Tag: Sports

25Oct
elephantgraveyard

The MLS is Like an Elephant’s Graveyard: a Place Where The Eldest Go to Die

According to a popular legend, when elephants reach an old age, they move away from their herd looking for a place to die. This is called an ‘elephants’ graveyard’. Have you seen ‘The Lion King’? Do you remember when Simba and Nala are attacked by hyenas for the first time? Well, that was an elephants’ graveyard.

American Major League Soccer is the football equivalent to that. A place where famous players with their best years behind their backs go to spend the final seasons of their careers.

Take for instance English players. As we already discussed on this blog, you won’t see many of them playing at major European leagues, but there are quite a few in the United States. In fact, they are the second most popular nationality among foreign players, just after Argentina. Among these 18 Englishmen you can find some big names, like Steven Gerrard, who is playing for Los Angeles Galaxy, or Frank Lampard, who plays for New York City FC. They both had very successful careers and they moved to the US in their mid or late 30s.

The chart below tries to visualise this trend: mature players from all over the world moving to the MLS at the end of the careers. The graph shows the difference between their current market value, and what they reached at the peak of their careers. I took the data from Transfermarkt, a very popular German website that publishes regular estimates of the market value of players in most leagues.
mls-elephant-graveyard
The players shown on the graph are those who suffered the highest losses in their market value. How many names can you recognise? Probably most of them, as these players had really successful careers in European football. Kaká shined at AC Milan and was sold to Real Madrid for a whopping figure. Steven Gerrard was a local hero at Liverpool for many years. David Villa was a key player in the most successful Spanish national team in history. Frank Lampard is the all-time leading goalscorer for Chelsea. Andrea Pirlo is a symbol of Italian football all over the world. Now they are all waiting for retirement in the USA.

Are there any other competitions that have became elephants’ graveyards? Let us know!

9Jul

Premier League: Best (and worst) performances in the second half of season 2014/2015

2014-2015 second half

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about how English club’s performed in the second half of the season since 1993. The chart above is an update of that post and shows the best and worst performances of last season’s second half.

The most impressive improvement was broadly commented at the time. In just 6 weeks, Leicester City moved from being last to end up in a comfortable 14th position. As you can see in the chart, they were virtually relegated for most of the season!

It’s also interesting to see the evolution of Crystal Palace, another team that started the second half as one of the main candidates to be relegated and during the whole second half climbed 8 positions.

There were a couple of bad performances too. West Ham United had an amazing first half, reaching the middle of the season in the 5th position. Sadly for the East Londoners, they were not able to keep the good performance and they ended up 12th.

Newcastle United also had a terrible ending of the season. They held in the middle of the table for most of the season, but in the last 9 games they lost 4 positions and finished 15th.

15Jan
Norwegian flag

Norwegians place more bets on the Premier League than the Brits

In a previous post I mentioned that a popular sports betting website shared some data with us. We kept digging into the numbers and we found some interesting stuff. We all know that the Premier League is one of the most popular football competitions in the entire world. But who do you expect to be the nation that place more bets on the Premier League? The Brits, right? Well, according to the data we have it’s Norway. On average, each Norwegian placed 10 bets on the Premier League, compared to the 4 placed by people in the UK.

This data is quite interesting, but it only includes one bookmark, so we cannot consider it 100% reliable.

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