With the internationals over, our attention returns to the important business of the Premier League with the match against Norwich City on Saturday. After opening the season with two wins, courtesy of Roberto Soldado penalties, Spurs came up short at Arsenal with the team containing a number of new players failing to find the creativity to break through a well-organised and competitive home side. The number of new signings at Tottenham is probably one of the reasons why the CIES Football Observatory determined that Spurs will finish in 5th place once again.
The CIES Football Observatory has presented its predictions for the big-5 European Leagues for the 2013-14 season. It concludes that Tottenham will finish in 5th place in the Premier League, once again failing to end the season ahead of their closest rivals and neighbours, Arsenal.
This is the fourth time that the CIES Football Observatory has predicted the outcome for the season based on the analysis of player profile data from the perspective of:
- “experience” (number of matches played and results achieved), “
- prolificacy” (number of goals scored and level of the competition) and
- “stability” (number of seasons with the employer club and years remaining on contract).
Using these indicators, they have classified teams by taking into account the 11 players with the highest scores (potential “starting 11″), as well as squad members ranked between the 12th and 22nd positions (“substitutes”). The final ranking has been estimated on the basis of the average position in the two tables.
Tottenham – 5th
- In terms of Tottenham’s potential “starting 11″ they have been placed 5th behind the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal.
- In the strength of the Tottenham squad, Spurs are classed in 4th ahead of Arsenal but again behind the other three clubs where Chelsea have moved above City into 2nd place.
- Three players from each club are highlighted as being key players in the coming season. For Spurs the three players are Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon and Roberto Soldado.
While the predictions made by the Observatory may well turn out to be correct come the end of the season in May, 2014, where I would take issue with their findings is that their Tottenham “first 11″ based on experience will include players who have been with the club over a period of years, hence their inclusion of Defoe and Lennon as two key players. Defoe is unlikely to have an opportunity to make an impact in the Premier League this season unless Soldado sustains a long-term injury, something I could not bear thinking about. Lennon started the opening game but has been out injured since then and with Nacer Chadli and Andros Townsend providing competition for a wide position, there is uncertainty about how he will fit into Andre Villas-Boas’ plans. Michael Dawson and Emmanuel Adebayor could also be included in that first eleven on experience but Dawson’s position is under threat from the return to fitness of Younes Kaboul and the arrival of the young Romanian central defender, Vlad Chiriches. Adebayor does not currently appear to play a major part in AVB’s plans.
The rivalry between Tottenham and Arsenal looks set to continue with CIES regarding Arsenal as having the stronger 1st eleven but Spurs the greater strength in depth. The result of the north London derby may support that view as would the comments of the Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger whose comments in the build up to the match were reported by the Mirror,
There is a technical risk when you buy more than three players always because you unbalance a little bit the stability of your squad.
The contribution which Tottenham’s new signings over the summer will make to the first team are difficult to quantify so may not have had a great bearing on the Observatory’s findings as opposed to Arsenal’s more settled team.
Top of the Premier League (May, 2014)?
- Manchester United
- Manchester City
- TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
At the bottom, the Observatory predicts that the two promoted sides, Hull City and Cardiff City, will occupy the bottom two positions but surprisingly they place Crystal Palace in 17th position with their London rivals, Fulham, predicted to take the final relegation spot in 18th. Martn Jol will not be happy about that observation by the Football Observatory.
CIES and CIES Football Observatory
The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) is an independent study centre located in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. It was created in 1995 as a joint venture between the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the University of Neuchâtel, the City and State of Neuchatel.
The CIES Football Observatory was set up in 2005 under the name of the Professional Football Players Observatory (PFPO). Since 2011, it is one of the cornerstones of the vast CIES Observatory project, dedicated to the statistical analysis of sport in all its diversity.