Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Mark of a Champion

To win a league championship, it usually takes a number of common factors,
1. be consistent i.e. win more games and only lose a couple
2. be prolific i.e. score more goals and concede very few
3. have a deep squad to cater for injuries that all though?
If one looks at all the European leagues, there are two additional areas which may prove to be important as well. These are,
1. concentration
2. resilience
When Bayern Munich captured the Bundesliga crown last year, they were prolific at killing off games (19 wins/20 matches) when leading and also had the resilience to turn losing circumstances into wins (3 wins/9 matches) when trailing.
Real Madrid was similarly excellent last season with 22 wins from 25 matches after taking the lead. When the opponent scored first, they recovered notching 5 wins from 13 matches. Even that super form could not prevent Bernd Schuster from the sack!
In France, Lyon was a picture of concentration last season as they did not let their efforts slip at any time during a match. They outscored their opponents in every 15 mins intervals hence proving that championship winners need to have mental toughness to compete and overpower opponents. Concentration is an attribute that the EPL Big 4 have in common. Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd all visibly finish the last 15 minutes of a match stronger than their opponents. The last 15 minutes of a game is usually the time when lesser teams tend to switch off due to physical and mental tiredness.

Can concentration and resilience be the hidden factor in the title deciders for this season?
Well, only the stats at the end of the season will reveal the meantime, we shall just enjoy another great year of football.

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