time Hector used to comment a new post made by Isaiah/Kxevin would come up…hector wasn’t a mod. then so you can imagine the size of his comments by comparing them to those of his anatomy of goals posts. 😀

            It happened to Hector almost EVERY FREAKIN’ time it was so funny.Poor Hector he even got him’d when the “WE WON THE CL WOHOOO” post came up! That is, I should be saying much cause he’s part of bosses now hehe

  3. Miguel says:

    i love me some pie too. “cream on the inside clean on the outside…ice cream paint job.” sorry that songs been stuck in my head all day.

  4. Eduard says:

    Puyol is a beast!!!

  5. Soto says:

    Sweet. Numbers make the world go round.

    I understand why you hesitate to add the assist data. It’s unfortunate, because I think that tracking only goals misses a large part of what’s going on in the games. Not only assists, but I wish there was any easy way to track shots on goal. Also, what would be a good metric by which to assess defensive play?

  6. Corrine says:

    wow your predicted standings look a lot like the final table from last season! i really don’t know if atleti will make it to champions league again… 3 in a row would be super lucky for any la liga team that’s not barca or RM. i also haven’t seen anything good from them so far which is shocking because i thought they’d build from where they left off near the end of last season. their preseason wasn’t that bad either, they beat liverpool at anfield after all 😛

  7. jnelson says:

    That NBA story if freakin horrible. And people thought that it ended with betting refs…

    Damn! Maxwell has conceded 9 corners already in 245 minutes (3 appearances). Oh, and equally important: he has won back 24 balls, but lost 11. Hmm….how long is he going to be around for again?

    • Kevin says:

      I’ve been harping in review after review that he concedes corners too easily. Nice to see the statistical evidence. In my estimation, it’s lazy play. Get your damned body around the ball and hoof it out on the side, or bang it up the pitch. Nodding or kicking it out for a corner is just danger, because if you get into the habit of doing it against lesser clubs, you will do it against clubs that are very dangerous on set pieces.

  8. Jose25 says:

    Ok, so I’ll bite :) What makes you dislike the LFP’s approach at determining standings?

    La Liga 2006-2007 final standings is not a valid argument 😉

  9. Helge says:

    Damn, this site is so productive these days, it’s hard for me to even catch up with all those articles :)

    Gotta read ’em later, have to learn for oral exams now. Just one more thing about Maradona and Argentina:
    Pablo Zabaleta is injured and Diego won’t call up a replacement. He is pissed now because he wanted his assistant coach to prevent both Tevez and Zabaleta from playing (they played on Monday, so it was the same situation as with Messi before the last internationals).
    This is bad luck, but if you lose one of the best, maybe the best defender, why the hell don’t you call up Samuel???
    Also, Maradona thinks of retiring if the AFA doesn’t meet “his conditions”, but only after the Uruguay match. Maybe a bit too late…

  10. Lumi says:

    He should have retired after losing to Brazil but if He is man enough he should take Argentina to the world cup

  11. eklavya says:

    Did you guys know Rooney has scored 25 times for England?
    Damn thats pretty good considering Torres has 23 and Villa 33!I’m pretty sure he can become the their all time top scorer!

  12. Lumi says:

    With or without his goals England don’t stand a chance in the world cup Semi’s

  13. Helge says:

    Bloody hell. This Robinho rumours simply don’t want to disappear. Now EMD reports him as a primary target besides Cesc. I don’t want him to play for Barca, never ever! I can’t believe that Pep prefers him over players like Suarez… hopefully, this is all made up completely.

  14. eklavya says:

    Anyone interested in knowing Barcelona’s FIFA10 players ratings and stuff, its all here:

  15. Corrine says:

    Barcelona midfielder Xavi missed training on Wednesday due to a knee problem but should be available for Saturday’s World Cup qualifier away to Armenia, the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said

    well it seems like nothing serious but any sort of blemish on him is worrying, yikes

  16. Lumi says:

    It’s just like striking a match and putting it off immediately

  17. Corrine says:

    Arsenal are trying to tempt Carles Puyol to join them on a free transfer next summer and want him to experience the Premier League, according to a report.

    Arsene Wenger is a big fan of the whole-hearted Blaugrana skipper and would pair him alongside Thomas Vermaelen in a new look defence, Sport state.


  18. ooga aga says:

    thanks for the update isaiah. reading through the numbers is always fun. i wouldve waited till after 10 games though, just to have a bit more meat to chew on. but i know you were chomping at the bit.

    as far as teh assists thing goes, well there is a definition, but even the definition allows for some subjectivity. thing is, you look at the assists leaders at the end of the year and you find the players that are — based on qualitative impressions — the best passers. so there must be something to the definition they are using. in other words, it works. xavi blew everyone away last year IIRC. i think you should include assists in your next summary.

  19. Jaybxnyc says:

    I love pie but I hate math.

  20. JMoynihan says:

    can we just talk about the photoshop job done at the FCB official Site.

    If you look for Ibra in the back, you can totally tell that they cut his head out of another photo and stuck it on another body ( I think it’s Eto’s).

    Check it out here

    I got a laugh out of it.

  21. ocho says:

    This might sound odd.. but the one thing that really stood out was your predicted league table. All I cared to look at were the CL spots and the relegation zone.

    It was a bit disappointing to see that you think Tenerife’s going back down :(… I hope it’s just the numbers talking there cus everything I’ve seen of them so far this season has actually been quite impressive. More specifically, they played extremely well against both Real and Depor (despite the score lines which in my opinion were far from reflective of their performance) and not to mention how they broke Athletic Bilbao’s winning streak.

    Despite being an incurable Barca addict, I’ve grown slightly fond of Tenerife’s play so far this season. They seem to carry a similar desire and drive to that which we’ve grown accustomed to when watching our boys destroy teams week in, week out. Not only are they pressuring teams high up the field and working their asses off, but they’re also playing some very aesthetically pleasing football (a more primitive – probably exhausting and less natural – version of our Tiki Taka) and I commend that.

    It’ll be interesting to see if they’ve got the depth and mental strength to go on and improve over the course of the season (I definitely hope they do). Oh – and it’ll be interesting to see how other teams start coping with the extended flights to Tenerife’s home ground (too long a name to remember) once the season and different competitions start taking their toll.

    Now why would a Barca fan go on and on about a team like Tenerife (Tete)? I have no I idea – I probably wouldn’t even read this post if it were by someone else and the team hadn’t caught my attention. Oh well, I guess I just needed to dump the thought somewhere and who better to share it with than a cule community…

    PS. I’m generally not a big ‘poster’ – so don’t mind the random thoughts here. I’m not usually this off topic…


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