Uruguay vs England: Match Preview


Uruguay

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeTeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Fernando Muslera109.1109.128.0Galatasaray26624768
Diego Godín123.1128.328.3Atletico Madrid33830431
José Giménez85.4124.119.3Atletico Madrid282410
Martín Cáceres109.5112.427.2Juventus24620588
Álvaro Pereira121.6126.928.5Sao Paulo FC29024489
Cristian Rodríguez107.7113.128.7Atletico Madrid32318173
Nicolás Lodeiro113.8116.625.2Botafogo RJ1328804
Egidio Arévalo87.6112.432.4Monarcas Morelia20417574
Álvaro González109.5115.429.6Lazio Roma26617885
Luis Suárez144.5147.827.3Liverpool FC37732230
Edinson Cavani122.1125.327.3Paris Saint-Germain34628093
Average112.2121.027.4
Bench
Rodrigo Muñoz123.8123.832.3Libertad20919381
Martín Silva108.0108.031.2Olimpia Asuncion21419831
Jorge Fucile128.8134.729.5FC Porto16914320
Sebastián Coates118.4126.723.7Nacional12310660
Walter Gargano110.1116.229.8Parma FC29423869
Diego Pérez82.7115.234.0Bologna FC34024965
Gastón Ramírez106.8115.723.5Southampton FC1519591
Abel Hernández103.2110.823.8US Palermo1378107
Diego Forlán86.2129.335.0Cerezo Osaka55640703
Christian Stuani97.9102.027.7Espanyol Barcelona20613634
Average106.6118.229.1


England

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeTeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Joe Hart132.4132.427.1Manchester City33431143
Glen Johnson131.9138.029.8Liverpool FC39134572
Leighton Baines119.1125.029.5Everton FC44939213
Gary Cahill109.7115.028.4Chelsea FC34731580
Phil Jagielka114.1135.331.8Everton FC49844744
Steven Gerrard133.2165.434.0Liverpool FC72761030
Jordan Henderson121.6128.623.9Liverpool FC24619167
Raheem Sterling97.8135.119.5Liverpool FC956401
Daniel Sturridge124.3128.624.8Liverpool FC21112709
Wayne Rooney172.8178.128.6Manchester United57446202
Danny Welbeck109.1118.023.5Manchester United20213141
Average124.2136.327.4
Bench
Ben Foster89.489.431.2West Bromwich Albion24322568
Fraser Forster140.0140.026.2Celtic FC21519848
Chris Smalling113.4118.424.5Manchester United15712265
Phil Jones108.8122.922.3Manchester United15212267
Luke Shaw92.0136.318.9Southampton FC705877
Jack Wilshere112.0125.522.4Arsenal FC15811442
Frank Lampard120.9173.635.9Chelsea FC87374599
James Milner119.4124.728.4Manchester City51937338
Ross Barkley87.4114.720.5Everton FC865633
Rickie Lambert107.8132.132.3Southampton FC24821171
Adam Lallana119.6119.826.1Southampton FC25620564
Average110.1127.026.2


England vs Italy: Goalimpacts of Lineups


England

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeTeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Joe Hart132.4132.427.1Manchester City33431143
Glen Johnson131.9138.029.8Liverpool FC39134572
Leighton Baines119.1125.029.5Everton FC44939213
Gary Cahill109.7115.028.4Chelsea FC34731580
Phil Jagielka114.1135.331.8Everton FC49844744
Steven Gerrard133.2165.434.0Liverpool FC72761030
Jordan Henderson121.6128.623.9Liverpool FC24619167
Raheem Sterling97.8135.119.5Liverpool FC956401
Daniel Sturridge124.3128.624.8Liverpool FC21112709
Wayne Rooney172.8178.128.6Manchester United57446202
Danny Welbeck109.1118.023.5Manchester United20213141
Average124.2136.327.4
Bench
Ben Foster89.489.431.2West Bromwich Albion24322568
Fraser Forster140.0140.026.2Celtic FC21519848
Chris Smalling113.4118.424.5Manchester United15712265
Phil Jones108.8122.922.3Manchester United15212267
Luke Shaw92.0136.318.9Southampton FC705877
Jack Wilshere112.0125.522.4Arsenal FC15811442
Frank Lampard120.9173.635.9Chelsea FC87374599
James Milner119.4124.728.4Manchester City51937338
Ross Barkley87.4114.720.5Everton FC865633
Rickie Lambert107.8132.132.3Southampton FC24821171
Adam Lallana119.6119.826.1Southampton FC25620564
Average110.1127.026.2


Italy

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeTeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Salvatore Sirigu119.6119.627.4Paris Saint-Germain22520910
Giorgio Chiellini136.8142.929.8Juventus37934280
Matteo Darmian102.4104.225.5Torino FC15012557
Andrea Barzagli113.4141.233.1Juventus45140754
Gabriel Paletta106.4111.628.3Parma FC25221763
Antonio Candreva95.098.127.3Lazio Roma25618382
Claudio Marchisio117.6122.828.3Juventus29323739
Daniele De Rossi132.1145.530.8AS Roma49141517
Andrea Pirlo122.6165.635.0Juventus70056261
Marco Verratti121.4140.221.6Paris Saint-Germain1429619
Mario Balotelli112.3120.023.8AC Milan24115496
Average116.3128.328.3
Bench
Mattia Perin79.379.321.6Genoa CFC958727
Ignazio Abate101.0104.827.6AC Milan24718857
Leonardo Bonucci125.0127.727.1Juventus26924029
Thiago Motta107.8128.831.8Paris Saint-Germain34324367
Alberto Aquilani109.5115.729.9ACF Fiorentina32221141
Marco Parolo97.7103.529.3Parma FC18315870
Lorenzo Insigne121.0132.123.0SSC Napoli1419712
Antonio Cassano96.4118.431.9Parma FC46933099
Alessio Cerci105.2107.426.8Torino FC16710876
Ciro Immobile106.7112.524.3Torino FC1399710
Average105.0113.027.3


World Cup 1966: England - Germany 4:2 - Goalimpact Classics

To further warm up for the World Cup, here a new post in the Goalimpact Classics series. This time a vivid, but less pleasant memory for the German readers. Many English players were not covered by Goalimpact prior the tournament and we therefore listed the ratings after the games. Hence, the scores of the Englishmen often are not really significant. However, we'd say that Germany was likely the better team, but as England had the home field advantage it was an even match. Maybe even England was favorite by a narrow margin.

England

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeTeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Gordon Banks101.8101.828.6England6589
George Cohen105.2107.126.8England6589
Ray Wilson97.1116.931.6England10961
Jack Charlton100.9117.431.3England6589
Bobby Moore103.3105.725.3England111054
Nobby Stiles109.8115.924.2England141333
Alan Ball97.7119.121.3England4403
Bobby Charlton106.6112.128.8England211984
Martin Peters104.1116.322.8England6589
Geoff Hurst104.8109.424.7England4403
Roger Hunt110.3115.328.0England161581


Germany

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeTeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Hans Tilkowski106.7106.731.1Deutschland1069920
Horst-Dieter Höttges120.3131.922.9Deutschland726727
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger108.0111.327.3Deutschland817564
Franz Beckenbauer112.1136.220.9Deutschland555177
Willi Schulz109.2113.727.8Deutschland958928
Wolfgang Weber117.8132.722.1Deutschland878153
Helmut Haller106.7109.327.0Deutschland484526
Wolfgang Overath117.7129.422.8Deutschland1029548
Uwe Seeler102.2108.229.8Deutschland15014012
Sigfried Held113.3120.124.0Deutschland373503
Lothar Emmerich118.3122.824.7Deutschland1039641

Suggestions for more classics are welcome in the comments.

Inexpensive English Football Talents

Sparked by a discussion on Twitter following a tweet by @englandyouth, we will look into English talents today. Premier League clubs are complaining that they are required to have homegrown players in their teams while, according to them, there is little talent available. So the rules of supply and demand dictate high prices for the few top young English players. Or so it goes.

An alternative version of this story is, that English clubs invest too little in generating new young players and hence created the shortage themselves. The big clubs should open youth performance centers such as in many continental countries to support the education of the next generation. Due to the decreasing prices this may actually be cheaper in the long run than maintaining the status quo.

We want to put these hypothesis to a test, by looking at the top talents with English nationality accoring to Goalimpact. Goalimpact is a massively adjusted plus/minus score for football that rates all players world-wide. If we see few talents compared to other nations there, the lack of youth performance centers might really be a problem. If we see also few players at low prices, then the EPL clubs may also have a point in their short sighted view on the player market. So here is the list. As always, we anonymize players that are listed at values below one million Euros because we provide this as a scouting service to clubs. If you are club manager or trainer and are interested in the player names, please contact us at info@goalimpact.com.

Rank Player Team GoalImpact PeakGI tm.de League
1     81,2 144,6
<1 M€
League One
2     73,9 143,1
<1 M€
Championship
3     89,7 141,8
<1 M€
League One
4 Will Hughes Derby County 93,5 137,8
7.000.000 €
Championship
5 Luke Shaw Southampton FC 90,5 137,7
13.000.000 €
Premier League
6     92,0 136,8
<1 M€
League Two
7     75,5 135,7
<1 M€
League One
8     85,5 134,6
<1 M€
League One
9 Nathaniel Chalobah Middlesbrough FC 93,4 134,0
4.000.000 €
Championship
10     84,2 132,3
<1 M€
League Two
11 Raheem Sterling Liverpool FC 91,4 132,0
13.000.000 €
Premier League
12     99,0 130,7
<1 M€
League Two
13     82,8 130,1
<1 M€
League Two
14 John Stones Everton FC 95,1 129,6
4.000.000 €
Premier League
15     89,2 129,5
<1 M€
League Two
16     89,7 128,8
<1 M€
League Two
17 James Ward-Prowse Southampton FC 89,1 128,8
3.500.000 €
Premier League
18     76,8 128,4
<1 M€
Premier League
19     87,4 128,3
<1 M€
League One
20 Nick Powell Wigan Athletic 94,9 127,5
5.000.000 €
Championship
21 Calum Chambers Southampton FC 85,4 127,3
2.000.000 €
Premier League
22     84,6 127,3
<1 M€
Championship
23     89,7 125,9
<1 M€
League One
24     91,9 125,8
<1 M€
A-League
25     78,8 125,8
<1 M€
League Two

First finding is that there are not too many players that have a expected carreer peak of above 130. Given the risk involved in the development of young players, top EPL teams may not want to sign below that threshold. Given that English players are unlikely to be worse than Spanish or Dutch by nature, there is apparently really a lack of development in English youth football. As a result, the supply of young players has hard times to meet the enforced demand by top EPL clubs. So there seems to be some truth in the second hypothesis. English clubs should set up youth performance centers.

On the other side, the expensive talents are exclusively those playing either already in the Premier League or in the Championship. That is suprising because there are many talents in League One and League two, too. We'd go as far as to claim that this should be enough to meet the EPL demand without EPL teams being forced to pay scarcity prices. Therefore, it seems difficult to fully support the first hypothesis that EPL teams have too few talents to sign and hence are in a bidding contest for the best. We'd put out an alternative hypothesis:
EPL clubs do not scout in League One and Two as much as they should and hence miss a lot of promising talents. The lack of scouting scope creates artifical scarcity.
Luke Shaw is the most expensive talent
world-wide on tm.de. Is it because he is the
best or because he plays Premier League?
Especially poorer clubs should adopt their scouting behaviour. About half of the players listed above as "<1M€" will eventually become top-class. Why not leave the known talents to those teams that don't care about money as much as you do and scout off the paved roads?

A last obersvation: Only one out of the top 25 English talents plays outside of England. So we agree with Steve
It will certainly not work for everybody, but currently apparently only very few follow that path.

Ukraine vs. England - WC Qualifier Match Preview

Just by looking at goals, England seems to have had a perfect WC qualifying round so far. They scored 25 goals and conceded only 3 giving them the lead in the qualification group H. However, four wins and three draws look less impressive. Against Montenegro and the Ukraine, their strongest competitors, they won only one point each. Hence, they risk even ending up on rank three missing the play-offs. Especially the match against Ukraine on foreign ground looks crucial. Both countries are in the top ten of national teams with England only being marginal better. So here is Goalimpact's view on the teams.

England

NameGoalimpactAge
Goalkeeper
Joe Hart135,426,4
Defender
John Terry178,932,7
Ashley Cole170,932,7
Joleon Lescott144,831,0
Glen Johnson134,929,0
Chris Smalling128,923,8
Kyle Walker124,823,3
Phil Jagielka121,231,0
Leighton Baines119,928,7
Gary Cahill105,327,7
Midfielder
Frank Lampard161,435,2
Steven Gerrard151,333,3
Michael Carrick143,432,1
Ashley Young124,528,1
Jack Wilshere121,721,7
Tom Cleverley114,424,1
James Milner112,327,7
Forward
Wayne Rooney168,627,9
Theo Walcott144,224,5
Daniel Sturridge130,224,0
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain127,320,0
Danny Welbeck119,922,8
Jermain Defoe119,630,9
Rickie Lambert118,931,5

England has a strong team, but seems to depend still on some key old players. From all players below 30, only Wayne Rooney is truly world-class (>150), although Theo Walcott is close to join. Given how the Goalimpact currently works, the values of players beyond the age of 30 are likely to be biased upwards. So change of generation is due.

This selection is not bad. In my database there are no other English world-class players. Yet, some alternative choices of young talent according to Goalimpact would have been Kieran Gibbs (128.5) and Phil Jones (120.5).

Ukraine

NameGoalimpactAge
Goalkeeper
Andriy Pyatov148,329,2
Defender
Oleksandr Kucher145,430,9
Yaroslav Rakitskiy143,024,1
Vyacheslav Shevchuk135,334,3
Taras Mikhalik133,429,8
Evgen Khacheridi126,326,1
Artem Fedetskiy102,028,4
Evgen Selin97,425,3
Bogdan Butko84,822,6
Midfielder
Edmar135,133,2
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk133,134,4
Oleg Gusev128,330,4
Denys Garmash124,523,4
Ruslan Rotan124,431,8
Taras Stepanenko110,724,1
Forward
Andriy Yarmolenko134,623,9
Evgen Seleznev131,328,1
Marko Devic128,029,8
Roman Zozulya123,623,8
Evgen Konoplyanka120,123,9
Roman Bezus98,622,9

Ukraine's team looks weaker at the first glance. However, this is mainly caused by few players that seem to not yet to have a Goalimpact you'd expect for a player at a World Cup. If we just look at the first eleven, this is a quite strong team. Especially the defense including the goalkeeper Pyatov looks impressive, but also midfield and attack is well staffed. Alternative selections by Goalimpact would have been Aleksandr Aliev (130.8) and Oleksiy Gay (128.3).

Summary

Two strong teams will meet, both according to Goalimpact among the best ten teams of the world. The individual class on England's first eleven is higher but some key players have past their peak performance already. Given the home advantage, Ukraine is the slight favorite in this match.

GoalimpactBetfair
Ukraine37,4%34,5%
x30,2%30,1%
England32,3%35,5%

As a draw would be sufficient for England, odds are still that England will qualify as number one and will avoid the play-offs. However, they may lose their pole position to Montenegro temporarily.


Update 9. Sep. 3pm

If the predicted lineups of WhoScored are correct, then the odds are more in favor of Ukraine then previouly assumed. This gives Ukraine a 41.9% chance of winning. Especially the English center back looks weak, as a commentor noted.

Update 10. Sep. 8:19p.m.

The actual lineups are as follows.

Ukraine

PlayerGoalimpactAgeTeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Andriy Pyatov148.329.2Shakhtar Donetsk22320742
Vyacheslav Shevchuk135.334.3Shakhtar Donetsk1079265
Oleksandr Kucher145.430.9Shakhtar Donetsk16814908
Evgen Khacheridi126.326.1Dinamo Kiev12110548
Artem Fedetskiy102.028.4Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk15012451
Taras Stepanenko110.724.1Shakhtar Donetsk1229794
Oleg Gusev128.330.4Dinamo Kiev24217986
Edmar135.133.2Metalist Kharkov21118318
Roman Zozulya123.623.8Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk1095892
Andriy Yarmolenko134.623.9Dinamo Kiev18814922
Evgen Konoplyanka120.123.9Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk13910378
Bench
Maksim Koval116.520.7Dinamo Kiev908178
Rustam Khudzhamov93.730.9FK Illichivets867998
Yaroslav Rakitskiy143.024.1Shakhtar Donetsk14212858
Vitaliy Mandzyuk116.527.6Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk13511501
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk133.134.4Zenit St. Petersburg33125657
Mikola Morozyuk99.225.6Metalurh Donetsk1339724
Dmytro Khomchenovsky82.823.4Zorya Lugansk674797
Dmytro Grechyshkin102.821.9Shakhtar Donetsk443118
Denis Dedechko90.126.2Vorskla Poltava463239
Evgen Seleznev131.328.1Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk18511903
Roman Bezus98.622.9Dinamo Kiev1298212
Marko Devic128.029.8Metalist Kharkov19412863


England

PlayerGoalimpactAgeTeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Joe Hart135.426.4Manchester City28426493
Kyle Walker124.823.3Tottenham Hotspur18416388
Phil Jagielka121.231.0Everton FC38134170
Ashley Cole170.932.7Chelsea FC60253886
Gary Cahill105.327.7Chelsea FC29827069
Jack Wilshere121.721.7Arsenal FC1178546
James Milner112.327.7Manchester City46233842
Frank Lampard161.435.2Chelsea FC82971478
Steven Gerrard151.333.3Liverpool FC68457354
Theo Walcott144.224.5Arsenal FC31219309
Rickie Lambert118.931.5Southampton FC21018266
Bench
John Ruddy98.826.9Norwich City13912847
Ben Foster105.030.4West Bromwich Albion22020429
Chris Smalling128.923.8Manchester United1118486
Steven Caulker100.421.7Cardiff City14913568
Leighton Baines119.928.7Everton FC38533788
Ashley Young124.528.1Manchester United37030300
Andros Townsend94.822.1Tottenham Hotspur1228358
Tom Cleverley114.324.1Manchester United1229232
Michael Carrick143.432.1Manchester United51943143
Ross Barkley94.819.7Everton FC513293
Raheem Sterling105.018.7Liverpool FC563701
Jermain Defoe119.630.9Tottenham Hotspur49632979



Saving Long Distance Shots as Part of the Overall Performance of a Goalkeeper

In the interesting blog 'differentgame' I found an article of @footballfactman on the goal keepers of the Premier League. Based on a sample of 30,000+ shot efforts, he analyzed why so many shots are needed to score a goal from outside the box. In his sample, on average, only one goal was scored in 33 shots, most of them never reached the target.

From those 25% of total shots that actually hit the target, and thus forced goalkeeper interaction, every eights was a goal. He compiled a list of the save ratios for all keepers in the English Premier League. They range from 70% to well over 90%. In turn, it the difference in the number of shots needed for one goal varies between 7 and 56 if averaged over the last two years.

In this post I want to compare the findings with the GoalImpact of the keepers. GoalImpact is a top-down measure and comprises all the impact a keeper has on the goal difference of his team. The saving rate of long distances shoots is a natural part of a keeper's performance, but surely not the whole picture. So, ex-ante it is unclear how much of the overall GoalImpact of a keeper is due to his ability to save long distance shots.

NameGoalImpact
De Gea120.9
Cech173.3
Reina151.4
Mignolet96.1
Begovic101.8
Krul98.8
Vorm105.0
Foster105.3
Hart134.1
Schwarzer113.2
Howard131.5
Szczesny119.2
Al Habsi93.1
Jaaskelainen89.1
Ruddy98.1

The coloring of the names is taken from the article on differentgame. It is indicating the performance of the keepers with respect to long distance shots. The coloring of the numbers is according to the players GoalImpact. Players with a GoalImpact below 100 are below average and marked red. Values between 100 and 120 are yellow and above 120 green.

Apparently there is a correlation between the two numbers, especially for the extreme values. Both the three top numbers are green (de Gea just green) and the three bottom red on both measures. In between it is mixed. Hart and Howard seem to have only average skill in saving long distance shoots, but can compensate this with something else making them very good keepers in total. Mignolet, in contrast, appears to be lacking other skills so that despite his above average long distance savings skill, the overall GoalImpact is below average.

The overall correlation coefficient between the average shoots per goal from outside the box and the GoalImpact is approx. 21% on this sample. If it wasn't for De Gea's very high value, the correlation would be even 65%. A regression would lead to an R² of 42%. This indicates that the ability to save long distance shots is a major contributor to a goalkeepers GoalImpact. This makes entirely sense given that opponents would exploit weaknesses in this respect. So a keeper with a weakness would probably face more shots from out of the box, making his weakness more important.

Conclusion

Which approach is better? Top-down or bottom-up? I'm a firm believer that both approaches have their merits and drawbacks. But together they can bring us far deeper insight into sports than either of them alone. Bottom-up is analyzing. You actually learn something you didn't know before about football. Bottom-up answers questions. But as there is no universal model of football, it is not easy to aggregate bottom-up numbers to an overall player score. I was, so far, not convinced by any attempt I have seen. Here is were top-down has it's advantage. It can judge which player contributed how much to the team success. Yet it fails in answering on why the contribution was high or low. So with every answer it provides ("Peter Cech is a world class keeper"), it raises the natural question "why?". This, in turn, can be only answered bottom-up. An for keepers, the ability to save long distance shots seems to be substantial part of the answer.