The never-ending roller-coaster ride that is supporting EFC continues despite changes in management and players! The last 8 days have seemed like a snapshot of what we have endured since the late 1980s. A terrible first half vs Fulham followed by a much better 2nd half and 3-0 win.
All change for Tuesday and a disappointing loss with questions asked about Silva’s team selection. On Saturday, I watched one of the best performances I have seen by the Blues for a long time. But even saying that, the game was ebbing away before Morgan got red carded.
Okay, so this is a very small sample size if we talk in the vocabulary of mathematicians and statistical gurus. But does it tell us anything we don’t already know? Indeed, what can the wealth of team and individual stats tell us about the performances we watch?
So I went looking for information trying to explain why Silva left out Sigurdsson on Tuesday after scoring 2 goals on Saturday. I hoped to find a website that would tell me how far individual players run in a game. I know there a few out there – Opta, Premier League and even Sky. But I couldn’t find what I was looking for – only lots of other stats which I think influence the modern manager, of which Silva definitely is (and, sad to say, didn’t Big Sam use them as well?).
By general consensus, it is thought that Sigurdsson runs up to 12 km in each match. The average distance covered by certain players depending on their position and duties is between 10 and 12 km. Apparently, Jack Cork of Burnley regularly runs the furthest, up to 13 km. Here are a few things to consider about players who run >10 km in every match.
1. In the Olympics there are no heats for 10k. So Sir Mo Fara only has to win the race once to get the gold. All races of lower distances have heats, including the 5 km. The reason being that the physiological analysis of the body’s energy expenditure shows that it takes 3+ days to recover. I know Mo runs this at a much faster rate then Sigurdsson and other midfielders do.
Sigurdsson lasts between 80-90 minutes most games but he runs at a pace that includes sprints, stops and starts rather than the continuous pace that Sir Mo runs at to run at sub 28 minutes and therefore different energy systems are depleted. So, looking for a reason why Sigurdsson and others were left out of Tuesday’s game but returned on Saturday is purely down to the lack of recovery time that there was between the Fulham game and Southampton.
I am sure that fitness analysts at Everton and everywhere else provide the manager with a breakdown of this individual information after each match. Coming back to the stats that I did find about the 2017-18 season — there was not one Everton player who was in the top ten for either distances covered or the number of sprints per match. A pretty damning stat about Everton last season. Reports have emerged this season of Silva demanding more from the players and harder fitness sessions.
So, as we criticize Silva’s disappointing team selection on Tuesday, from a fitness statistical position, he got it dead right. The proof being in the improved performance against Leicester. Remember how many teams – Everton last season and Burnley this season — are struggling because of the regular diet of midweek Europa League games. It maybe fair to say that demands placed on the modern player are too much for them to regularly play 2 matches each week?
Reader Comments (21)
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1 Posted 08/10/2018 at 16:53:14
The awful exhibit for so-called Premier League football that we were served up yesterday from our former home, where the two runaway favourites were set to give us a fest of fabulous attacking football, apparently followed strenuous efforts by both sides in the much more important Champions League during the week. That seemed to be the only excuse offered by pundits that I noted for the poor showing.
Of course, it could also be the fundamental unpredictability of football, and that pre-match anticipation should never be over-cooked? Or is that my pesso-realism coming to the fore?
2 Posted 08/10/2018 at 16:56:27
3 Posted 08/10/2018 at 18:32:27
Your average pro would have had at least 10 years of specialised coaching before gaining a first-team place. They should be capable of finding a team mate with a well-placed kick or throw-in. Any advantage to be had from the award of such things is too often lost while the designated star lumbers half the length of the field to perform the easiest of all techniques.
4 Posted 08/10/2018 at 19:06:15
I read a while ago that players were running 20% further than five years previously and at a greater intensity. Naturally, the older a player is, the more recovery time is required. Sigurdsson and Gueye are in their late 20s. Both play in roles which require a high work rate throughout a match. It was unsurprising therefore that Silva rested them in the League Cup.
Older fans and former players often quote the days when teams played games on successive days at Christmas or with a break of only two days. The difference in those days, of course, was that both teams would play more or less the same eleven. There was no such thing as rotation, hence both teams were in the same condition: knackered.
5 Posted 08/10/2018 at 19:06:54
Surely, you can see how much better things are already? It's still just 8 Premier League games in. That's the blink of an eye for a new manager. It's a process that we have to undertake to get to where we want to be, come the end of the season.
So, ask yourself if you think we can take what we've done well and do it better, and eradicate what we've done badly. There's a fine balance between being good in attack, but leaky at the back to being good at the back, but toothless upfront. Finding the sweet spot where the side is both good in attack and decent at the back is very difficult.
No, Silva doesn't walk on water. But he comes here with a big reputation as a coach. I hoped he would be a coach first and foremost and fix the mess he inherited. Clearly, he couldn't and so he spent big on 6 players to fill some gaps. We now need things to settle and to work on moulding the side before we can fine-tune it. So much work to be done on the training ground.
But surely, we can all get excited and dare to dream? When's the last time we had a player like Bernard? Or Richarlison? I'm a relative youngster, and so the greatest side of my adult life is the Martinez side of 2013-14, and I think this side can be even better. There was a lot of criticism for Silva with the poor results in pre-season and then a couple of bad results, but people are effectively breathing a sigh of relief that he seems to know what he's doing. Let's enjoy it, eh?
6 Posted 08/10/2018 at 19:09:22
7 Posted 08/10/2018 at 19:16:49
8 Posted 08/10/2018 at 19:18:47
He also suggested that clubs would need a deep squad to maintain this approach or the players would be knackered by Xmas.
9 Posted 08/10/2018 at 20:06:57
The pitches are so much faster now as well, and if running in the mud was hard, then I'm sure sprinting on these modern pitches is even harder, and possibly even harder again on the body, because most games are just so intense nowadays, with the ball moving so fast on these very quick pitches.
11 Posted 08/10/2018 at 23:21:04
It is Richarlison and, in the last three games, Bernard who have transformed our forward play. Without those two, we would be every bit as bad as we were against Huddersfield and West Ham, matches for which Richarlison was suspended and Bernard played only 45 minutes in a team already losing 2-0.
It is a good job we have strengthened our attack, because our defensive play is highly suspect. Our inability to keep clean sheets means we need to score at least two goals in most games in order to win. Last season, we had a total of 10 clean sheets in the Premier League; one under Koeman, one under Unsworth, and eight under Allardyce. In eight games this season, we have had just one clean sheet with a more difficult schedule of fixtures ahead than any we have faced so far.
Silva's ability to instil greater defensive discipline is the biggest area of doubt concerning his management. Ultimately it will determine how successful he is.
12 Posted 08/10/2018 at 00:04:05
By all means0, make 3, 4 or even 5 changes. But 7 was a recipe for disaster. Consistency is key in football and that's too many changes, especially bringing in players who've hardly played together in a competitive match.
Either way, it still baffles me why, year on year, every manager we have treats the League Cup with disdain. It's the easiest of the three trophies to win – by far – and only adds about 6 games to the calendar. Hardly a big ask if not in Europe.
Now all we have left is the FA Cup. We 100% guaranteed won't finish top six and talk of top 4 is a waste of time. Let's hope Mina and Gomes make a big difference and we sign a decent striker and right-back.
13 Posted 09/10/2018 at 02:10:54
Although I noticed the Watford-supporting celeb on Lawro's BBC results guessing article thought they would beat Bournemouth 4-0 and finish top 4!!!! Fans of other teams are always so deluded.
14 Posted 09/10/2018 at 06:31:25
It has been said that older players, in their late 20s, need greater recovery time. Being at a greater physical maturity in their late 20s, would that mean that 20-year-olds, say like Davies who seems to cover most ground in Everton's side, need even more recovery time than their older teammates, is there a peak age or does it come down to each individual's genetics?
Indeed, can white men jump? Why are all great swimmers white and all great sprinters black or is it all rhetoric?
15 Posted 09/10/2018 at 09:31:08
So we have the players to recover early now.
The average age of the 84-85 team was 24 year 4 months and the 86-87 team just under 26 – the same as the team so far this year.
16 Posted 09/10/2018 at 13:08:05
Interesting to read this (1950s - 2002):
Everton were the first to do a time-and-motion study on their players in the 1970s (so comments about the distances run 1960s are somewhat subjective) and concluded that they moved 8.5 - 9 km whereas now they average about 10 - 12 km so an increase overall of 10-40% rather than trebling... but still a significant increase. Given that I don't remember players standing still much in the 1970,s the only way distance covered can have risen is if speed and intensity has risen markedly.
I am a fat 56-year-old man and I could jog 10 km in 90 min so that is no feat of athletics in itself – it is the performance to high speed over and over that is the difference (ever tried interval training?).
Another startling stat is that, of all of the 10 km run, the average distance covered while in contact with the ball is 200 m per player.
17 Posted 09/10/2018 at 14:47:13
Personally (and from a statistical point of view!) I'd have to disagree with your statement that “As we criticize Silva's disappointing team selection on Tuesday, from a fitness statistical position, he got it dead right.”
I don't understand how you can conclude that he got it right by the simple fact that we won the following game? That's a completely subjective statement. I'd go as far as to say it is specious reasoning as how can you possibly infer a relationship between him being rested and then playing well and prove it? What evidence do you base that on?
The one statistic that you do talk about (distance traveled) is what can be called an “empty statistic” or a scalar quantity (from GCSE Maths!). It only becomes of value if, as Thomas says, you begin to consider speed, intensity, duration of sprints etc, and then make comparisons between a population of players.
For example if you could show that a significant number of the players that started against Southampton had a reduction in physical performance measures on Saturday – compared to those that were rested – then you may be able to support your statement that he got it “dead right”. But I doubt that there is any correlation at all.
The suggestion that the reason the players were rested against Southampton was because of recovery time is surely rejected by the fact that Kenny, Keane, Zouma, Davies and Bernard all started against Southampton then started against Leicester without detrimental effect.
I think Denis provides the best answer. It has nothing to do with statistics or recovery time and everything to do with the importance Silva placed on the competition.
18 Posted 09/10/2018 at 15:15:05
This isn't rhetoric – it's just about the genes. Of course, it would be possible to have a top white sprinter and a top West African swimmer – these things are not immutable. Alan Wells won the Olympics 100 m in 1980 with a time of 10.25 s. He wouldn't make the semi-finals with a time like that now (the Americans were missing that year because it was in Moscow).
Top African long-distance runners tend to come from East Africa – light and lean (like Mo Farah).
It's not true that all the best swimmers are white men. Plenty of good Asian swimmers (particularly women).
Not sure why I'm talking about this!
19 Posted 09/10/2018 at 15:59:24
That was rather the point I was trying to make, that recovery rates might depend on a lot of things.
20 Posted 09/10/2018 at 16:03:48
Those generalisations about muscle mass, bone density, genetics and sporting success amongst black athletes have long been found to be inaccurate. There have been a number of studies that have shown the "science" behind such theories to be highly questionable and, for the most part, unsubstantiated.
It has much more to do with sterotyping, social expectations and access to facilities.
21 Posted 09/10/2018 at 16:36:13
22 Posted 09/10/2018 at 16:59:27
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