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How Gunners have got Nicolas Pépé firing

During his final season with Lille, Nicolas Pépé averaged 0.33 non-penalty goals per 90. For Arsenal this term, that figure stands at 0.34. He’s only just ticked over the 1,000-minute mark in the Premier League, so the volume isn’t yet there, but there are signs to suggest Mikel Arteta has figured out how to get…

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xG, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely something

This will be an article that tells you what expected goals (xG) is, what it isn’t, and solves all the debates about it once and for all. Or, at least, I expect it to. At its simplest, the statistic is a measure of chance quality. Shots are given an xG value based on a number…

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Jesse Lingard: West Ham’s throwback No.10

Attacking midfielders are back in fashion. Teams are moving away from 4-3-3 shapes and reverting back to 4-2-3-1. On paper, there’s not a huge dissimilarity between the systems, but the roles in midfield are drastically different. Throughout the course of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, many of the top teams have made the switch and…

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3 ways to judge creativity in football

Assists are a false economy yet they’re used as a way to judge creativity when, in truth, it is a metric solely reliant on the finishing ability of a team-mate.  For example, a two-yard pass prior to a 50-yard slaloming run and finish counts as an assist. Another player could pick someone out in the…

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Basque in the glory: Analysing the excellent Alexander Isak

For some players, being dubbed the next [insert star name here] can be a burden. Simply put, the weight of expectation can crush them and no matter what they do with their career, there’s always a feeling that they underdelivered. However, a select few thrive in this sort of environment. Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland…

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How Phil Foden is more Sané than Silva for Manchester City

When Phil Foden was on the cusp of coming through at Manchester City, the buzz around him was of a David Silva successor.  The 20-year-old referenced this in a recent interview with the BBC too. “I was learning a lot in every training session from David [Silva] because I was playing in his role,” Foden…

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What matters to readers of football content in 2021?

Navigating your way through the world of football content can be a bit of a minefield. There’s no manual for success and what audiences want can, and does, change on a daily basis. While there’s no shortcut to nailing it, there are a number of ways that you can build a rapport with your audience…

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Twenty3 visualisations: Explaining Key Action Maps

Football is made up of a number of individuals events, yet very rarely are they treated as such. On-ball actions are often bundled together to create heat maps. You’re then able to go a little more granular with touch maps, but it’s near impossible to differentiate a pass from a general touch or a ground…

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Why do data visualisations matter?

It seems like an obvious challenge, to avoid saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words’, when writing a blog about data visualisations. So I’ll fail early and get it out of the way. A picture paints a thousand words. The phrase is a slight simplification, of course. Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech…

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The difference in: Forwards

Football is and forever has been perpetually evolving, but things have really sped up over the last decade. Previously, roles were defined by positions. Everyone had a rough idea of what to expect from each area of the pitch. Now, though, one position can be, and regularly is, filled by a number of players all…

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