There are some people who are very good at predicting the outcome of sporting events. Professional gamblers can do it and can make a good living from it. Team managers to some extent need to do this in order to plan a team’s season, knowing which games to focus on and which ones to leave more to hope. Some sports journalists also have the knack of getting it right more often than not. To some it may seem like guess work or going on gut feeling but there is a science to sport and if you know what factors are important you too can be successful at predicting match results.
The first and most obvious thing to look at when deciding who’s most likely to win a game is the relative position of the teams in the league table. If there are a number of places separating the two teams then the higher team is most often going to win and if the teams are close together then a draw is the probable result. You can do this by rule of thumb or it is possible to be more methodical by going back through the records and quantifying just how much of an advantage the league position is. Over the last five years in the English Premier League for example, when the two teams are within 6 places a draw is on average the most likely result. Different leagues will vary depending on how competitive they are and it will also vary at different points in the season. League position is less effective a predictor at the start of the season when there aren’t enough results to make a reliable prediction; and also at the end of the season when teams (particularly the more successful ones) are tired!
Home or away
The next most important factor to consider is whether a team is playing at home or away. In some leagues away victories are relatively rare. The main reason for this is the influence of the crowd. For teams that have a long way to travel and few supporting fans the opposition stadium can be a hostile environment. Also (although of course it shouldn’t happen) the crowd can have an influence on the referee. Refereeing is full of marginal decisions, and the presence of a large crowd of jeering supporters can effect the referee’s judgement. This effect of ‘home bias’ by referees has been scientifically tested by analyzing match videos, and has been shown to be a genuine phenomena – not just a frustration in the minds of the disappointed away fans! Because of this home advantage teams will often have two configurations: one for home and one for away. Away teams will often be more cautious and play a defensive mid-fielder in place of one of the strikers, making an away victory even less likely. It’s easy to quantify the home advantage in a league by adding up all the home wins over a season and comparing it with the number of away wins. The ratio is typically around 2 to 1 in favor of the home team.
A key decider is the team announcement. When the line up of the teams is announced, usually twenty minutes before kick-off, this gives a big indication of how the game will go. The team sheet will tell you two things: firstly whether the manager is playing his best team (e.g. are there players out through injury? Or is he saving players for a more important match?). Secondly it will tell you the likely formations. If a team has no recognized striker then they are probably going to be playing a more defensive formation. However, if there are a number of strikers on the substitutes’ bench then it is likely the coach will be putting them on the pitch at a later stage in the game and thus is not settling for a draw. Also look out for players just coming back from injury. Such a player may have a good first game but performances may then dip as fitness becomes an issue. Typically it takes 5 games for a player to get back to full match fitness.
Who’s on a roll?
As with many sports, confidence is a huge factor. Teams can get into cycles where bad results leads to bad confidence which in turn leads to worse performances. The same is true when a team’s confidence spirals upwards. It is for this reason that teams tend to go through good and bad patches. When a team is on a winning streak there is a strong likelihood they will continue winning, even against better teams. Look out for runs in a team’s recent matches: e.g. how many games have they gone without a victory? Although they won’t often admit it players are acutely aware of these statistics and it does play on their minds. Other runs to look out for are:
- Games without scoring a goal
- Number of clean sheets (no goals against)
- Consecutive away wins
- Number of games unbeaten
- Number of games played
This last point is an important one. Tiredness is an important factor in determining a team’s chances of winning. A player should normally be able to play 2 games a week but this is hard to sustain over a number of months, especially if there is a lot of traveling and the games are very competitive. A team that has not played for 7 days has a significant advantage over one which has played in the last 3 or 4 days.
Derbies and rivalries
Some matches have a special significance for supporters and players alike. Derby games, where the two teams are local to each other, can throw up unexpected results. Part of the reason for this is that the away supporters don’t have far to travel and so can be in the stadium in equal numbers to the home fans. This can create an unusually vibrant atmosphere which can make players more nervous and accident prone. The intense rivalry between such teams can produce special performances from some teams. This all makes it hard to predict the outcome of such games. There can be other team rivalries that one should also be aware of: for instance teams that have a history of victories over one another in important competitions; and teams that have an equal number of trophies.
Brief History of the Sewing Machine
The first sewing machine was built in 1874, based on a design made and patented in 1790 by English inventor Thomas Saint. Back in the olden days, sewing machines could only sew one item with a single stitch type. There were only two types available – the hand-crank and the treadles. Later on, although the treadle model is still produced for domestic use even until today, most of them are fitted with a motor for more efficient sewing.
About Brother CS6000i
The Brother CS6000i is a new generation sewing machine. It performs not only simple stitching tasks, but it also performs more advanced tasks such as crafting home decoration, quilting, garment construction, and sewing buttonholes. This computerized sewing machine features an LCD screen which allows for easy stitch selection. There are 60 built-in stitches for utility and decorative purposes to choose from. You just need to select one and the machine will automatically sew the stitch. Using the LCD display, you can adjust the length and width of each stitch (the maximum width is 7 mm). Besides the size of the stitch, the display will also show you which foot should be used for making a certain stitch.
You can also easily adjust the upper thread tension for different types of thread and fabric using the tension control dial. To operate the machine, you can either use the foot pedal or the start/stop button. For sewing small items such as sleeves and cuffs, you can remove its free arm attachment. The Brother CS6000i sewing machine also comes with a needle set, additional bobbins, twin needle, seam ripper, extra spool pin, eyelet punch, leaning brush, screw driver, and 6 different types of snap-on presser feet. You will also get a foot control, a power cord, and instruction manual.
About Brother Industries, Ltd.
Brother Industries, Ltd. is a Japan-based company which manufactures various products including printers, label printers, large machine tools, typewriters, fax machines, sewing machines, and other computer-related electronic devices. The company was established in 1908 in Nagoya, and was originally named Yasui Sewing Machine Co. The company had its first overseas sales affiliate in 1954 with the establishment of Brother International Corporation (U.S.A.). In 1962, the company’s name was changed to Brother Industries, Ltd. From 1989 to 1999, the company became the primary sponsor of the Manchester City Football Club. This collaboration is considered one of the longest unbroken sponsorship deals of any football club in England.
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The concept of promotion and relegation in English soccer is a difficult one for most American sports fans to grasp immediately. In major American sport leagues, if for instance the Washington Nationals have an awful year where they only win 40 games, they'll be right back next year playing the likes of the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. That is not the case in the English soccer 'pyramid', where the different levels of soccer are directly connected through a series of promotions and relegations.
To talk specifically about the English Premier League, at the end of each season the bottom three teams are relegated down to the next tier of English soccer, which is called the Championship. The EPL is a 20-team league, so each team plays the other 19 teams twice. At the end of that 38 game schedule, the teams in places 18, 19 and 20 are automatically sent down to the Championship for the next season. That means a team like Portsmouth, who is likely to be relegated this 2009-2010 season, could go from playing Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea one season to playing Watford, Bristol City and Blackpool the next. That's quite a huge difference and it's one of the main reasons why the relegation battle is often more compelling than the battle for the Premier League Champion. These teams are in some cases fighting for the survival of their club as well, as the Premier League television compensation is vastly superior to that of the Championship.
Promotion from the Championship is quite similar in concept. In the 24-team Championship, each team plays the others twice, and at the end of those 46 games, the top two teams are automatically promoted to the Premier League. Teams in places 3-6 then contest a playoff where the winner is awarded the third promotion place to the Premier League. So it's simply three teams relegated and three teams promoted each season. With some slight variation, this type of promotion and relegation exists throughout the entire English soccer pyramid, many levels below the Premier League. It really adds to the allure of the sport that a team can literally rise from a local club to one day play against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Premier League.
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