Before you read this i want you to know that sometimes I get bored at my job. Really bored. Right...
Stats back it up – Pompey are underperforming...
Before the game against ‘boro Ferguson made a claim that a number of managers have made before him - Pompey's squad is as strong as any in the league. I think this is the core argument of the Cotterill out campaign, the squad is good and experienced and is much better than current results suggest. When I looked at the team sheets on Tue night it is difficult to argue that Pompey had a weaker team. If you have faith in football managers, scouts, general analysis there is a basic hypothesis that the best players play in the premier league - so I had a look at the stats. Pompey's starting 11 had 464 starting premier league appearance between them:
Of course there are a lot other components that feed into whether or not a team is succesful other than if their players have been given a chance in the Premier leage. But the experience of players at the highest level is as good as any other relatively arbitary measure of the strength of a squad.
I did a comparison with the other championship teams for the starting 11s for the last round of games. As i had already done the research I also looked at clubs relative positions compared to where there premier league experience indicates they should be:
Division by total premier league appearance of last starting 11
Team over / under performance
What does this tell us? Well it tells us that Pompey are not doing as well as they should be (with the huge caveat of this of course not being the only indication of how a team should be doing). The teams who are doing even worse than Pompey include Brisol City and Doncaster whose Premier league experience is horribly skewed by their goalkeepers. Without David James Bristol City have just 8 premier league games experience, which would put them about where they should be in the league, similarly without Neil Sullivan’s 246 games in the premier league Doncaster would have 63 premier league games experience and would be above Pompey in the team under performance league, Brum have two games in hand.
Anyway before i get tied up in stats I shall conclude I still feel Cotteril should be given more time, i felt they werent far off on Tuesday, although along with the rest of Fratton Park my patience is wearing thin. The next two home games are Barnsley and Doncaster, anything less than 4 points should surely see the end of Cotteril. The stats here also back up my opening sentiment – sometimes my day job is boring enough for me to consider spending my time doing this.
Pyschology of support
Tuesday night was strange. I thought Pompey played ok, in fact when Pompey went 2-1 down I was confident enough to put a cheeky fiver on us winning 4-2. There was a 15 mins period in the second half when we battered boro and my money should have been safe. But alas.
The team was let down especially by two poor performances from Ashdown and Ward. Cotterill is quite right to point out that teams win together and lose together. But i think the fans reaction to those players is very different. My pop pyschologist mind wonders if Pompey players have ever disassociated Ashdown from his history at the club. Instead of being rewarded for longevity of service he is under-appreciated because he wasnt good enough when James was at the club, he wasnt good enough when Asmir was at the club, so why is he good enough now? Ward however is given extra credit because of his place of birth, and I am all for that, fans love nothing more than a local boy, and one who works hard at that.
Either which way, both need to up their game to retain their places in the team.