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Is 300 a psychological barrier in one day internationals?

23 December 2014

sangaCricket fans will be familiar with this scenario:

  • it’s reaching the end of the first innings in a one day international;
  • the team batting is nearing 300 runs;
  • a commentator will claim that reaching 300 will give the batting team a psychological edge going into the second innings.

But is this true?

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New faces but even less time: managers in the Premier League

25 August 2014

65FULHAM0402ANew names have dominated Premier League managerial appointments in the last two years, but there is some evidence that these less-familiar faces are being given even less time than ‘experienced’ Premier League managers to improve their teams.

Four Premier League clubs appointed new managers this summer; three of these appointments were new to the league (van Gaal, Koeman, Irvine) whilst the fourth, Mauricio Pochettino, was himself a Premier League rookie just 16 months earlier.

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How unlikely were The Invincibles?

23 August 2014

Arsenal-InvincibleThis summer marked the 10-year anniversary of Arsenal completing their Invincibles season; a team remembered not only as a ruthless winning machine but also for being totally unlike anything previously seen in English football.

There has been plenty of good writing on The Invincibles – indeed this post was inspired by Dennis Bergkamp’s recent autobiography – and this blog won’t attempt to compete with these pieces. Instead, 5 Added Minutes is more concerned by the question: how unlikely were The Invincibles?

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“One brings two”

18 July 2014

I’ve spent too many hours watching test cricket wondering when the next wicket will arrive. Two batters, both set – how many runs can we expect them to accumulate at the crease? And, as the old adage goes, does one really bring two?

Firstly, how long does a top order partnerships tend to last? Surprisingly, the answer is not long; 25% of these partnerships make 8 runs or less.

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World Cup Popularity Contest

25 June 2014

Fifa-World-Cup-2014-101Who have you enjoyed watching the most and least during this World Cup? Please take this survey to help me establish the tournament’s most popular teams:

5 Added Minutes: World Cup Popularity Contest

Sometimes the best teams at a World Cup aren’t well-loved, so I’m interested to see which countries have won fans, if not points, during the tournament.

Results to follow if I can manage a few hundred responses – so please share with your friends!

Do teams convert momentum from goals into wins?

25 May 2014

5476080-3x2-700x467Close cup finals often seem to be decided by momentum. After all, if two teams are evenly-matched, it’s entirely plausible that the team with the psychological edge ends up winning the contest.

One way of testing this is looking at equalisers in knockout matches. Do teams who get themselves back into a game then convert this positive energy into extra time or penalty shootout victories? We know that in tennis, a player equalising in the fourth set, particularly from two sets down, has a better than 50/50 chance of winning the fifth set – but does this idea hold true in football?

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Going Behind: Was there a warning sign for Manchester United?

28 February 2014

Manchester United's van Persie celebrates after scoring a hat-trick against Southampton during their English Premier League soccer match at Saint Mary's Stadium in SouthamptonOne of the defining features of Sir Alex Ferguson’s final title-winning season at Manchester United was his team’s ability to win matches from losing positions. They found themselves behind on 16 occasions in 2012-13, and took 29 points from these games.

Whilst Ferguson was undoubtedly a master of late and come-from-behind victories, you have the question the sustainability of winning games in this nature so often.

Looking at Premier League teams from the start of the 2006-07 season, unsurprisingly we see that most teams will find themselves behind in games as often as they were the previous season.

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Football Democracy: Borda Count

9 February 2014

article-2426883-18245E6000000578-953_634x379The Football Democracy survey has established that, using different methods, you could feasibly call Arsenal or Everton the league’s most popular teams.

There’s another method I want to visit – the Borda Count, a variant of which is used in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Using this method, a team gets the most points for each first preference vote, less points for second preference votes and so on.

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Football Democracy: Coombs’ Method

2 February 2014

everton-fans-300-93314503-3266091The original Football Democracy survey revealed that of the 234 respondents, Arsenal were the most popular team, with 24% of fans picking them as their ‘first choice’ team.

The Alternative Vote method supported the claim that Arsenal are the Premier League’s most popular team; the north London club were also the second, third and fourth preferences of a number of fans, which allowed them to win the majority of votes by this method.

Arsenal, however, are the last preference of a small number of fans – 7.3% to be precise – and the Coombs method takes this into account when determining a ‘winner’ of this popularity contest.

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Football Democracy: Alternative Vote

19 January 2014

digitalWith 234 respondents listing the Premier League teams by order of preference, we can attempt to determine – at least in theory – the league’s most popular team.

We’ve already established that Arsenal are the favourite team of 23.5% of fans, but it is also true that they are disliked by many fans, and therefore cannot justifiably be called the most popular team.

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