Archive for the ‘Southampton’ Category

Spurs take a massive three points at White Hart Lane thanks to Gareth Bale. Guy is pretty good.

Gif via oscc

Rickie Lambert take a bow

Rickie Lambert made the 500th appearance of his career today and made it one to remember. His 14th goal of the campaign–most amongst Englishmen in the Premiership–had some dangerous swerve.

szólj hozzá: Newcastle vs Southampton 2:1 Cisse
What a goal. The magpies consolidated a good week, one that saw them advance to the final 16 in the Europa league, with a 4-2 win against Southampton at St.James Park. Papiss Demba Cisse’s goal in the 42nd minute reminded us of the guy that stole the show last winter. Get in. Apologies for my poor attempt at alliteration.


By Graham Ruthven

The arrival of a new manager can be enough to galvanize an ailing side. It’s dubbed ‘the new manager effect’, and its place in the Premier League playbook is well established.

However, Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival at Southampton came in different, less uncertain circumstances. He took over at a club that didn’t need a new manager or its effect.

Before Nigel Adkins was sacked, Southampton were on a five game unbeaten run. The defensive errors that had offset their fine attacking play earlier in the season were being eradicated. His dismissal was surprising as Southampton were adjudged to have turned the corner, finally moving off the bottom of the Premier League table.

Yet in just a handful of games, Pochettino, formerly of Espanyol, has made incredible progress at Southampton.

Pochettino found a squad in Southampton capable of the style and brand of football he favours. Wholesale changes weren’t necessary. Instead the Argentine has merely tweaked what Adkins left before him.
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“He went for a s***, he went for a s***. Jason Puncheon, he went for a s***.”

Southampton lead Manchester City 2-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium. Edin Dzeko and City have answered back after an early two goal deficit.

James Grayson wrote a brief post this week on the firing of Nigel Adkins at Southampton. He questions the decision to replace him with Mauricio Pochettino, most recently of Espanyol:

Currently [Southampton's] TSR is 0.406, i.e. not great. However linear regression suggests that a 0.406 team should finish the season with 40 points, and the average points scored by the 15 teams with the TSR closest to 0.406 is 39. In other words what we’ve seen from Southampton to this point is pretty close to their true talent.

I’m struggling to see the upside for the board here. Adkins had achieved two successive promotions and by all accounts I’ve read the fans enjoy the style of football being played. If they subsequently go down it’ll be a PR disaster, and the best they can realistically hope for is an incredible run that still only lifts the team into 11th-14th place.

Interestingly enough, Pochettino provided that incredible run once before, in the latter half of the 2008-09 season. When Pochettino arrived on January 20th 2009 from , Espanyol, previously under coach were in 18th place on 15 points.By the end of that season, Espanyol finished in 10th place on 47 points.

It’s always difficult (if not impossible) to parse out a manager’s affect on a club’s underlying fundamentals, but Espanyol’s Total Shots Ratio (a measurement of team dominance with good predictive power) and PDO (an indication of the team’s luck) slightly before, during, and slightly after offer a glimpse into Pochettino’s relative team impact:

Season Table Position Points TSR PDO
2008-09 (Until Jan 20 when José Manuel Esnal sacked) 18 (as of Jan 20) 15 .405 946
2008-09 (Mauricio Pochettino) 10 47 .440 1072
2009-10 11 44 .486 968
2010-11 8 49 .480 989
2011-12 14 46 .511 974
2012-13 (Until Nov 26 when Pochettino sacked) 20 9 .472 956
2012-13 (Javier Aguirre) 14 (current) 21 .409 1038

From this we can see that Espanyol’s average TSR hovered around the .480 range. Pochettino was no doubt aided by some luck in the second half of the 08-09 season, and he may have been cursed by bad luck when he was finally sacked in November, as the club TSR looked only slightly below average with a low PDO, indicating Espanyol were still likely an okay shout for 15-10th place finish.

The drop off in TSR since Pochettino’s departure should also give current Espanyol fans pause.

What does this mean for Southampton? It’s hard to say. Espanyol is not Southampton and the Premier League isn’t La Liga (duh duh duh), but it does seem on the evidence that Pochettino did the best with what he had, particularly in his first half season with the club when Raul Tamudo suffered repeat injury problems with only Ivan Alonso to replace him. A .440 TSR is not spectacular, but it was a marked improvement.

While Espanyol rarely threatened to do anything interesting in La Liga (as is the case with many mid-table clubs), the club managed to make enough moves to stave off the threat of relegation, one they would have likely avoided again this season had Pochettino stayed. While the chances of success at Southampton are uncertain, the board are hardly mad for throwing in for him now despite reason to believe Adkins could have maintained a safe course.

It’s all about extremes.

Title contenders get most of the limelight when April comes. In a dichotomy fitting of a league with such little parity at the top, so does the battle to stay up. Relegation tussles usually gain traction towards the latter half of March. If titles can be decided by a mid December clash at Old Trafford, why can’t the same be said for the bottom of the table? With that, relegation watch begins. Read the rest of this entry »