Form in soccer: not always a winning formula

by Brandon Tan

 

One of the most discussed statistics in soccer leading up to a match is “league form”: the results of the team’s last six games. We see this statistic referenced again and again by commentators and pundits in their match previews and analyses. The phenomenon is all over the websites of sports news outlets, such as here in the Guardian. Continue reading “Form in soccer: not always a winning formula”

There is No Place Like Home

By Jeffrey Gleason

Nine weeks into the NFL season, no teams remain unbeaten. This could’ve actually been said after eight weeks, after seven weeks, and after six weeks as well. Week 5 was the last time an unbeaten team remained, when both the Cardinals and Bengals were sitting at 3-0.

However, after these same nine weeks, five teams remain unbeaten at home. The Patriots, Broncos, Eagles, Packers, and Cardinals have yet to lose on their own turf.

Home field advantage is a phenomenon that gets a lot of traction in sports. Experts often use it to justify their predictions and betting lines usually reflect the perceived advantage of the home side. However, people often generalize home field advantage with a “one size fits all” approach, acknowledging its presence, but assuming it displays a constant impact across different situations.

With five unbeaten NFL home teams and the recent impetus of a road team finally winning Game 7 of the World Series (the Giants topped the Royals on October 29th to capture their third championship in five years), I was interested in how home field advantage was quantitatively different in different situations. How does it vary across sports? Do both good teams and bad teams experience the same advantage? Is it magnified in the postseason? What about differences in earlier eras? These are the questions I set out to resolve.

Continue reading “There is No Place Like Home”

How Good Are Southampton?

by Tom Pham

Southampton v Swansea City - Premier League

After his £12.5m ($19.9m) signing with Southampton during the summer, Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama claimed that he “believes one day Champions League football is achievable at Southampton.” Most fans knew that the midfielder was just simply trying to encourage his teammates and fans; none of us expected Southampton to actually challenge for a Champions League spot, especially considering they were struggling in League One in 2010-11 and were 18th in the Premier League last November. However, as the saying goes, we should only judge a team after ten games, and Southampton are passing that test with flying colours. Southampton are sitting comfortably in fifth, with 19 points, only six behind league leaders Arsenal, and one behind second-placed Chelsea. They are tied with Tottenham and Everton and are 2 points above champions Manchester United.

Southampton’s league form has been nothing to scoff at, gaining a convincing win at Anfield against Liverpool on a Dejan Lovren header, a credible draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford and a string of clean sheets and solid defensive performances, the only recent error being Asmir Begovic’s freak goal at the Britannia Stadium, only the fifth goalkeeper to ever score in the Premier League. St. Mary’s has become one of the most intimidating places for away teams to travel to, where the Saints have only conceded one goal this season in five games. This begs us a simple question, what has propelled Southampton to such an impressive start to the season?

Continue reading “How Good Are Southampton?”

Coutinho: Liverpool’s new star

by Tom Pham After Liverpool’s lackluster display against Southampton, many people were disappointed with the lack of creativity and flair in the Liverpool midfield, calling out for new signings and the departure of Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva. These fans were desperate for the return of Luis Suarez, hoping that his partnership with Daniel Sturridge will propel Liverpool into better form and an eventual Champions … Continue reading Coutinho: Liverpool’s new star

Arsenal v. Napoli: Analysing the New Midfield at the Emirates

by Karthik Sastry When asked about the last time he had seen his Arsenal side as well as they did in last Tuesday’s comfortable 2-0 victory over an on-form Napoli, manager Arsene Wenger could only draw a comparison with his club’s dramatic 2-1 triumph over Barcelona at the Emirates in February 2011. Tactically, the parallel is interesting. At that time the undisputed conductor of the … Continue reading Arsenal v. Napoli: Analysing the New Midfield at the Emirates

Champions League Semifinal Preview

by Karthik Sastry It’s amazing how quickly the world football landscape can change. On April 9, at the end of 90 minutes in a tense second leg at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, it appeared an un-fancied Malaga side might secure a place in a triple-Spanish semifinal at the expense of the impressive but wasteful hosts. The headlines could have written themselves: could it be that the … Continue reading Champions League Semifinal Preview

Ooooh, Robin Van Persie!

by Satyajeet Pal For Arsenal fans, each sight of Robin van Persie scoring a goal is a reminder of the talent Arsene Wenger let slip away last summer. Yet for Manchester United fans, there has been no better spectacle than watching the Flying Dutchman play this season right where he left off. He has been short of nothing but spectacular for the Red Devils through … Continue reading Ooooh, Robin Van Persie!