I took the second week of my three week vacation very seriously and didn't post a Friday Night Links, so this week's post will be longer than normal as it covers two weeks worth of material. Let's get to it.
New Blogs, Magazines, and Books
This week I have two new things I am reading.
- Issue 1 of The Blizzard came out on Thursday. I snapped up a copy for myself and am eagerly awaiting its electronic delivery (unfortunately, the guys had a bit of trouble with their ordering system on launch day that they're resolving now). I grabbed Issue 0 when they first published it, and loved every one of its 187 pages. If you don't know about the Blizzard, head over to their website and check it out. I love it so much that I harbor a not-so-secret desire to have an article published in their wonderful quarterly magazine at some point. A boy can dream...
- Dan Kennett turned me on to Lewis Tong's Squeezing My Skull blog last week. The blog is new and only has a few posts so far, but it has covered topics near and dear to my heart - the econometrics of soccer. Check it out and give Lewis some feedback on his efforts.
- Tim at 7AM Kickoff has been killing it the last couple of weeks. He's offered up some evidence as to why Arsenal can't compete with recent champions on goals scored and conceded, showed how Arsenal's points per game fell off at the business end of the season (and ManU's did not fall nearly as much), and ultimately proves why deadlines and the need for sensationalism in the newsroom don't lead to good statistical analysis.
- Chris at Soccer By The Numbers makes the case that soccer is a Big Four sport in the US if you look at how Americans write about sports.
- Brian Phillips at the Run Of Play blog suggests we watch this weekend's Champions League final as Barca's (and Spains) run of domination is likely coming to an end. Appreciate it while you can, people!
- While relegated clubs are trying to figure out how they're going to manage their businesses next season, Ian at TwoHundredPercent writes about the opposite problem: recently-promoted Queens Park Rangers have raised ticket prices 40% in the hopes of competing with the rich clubs of the Premier League.
- Speaking of club financials, The Swiss Ramble does a great job profiling the improving fortunes and continued challenges of Liverpool.
- In case you missed the news, here's how much each of the Premier Clubs made last year based upon global TV rights. How big of a slice did your favorite club get of the £1B pie?
- EPL Talk argues that Manchester City didn't buy their FA Cup trophy. There's some spirited discussion in the comments field, and even I got in on the act. Predictably, I came down on the side of those who argued the cup was bought.
- TwoHundredPercent has a great story about the playoff between Luton Town and Wimbledon AFC for promotion into the Football League. Wimbledon won the match, meaning they will be playing league football less than a decade after their founding. It's a testament to their supporters, players, and staff who have created something from nothing more than passion for a club that was stollen from them. Sadly, this is nothing we could experience here in the US with our single-entity, monopolized, franchised pro sports model.
- On Football has some great graphs showing the correlation between EPL club finances and their table position.
- The NY Times' Goal blog has a great recounting of Porto's magical, undefeated season.
- The Overlapping Run provides great links to an analysis suggesting the lessor known DP's are providing good bang for the buck, while a link to a SoccerLens article argues that it's time to reform soccer's rules to recognize the prowess of today's players.
Next week I also return to regular posts of original statistical analysis. I'll use next week to give you some previews of what I am working on, and ease back into regular posts over that week. I've got a slate of posts planned throughout the summer, so even though the EPL is on break I will not be. Thanks for sticking around and waiting out my much needed three week break. I am convinced it will make my posts over the next several months all the better. Have a great weekend, and I will see you guys on the back side.