Monday, 2 November 2015

A Victory for Stats!

Following last week’s mismatch, I came up with a new system for picking the teams this week. I assigned each player a numerical value based on their overall on-pitch effectiveness (i.e. how good they are at football) and pasted these names and values into Microsoft Excel, whereupon I tried to get the two bottom lines as near as damn it. Not necessarily the easiest manoeuvre when there are odd numbers, but who said Maths was easy? Not me, that’s for sure. I only got a ‘C’ at GCSE and that was the best I could have got, as I was in the thickie la-la set.

These values have been saved in an hermetically sealed data storage facility on an ice-bound Scandinavian outcrop in the Baltic Sea and can only be accessed using a complex entry mechanism based on unique biometric data and an advanced knowledge of the names of the pets I’ve had in my life. So don’t ask.

Once I’d locked the data centre and flown back to London after changing flights in a secret mountain top airbase the following teams came out of the supercomputer:

Yellows: me, Phil, Steve, Alan, Tony, Liam, Jaime, Peter and Mario

Blues: Ian Baggies, Andy, Tim, Simon Gas, Dan, Ross, Joseph, Danny, Antonio and Yev’s mate Vitaliy

Bizarrely, Yev arrived early with the aforementioned Ukrainian goalmonster Vitaliy, which was as Alan pointed out nothing if not perverse, but then what else would you expect?

I’ll have a go at recalling all nine goals. 

I can’t quite remember which team scored first, but I’ve a feeling it was the Yellows through Phil, who bagged a brace on the night. His first effort was a clinical finish following a centre from the left after some decent approach play from Liam, who was selflessly ploughing a lonely furrow at left half, while the second came from a fairly acute angle on the right. 

By this stage the Blues were not so much knocking on the door as pounding it with heavy ordnance. Despite a couple of saves from myself to deny first Vitality, at point blank range from a header, and then Antonio (I managed to claw out a cheeky chip from just under the crossbar) Yev’s compatriot nearly took the net away from the stanchion with a violent volley that flew in from just outside the area after some clever prompting from Antonio.  

Having got his eye in with his first goal, Vitaliy then went berserk. I can’t remember how much velocity was on goal number two, but the one to complete his hat-trick almost sang as it left his left foot and flew like an arrow into the top right hand corner of the net, leaving Tony with no chance in goal.

Although the Yellows saw plenty of the ball and created a hatful of chances, Peter and Mario were uncharacteristically profligate while Phil, Liam and Steve all had chances of varying degrees of difficulty to finish but came up against a resolute Blues’ backline that was just a little too well organised for the Yellows to get past. At the other end Antonio’s intelligent passing allied to Ross’ tireless running and Danny’s tenacity created the bullets for Vitaliy, who proved to be absolutely clinical. I believe that Ross was also amongst the goals and the Blues eventually ran in six, although at least one of those was when the Yellows were down to eight men (versus ten) when Phil had to retrieve one of the balls. The Yellows also got one more goal; Mario took a chance from distance that found its way into the bottom hand corner via Ian.

Final score: Blues 6 – Yellows 3

And with that victory for stats, we were off to the pub. Another decent turn out and another mild evening saw myself, Alan, Ross, Liam, Tim (as well as Simon Gas, the Ukrainians and Steve) stay to discuss the following – 1) the fact that the Haka is a glorified dance routine for a bunch of preening bullshit munchers 2) the quality of pundits on BBC– compliments for Chris Sutton, Jason Mohammad and Wrighty, brickbats for Darth Crooks 3) the very much unappreciated and overlooked qualities of early 90’s pop-punk bands Mega City Four and Senseless Things.

A final word for Bristol Paul, who’s been in the wars a bit with his pushbike. Get well soon, mate. I hope you enjoyed reading the card, although Simon seemingly selected the most girly one that Clintons stock.

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