Thursday 10 December 2015

Monk Loses the Winning Habit.

At the end of August 2014, two sides, Swansea and Chelsea were vying for the lead in the Premier League table with a 100% record from three matches. Aston Villa were third.

So it represented business as usual for Mourinho and a validation of the soon to be written raft of complementary articles about the bright new manager in charge at Swansea, Garry Monk.

As of yesterday two of those three teams have seen managerial change and Mourinho's tenure hangs by a Champions League thread.

Monk's hot start to the season was prolonged enough to earn him a place on the Daily Telegraph's shortlist of six for manager of the season, along with the beleaguered Mourinho and the subsequently dispensed with Sam Alladyce.

A near 50% attrition rate in the blink of an eye.

It is becoming commonplace to increasingly acknowledge the role that luck plays in shaping a relatively short, skill based competition, such as a Premier League season.

More data hungry models in late 2014 were already suggesting that Swansea had been relatively shot shy and fortunate even as they remained buoyant, only slightly removed from their August heights,

An abundance of 1-0 wins, seven in total by May, further hinted at a solid mid table side inflated upwards by random, most likely non repeatable events.

Premier League managers, always looking over their shoulders.
Outsiders are never privy to the inner workings of the professional relationships with a football club that may drive change, but it was particularly unfortunate for Monk that an immediate see-sawing of narrowly contested 1-0 games fell so badly for him in 2015/16.

Five such league defeats and a cup exit since August 2015.

Extremes, such as Monk may have benefited from in 2014/15, tend to be less extreme in the future, but fueled by euphoria and congratulatory broadsheets, they tend to become the normal expectation from both the fan base and employer.

Swansea's 14 actual points through 15 games are around a win shy of their most likely total based on shot model simulations and they have created enough to have had a 1 in four chance of bettering the 20 or more points that would have invited a more prosperous New Year.

The reality is probably that, in part at least, a straight comparison has been made between the 0.9 points per game this term and the near 1.5 points per match in 2014/15 and knees have been jerked.

Random variation gives and it sometimes cruelly takes away.

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