Undermining the League Cup.

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There seems to me to be something at play with the League Cup Final and I would almost go so far as to suggest the Premier League’s intention, well before the season started, was to undermine that competition.

Before Liverpool play Manchester City, there is a Premier League game.

Arsenal v Manchester Utd.

Now, in any given season, that is one of the blue riband Premier League games. It has a history of antipathy and is almost guaranteed to feature two teams who are towards the top of the league. If you watch one game this afternoon and enjoy the Premier League, you would likely choose that one, and the League Cup Final can hang.

Had Liverpool not made the final, they were due to be facing Everton this weekend. If it was Arsenal v Manchester City, there’d be a Merseyside Derby with all the hoopla and shenanigans and history that go with that. That would be the game before the League Cup Final – again, if you’ve got that interest, the cup game can sing.

This season’s match scheduling seems almost deliberately arranged to minimise the ‘watchability’ of the League Cup Final by ensuring that, whoever qualifies for it, there is a big Premier League game to overshadow it.

If things went the other way. If the Premier League knew that the League Cup held interest, the Sunday game would have been a lesser fixture – the cup of friends between Norwich and Sunderland maybe.

This issue is not as a result of who has qualified for the final, in other words, but in the match scheduling done well before the season even started. Whoever got there, the Premier League wanted to have the ‘bigger’ game that afternoon. As it happens, they might have won out. It is difficult to imagine how they wouldn’t. Perhaps if it was Spurs v Arsenal, or Manchester Utd v. Manchester City in the final.

League One Table Graphs 2015/16

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So, following the methodology below, I thought I’d take it ahead to the current League One and League Two promotion battles. Again, the cumulative points one is a mish-mash of difficult to ascertain lines and dots.

16-02-19 League One CPoints

It looks almost like the twisted spires of fire-ravaged church reaching up to the sky – though it is worth noting that when significant gaps appear (such as Burton have now) it is more clear what is going on.

With the percentage graph, it is far more like a running league table (in effect, that’s what it is) which illustrates the good and bad runs of the teams involved, even though it takes a little while to settle. Also worth paying attention is the two points per game ratio. That would require 66.7% of the points to be obtained which, at present time, is a figure only Burton are getting anywhere near.

16-02-19 League One %Points

So there you go. League One’s top three in graph form.

Bologna v. Juventus – 1931/32

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Just a short one demonstrating something I was thinking about the other day. Its strange how the same set of figures can manifest itself so differently when represented from another perspective.

I’d been looking through the results of the 1931/32 Serie A season; it was Juventus’ 4th title, they finished a wee way ahead of a Bologna side who led the way most of the campaign.

16-02-19 C Points

You can see, can’t you, that Bologna started a little better than Juventus, then went on a bit of a run just after the two sides met in December, while the meeting in Turin at the end of May was terminal to their season. That is clear, but it is also fairly tight and difficult to read. I was looking at that graph dissatisfied with it, when I happened upon the idea of the same numbers but in terms of the percentage of points won. I like it for 2 points for a win, because you’re either getting 0%, 50% or 100% of the points on offer. Its neat like that. 3 points for a win might be a little messier.

This graph is a lot more satisfactory, it actually looks as though the seasons is settling down, like a bottle of lemonade that has been shaken and calms. The two meetings between the sides were crucial, clearly, but taken this way it looks as though Bologna’s season was propped up by their good start and then gradually got worse and worse – I suppose that’s inarguable, but the relentlessness of that Juventus run at the end is far more evident seen this way.

16-02-19 % Points

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