Scoring first and not losing in association football

A bar chart of probabilities of scoring first and not losing in six European football leagues

After this week’s games in six European football leagues, it is interesting to see how each league is tracking against a prior probability of scoring first and not losing.

I established the priors from results in the 2017-2018 season. Two of the six leagues (Bundesliga and Eredivisie) are different to their priors in comparison to four other leagues (EPL, Ligue 1, Serie A and Primera).

Discovering Ma

A picture of ripples created by raindrops

By chance, I heard someone talking about ma today. It was a conversation about minimalism and architecture. Ma is a Japanese term.

The Unique Japan web site (link) observes:

Ma is something that relates to all aspects of life. It has been described as a pause in time, an interval or emptiness in space. Ma is the fundamental time and space life needs to grow. If we have no time, if our space is restricted, we cannot grow. How we spend our time and shape the space we live in directly impacts our progress. These principles are universal, when applied effectively they enhance the way we think and how we engage with our surroundings.

Ma is “the space between the edges, between the beginning and the end, the space and time in which we experience life” (link).

Another web site defines ma as “the emptiness full of possibilities, like a promise yet to be fulfilled” (link).

In exploring ma, I am mindful of the lack of any equivalent in the English language.

I am attracted to ma, as it helps me make sense of how we might use space and time in game playing to transform our experiences. And perhaps to move to what Yoko Akama (2015) conceptualises as “between-ness as a way of becoming with” (link).

I am keen to explore the pedagogical aspects of this. I sense that this a relationship between coach and athlete, teacher and student that has a profound effect on everyone involved.

Photo Credit

Photo by Caroline Grondin on Unsplash

Six Weeks?

Last year, Ben Cronin wrote about the importance of the first six games of a football league season (link) in the context of positions at the end of the season.

Ben’s analysis of the English Premier League noted:

The winner of Premier League has been outside the top four after six games on only thee occasions since the 38 game season was introduced in 1995/96 Р(Manchester United moved from 10th to 1st in 2002/03, Manchester City won the league despite being 7th after six games in 2013/14 and Chelsea moved from 8th to 1st in 2016/17).

I followed up on Ben’s work with a look at six European leagues for the 2018-2019 seasons. Teams’ points per game averages after six games (PPG6) were:

After the latest rounds in all of the leagues, the average points per game (PPGn) are:

I looked at teams’ current performance relative to their week 6 positions (Change6n):

Postscript

In the 2017-2018 seasons in the six European leagues, four were won by the team leading their respective tables at week 6. The two exceptions were: in the Bundesliga, Bayern were third in week 6, the leaders then, Dortmund, finished 4th (29 points behind Bayern); in Serie A, Juventus were second on goal difference to Napoli, by the end of the season Napoli had moved to 2nd and were 4 points adrift of Juventus.