Playing the Percentages
On this week’s show Ed & Paul ‘debate’ the merits of a sound education in mathematics, bemoaning the state of government investment into a system that has left Paul unable to tell the difference between a percentage and an absolute number! In between the bickering over Long Ball Louis’ tactics, the pod covers United’s excellent victory over Tottenham at Old Trafford – perhaps the finest 34 minutes of attacking football the Reds have produced this season. Does this mean Van Gaal’s philoshoofy has finally taken root? There are your questions, Rooney’s punch-gate fiasco and a look ahead to United’s visit to Anfield at the weekend!
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5 thoughts on “Playing the Percentages”
Personal favourite story involving United player:
David Beckham buys grapes. Groundbreaking.
@UtdRantcast Paul’s laughter when recalling Ed’s now deleted cocktail downing YT video – made my day!
Regardless of percentages or actual numbers, drawing any conclusion from long ball stats is, at best, incomplete. It’s based on an arbitrary distance (25 yards) to determine what constitutes a long ball, without context. A 24-yard pass in the air into a crowd of 3-4 players is a short pass, but a 26 yard pass on the ground to a player with no one near him is a hoof on the stat sheet.
25 yards is only 1/3 the width of the pitch. The vast majority of our league-leading passes to the keeper are likely over 25 yards, and plenty of the passes that our defenders play to one another are over 25 yards. Hardly incisive forward passes, but not a matter of hoofing it up to Fellaini either. Those are factored in every team’s long ball numbers, of course, but it seems that we do more of the passing among the defense than most teams, and we know we do more back passes. If any of these are separated out of the stats, I’ll stand corrected, but at least on whoscored, I could only see short passes, long passes, crosses and through balls.
None of this is to say that we don’t hoof it more, but saying that 15% of our passes are hoof ball is probably not anywhere near the real percentage. A more interesting stat to judge how much we’re hoofing it would be how many long passes are played that land in the opponents half, or even the final third of the pitch.
At least it’s only one person on the podcast team who is mathematically-challenged.
Imagine if it had been 50%.
I’m 42% sure you’re spot on with that observation