Letter to Premier League 24 Feb 2012 suggesting a staggered Winter break for the PL

Mon 24/02/2014, 12:02

Thanks for your email Edward

We read your email with interest and note that your suggestions have been put together with much consideration. Any alterations to the format of the Premier League would have to be agreed to and signed off by each of the clubs. At present, we are satisfied with the format of the Premier League and that the Rules serve the purpose of the game well.

Your ideas are certainly interesting, and we understand that you are passionate about safeguarding the future of the English game, but unfortunately we are unable to change the system used in the Premier League at present.

As a League we stand for the best of English Football, and we are continually working to develop the competition and ensure that we remain in our position as one of the most exciting Leagues in the world.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your suggestions. We appreciate all feedback and suggestions from supporters, and can assure you that the content of your email has been taken on board.

Kind regards

Supporter Services

From: Premier League [mailto:noreply@send.premierleague.com]
Sent: 21 February 2014 12:49
To: General Info
Subject: Contact Us:

Contact Us
The following comment was recently submitted:

Name: Edward Walsh
Dear PL, The winter break has again become topical in the wake of the performances of Arsenal and Manchester City in their first leg round of 16 matches. It is too early to say that the PL teams underperformed as a result of the lack of a Winter break, given the quality of the opposition most importantly, but also unfortunate luck, with the second legs yet to be played, and 2 PL sides yet to compete at this stage of the competition. However, given the Bundesliga players have had 2 week to relax, and 2 weeks of fine-weather training abroad, this factor must be considered. Fatigue is as much of the mind as of the body. I understand the social and commercial reasons for the lack of a Winter break here. Christmas football is part of the culture, and I can relate to football fans looking forward to attending matches or watching on TV over the Christmas period. January is a bleak month in this part of North-Western Europe, and I suspect that January football sustains the spirit for many fans of the game during this period. My suggestion is that the PL takes a staggered break starting Jan 2. Ten teams are given a two week break for the first 2 weeks of January, and ten get a break during the second two weeks. The teams alternate the break every year, with promoted teams automatically playing the the first two weeks of January in their first season, or lots could be drawn. This solution preserves PL football for fans throughout the Christmas period and January, while giving a short break to football squads. The break for each team would ideally be 4 weeks, with 2 rest weeks and 2 weeks warm-weather training, which would give managers some quality training time with players. I have presented the above suggestion because I care about the game in the UK. I have previously written a blog ‘football psychometrics’ by eamonwalsh, and have developed a way of defining the injury burden, currently and over the season; and a measure of squad rotation, both as a result of injuries and voluntary rotation. I will post this on the blog. Yours sincerely, Eamon Walsh Email: eamonwalsh@hotmail.com


Premier League Customer Services


Liverpool are still good, and so is MUFC’s De Gea.

On 20th October last year, after eight rounds of the current Premier League season, I wrote ‘Liverpool are good!’. ┬áSince round twelve, Liverpool have occupied second place continuously in the Expected Goals (xG) table.

Some questions remain about Liverpool’s defence, despite the addition of Virgil Van Dijk, but MUFC and Chelsea must now be looking over their shoulders’ in the fight for second place.

The table highlights teams that are significantly out-performing and under-performing xG. MUFC are the standout team, with 13.7 more PL points than Expected Points (xP). Is this a positive or a negative for MUFC? It is positive that the team is exceedingly efficient at getting results relative to the balance of chances created and conceded. On the negative side, questions remain about the ability to maintain this out-performance for a full season, although history shows that it is doable over a thirty eight game season. Over the longer term, the difference between performances and xG tends to revert to the mean.


Football 27 Table


Manchester United have scored six goals more than xG, and have conceded an incredible sixteen fewer goals than Expected Goals Against (xGA), seventeen conceded for xGA of 33. This is not all a result of the performance of the goalkeeper De Gea, but a sizeable chunk of this difference (the exact proportion is currently unmeasurable) is a result of the effectiveness of the Goalkeeper.

Everton are also significantly outperforming xG.

On the underperformance side, Liverpool (2nd), Tottenham (3rd) and Arsenal (4th) are underperforming their xG by 6 – 8 PL points each. If the table was based on xG, MCFC lead by 8.6 points, and the title is not yet sewn up!

Southampton, Palace and West Brom are also significantly under-performing xG.


Football 27 perf


Football 26 perf


Performances PL fixtures 20 – 25

Football 25 perf


Arsenal’s performance away to Swansea in fixture 25 was 20th, having topped the performances in week 24 against Crystal Palace.

The form of the twenty teams is currently the most closely bunched of the season, with a standard deviation of the twenty team’s current form of 0.52 xG Difference.

Southampton are significantly under-performing expected goals.


Football 25 form


Football 25 table


Football 24 perf


Football 23 perf


Football 22 perf


Football 21 perf

Football 20 perf





PL Week 17 Expected Goals performance, form and table

Football 17 Perf


Football 17 Form


Football 17 table


After their slight ‘blip’, where their form dropped back to top four form for three fixtures, Manchester City are back leading all three tables.

Leicester and Southampton have been battling for the ‘best of the rest’ (seventh place), throughout the season. Leicester’s 1 – 4 away victory over Southampton gives the edge to Leicester. Writing this after the early match in round 18, Leicester have lost 0 – 3 at home to Crystal Palace. Palace are now getting results consistent with their Expected Goals numbers. Palace are tenth in the Expected Goals table, and have been a solid mid-table team throughout the season by this measure of football performance.

Looking at the top versus the bottom teams, the gap between fourth (Tottenham) and the average team (+0.89 adjusted xG difference) is greater than the gap between the bottom team (Swansea) and the average PL team (-0.71 adjusted xG difference). The gap between sixth and seventh (0.37 adjusted xG difference) is greater than the gap between Burnley in thirteenth and Swansea in twentieth (0.34 adjusted xG difference).

Of the four teams between 9th ans 12th, three (Crystal Palace, Everton and West Ham) have spent the majority of the season either in the bottom three or hovering close to the bottom three, while in mid-table in terms of Expected Goals. Everton and Palace are now approaching a position in the PL table consistent with their Expected Goals. I expect West Ham to do likewise.