Share: “Here’s Waldo: Computing the optimal search strategy for finding Waldo” by Dr. R. Olson

If there’s one thing I am a big fan of, it’s irreverent statistics. I hope that, as my site grows, I’ll be able to write and post articles that are as amazing and fascinating as an article titled “Here’s Waldo: Computing the optimal search strategy for finding Waldo” by Dr. Randal Olson.

The article can be found here and is well worth your time.

Hope you enjoy.

 

Don’t forget to follow @Analytics_BAD on Twitter.

Cameron Jerome… He Thrives on a Cold Tuesday at Stoke

Introduction

In my previous post – “Who Did it on a Cold Tuesday in Stoke?” – I looked at what teams had gone to Stoke on the supposed performance-proving cold Tuesday night and come away with points. Without spoiling the conclusion of that post (stop here, go and read it!), there was one team that shined in that role: Cardiff City in 2015. They managed to win two games in that calendar year (albeit in separate seasons) and are one of only two teams who have taken 6 points in league trips to Stoke on a Tuesday.

The list of teams that had gained points, however, isn’t the kind of teams that you expect superstars to be part of; it was the Fulham, Wigan and West Brom of this world (no offense to these teams) rather than Man Utd, Chelsea and that ilk . So, it seems unlikely that we can analyze the casual hypothesis of whether a multi-million dollar global superstar can perform on this stage.

However it doesn’t end there. Looking through the data, one man has emerged as the real global superstar that we deserve…

Cameron Jerome… the Man, the Myth, the ‘Greatest Footballer Ever’

Not only did Cardiff City go into Stoke and win twice in 2015, but they did it by scoring 6 goals (a 1-3 victory on 5th April and a 0-3 win on 27th September). However, here’s the amazing part: one man scored 4 of these goals: Cameron Jerome (pictured below).

1cameron-jerome
Mr Cold-Day-on-a-Tuesday-in-Stoke

This man is our “Mr Cold Day on a Tuesday in Stoke” (not his birth name). By hyperbolic extension, Cameron Jerome could be the greatest player to play in England.

Below is a plot of every teams cumulative goals versus Stoke on a Tuesday (since 1993) and Cameron Jerome’s tally. Cameron Jerome has scored more goals versus Stoke on a Tuesday in league play than every other team in England except two (and his four goals are part of one of those teams so, logically, we’re in a bit of a loop).

Rplot01.png

Now, admittedly, there is some logical leaps being made here. The x-axis on the previous plot is every team who were handed a fixture at Stoke on a Tuesday and it doesn’t feature any of what are commonly thought of as England’s top teams. So, whilst Cameron Jerome’s feat is impressive, it was because he was presented a rare opportunity to at least play in the conditions required on a couple of occasions.

Goals Against Stoke

During the period from 1993 to present day, Stoke have conceded 1178 (491 of these were at home) goals in 961 games (480 games at home); this works out as a rate of 1.23 goals/game conceded (total) or, an as-expected better, 1.02 goals/ game at home. Admittedly, this doesn’t take into consideration form, opponent and other factors as this is just a general average.

The average goals against per game on a cold Tuesday (albeit with a small sample) is 0.92 goals/game. Could it be that playing in Stoke on a Tuesday does make things trickier for teams to get goals and points? The plot below shows the rate of Goals/Game for each day of the week and shows that, in general, midweek games are harder for a team to score away from home against Stoke. Note: Thursday’s data should be ignored as there has been only two games played on a Thursday in Stoke so that’s really unreliable; Tuesday and Wednesday have seen 38 and 45 games played respectively. It does look as though midweek games in Stoke make it harder for opponents to score goals.

rplot02_edit
Avg. Goals/Game on each Day of the Week

Back to Cameron Jerome

So, based on the fact that not only has Jerome scored 4 times in two opportunities when the team scoring rate is 0.92 goals/game under the circumstances, we can probably say that Cameron Jerome is the greatest footballer that ever played in England.

However, there’s a big twist in this tale…

The Fifth Goal

It’s true, Cameron Jerome has five goals on a Tuesday in Stoke and this one really puts a cherry on top of the cake.

In 2011, Jerome signed for Stoke and stayed for ~ 2years, making 50 appearances and scoring 7 goals. According to reports, he wasn’t in then-manager Tony Pulis’s plans and became a peripheral first team player, making appearances off the bench.

During the two years that Jerome played for The Potters, Stoke played on a Tuesday at home once. This was on 05/01/2012 and was a 1-1 draw versus Everton. Can you guess who scored?

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Jerome celebrates scoring for Stoke on a Tuesday night

Yes, Cameron Jerome came off the bench  in the 66th minute to earn Stoke a draw.

Mind blown!

Cameron Jerome

Jerome is still playing and is currently signed for Championship club Norwich City. You can follow him on twitter. (Don’t forget to follow @Analytics_BaD also)

So, it looks like Cameron Jerome has officially become the greatest footballer to ever live. His 4 goals against Stoke and 1 goal for Stoke on a Tuesday cement his credentials and show that not a Tuesday, the weather or an almost 300-mile round trip can stop Cameron Jerome.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to comment, follow @Analytics_BaD on twitter or email AnalyticsByADummy@gmail.com.

Who Did It on a Cold Tuesday in Stoke?

Intro

This all stemmed from a text conversation between me and a friend about El Clasico on 3rd December, 2016. Neither of us care much about the much-hyped “best club game” and so we quickly, as a joke, got into discussing the players and whether they could “do it on a cold Tuesday in Stoke”. It’s that old commentator / football talking-head cliche that is now a tongue-in-cheek joke made about any over-hyped and over-priced import into English football.

Well, the goal of this post is to anlayze the cliche of which teams could “do it on a cold Tuesday in Stoke”? Data is from football-data.co.uk and covers the range 1993-08-14 to 2016-11-27.

All data in this report is for League Games. Cup games will – hopefully – be covered in future posts. Also, it just looks at the teams and doesn’t delve into and individual player or team performances… that’s for a future post.

Stoke

From Wikipedia:

Stoke-on-Trent (Listeni/stk ɒn trɛnt/; often abbreviated to Stoke) is a city and unitary authority area in Staffordshire, England, with an area of 36 square miles (93 km2). Together with the neighbouring boroughs of Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands, it is part of North Staffordshire, which, in 2011, had a population of 469,000.

The Weather in Stoke

Below are plots of the average low and high temp, the average rainfall and the average number of days of ran for Stoke-on-Trent.

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Making the assumption that the Avg Low Temp is close to (or slightly below) the temp, on a Tuesday evening in Stoke and “cold” is defined as <5C, only May to October have temps that could be deemed “not cold”. So, you definitely get “cold nights” in Stoke and the assumption is that Tuesdays are just as cold as any other day.

Total rain (on average) per year is 600mm. The UK average is 855mm, so Stoke is slightly below average rain-wise.

Tuesdays are cold but they aren’t always wet.

Games on a Cold Tuesday in Stoke

So, firstly, what is the breakdown of Games on a Tuesday in Stoke? The below graph shows the split of all league games played at Stoke by Day. In total, since 1993, there have been 480 played at Stoke and 38 of these games played on a Tuesday. That’s 7.92% of the total games played.

Rplot05.png

Looking at the 38 games, by year (plotted below – note scale is not continuous, i really need to get a fix for that and I just can’t – any tips would be appreciated), in 2005, there was 6 played; a bumper year for testing the mettle of foreign-born footballers.

Rplot06.png

So, Who Did it on These Cold Tuesdays in Stoke?

Below is a bar plot of Home Wins (Stoke), Away Wins (opponents) and Draw. Out of the 38 games played on a Tuesday, Away teams have successfully won 9 times.

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Next, the goal breakdown of the 38 games is shown:

Rplot08.png

So, what are the games where a team showed they can “do it” on a Cold Tuesday in Stoke? They are tabulated below (in chronological order):

Date Opponent Score
1999-03-16 Fulham 0 – 1
2003-11-25 Crystal Palace 0 – 1
2004-11-02 Wigan 0 – 1
2005-04-05 Cardiff 1 – 3
2005-04-19 West Ham 0 – 1
2005-09-27 Cardiff 0 – 3
2005-11-22 Derby 1 – 2
2006-12-26 Sheffield Weds 1 – 2
2010-12-28 Fulham 0 – 2

Both Fulham and Cardiff have done it twice but Congratulations to Cardiff City who did it twice in the year 2005!!!

It’s also worthwhile to look at the total points a team has gained (don’t ignore those draws – that’s still a successful 90 minutes on that frigid pitch on a Tuesday night!). Below are the point totals for teams who have claimed at least a point.

Team Pts
Cardiff 6
Fulham 6
Wigan 4
Derby 3
West Ham 3
Crystal Palace 3
Sheffield Weds 3
Ipswich 1
Millwall 1
Plymouth 1
Everton 1
Hull 1
Man City 1
Barnsley 1
Oxford 1
Oldham 1

Who couldn’t do it?

So, who couldn’t do it on a Cold Tuesday in Stoke. Here’s the teams who have played in Stoke on a Tuesday and never gained a point:

Crewe, Leicester, QPR, Sunderland, Watford, Wolves, Southampton, West Brom, Bolton, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bury

Poor show (although I don’t think Leicester City will care that much about this critique!)