Win, Lose or Draw: Liverpool’s Woes Continue

Win: Arsenal The Gunners bounced back from last weekend’s self-inflicted loss to Chelsea with a 3-1 away win against West Ham to carry them into the international break. A 21st minute goal from West Ham’s Mohamed Diame had Arsenal fans wary of a Chelsea hangover, but Olivier Giroud answered decisively with his first Premier League goal of the season in the 41st minute. Theo Walcott came on in the second half with something to prove to his manager and did just that, firing the game winner in the 77th. Santi Cazorla capped things off with a left-footed strike from outside the box in the 83rd minute, after which West Ham could only manage a couple of chances. Despite claims early in the week that they would press Arsenal, West Ham seemed happy to concede possession, 69% of it in fact. The away side also dominated shots (21 to nine) and […]

Win, Lose or Draw: Finishers take the honors

It was a weekend for ruthless finishers as chance creation took second fiddle to chance conversion. Three high profile match-ups saw teams with all the shots fall short to teams with all the goals. Win: Tottenham Clint Dempsey’s goal proved to be the winner in Tottenham’s first victory at Old Trafford since 1989. His side was quick to strike, as Jan Vertonghen gave Spurs the lead just two minutes into play. Gareth Bale doubled the lead in the 32nd minute as the visitors took advantage of a Manchester United side reeling from the early onslaught and struggling to deal with the energy of their opponents. The defining period of the game proved to last just four minutes, as United came out firing in the second half, lifted by the introduction of Wayne Rooney. Goals in the 51st and 53rd minutes looked to spark United into life, but Dempsey’s goal between […]

They say it wins championships

Until the concession of Joleon Lescott’s header off a Manchester City corner this weekend set off a debate surrounding the merits of zonal marking, the primary talking point surrounding Arsenal’s defense just how stingy it’s been early in the new season. Even with that goal, the Gunners have rarely pulled the ball out of their own net this season, and only as the result of goal-keeping errors, the first a wild bobble from Wojciech Szczesny and the second a missed punch from Vito Mannone. That brings their goals allowed to a league low of two, tied with table-toppers Chelsea. So what’s new? Certainly not the players, as three out of the four regularly starting defenders this season are veterans of last year. Much of the credit has gone to new assistant manager Steve Bould, an Arsenal defender himself in his younger days. Under Bould’s guidance, fans at the Emirates have […]

Win, Lose or Draw: League table takes shape

After a busy weekend of Premier League soccer, most clubs have four games under their belts and an early picture of the league table has begun to emerge. Who put their mark on this season’s campaign and who lost ground? Tottenham: Win It took four games, but Spurs finally have their first win under new manager Andres Villas-Boas. After a 2-1 loss to Newcastle United, Tottenham faced successive 1-1 draws in which they were denied the full three points, first by a 91st minute goal from West Brom and then by an 85th minute goal from Norwich. There were no such dramatics against Reading this Sunday. Spurs dominated the newly-promoted Royals in almost every conceivable way, opening the scoring after 18 minutes of play and adding two more for comfort in the 71st and 74th minutes. The visitors were rarely in the game, their best opportunity coming from a denied […]

Win, Lose or Draw: Week 3’s big results

The table is slowly taking shape as teams are starting to hit their stride, just in time to be thrown off again by the international break. Here’s a closer look at a few of this weekend’s big matchups. Arsenal: Win The Gunners finally snatched their first goals, along with their first win, of the season on a road trip to Anfield, courtesy of new signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla. And yet, despite the initial focus falling on the resumption of business as usual for the Arsenal attack, the real story here is in defense. Arsenal conceded a total of 49 goals last season, more than any other team in the top eight save Newcastle United. In fact, at this point last season, the Gunners had already bled 10 of those goals. This year, though, is a different story. Three games in, the North London club has yet to see […]

Olympic Semifinals: Brazil Marches On

Leandro Damiao scored two second half goals to put Brazil one step closer to Olympic gold. Photo courtesy of interaksyon.com It will be a Central versus South American final in the gold medal match on Saturday, while two Asian nations will battle for bronze. How did Mexico manage to slay the Blue Samurai of Japan, and was South Korea really as poor as the 3-0 score line suggests? Mexico (3) v Japan (1) Japan drew first blood, but it only served to focus a Mexican team that reacted by clamping down on defense and being more ruthless in attack. After Yuki Otsu’s 12th minute goal, Mexico responded with two of their own in the 31st and 65th minutes, and a third from Javier Cortes in the third minute of stoppage time to seal it. Mexico had a slight edge on Japan in terms of Footballr Rating, besting them 58 to […]

Olympic Quarterfinals: Favorites Exposed

Cinderellas were sent packing, shoes in hand, and favorites showed their fallibility as eight teams were whittled down to four.  What can the quarterfinals tell you about your favorite team’s chances of making the gold medal match when they face the semis? Japan (3) v Egypt (0) In the only one-sided result of the quarterfinals, Japan boasted a 67 average Footballr Rating, an advantage of 15 over their Egyptian opponents.  Egypt had impressed in its opener against Brazil, staging an unlikely second half comeback to nearly draw even with the heavy favorites.  Still, the only game in which they’d managed to thoroughly outplay their opponents was a 1-1 draw with New Zealand: an aberration in a tournament where they have generally trailed when it came to their Footballr Rating. It’s not as though Egypt can claim to have been surprised by Japan.  The Blue Samurai only had the inferior FR […]

Olympic Soccer: The Story So Far…

With a week of Olympic soccer down and the group stage gone it’s time to look back and see just how last week’s predictions have played out, and what other teams have stepped out of anonymity. Who has shown well? Brazil has certainly lived up to the hype, so far. Neymar and company are the only team to leave the group stage with a perfect record: three games and three wins. There were plenty of questions after they let a 3-0 lead over Egypt slip to 3-2 in the second half of their opening match, a game where Brazil’s average FootballrRating barely edged out their opponents and in which Egypt’s best players outshone Brazil’s by an average FR of 8. They answered those questions in games against Belarus and New Zealand, where they dominated their opponents’ FR by 10 and 17 respectively. Brazil are officially the team to beat, especially […]

Euro 2012 Analysis – Final – Spain vs Italy

This is the twenty-fourth piece in our Euro 2012 Analysis series, during which we’ll analyze all of the Euro 2012 matches based on our FootballrRating score. Spain (4) vs Italy (0) It’s as though Spain saved all its attacking flair for the final. After being one Iker Cassilas save away from elimination against Croatia and one inch from a potentially disastrous missed penalty against Portugal, the defending European and World champions reminded the world just why teams across the globe have spent the last four years trying to emulate their style.  The stats don’t scream one-sided.  Spain bested the Italians’ shot tally by just three, creating 14 chances to Italy’s 11, and 6 on target versus 4 for Italy.  Likewise, they took 57% of possession, solidly controlling, sure, but certainly not the most they’ve ever hogged the ball.  The scoring summary, on the other hand, tells a different story.  David Silva […]

Euro 2012 Analysis – Semifinals – Germany vs Italy

This is the twenty-third piece in our Euro 2012 Analysis series, during which we’ll analyze all of the Euro 2012 matches based on our FootballrRating score. Germany (1) vs Italy (2) It took a super performance from Mario Balotelli in the first half, and a solid defensive effort from the Italian back four in the second to stave off a German rally, for Italy to advance to the finals of Euro 2012. Italy will square off against Spain on July 1st to for the Euro Cup Championship. Italy, protected its net early in the first half, thanks to solid goaltending from keeper Gianluigi Buffon, who finished with 7 saves in the match, got on the scoreboard first. Balotelli headed in a cross in the 20th minute to give Italy the 1-0 lead. Sixteen minutes later, Balotelli was at it again, this time using his right foot to drive home his […]