Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Post European Game Syndrome



There is often an argument that after European games, teams tend to struggle to get the three points in their next game. Some argue that it’s due to the lack of preparation time, or the lack of quality in depth or even the lack of fitness. I myself have always thought that it was something along those lines too. 

Now, of course, there needs to be a degree of rationality and a consideration of the wider perspective.
Think about it, often teams can play poorly, yet still walk away with a win. So there is an argument that when people say a team isn’t as efficient or effective after a European game, they could mean in terms of performances, not the result. 

However, I wanted to see how each side that represented the Premier League in Europe this season faired in comparison to each other. 

However, before I point out my observations, we have to consider a few things. Firstly, we have to recognise some teams played more games after a European game, due to their progress in Europe. In order to combat this, I have added the points per game stat. 

Table: Premier League sides representing in Europe: Their record after European Games

Key Observations
·         Business as usual for Manchester United: After European games, Man United have been machine efficient. United won 7 of their 8 post European games which clearly demonstrates this. Perhaps Sir Alex Ferguson’s effective rotation and strength in depth played a key role in Man United’s consistency.
·         Arsenal unbeaten after European games: Both Arsenal and Man United are unbeaten after their European games. But considering this from Arsenal’s perspective, it shows how difficult they are to beat. Their experience and knowhow through many years of having to manage the Champions League and the Premier League is one of the reasons why they remained unbeaten.
·         Man City distinctly average after European games: Man City’s record is pretty average, to be fair. Although they only lost once and conceded the least out of the teams analysed (5), I think they should have done better. But Man City will argue, they had tough games after their Champions League duties, after all, they faced Liverpool away, then Arsenal at home and then Man United at home. But given the squad at Manicni’s disposal, you’d expect them to win one of those games.
·         Liverpool consistently inconsistent: Liverpool’s record after European games isn’t great. The key issue is the high number of draws, which is one of the differences from them being a top 6 side. However, what is interesting is that Liverpool kept 4 clean sheets, which is the highest (alongside Chelsea). In some respects, this shows progress is being made at Anfield, but clearly, more work needs to be done to sustain and build on it.
·         Newcastle shipping goals: Newcastle conceded 20 goals, which is an incredibly high number for a side playing in Europe and for me it symbolises their immense decline this season. Last season, Newcastle were far more solid and settled side defensively. Perhaps the club have missed Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini who have missed parts of the season for one reason or another.
·         Newcastle actually doing rather well…: Although Newcastle are conceding a hell of a lot of goals, they are actually winning fair number of games too. It’s intriguing; there was strong criticism that the lack of depth effected Newcastle’s campaign this season. Although this may well be a valid point, one may need to take it with a pinch of salt. As Newcastle won 5 games from 13, this shows the club has the ability to win games even when playing on a Thursday and then on a Sunday. But it is crucial to note, all 5 of Newcastle’s wins came at home.

1 comment:

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