February 18, 2019, 01:48:33 PM

Author Topic: Steven N'Zonzi  (Read 15555 times)

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December 04, 2017, 06:51:35 AM
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N'Zonzi is a very good player, better than anyone we have in defensive midfield. I'm surprised he hasn't moved to a bigger club yet.

Still, I'd rather see us invest in a creative passer or a box-to-box midfielder. Right now, Rooney is the only player we have with any real vision in midfield and Davies is our only true box-to-box player*. Gana (when he's disciplined) and Schneiderlin (when he isn't hiding, see: last season) have enough quality to cover our defensive midfield needs. If Schneiderlin continues to play like he has, I can see the argument for adding a DM, but as is, I think we'd benefit more from someone who contributes something going forward, whether it be chance creation or goals (both, preferably).

I'd like to fit Klaassen into the midfield picture but he doesn't offer enough defensively to play box-to-box and he doesn't fit the passer mold at all. Maybe he has something more to show or maybe Allardyce has another role in mind for him. We'll see. McCarthy showed glimpses of being able to contribute in attack under Koeman but he's never fit, so it's hard to expect anything from him. Besic has a good attitude and some interesting qualities but he's more of a DM and I don't think he'll amount to much without regular appearances (which I don't think he's good enough to earn here).

If we receive a good offer for any of those players, it probably makes sense to sell (as much as I'd like to see more of Klaassen, I'm having a hard time seeing how he works in the context of this squad).

* Edit: Sigurdsson does the box-to-box thing for Iceland so he's a possibility in the middle, as well.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2017, 07:42:18 PM by kramer0 »

December 06, 2017, 11:20:58 PM
Reply #1


The more I think about this, the less I like the idea. What is a Schneiderlin upgrade going to do for us? Playing with a positionally conservative defensive midfielder forces Gana into a box-to-box role, which he plainly isn't good at.

We'd be much better served adding someone who contributes something in attack -- preferably passing -- and sticking with Gana at the base of the midfield (provided that he continues to stay in position like he did on Saturday).

I'm a definite N'Zonzi fan, I just don't see how he helps us right now.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 11:23:39 PM by kramer0 »

December 29, 2017, 07:27:22 AM
Reply #2


I don't think this would be a good signing.

Good player but not at all what we need in midfield. I'll also trot out one of my greatest hits and say that he's too old to be worth spending anything significant on.

December 30, 2017, 02:02:08 AM
Reply #3


We do have the option to hire a better director of football and manager.

With the right people in charge, there’s no reason why we can’t challenge the top 6 and contend for the Europa League and domestic cups.

December 30, 2017, 08:41:33 PM
Reply #4


Don't count on it.

It's almost impossible in non North American sports. There's no relegation in North American sports. It's a completely different landscape on how you build your teams. There's also salary caps over here.

And by the way. The Oakland A's haven't won anything of significance in over 20 years.

I disagree completely.

There are plenty of market inefficiencies to be exploited in football, given the sheer number of players and leagues worldwide. The problem is that clubs are married to getting player recommendations from agents and "proper football men" and don't want to do the relatively easy work of hiring a bunch of football nerds to mine the data (or do video scouting for leagues that don't have reliable data) to find better transfer targets. There's a good reason why a club like Brentford, with a relegation budget by Championship standards, finishes comfortably mid-table every year while clubs with much greater resources finish below them. Edges are there for clubs who care to look.

In the major North American sports, especially baseball, teams control all of the major talent from the moment they become professionals. Analytics have taken off in these sports out of necessity. Talent acquisition is much more restricted (you can't just go out and buy whoever you want, whenever you want) and mistakes hurt a lot more, so teams need better methods for determining who's actually good. I think one of the reasons football has been so slow in adopting analytics is because clubs can always fix their mistakes with a sale (goodbye, bad contract) and another transfer (hello, fresh face), however wasteful that is. If an NBA team signs a bad player for a lot of money, they're usually stuck with his contract until it expires. So most (all?) NBA teams now have a dedicated analytics department to minimize these sorts of mistakes. Given the crazy wages being paid in the PL and the fact that it's getting harder and harder to shift players out, we would be wise to heed their example.

As for the A's... the core principles of their approach have been appropriated by every other team in baseball, including teams with a lot more money, so no surprise that they haven't been winning. Edges only exist for as long as you're one of a few (or better yet, the only one) exploiting them. Which is one of the many reasons why I'm keen to see Everton ditch the reliance on "proper football men" and move on to a more efficient mix of analytics and traditional/video scouting.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2017, 10:27:24 PM by kramer0 »

January 06, 2018, 04:06:39 AM
Reply #5


Should not be a priority over someone who can actually pass forward and create chances.

We need Banega, not N'Zonzi.

January 06, 2018, 04:33:13 AM
Reply #6


how many years have we been on about Banega, almost as long as Juan Román Riquelme

I don't actually want Banega. Just someone who does Banega things on the ball.

He plays in the same team as N'Zonzi so he was the natural example to use.

January 06, 2018, 10:34:57 PM
Reply #7


Even when they were the only ones exploiting them they weren't really winning anything though.

Okay, but they were consistently one of the eight best teams in a league of 30. In 2002, they finished with the second best record (possibly tied for first, depending on the outcome of a game the Yankees never had to play) with a bottom three salary. Not bad.

And what happens when you pair analytics with genuine resources (which Everton have, by the way)? The Red Sox and Cubs each won their first championships in over 100 years with that approach.

But I think analytical stats are really overrated in other team sports.

Proven effective in the NBA as well. Teams like the Rockets and Warriors have changed the way basketball is played by focusing on the most valuable shots in the game (at the rim, free throws, three pointers). It took an analytic argument/approach to get there but now almost everybody is doing it (or trying). And the triers will probably fail because they're behind the curve.

It matters who plays with who, and where players play, and what systems players play in in other team sports(Take Keane for example).

I agree 100%. And profiling players/teams through data analysis is a much more efficient way to create this context. The eye test matters but numbers can watch a lot more games than scouts.

IMO If you want to build a whole team around analytics over in Europe(especially the PL) you run the risk of being relegated to lower divisions. Especially when you're in the top flight of the country where teams spend big.

As I said before, it's possible to do so in NA sports as there's no risk to relegation. There's actually rewards to coming last.

I don't see this as an argument against my point. I'm arguing that we should be using analytics to produce better targets and/or verify that players we like are actually worth the money we spend on them. Not that we should adapt our strategy to only taking ultra-cheap punts on players with interesting numbers.

Example. Someone who produces football analytics content for free wrote these this summer:



We pay our director of football and (probably) scouts good money to evaluate players and decide who's worth signing. It's not great when someone on the internet picks out the issues with said signings so easily. We could have used that £50m in fees and over £200k a week in wages on a better class of player, or even just players who were a better fit, if the club really cared about the analytics POV.

We lack the knowledge, not the money to back it. Relegation is more likely if we keep spending our money like we have than if we get smarter about how we use it.

It's also possible to do it in the Championship and finish mid table... I get what you're saying with the limited budget and all, but not really a ringing endorsement.  ;)

I see the sly wink so I know you understand my original point but it really is an endorsement. They have League One resources but are consistently closer to the playoff places than relegation. Clubs of a similar stature come up to the Championship every season and get slapped straight back down.

It's not as well documented but Brighton care about analytics as well and they have a real chance of staying up this season with relatively little in the way of resources. They also nabbed Pascal Groß for a small fraction of what we paid for Sigurdsson and are getting more or less the same production.

And I think it's complete nonsense to expect analytically-minded teams to conquer every competition they're in because they're smarter. It's not about that. It's about being better than your resources. We have the 6th or 7th highest wage bill in the league and top 20 wage bill in European football. Imagine getting something extra out of that. Now we're a consistent contender for the domestic cups and Europa League, with a chance to crack the CL if one of the bigger clubs falters. Sounds great to me.

Saying all that, I definitely agree we need to start getting more bang for our buck when we buy, and we need to find some unknowns on the cheap. If that means bringing in some nerdy analytics kids then I'm fine with that.

I also believe, even more, we need to start building a team through the transfer market and not just arbitrarily buying players that we think are good.

100% agreement here. And yes, analytically-minded folks whose opinions are actually valued will help.