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The Roar

Shabab Hossain

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Joined March 2019

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Shabab Hossain is a football writer with a specific interest in statistics and tactics. He digs deeper than most into the game to find out how and why your favourite team is performing the way they are.

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No, they are not. If you’re going to look through the lens of results then sure, but as I have mentioned several times, as football is a low scoring sport, there is a great chance for the better team to lose a lot of the time — it’s why the sport is so great. But using one season of results to lead to conclusions is ill-advised, it’s a small sample size. And because of that small sample size, it’s very easy for there to be anomalies that go against the grain. Borussia Dortmund several years ago sacked Klopp because they were in relegation zone, but xG/xGA suggested Dortmund was getting severely unlucky and were actually one of the best sides. Having confirmed that it was misfortune more than anything else, Liverpool’s heavily data-centric decision makers decided that Klopp hadn’t suddenly lost his magic touch, and decided to hire him. Here is a brilliant article from NY Times which is where I got this story from and it explains Liverpool’s data-centric approach. (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/22/magazine/soccer-data-liverpool.html). Would urge you to read it.

This season's A-League shows that the table does lie

I feel like you’re saying this because you’re judging the performance by the result. As I understand it, because Sydney won, they must have done something right to make that happen. It can’t just simply be the fact that they’re lucky. You even admit that they don’t dominate games yet they still manage to win — but you say that is intentional because they won. For me that doesn’t add up. I like to watch games based from the lens of who played well, not who ended up winning.

This season's A-League shows that the table does lie

If you refresh the line breaks come back actually mate, you’re good!

This season's A-League shows that the table does lie

Of course, expected goals has it’s flaws, such as that elite finishers will always outperform xG. But that’s not the point of xG. It’s to show who’s getting into good positions and creating those chances. Messi and all the rest are not only great because of how they outperform xG, but also just the simple fact that their xG is so high because they can consistently get into those excellent positions to maximise their chances.

This season's A-League shows that the table does lie

I agree that those intangibles exist. But frankly, I’m not here to talk about Sydney’s desire or intensity. There’s plenty of people that are well equipped to assess those attributes and do talk about that like my colleagues Mike Tuckerman and Stuart Thomas. I’m here to talk tactics and statistics, and the stats say that Sydney is the best team in the league! But is it by 10 points with two games in hand ? Probably not.
Also re the notion that the table doesn’t lie because it’s statistics. As I say in the article, football is a low scoring game which heavily rises the chance for randomness to make an impact (it’s also what makes the sport so entertaining) but it means that a lot of the time the table isn’t an accurate reflection of what’s happened, and these are stuff that doesn’t even out over the course of the season either.

This season's A-League shows that the table does lie

I’ve been arguing the whole season that Hoffman shouldn’t be a forward, but he has found himself in really good positions. I wonder if he practiced finishing training over the whole pre-season whether he might become a handy attacker for the team? But yeah, next season if Jets can find a good striker, and maintain the core of their squad, I think things will be looking good for them. Thanks for reading btw!

This season's A-League shows that the table does lie

Athiu is an interesting one. Gets into good positions but can’t finish. I think he’s another one that’s OK as a squad player. Can’t have a team filled with superstars, especially with the cap.

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

Completely agree Will.

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

I think he’s mainly started because of Victory’s injury troubles. Either Kruse or Nabbout has been injured almost always, and the introduction of Rojas would almost definitely mean that Kamsoba is a squad player that is filling in for the injuries of those forwards ahead of him.

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

I agree that it’s easy to finger pick stats to find ones that suit your argument but I try my best to provide a holistic view of players through their numbers, perhaps I sometimes fail to do that. I think stats provide a different picture than our own perception as they aren’t filled with bias. Adam’s numbers might not be high but that’s understandable for someone that’s still a teenager, but if there are positive signs there they could suggest he has potential. Certainly doesn’t take into account some of those intangibles you mentioned, but there are other things that stats might notice that we don’t. It shouldn’t be one or the other — Stats and our own perception need to marry well if we are to develop an informed opinion.

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

Yep I think he deserves at least one more season and then if he’s still producing an output, perhaps time to cut your losses then. At the very least, I think his work ethic makes him a serviceable A-League squad player.

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

Agree with a lot of what you’ve said. I feel confidence has effected his performance in front of goal and if he can just knock a couple in he will be a better player for it. He has the technical skills to be a good winger that creates plenty of chances for his teammates (which he is already doing somewhat consistently they are just not finishing them off)

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

If Victory had a midfield he would flourish in my opinion

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

Unfortunately I don’t have stats from his time in Sydney. I have a basic format of stats from last season and a more developed one for stats this season. If you ever want to see any players, please feel free to @ me on Twitter (@ShababHossain13) with requests of players you want to see 🙂

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

I agree that he shares a lot of similarities with Mileusnic. I think he will come into his own soon enough — whether that be at Victory or elsewhere.

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

Dribbling is a really important skill to be fair. Beating your marker and charging into the box as I showed in the clips can create some very good opportunities. Composure will come with experience, as I mentioned above, it’s his first full season in the A-League. I think he should be given at least one more season with Vucks.

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

He’s averaging about 1.2 shots per game and 1.2 shot assists per game which is a decent contribution at least. I think some of the chances he’s created were unfortunate to be finished as well. I think he’s more of a playmaker than a finisher and if he’s given more time I think we’ll begin to see that.

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

His expected numbers aren’t that great I admit, but just looking at some of the chances he’s created I think he’s actually more of a playmaker than a goal scorer. I think he could’ve had a few more assists if he had better finishers around him too.

Why Victory should persist with Elvis Kamsoba

All for it mate, that series looks awesome. Can’t wait.

Cameron Devlin is on the cusp of being the A-League's most improved player

No chance of any bias there, right? 😂

Cameron Devlin is on the cusp of being the A-League's most improved player

Definitely nothing new with 3 at the back, as you said it dates back to many, many years ago. But it was still a bit unusual until very recently for teams to play with 3 CBs, as the A-League’s adaptation has shown.

Three at the back is the new black

Thanks Franko, glad you liked it! Yeah a key part of the 3 at the back is that you do need a lot of depth, probably 5 CBs. That’s probably why Rudan stocked heavily on them when he was recruiting for United, but even then he’s struggled with injuries.

Three at the back is the new black

WSW’s 3 at the back formation is interesting because Kamau is like a hybrid wing-back that doesn’t really defend. He’s more of a winger from a deep position, but when they defend he is usually ahead of the defensive line. But yes, there are spaces on the wide areas which are there to be exploited, but as Waz said, most are OK to surrender that area. Some do push their CBs out wide like Melbourne Victory, too.

Three at the back is the new black

Of course you need wing-backs that are able to run the flanks consistently, but you could probably say that about most modern full-backs too given the requirements of the role, such as Sydney’s full-backs.

Three at the back is the new black

I don’t agree with you Waz, and xG is, as a matter of fact, one the best predictor of future results that we have at the moment, but I don’t really have anymore to add. Can only urge you to do some reading on the topic. Perhaps this piece from Statsbomb, which talks about the pros and cons of xG: https://statsbomb.com/2018/05/the-dual-life-of-expected-goals-part-1/

Don't be sucked in by recent form, raw Roar still have to improve