Monday, 30 July 2007

A Blast From The Past

Every season, Dave and Sue run a predictions competition, where entrants have to predict players sent off, goalscorers, relegated teams, City’s finishing position and lots more.

So, in order to help you make some of your selections, I have analysed the previous ten seasons to come up with some suggestions and predictions of my own.

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Who will score the first goal of this season and when will it be scored?

Well, looking at the previous seasons, I know who my money’s on.

In the last 10 years, the opening goals have been scored by strikers in 60% of the seasons (Goater – 1998/99, Wanchope – 2000/01, Goater – 2001/02, Huckerby – 2002/03, Anelka – 2003/04 and Folwer 2004/05). 30% falls to midfielders (Horlock – 1999/2000, Barton – 2005/06 and 2006/07) and just 10% to defenders (Wiekens – 1997/98). For this reason, it is sensible to assume a striker will score and, looking at our current squad, realistically it has to be Mpenza or Bianchi.

But when will he score it? In the last 10 years, it has never taken any City player longer than 3 league games to score. The majority (50%) have been scored in the opening game, but we’re not looking at a majority on this one. Averaged out over 10 years, the opening goal should be scored after 1.7 games.

My Prediction: Man City opening goalscorer will be Emile Mpenza and he will score in the second half in the home game with Derby County.

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Who will score City’s first penalty of the coming season?

Looking back over the last ten seasons, City have scored at least one penalty per season. 60% have been converted by midfielders (Kinkladze – 1997/98, Horlock – 1998/99 – 2000/01, Barton – 2005/06 and 2006/07), 30% by strikers (all Anelka – 2002/03 – 2004/05) and 10% by defenders (Pearce – 2001/02).

Logic should dictate that it will be another midfielder that scores, but looking at our current squad, I’m not sure who our best penalty taker will be. There could be some guesswork involved in this prediction.

When will this penalty be scored, though? Well, if we average out the first penalty conversions throughout the last ten years, it is likely to be scored after 12.6 games.

My Prediction: The first Man City penalty scored next season will be converted by Fernandez and will be scored in the second half of the away game with Portsmouth (on my birthday).

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Which City player will put in the most man-hours next season?

That is to say, which of the blues’ squad will make the most number of starts next season (and how many will they make).

Judging off past seasons, 50% of the players with the most starts are defenders (Kit Symons, Tiatto, Dunne (2) and Distin), followed by 40% on the goalkeeping front (Weaver (2), James (2)). Bringing up the rear with the final 10% is Nicolas Anelka and the strikers.

With the most likely position to be a defender, it seems obvious who I am going to guess at, but how many starts will he make?

50% of the players with the most starts were ever-presents that season. The other 50% were close to it – Symons missing 5 games in 1997/98, Weaver missing 3 in 1998/99 and only 1 in 1999/2000, Tiatto missing 6 in 2000/01 and Dunne missing 3 in 2001/02.

This means that the average number of games missed by the player with the most starts over the last ten seasons is just 1.8.

My Prediction: The Man City player with the most starts next season will be club captain Richard Dunne and he will play 37 league games.

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There are many more predictions that can be made off the back of the last ten seasons, but if you want to see how the science says this season will pan out, who will be sent off first and who will be the leading scorer, then you'll just have to buy King of the Kippax 152.

David Mooney

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