Lies, damn lies and statistics

by   |   04/05/2019  19 Comments  [Jump to last]

I like stats, I like numbers, I like manipulating numbers to demonstrate an argument or point of view. So I thought I would share some with my ToffeeWeb family.

In the last 10 games, we have achieved 20 points out of a possible 30:

We have scored 16 goals and conceded 5.We have kept clean sheets in 8 out of those 10 games.

We have taken 10 points out of a possible 12 from the "supposed" top 6.

We have taken 10 points from a possible 18 from the "rest". So room for improvement there, I would say.

Anyway, here is the interesting thing: If we had performed the whole season as we have in the last 10 games, this would be the situation.

We would have 76 points.

We would have scored 60 goals.

We would have conceded 19. This would be the best defensive record in the league.

We would be in 3rd position.

Yes we need a striker, yes, we should have done better against Newcastle, Fulham and Crystal Palace... but, if we had have done better, the goals scored and the points total in my "full season" projection would be even better.

So, is Marco Silva on the right track? My answer to that question is Yes. If, and only if, he gets us playing consistently to the standard we have played in the last 10 games.

Food for thought and optimism...

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Reader Comments (19)

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Stan Schofield
1 Posted 05/05/2019 at 16:39:52
Andy, interesting stats, and as you say the key is consistency to make those stats apply to a whole season.

The thing is, though, with stats like that, we've been there before. For example, in Koeman's first season, our home form equated to being 2nd in the Premier League if that form also applied away from home, so it appeared that we needed only sort out the tactics and attitude for away games. But of course none of that happened, so it was the usual 'if only'. And the only way out of that 'if only' is consistency for a whole season.

Derek Knox
2 Posted 05/05/2019 at 16:48:07
Well constructed, Andy, and an all too painful reminder of our glaring shortcomings in this campaign, but let's at least hope (probably the most used word in an Evertonian's posts) that this season will serve as learning point, from which to kick on from.

Of course a lot hinges on what happens in the Transfer Window, on both outgoings (should we find homes for them all) and incomings. A lot has been made of the miss that Zouma will be, and quite rightly so, such is the impact he has made in his loan spell.

The last few games, we have not missed Andre Gomes so much, due to his suspension, as Zouma would have been, had that situation been reversed.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
3 Posted 05/05/2019 at 17:30:21
Badly constructed.

All the top teams were at home in the last 10 games and Burnley who we lost to last year. Early in the season we played all the top teams away. We honestly think we could have taken these points from the top 6 if we played at their ground?

And 76 only will just get you in Champions League.

A statistician would describe this as lies or damned lies

Phil Bellis
4 Posted 05/05/2019 at 18:13:21
Believe we are currently 3rd in the Premier League form table (not sure what the games span is)... as a comparison, Spurs are 15th
Brian Williams
5 Posted 05/05/2019 at 19:15:14
Not badly constructed at all. It's a straight forward extrapolation of our last ten results over the complete season, so in that respect it's constructed perfectly. It may not be likely but there's nothing wrong with Andy's extrapolation at all.

Also Chelsea are best placed to finish third in the PL this season and the highest points total they can achieve is 74.

I think the "lies and damn lies" comment you make refers to your post Phil, not Andy's piece. ;-)

Andy Osborne
6 Posted 05/05/2019 at 20:06:04
Phil (3), I hear your argument but I counter it with this:

In the corresponding reverse fixtures of our last 10 games, we achieved 14 points out of 30. Scored 16 goals, conceded 8 and kept 5 clean sheets. All this with Bernard, Richarlison, Gomes, Digne and Zouma new to the club. Yes, we did not perform as well as did in the last 10 games, but half our team was new.

Taking the last 10 games is a truer indication of current form. What points, GF, GA and clean sheets would we have got from the corresponding reverse fixtures if we had had the same team that played in the last 10 games, with the new signings settled and able to play with each other? The answer is... who knows??? But probably better that the actual/factual data.

The title of my piece is "Lies, damn lies and statistics". I chose that title that for a reason.

Andy Osborne
7 Posted 05/05/2019 at 20:10:44
Brian (5) I am glad you understood the irony of my piece. Yes the figures show progress, but figures can be used, constructed, manipulated to demonstrate pretty much any argument if you try hard enough.
Don Alexander
8 Posted 05/05/2019 at 20:10:57
Seems sanguine to me Andy, thanks.
Andy Osborne
9 Posted 05/05/2019 at 20:12:13
Don (8) Nice.
Anthony Murphy
10 Posted 05/05/2019 at 20:17:50
Tell you what, though... the way the so-called big boys (bar Man City and the Shite) have played during the run in, we should have nothing to fear next season. With a few astute signings, and if we manage to keep Gana and Zouma, we could have a very good season.

Man Utd have made a massive error with Ole; Chelsea are in limbo with Roman Abramovich not allowed a business visa; and Arsenal have two great strikers but not much else.

Not getting carried away, but potentially we are coming good at the right time. To be honest, I would be a bit disappointed if we are not in the running for the top 6 next season.

Michael Lynch
11 Posted 05/05/2019 at 20:51:32
To give it a bit of context, everyone has beaten Man Utd in the last ten games, and everyone has beaten Arsenal. Chelsea have been up and down, so that's probably the best of the "top 6" wins, and holding the Shite to 0-0 looks better with each game they cheat/spawn a win out of – that was some achievement.

Having said all of that, it's been a great run. We've looked much better. Obviously, consistency is the key now, but I still think it's going to be slow progress. I would be hoping that performances over the entire season will be closer to the ones we've seen in the run-in, and we achieve a points improvement taking us into the high 50s/low 60s.

Alan J Thompson
12 Posted 06/05/2019 at 06:57:50
There we go then, Andy, the Damn Lies in your #6 is obviously that we shouldn't sign any new players...no, that can't be right, the team's not old enough?

Then there's the one about people who jump off tall buildings.

Gerard McKean
13 Posted 06/05/2019 at 10:25:11
Andy, this is well thought-out talking point, and you make your point, which is summarised in your title, extremely well. Thank you for taking the time to provide us with something interesting to discuss.

I think most TW readers appreciate the effort and posters fire back mostly with polite responses both in agreement and in opposition to articles written by, let's face it, just Evertonians trying to get people thinking. And that's how it should be.

Occasionally, some troll will come over all smart-arse (without ever putting their own neck on the chopping block of proactive thought), one or two become aggressive, and as you've discovered, some miss the point entirely. Irony is easily missed when a fuse is too short.

Oh, and by the way, was it Mark Twain who said it? I always thought so until I read somewhere that Twain himself attributed your title to the 19th Century Prime Minister, Disraeli.

Derek Thomas
14 Posted 06/05/2019 at 11:33:10
10 games (swallows) won't make my summer perfect. But... and we all know the big IF is coming: Translate it over next season for 50 league and cup games and we won't be having angst about the Thursday Cup.

I wonder what the chances are? Will the current top 2 have worn themselves out for next season?

Chelsea; for a number of reasons, some that won't disappear overnight, if at all, are off their previous title-winning standard.

Spurs; might lose Erickson and suffer some new-stadium cash shortages.

Arsenal; Emery has his work cut out.

Man Utd; need a monster post-SAF rebuild and, if Emery has his work cut out, that goes double for Ole.

Wolves; Had a dream season, only using 19 players and everyone had a blinder. Will a potential early start in the Europa League — they have to wait on the Cup Final(?) — hinder them? Will Second Season Syndrome strike?

Leicester; Vardy will always score but, with the best will in the world, lightning won't strike twice.

Some seasons, but not every season, there's what they call in Australia a 'Bolter', who comes out of seemingly nowhere, which in the Sky Premier League terms means not the usual suspects... It may be one of the teams I haven't mentioned.

It may even be Us — not before time.

Jerome Shields
15 Posted 06/05/2019 at 18:09:56
The stats you produced prove that there is a framework that has Everton at a different level. Fine tuning the team would made a big difference and what is exciting is there is potential to do so.
Andy Osborne
16 Posted 08/05/2019 at 14:34:34
Gerard (13) Thanks. As you saw I was using my "stats" to underpin a weak-ish argument. The quote is commonly attributed to Twain, but a quick google says it is not, nor Disraeli their, so who knows.
Imagine if we beat Spurs at the weekend, my stats would show us winning the league next season!
Mike Gaynes
17 Posted 08/05/2019 at 14:56:35
Gerard #13, Twain popularized the saying in America and attributed it to Disraeli, but he was apparently erroneous in doing so. The quip's origins are lost in history.
John Pierce
18 Posted 08/05/2019 at 15:09:51
Remember the season before Leicester won the league? Their last 10/12 games were statistically very good too?!
Is that we’re we are going Andy? 👀
Andy Osborne
19 Posted 08/05/2019 at 17:01:38
John (18) - Yes I remember that, I bloody hope so. Seriously though, it depends on a number of things. Keeping Gana Gueye, and retaining Zuma and Gomes, and if not getting like for like replacements, which will be tough. A decent striker, one that can contribute 15-20 goals. Maybe an older one, so DCL still has a pathway to develop and get games. But again this will be tough.
Next season will be make or break for DCL. He has made good progress this season but I suspect he won't make the standard we need, but I keep my fingers crossed.
We need to clear the dead wood, to reduce wages, but only the ones that are already on loan. I would keep Walcott and Scheiderlin, as I think they are good squad players, but would like both of them to produce more when they do appear. McCarthy would be the exception here, I like the lad, but I don't think he will ever make it back to be a first choice player again. So sell now, give him first team football elsewhere, free up some wages and give a youngster a chance to sit on the bench.
Apart from the ones I have mentioned, I don't think we need to buy any more. Great if we do, but not concerned if we don't. I would like so see some of the U23's given a go, especially some of the forwards. You never know, one might just "click".

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