The CL Draw is a (sorta) mystery

The Champions League group stage is over, so that means we now get to freak out about what an easy road Madrid is getting and that we have to return to Paris for winter match involving Unai Emery and something called Hlebruary. Recently Mr. Chip tweeted out the percentage chances each team had of drawing a particular other team. The results may seem to be standard stuff, but I actually think Mr. Chip, in all his statistical glory, made a few mistakes in his calculations. I base this on empirical data gathered through statistical research. I poured over hundreds of years of Champions League results and it appears that maybe Mr. Chip forgot to carry a one somewhere.

Methodology: I had some chicken molé today for lunch, though it was just leftovers from my wife’s night out last night with the girls where they apparently talked about insurance reimbursements. My wife does spin a pretty good yarn about that, so I can understand how she didn’t get through that much of her meal. Anyway, I ate that and type this up.

Results: It was pretty decent, though a bit dry after being in the fridge overnight. Oh, you mean the Champions League stuff. Right. I put this in a handy graph just like Mr. Chip.


There, I fixed it for you.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


    1. This is an understandable mistake to make, but if you subtract the UEFA coefficient from the ratings and carry the Napoli you get 21.223%

  1. I guess it should be a statistical improbability that Barca always draw the toughest teams while Madrid get a ridiculously easy path, in which, while playing abysmally can still hoist Big ears. When will the day come that Barca win maximum honours while playing in an utterly shite manner and getting lucky? Likely never.

    But then again, one can hope as 2016 has been a crazy year not just football-wise.
    So hopefully the tables will turn this year. Here’s wishing Madrid prove they are worthy defending champions by testing themselves in Europe against the likes of THIS manchester City, Juventus and Atleti / Barca.

  2. Is anyone else having nightmares over that Al Ahli trip? I don’t know how many important players do they intend to take, but I just feel irrationally mad about having this random advertisement of a match in the middle of the season. I swear, if someone gets injured I’ll fell really bad for mentioning it in a random comment section on the internet because surely that would have something to do with it. Damn I’m panicking lol

    1. Yes, it’s absurd not to schedule this for pre-season. I’m thinking it won’t be accepted that we come with only B-players…

    2. Random comment section? RANDOM? This, dear sir and/or madam, is the most important comment section on these here Internets. Random? Please.

      Also, please don’t panic.

  3. Another tidy outing by the team – though that lousy finishing… there was beautiful control and purpose, Alba was back in business and Suarez is crawling, slowly, out of that whole; should have had at least one assist. Gomes has surely benefitted vastly from these two games, as well as feeling the clasico, and looks a bit more assured. Playing next to Iniesta, instead of Rakitic, might have just a little something to do with this as well, as defenders will be less eager to press recklessly with the meastro and Busi in cahoots; suddenly there are triangles and Messi has someone to pass that does not mean the ball will end up in defence again. Sergi had a fine game, Arda was – to me – back to below par. I prefer Denis any day of the week, I’m sorry. All respect for that hattrick, but it just doesn’t happen for the man.

    Now, an absurd sentence: despite two goals and involvement in the third, as well as a few stunning passes, I don’t think Messi had a great game. He was taken aback by that first miss, I think, looking puzzled; it was fortunate (and skilled) that he added two later on (last one quite a performance). It is obvious that his new role and duties are taking some out of his attacking sharpness; like he is scoring as a by-product, rather than as a primary purpose: “Fine, I’ll put that ball in the net, but then I’m gonna deliver some diagonal passes and fetch the ball from Piqué”. Now, it is understandable that he does not bring his best game facing the bottom team in La Liga – and still he is this good. It is unreal.

    So, it looks as if the team is coming together again – and while we can discuss who should start – Denis, Rakitic, Rafinha (does not look good of late) or Gomes – I like that LE offers some continuity to one of them. It will surely pay off; and paradoxically, even if Denis has looked a bit better, integrating Gomes might be the primary target here (+ adding some muscle), long term.

    1. Messi has actually scored 22 in 19 this season, i.e. more than goal a game.

      It somehow doesn’t feel like he’s scoring a lot or that he is being efficient because of some high profile misses, but he is quietly filling up the stat sheet on a nearly equal level with his best seasons.

    2. Well by my reckoning, as well as scoring two and involvement in the third he also created another three or four chances. That first chance was a great save from th keeper. And that third was exactly the sort of goal folks were saying he doesn’t score any more. Everything good attacking from us almost always comes through him. And all of this at three quarter pace. We need to guard against letting the extraordinary become normal to us. It’ll be over soon enough.

      However, the big thing for me today was the fact that I could sit quietly and watch with very little fear that we were going to lose a goal with Umtiti replacing Masche. Surely at last we have a partnership that will become the norm. No, Umtiti wasn’t perfect but he stays at home and that’s huge. If we don’t lose daft goals we won’t lose.

      Other small positives were what I think must have been LE’s instructions to the lads to carry the ball past their mids where possible. About time and done well by SR, agonies to an extent and of course Ini who again produced at least three moments I had to rewind to see what he had done. Also, another cracking game by Alba. been saying that a lot this season.

      Didn’t get a chance to comment on Kxevin’s info about how the club are helping Chapacoense. Just heart warming and yes, I for one, am proud of the club. Hope they have offered to pay all expenses too. Reckon they’ll give them Rafinha and Neymar for their games although there’s a bit of me would love to see Messi playing against us. That could be fun ! Not sure Pique would appreciate it.

      I know some maybe won’t agree but Barto for me, has been brilliant since he took over. It started for me with his lovely comment after Tito’ s passing about making sure we will take care of the grass and has just gone on through the increase in income, great kit deal, pushing ahead with renewal of the stadium and now this. Well done from me. Now, if he’d just reverse the socio requirements . . .

  4. Wish there was an editing facility on the blog. Forgot to pick out the Messi outside of the foot pass to Suarez in the first half. It may just have been the best pass I’ve ever seen . . .

    1. Was travelling and had to beg to a small restaurant owner to switch on his TV, in addition to eating lots of food – 5 orders in 2 hours, and initially no one cared.
      But on that pass, I couldn’t help control that orgasmic scream and people started laughing and watching the TV. Am glad some got hooked in and especially by the 3rd goal, am sure some were really amazed by the beauty of it all.

  5. Talking to myself, again. Come on guys, up your game 🙂

    Anyway, if you wanted to know why some of us used to scream and shout when Pep tried to play three at the back tune into the City game. My grandma used to occasionally appear in my posts evidencing my claims that anyone could do what x, y, z or Masche could do. I’m now offering her to Pep as CB because if he doesn’t get a fourth member for his back line very quickly the knives will be out – and rightly so.

    What I don’t like is that Bravo is taking a whack of the blame when their defence is shocking and offering no protection. However, the English commentators have device Stones can stand and watch while Bravo should be able to stop all one on ones and unchallenged curlers into the top corner .

    1. Sorry, Jim — busy weekend and haven’t yet have time to watch it. Just remember when you have the soapbox there are many of us paying attention, even if we can’t contribute. Thanks!

    2. Just joshing, DL. I spend far too much time here !

      On another topic I’m loving the Sport report that Neymar took Messi out clubbing after the Ossasuna game. Isn’t it lovely that we can’t even begin to imagine that. It turned out the way they were implying ? We know Messi too well and he knows Antonella too well 🙂

  6. Didn’t get to watch the first three goals of the Leicester match, but I found it enlightening that the next great CB (Stones) made a stupid handball (that wasn’t given) and was entirely at fault for the fourth goal as well. Of course, he’s new and deserves a season until we know how good he really is, but it makes me pause a bit whenever I hear “why wasn’t [generic expensive player] bought instead of [someone who made a mistake at Barcelona]”.

  7. This is definitely their season for la liga. Im not watching the game, but i see that Ramos again scores in the last minute to give them the win.
    I mean, once is luck, twice is luck, but this is becoming ridicuosly lucky for them.

    1. I don’t like RM at all, but last-minute goals are by no means luckier than goals at any other time. RM were pretty dominant for the last 30 minutes, one-way traffic towards Deportivo’s half, so it’s not a big deal that they finally managed to break through towards the end. Just like with Barca, it’s easier to put in some effort towards the end if you haven’t been chasing the ball and throwing yourself in front of shots for the previous 90 minutes.

      I agree that those games give them a big edge towards La Liga. The team might have to beat them in the Bernabeu after all…

  8. Both goals by Messi were fantastic and of course his fingerprints were all over the 1st goal as well. What a player.

    1. Indeed; my comment above on him not having a great game was actually meant as praise – still created so much and so beautifully. It was great by ANY other player’s standards.

  9. .
    below is an image of the most awesome draw that could happen today.
    too much wishful thinking perhaps, but definitely would be the best possible matches even if it wont happen.
    some tasty games in there too like sevilla vs arsenal and atleti vs city.

    *Fingers crossed*

  10. Of course Real Madrid get Napoli!! Wouldn’t want them to ever actually have a challenge in the CL. Ridiculous!

    PSG should be reasonably straight forward for us. They have not been doing particularly well this season.

    1. I just looked at the draw, and yes, of course, they get one of the weakest opponents possible….

      While we get PSG (even if PSG isn’t doing that well this year).

      And this in a season when they finished second in their group and should have gotten someone stronger as an opponent.


  11. Yes, RM is riding a wave of luck, avoiding Juve and enjoying an overall easy draw despite finished 2nd. But hopefully Napoli will surprise them; RM did lose to Juve and I’m sure they won’t enjoy visiting Neapel – until Ramos decides the tie in the 93rd minute….

    PSG? Who would’ve guessed… not at all an easy opponent. They may not have the strongest of seasons in France, but Emery knows Barca well, and generally they have been better against us without Zlatan. We have surely a mental advantage, but this will likely be hard fought. We should, however, win this – let’s not shy away from being massive favourites.

  12. Madrid drawing Napoli is clearly a matter of luck, but Ronaldo winning the Ballon d’Or is utterly outrageous. In a year when his ABSENCE in the European Cup final HELPED his national team win the competition and when his contributions to his club were often questioned, his crowing casts a shadow of illegitimacy on such an honor. I don’ believe in the Messi/Ronaldo rivalry because doing so puts both on comparable levels. It’s not even close! Whoever does should watch curling instead.
    If those who voted deemed that Messi has won too many Ballon d’Or, they could have easily selected other players that are way better than the robotic devoid-of-flair Ronaldo: Iniesta, Neymar or Griezman, among others.

  13. Isaiah confirmed to be new Paul the Octopus.

    Also, I half-expected them to give Ronaldo the thing simply because his teams won the major Euro awards despite him not contributing much, because why the hell not? It’s not like the Balloon Door has any shred of credibility to uphold. It’s almost as bad as the Grammies.

  14. And on a vastly different note, any thought Koeman had of managing Barca disappears if anyone from the club is watching this miserable , lack of passion setup and effort from Everton. At home packed round their penalty box ?

    1. Yeah, they improved quite a bit after the first twenty once they went a goal down. Awful attitude until that point. Mind you, Arsenal were also less than convincing.

  15. Am I the only one who thinks CR7 didn’t deserve this one? For Godsake, Messi had a better copa America than CR had euros.

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