On Alan Pardew in ’14-15

Earlier in the season I posted a bunch of numbers on twitter regarding the change in fortunes at Newcastle and Crystal Palace around the time of Alan Pardew’s move. Sean Ingle’s piece including some of those numbers is here. Now that the season is over and the sample sizes are somewhat larger I’ve updated those numbers and included those tables here.

First up, the counting numbers, goals, shots on target, and shots.

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.35.08 AM

So in both cases the teams scored more goals and took more shots under Pardew. Both teams conceded fewer total shots without Pardew, however Pardew resulted in fewer shots on target against, and fewer goals against.

Overall was Pardew a benefit in terms of these numbers? Lets take a look the change in their differentials and ratios:

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.42.51 AM

So in terms of differential and ratio the teams come out ahead of the game under Pardew in five of the six categories. Newcastle actually took a greater proportion of the shots in their games, but were beaten badly in terms of the proportion of shots that were on target. At Palace all of the number spiked in the right direction when Pardew took charge. If we break these numbers down a bit further a couple of things stick out:

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.45.03 AM

Once Pardew left Newcastle something incredible happened – the 44% of opposition shots that were on target is a truly remarkable number. Newcastle actually saved a slightly larger proportion of the shots that were on target, but that number (63 %) was still woefully low.

At Palace the swing in percentages came elsewhere, with Palace scoring an above league average proportion of their shots on target, and their save percentage regressing towards the league average.

Finally lets look in terms of points and Team Rating:

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 12.18.14 PM

The teams under Pardew scored points 59 points per 38 games, double the 29 points per 38 games they scored without Pardew in charge. This seems like a vast difference – whilst the former team is in the mix for one of the final Europa League places, the latter is in the mix for the bottom of the table. Was this difference in points warranted by the performance of the teams? Well Team Rating suggests that the performance under Pardew would warrant 52 points per 38 games, and the teams without Pardew would warrant 42 points per 38 games. To be clear, whilst the 10 point difference here isn’t the 29 point difference that we observed in reality, it is still a lot of points – and if it were repeatable it’s probably worth £25-50 million per year, even under the current TV deal.

Edit 25May15, 17:00 BST: Originally the summary paragraph to this piece was “In summary, whilst Pardew’s season wasn’t quite as incredible as the points scored by the two teams with/without him would suggest, he still had a great positive impact upon each of the teams.”, but in retrospect I don’t think that’s an accurate reflection. It’s true that both teams scored more points with him at the helm, however at Newcastle the vast majority of that was due to something (% of opponent shots that go on target) that was unsustainably bad after he left. As such, the Team Ratings are fairly similar with and without Pardew. In comparison the improvements seen at Palace are some things that were a mix of things that were sustainable (TSR), things that likely would have regressed anyway (sv%), and things that were unsustainable and we’d expect to regress towards the mean in the future (sh%). And it’s really that sustainable improvement in TSR at Palace that is the main part of the positive impact that he had.


One thought on “On Alan Pardew in ’14-15

  1. Newcastle have had major injury problems at the back in the second half of the season and often with a makeshift back four. At one point our back four consisted of ‘R.Taylor – Janmaat – Williamson – Gutierrez’. Thats a midfielder whos been out for two years at right back, a full back playing centre back despite claiming to have never played there before, and a midfielder dragged back from chemotherapy to play out of position at left back. I’d suggest this crisis in defensive personnel is the big driver in our sharp drop in SoTR.

    My reading of the stats is that Post-Pardew we were playing a similar style at a similar level (TSR) but conceding better quality chances (SoTR) simply because our defense had been crippled. Meanwhile, the suspension of Papiss Cisse and fatigue of Ayoze Perez led to drop in Sh%, making for a season destroying crisis.

    Given that AP was in charge for the first half of the season, and AP’s coaching staff were in charge for the second half of the season, I think it would be odd to attribute any big shift in the numbers to managerial changes, and any football analytics who do so ought to know better.

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