So when all is said and done we translate the number of times a ball has landed in the back of a net, past and present, and somehow work out why it was so obviously going to be so and what will happen in the future!! That’s the unenviable task of our resident expert Professor Statto, Nobel Prize Winner in waiting, who’s been explaining the meaning of football life and giving comfort to his followers for years.
He’ll tell you why your predictions were bound to be wrong. He’ll tell you about the most outrageous possibilities to come. He’ll tell you…But whatever he says remember:
“98% of all statistics are made up.” ~Author Unknown
Professor Statto and his amazing statistics.
Previous analysis Week 6.... Week 5.... Week 4.... Week 3.... Week 2.... Week 1
Hello again, pals
Well, what a weekend, eh? A tough one for your Score Five predictions, with all those upsets. Even Magic Mike only picked up five results. Not many of you envisaged Mr. Zola’s boys winning at Fulham, or WBA at the ’Boro. Even less of you imagined Wigan could defeat The Richest Club In The World, and no-one believed Hull could do the impossible at Arsenal. None of the members of the Hull City Global Supporters League even dared predict a draw!
The incredulity at that 1-2 scoreline wasn’t confined to us mortals. The Score Five computer couldn’t believe it either, and refused to give a consolation point to the brave few who had forecast a consolation goal for Hull in a 3-1, 4-1 or 5-1 tonking. The Score Five supremo will no doubt see to it that this is corrected. If it was me, Boss, I’d give ’em all two points.
Arsenal demonstrated against Porto on Wednesday that they are a team full of artists, but they (and the other Mighty Ones) get unpleasant surprises from time to time from gangs of determined workmen with the odd skilled craftsman, like Hull. When it happens, we’re shocked. Why? Because we’re all swayed by the media. We get non-stop propaganda for the Big 4, re-runs of their Champions League highlights and wonder goals. We read about big-name signings at the other rich big-city clubs, and thus we tend to dismiss the small-town teams as ‘also-rans’. We do that at our peril. Hull have made a great start to life in the top flight, and their ex-Bolton manager Phil Brown has no doubt set his sights set on emulating his old club, an unglamorous team who have been frustrating the big boys for years.
You may not have noticed, but another of these awkward teams has been quietly putting down roots. I’m talking about Bolton’s Lancashire neighbours Wigan. Consider their ’07-’08 record before and after Steve Bruce’s arrival in early December:
||Pts per game
What a turnaround! If the League had begun on Dec. 1, Wigan would have qualified for this season’s UEFA Cup. The early months of Bruce’s reign saw them pick up points away at Liverpool and Chelsea, and at home to Arsenal.
Like Bolton, Wigan are built on a solid defence, and clearly believe Brian Clough’s mantra “We start the game with a point, and we’re going to keep it”. Once the back line was in decent shape (despite the presence of the erratic Titus Bramble), Bruce turned his attention to their attack, and pre-season, he discovered an unlikely hero, Egyptian Amr Zaki for his strikeforce. Five goals in six games make him the Prem’s joint top scorer this term. Here’s Wigan’s record to date - note the goals For / Against columns:
Pts per game
So, Bruce has overseen 30 games and collected 40 points, and Wigan have started scoring goals. If they keep this up, they will finish in the top half of the table, and above several ‘Big’ teams. That’s not bad for a bunch of nobodies from a run-down industrial town who have trouble in drawing a 20,000 crowd. Maybe we should redefine Big.
What can Score Fivers learn from this? Well, as you make your predictions, keep in mind that in 12 Premier League home games in 2008, Wigan have conceded a mere eight goals. Only Chelsea and Man U have taken all three points from Fortress JJB.
The aforementioned surprise results meant that anyone who amassed 20 pts last weekend can congratulate themselves. Stoke supporter Supergirl bagged an astonishing 25 pts from seven games before the Mighty Tigers kicked off, but like Arsenal, she only got one thereafter. Still, 26, good effort! MarkTaylor was another with 26, and his 33 correct results are the best in the Top 10, where he resides at No. 6. Top score I could locate was by a Southampton fan called NigelReid, who managed four Perfect 5s (including Portsmouth’s win) and seven results in his 28. A Saint backing Pompey to win? What’s going on? Anyhow, well done Sir, and I hope your fine score was some consolation for the miserable form of your team.
The Dark Side
Apart from those of us who cheered Hull’s win, there was another group who were even happier – the bookies, who were saved from a $20m-plus payout on Accumulator bets from people who had bet on all the Big Four to win. A pity: Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud…. Hull kicked off at the Emirates as 20-1 outsiders. Those are the longest odds I’ve ever seen for a Prem game. After Arsenal scored, you could get 599-1 against a Hull win!
If you want to include an unlikely winner or two among your Score Five predictions this week, why not consider the games at Chelsea and Tottenham, where the betting weasels have visitors Aston Villa and Stoke to win at 7-1 and 11-2 respectively. Blackburn are 6-1 to win at home against the Red Devils.
“Think I’ll buy me a football team”
It appears that owning a Prem club has now replaced having a giant yacht as the status symbol for the average billionaire. Mike Ashley’s current attempts to find a buyer for Newcastle reminded me of the time I was contacted by a young Russian entrepreneur who had made a fortune in the music business - Fanovtekno was his name, if I remember rightly. Anyhow, he was interested in buying a club and wanted some facts and figures from me. “Tell me Professor, is there a big-city club that has fallen on hard times due to being badly run for years and is now a laughing stock?” he said, no doubt hopeful of finding a bargain. “As it happens, yes,” I replied “but your pal Roman bought it just recently”.
Good luck for the weekend, all,