Hands up all those who knew Italy wouldn’t qualify for the World Cup finals last night.
Danielle Di Rossi did; he was adamant that Lorenzo Insigne was a better solution to their problems than himself. As it happened, he was right but it was so much like watching Arsenal huff and puff in attempting to break down a resolute defence.
And failing, miserably.
I wonder if xG came out in Ventura’s excuses last night? That’s a statistic where brains has had enough of the bullsht and is fighting back with bullsht of its’ own. Putting a value on the ‘difficulty’ of a chance but ignoring who the forward and goalkeeper are? Nonsense.
For years, we football fans put a proper scale of measuring the difficulties of chances. At the top end, it was “Something out of nothing” and ran down to “You muppet! How the f*ck did you miss that?”. It served us well for decades and has more relevance than xG.
Does Bouldie sit on the touchline and think, “Unlucky Alexis, that xG was 0.755”? No, he sits there, thinking, “You useless twat! How did you miss that?” To be honest, half the time he has a look on his face wondering whether he’s left the oven on.
Football hipsters like to tell you all about “wonderful” things like xG. If there were terraces today, the ode to Perry Groves would be updated to “We all live in a Jim Goodnight world”. Look it up, I had to. It’s a typically Arsenal stat, straight out of the Gazidis School of Obfustication.
Fair play to Arsène. Resisting analytics for years, he’s leapt in with both feet, realising that if Ivan has a metric for us over-performing, there’s an opportunity to make the gap to City smaller than it really is.
Despite my protestations, statistics like this do fit right into football. Not because they expand our knowledge of the game – they don’t, but they sure do make pretty graphs from rows and columns of spreadsheet data – but because nobody can agree on them. The BBC from Salford tells us that “1 being the maximum” then the Heil chimes in with City’s expected goals being 1.83.
That’s according to Opta, whose lives are a lot
richer busier thanks to this stat.
Jesus wept. There are more holes in the theory of it being a useful metric than a truckle of Gouda.
Football has a plethora of useful stats already. Think points accumulated, goals for and against, final score; I could go on. What we don’t need is another army of numbers which are just high-level f*ckwittery.
“Boss, I want a payrise. My xG is 18.24 but I’ve scored 29 goals in the season. Got to be worth £250k per week.”
“Yes, but if we look at the chances themselves, you should have 55. Your record with ‘How the f*ck did he miss that’ chances shows you’re underperforming. Fancy a pay cut to £25 per week?”
Then again, Lou tells you everything you need to know about numbers.
This weekend’s north London derby edges closer with the final round of international matches tonight. Laurent Koscielny’s knackered Achilles is still a problem but no-one else is reporting a knack as of yet.
The club finds itself in the icy grip of apathy such is poverty of our performances this season. This match however, resurrects all kinds of lovely memories, and some proper Arsenal kits…
30th August 1980
21st April 1984
and to finish today,
2nd January 1989