Models, Kevin, Bruno, Wayne, Kieron, John, Liverpool and Cenk

The first part of this week’s blog was inspired by the following tweets:

The passing model part of Ted’s first tweet there certainly resounds with me. Tiago’s tweet makes me think this is maybe a thing. I’ve spent a lot of time messing about with this.

Like a years worth of messing about. With the model.

All models have problems. It’s the way you look at it that’s probably the problem.

So I’ve heartily moaned about reducing a players performance to one single figure before. It’s just stupid. And, I’m pretty sure after a year of dicking about that it’s stupid to reduce one aspect of a player’s game (say passing ability) to one single figure too.

A few weeks ago, I simply just tried to compare players by grouping them into where they played passes from and to on the pitch. This was a Eureka moment for this untrained oaf.

Anyway, Tiago’s tweet got me thinking whether Bruno Fernandes and De Bruyne were similar kinds of player in terms of their passing. Tiago obviously thinks Bruno is good.

I filtered my spreadsheet for players who’ve passed the ball in similar patterns to De Bruyne over the last couple of seasons. Guess what? Bruno turns up:

Yours truly was agog to see that two players owned by Everton show up on the list too.

There’s Wayne’s last season at Man United, legs on the wane (ahem) and eased out by Jose Mourinho, but still with enough ability to get lumped in with this caliber and style of player.

There’s Kieron Dowell on loan at Nottingham Forest this season spraying the ball like De Bruyne. Ok, so he doesn’t do it as well and it’s at a lower league standard, but he’s 20 and he’s in this company. Is he Everton’s future?

I’m also looking at John Swift like, what. He pops up twice. I spoke to a Championship club chief scout about him. He’s a big talent with dodgy hammies.

The other thing that strikes me is that a lot of the peak age players in this list have been linked with Liverpool in recent weeks. Liverpool line up in a similar notional 4-3-3 shape to Man City and we know they’ve got that world class forward three already.

We also know they’ve signed an absolute engine in Naby Keita for central midfield and we also think we know that analytics plays a heavier role in their recruitment than it does elsewhere. It’s interesting that they are being linked with their own De Bruyne types for  that deeper, wider role.

Moving swiftly on from Liverpool’s successful recruitment, I found myself amused at Evertonians new chant for January signing Cenk Tosun:

Come on over to my place

Hey, Cenk!

We’re ‘avin’ a party

We’ve got Cenk Tosun

And we fucking love him

When he’s scoring goals

For Everton

So firstly, I’ve been annoying everyone at work by singing it all week. But secondly, the inclusion of the word “when” is fairly apt for us Blues because without doubt we’ll be having a pop when he doesn’t score goals for Everton. Because he doesn’t contribute much else.

It’s also apt when we use analytics to look at his goal scoring so far in a blue shirt. My xG model says this:

Yep, it’s not jazzed about Cenk’s chances of keeping up this scoring rate. Mainly because he’s feasting (nay gorging) on scraps.

Unless he starts getting better service, Cenk’s probably gonna go hungry sooner rather than later. To the video, Batman. These are all his shots so far. How he’s got 5 goals from this lot…well, come up with your own theories:

Watching this, the graph doesn’t look so daft to me.

Why is this important? Click >>> SANDRO!

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