How much has the Premier League changed?

Last week I contributed some charts and data to an article by The Economist’s James Tozer on the current season of the English Premier League. I thought I’d expand on a few of the things he covered. On the general point of the league being a bit wacky, I think several forces are at work. There’s a wide variety of coaching philosophies on show, and clubs are at different stages in their recruitment and performance cycles. For example, managers of teams with a lot of young talent, like Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham and Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, probably…
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Mesut giveth and Mesut taketh away

Mesut Özil’s record-breaking season at Arsenal is getting plenty of attention. I’ve already suggested that last season was, at least in the time he played, an even better one. But I think it’s useful to look at a few more statistics that may give greater clarity to his role. Soccer is a dynamic game, and every player’s actions affect every other player’s actions. Moreover, when one guy plays, there’s another guy – or several – sitting on the bench. So analysts have to figure out the net effect on the whole team’s performance of apparent changes in a single player’s…
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Sam Allardyce knows what he’s doing, Part XVI

One of the hallmarks of good coaching is knowing how to manage a game. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the United States, but I pay special attention to what coaches do at the end of games. In baseball, basketball, and American football, coaches try to control every aspect of the closing stages of a game by stopping play, making substitutions, and using any other trick to either prolong or bring a rapid end to the contest. So how much do soccer coaches do this? To me, an important marker of a good coach is knowing how to kill…
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