Selfishness not the deadliest sin

On the pitch is selfishness an entirely deplorable trait in a football player, or is it useful to a certain extent? In the Fink Tank, Daniel Finkelstein discussed some of our results on the topic but some aspects of our results were so exciting we wanted to share them on the blog also. I should stress that the results presented here are a first attempt at modelling this concept of selfishness and if we had more time develop the model and remove some of the underlying assumptions the results might change.

The first step was to define selfish behaviour. We came up with a ball hogging statistic for each player which refers to the number of passes the player attempted to pass to their own team over the total number of times during the match that they were in possession of the ball. So 0% indicates no ball-hogging whereas 100% would refer to  only ball-hogging. It should be noted that the ball hogging is based purely on attempted passes and ignores whether the ball is being passed up or down the pitch and whether or not the pass is successful. Below is a list showing the worst ball-hogging forwards.

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Value for Money (continued)

Due to popular demand I’ve decided to look at the Castrol Edge Rankings of two more EPL teams that have had a lot of high profile transfer activity over the summer.


Liverpool has come under a lot of criticism from fans and critics that they haven’t bought enough players to make a strong squad. Ignoring the “one that got away” (Clint Dempsey), what was the quality of the players Liverpool did buy? All prices are given in millions of pounds and are estimates.

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Value for Money

As yet another transfer window closes with an estimated £490m spent on transfer fees it felt appropriate to check who we think was a good buy. The rankings stated here are based upon the players’ Castrol Edge Ranking at the end of the season 2011-2012. The analysis here only covers transfers between the top five leagues (Premier League, Ligue 1, Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga).

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Do Teams with Better Squad Depth Benefit during Christmas Fixtures? Ho.. Ho.. Ho

It’s almost Christmas again. I like Christmas. Not only do I get a holiday, there is also plenty of football to watch thanks to the Premier League. Not so lucky for the players though!

Teams often play up to four matches during the busy Christmas to New Year period in the space of less than 2 weeks.  What I started to wonder was which teams give their fans a merry time in the festive season, and which teams have been to too many Christmas parties.

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Paris St Germain’s Summer Spending

PSG have had a very busy summer. Let’s look at some of the high profile transfers and see if they will make a difference. I have not watched PSG play for two seasons – all this analysis is based on our work with Castrol Edge Rankings. Will anyone believe it?!

In midfield, Matuidi has arrived for €10M, and Sissoko for €3.5M. Makelele has retired, and J Clement has left for St Etienne. We will assume the new transfers will join Chantome and Bodmer as realistic first choices in defensive midfield. Continue reading