5 Added Minutes doesn’t care too much for Messi vs Ronaldo debates, but it does care for data and insights into behaviour, of which the Ballon D’or voting system provides lots of. Each country has three voters – the national captain, national coach and member of the media – who provide three votes worth 5, 3 and 1 point towards the best player in the world that year.
In the four awards since 2011 (held in January 2012 to celebrate the achievements of the previous year), Messi and Ronaldo have shared 60% of the points on offer – from a maximum possible of 89% – with Messi edging out his rival with 32% of the points.
But in this era of shared dominance, which countries have preferred the Argentine? And which have opted against him? The voting patterns of three individuals may not reflect the views of an entire country, but they provide a curious and sometimes amusing insight into certain national preferences:
No football fan ever believes the referee is on their side. Most, however, will accept that officials are subconsciously swayed by home support; indeed the authors of Scorecasting believe almost all of home field advantage can be explained by involuntary refereeing biases.
But are some Premier League referees more susceptible to these biases than others?
Cricket 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?
New 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.
This 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?
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.