How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid Why You Love Online Quizzes Related Posts 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Google’s SPDY protocol offers several advantages over serving traffic via HTTP/HTTPS. But, if you want to use SPDY, you’re going to have to take a few additional steps to set it up. The good thing is that if you happen to be using Apache on recent Debian or RPM-based systems, installing and using SPDY is a simple matter.Installing SPDY PackagesRight now, Google is providing binary packages for Debian or RPM-based systems with Apache 2.2.4 or greater. If your system is Debian or Fedora/Red Hat-based, you should have little trouble getting SPDY running. If not, Google also provides the source code for the SPDY module, and you can compile the module if necessary.Before installing SPDY, you will need to have an SSL certificate to use SPDY since it uses SSL. This can be a self-signed certificate, though Chrome will give some pretty evil-looking errors when accessing a site with a self-signed certificate. For testing SPDY, this is merely a small annoyance. If you’re actually looking to deploy SPDY to a production site, though, it’s probably much better to go ahead and buy a certificate signed by a recognized authority. (There is a way to turn off SSL, but it’s not recommended for anything but debugging.)If this is the first time you’ve set up SSL on Debian-based systems, see the Debian Administration tutorial on configuring SSL. The Linode library has a Fedora 14 tutorial that should work with later versions of Fedora. See the CentOS guide if you’re using RHEL, CentOS or another RHEL-based distribution.Next step is to get the right package for your system. My server is a Linode VPS and runs Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, and it’s a 32-bit system. The 32-bit Debian package worked just fine for that, but Google also provides a 64-bit Debian package and 32-bit and 64-bit RPMs as well. All of the packages are on the mod_spdy page under the Google Developers site.You might run into a few snags if you’re using an RPM-based system, like openSUSE, that isn’t quite what the Google packagers were expecting. Nick Robinson has provided some instruction for getting the binaries installed on openSUSE 12.1 that may prove useful if the RPM doesn’t work for you.For Debian systems, you should use dpkg to install the module, like so:dpkg -i mod-spdy-beta_current_i386.debNote that that’s the current package name; it will likely change soon when Google decides to move the module from beta to stable. (One hopes this will happen faster than Gmail moving out of beta status…)Google also says that you need to run apt-get -f install, but this had no effect on my system. Presumably, some systems require installing additional dependencies.Next, you’ll need to restart Apache for the new module to be recognized. The packages automatically add the spdy.conf and spdy.load files for Apache, so that SPDY will start automatically when Apache starts.TestingOnce you have the SPDY module installed and enabled, use Chrome to visit a page on your site with HTTPS. You can go to chrome://net-internals/#spdy in Chrome to see whether SPDY is enabled, and chrome://net-internals/#events&q=type:SPDY_SESSION%20is:active will show live and active sessions.I do recommend doing extensive testing before pushing a SPDY deployment live. So far, I’ve been having no problem with my WordPress blog, but I have found a few glitches with my Piwik install. Apparently, other users have encountered this as well. I suggest watching the mod-spdy-discuss list if you’re working with SPDY.If you decide you don’t want to use SPDY until it moves out of beta, you can turn it off without needing to remove the packages. Open the spdy.conf file (under /etc/apache2/mods-available on Debian systems) and turn SpdyEnabled to off. You’ll need to restart Apache for that to take effect.There’s talk of SPDY becoming an official Apache module (though it’s written in C++ and official modules need to be in C), so it may be even easier to get SPDY in the not-too-distant future. Until then, it’s still pretty trivial to install SPDY, and you should be able to have it up and running in less than 30 minutes. Tags:#Features#hack joe brockmeier 1
Everton supremo Moshiri warns Silva over expected transfer spendingby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveEverton supremo Farhad Moshiri is tightening the transfer purse strings.They have splashed out over £250million on transfer fees in the past two years.But with Everton sitting in the bottom half of the table, Moshiri said: “Throwing money is not the answer. “It’s getting the performance level and improving them. It is about development, about driving the club.“There will be no reaction that has not been thought out.”He continued: “You have to get it right — the buying of players and the development. Infrastructure is important and to comply with financial fair play you need to go for younger players on low wages.“The challenge is still progressing while keeping the wages down.“I think we’ve learned. We’ve had poor judgement but I feel we are in the right direction, even if it’s been difficult.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Kolkata: Special Task Force (STF) of Kolkata Police has arrested a Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) terrorist from Chennai on Tuesday morning. The JMB member has been identified as Asadullah Shaikh alias Raja of Nityanandapur at Bhatar in East Burdwan.According to sources, following the arrest of four JMB members, police were trying to locate other members of the banned terror outfit. A few days ago, STF officials came to know that one of the top JMB leaders was hiding somewhere in Chennai. Immediately, a team was sent to Chennai, who got in touch with the local police. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaOn Tuesday morning, police identified the hideout of Shaikh. Soon, the STF team along with the support of local police, raided the place at Nilangarai, Thoriyapakkam in Chennai and were able to nab him. He was produced before the Judicial Magistrate, Alamdur, with an appeal for transit which was eventually granted. The court has allowed three days transit remand for Shaikh to be produced at the Kolkata Court. During preliminary interrogation, police came to know that Shaikh had rented the house in Chennai in order to hide. He had fled from his house in Bhatar immediately after the Khargaragarh blast, which took place on October 2 in 2014. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayPolice suspect that Shaikh was also involved in the Bodh Gaya blast. He was the closest person to JMB leader Kausar, who is one of the prime accused in the Khagragarh blast case. Kausar was arrested by the National Investigation Agency in August 2018 from Bengaluru. At that point of time, Shaikh was also hiding somewhere in South India. After the arrest of Kausar, he fled from his hiding place. Since then, Shaikh had taken shelter in Chennai and was living there. Locals in Bhatar claimed that before the Khagragarh blast they knew that Shaikh works in a brick manufacturing unit in Chennai. He used to come home once or twice a year.
In recognition of International Women’s Day, Avon Foundation for Women Ambassador Salma Hayek Pinault and Avon Products, Inc. CEO Sheri McCoy announced that four global organizations and one government campaign have received 2nd Avon Communications Awards: Speaking Out About Violence Against Women for their outstanding work to bring attention to the need to end violence against women.Salma Hayek Pinault wears the new Avon Empowerment Charm Necklace to raise funds to end domestic violence in honor of International Women’s Day.Credit/Copyright: http://www.multivu.comThe awards, presented at the United Nations Headquarters during the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, are part of the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program, which has donated nearly $50 million globally to end violence against women since its launch in 2004.At a special adjunct event to the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations, Salma Hayek Pinault; Sheri McCoy; Liberian Ambassador Marjon V. Kamara; Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo, U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative, U.S. Mission to the United Nations; and Futures Without Violence President Esta Soler participated in the Avon Awards ceremony. ABC News Anchor Bianna Golodryga moderated the event. The CSW, which this year focuses on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls, drew nearly 6,000 representatives from UN Member States, UN entities and NGOs from around the world for a two-week session. Last year, the Avon Foundation for Women presented its first Avon Communications Awards at the 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters in Washington, D.C.Salma Hayek Pinault at the United Nations where she presented the 2nd Avon Communications Awards honoring global leaders working to end violence against women.Credit/Copyright: Multivu.comAvon CEO Sheri McCoy emphasized the critical importance of communications in ending violence against women as she shared highlights of an Avon Foundation-funded survey to be released in June that analyzed bystander behavior in situations relating to partner violence and dating and sexual abuse. “People are willing to speak out, but they don’t always know how to recognize the signs of abuse or how best to intervene. Avon believes communications and education will help bystanders become interveners and help break the cycle of violence against women,” said McCoy.2nd Avon Communications Awards Winners The Avon Foundation recognized non-governmental organizations from Pakistan, Tanzania, Nepal, Peru, and a governmental organization from the Ukraine, for their exemplary communications campaigns that are helping change communities, policies, institutions and behaviors to end violence against women. An international panel of judges selected the winning campaigns from more than 425 communications submitted to the Communications X-Change by 119 organizations in 46 countries, ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The X-Change, a digital global communications library funded by the Avon Foundation and managed by Futures Without Violence, enables organizations and advocates throughout the world to find, share, and learn from the best communications material focused on ending violence against women and children.The winning organizations, which will each receive an Avon Foundation grant to fund the continuation of their work, are:*INNOVATIVE CAMPAIGN AWARD Bytes for All (Pakistan) – “Take back the Tech!” This campaign seizes upon the spread of technology in Pakistan to help strengthen women’s use of technology to raise awareness about Violence Against Women by using online tools. The campaign also strategically involves important public figures from judges to movie stars using social media to spread the word to “take back the tech.” The print and online communications materials pave the way for young women to use these online technology tools, often off-limits in Pakistan, to make their voices heard.*BREAK THE SILENCE AWARD EngenderHealth (Tanzania) – “Champion Project” The “Champion Project” video is part of a five-year effort to engage men in Tanzania by increasing their involvement in addressing underlying gender issues and power imbalances in relationships. The video aims to turn men from bystanders to champions with its key message, “Violence is everyone’s problem. Be a role model. Earn respect by standing up to violence.”*COMMUNITY CHANGE AWARD Equal Access (Nepal) – “Voices – Samajhdari” Involving community members as writers, reporters, radio technicians and commentators, “Voices – Samajhdari” by Equal Access enables women to be agents of their own change – reshaping community attitudes through their own messages that resonate with their closest neighbors and throughout Nepal. This weekly 30-minute radio program directly integrates voices from rural communities in audio collected by 12 female ‘community reporters’ who are themselves survivors of violence, able to discuss topics and issues that otherwise would be considered off-limits.*X-CHANGE AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATION AWARD State Service for Youth and Sports & International Women’s Rights Center ‘La Strada’ (Ukraine) – “Stop Violence” The Government of Ukraine, working with UNICEF Ukraine and NGOs, leveraged the 2012 Euro Football Cup to field a large campaign aimed at men to use communications to raise social awareness of the need to end violence against women. In their “Red Card” poster, the Ukrainian singer Ani Lorak speaks a soccer fan’s language to advocate against sexual violence. Recognition of this campaign highlights the important development coalitions among government agencies, UNICEF and NGOs working collaboratively for greater impact across society.*GLOBAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNICATION PCI Media Impact (Peru) – “Strong Women, Strong Voices” The “Strong Women, Strong Voices” radio program—using radio, a favored medium particularly in rural communities—skillfully weaves together stories using language accessible to both Spanish-speaking and indigenous women that dramatizes the stories of women overcoming prejudice, abuse and sexual violence. Radio and storytelling is very adaptable, but real impact comes also from an organization with both a strong infrastructure and well-analyzed and realized strong theory of change.To view the award-winning campaigns in each of the five categories, as well as the 19 finalists’ campaigns, click here.Other Avon Foundation Speak Out Against Domestic Violence InitiativesAt the 2nd Avon Communications Awards: Speaking Out About Violence Against Women, Salma Hayek Pinault launched the Avon Empowerment Charm Necklace in recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8th. One hundred percent of the net profits from the necklace’s sale will benefit the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. The silver tone necklace features the infinity symbol, which in Avon’s Speak Out campaign represents lives with unlimited potential when free from violence.“I have been a proud supporter of the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program since it launched in 2004,” said Salma Hayek Pinault, Avon Foundation for Women Ambassador. “I encourage everyone to purchase, wear or give the Avon Empowerment Charm Necklace to help raise vital funds for domestic abuse support services.”
Chris Johnson signs two-year deal with Jets.The New York Jets first made a free-agent splash when they signed quarterback Michael Vick. They made an even bigger wave in securing former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson Wednesday.Once the most explosive ball carrier in the NFL, Johnson inked a two-year deal worth up to $9 million, a league source told ESPN. The base value of the deal is $8 million, and includes another $1 million in incentives, league sources said. Johnson’s deal has a team option for the second year at $4 million, which would have to be picked up in February 2015, according to a league source.“I see this as a team on the rise,” Johnson told the team’s website. “This is a winning team. They didn’t make the playoffs last year, but I think they were a game out of the playoffs with a rookie quarterback. So I feel like this is a team that can do some good things.”If Johnson, 28, can return to form, he will be a significant addition. He ran for a career-low 3.9 yards per carry last season. This after rushing for 1,000-plus yards in his each of six seasons, including 2,006 yards in 2009. But his production diminished in recent years, and his high salary made him expendable to the Titans.Johnson underwent surgery in late January to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and resumed running only about a month ago. He said after the season that he first hurt his knee in Week 3. He didn’t miss any games and became the fifth player in league history with 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first six seasons.“I think I’m going to fit in pretty well,” Johnson said on the website. “Just talking to (offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg) and to (coach) Rex (Ryan), who’s a guy that likes to run the ball, I think I’m going to fit in very well. We talked about all those things, catching out of the backfield, getting the ball to me in space.”Johnson and Vick could end starters, as well as the Jets’ other free-agent signing of consequence, receiver Eric Decker, formerly of the Denver Broncos.
Messi makes more passes than the other forwards, with a higher percentage of those passes trying to advance the ball toward the goal, and a higher percentage of those passes finding their targets (typical Messi!). His 3,800-plus completed forward passes are nearly twice as many as any forward in our data set (Francesco Totti for FC Roma has 2,200, followed by Wayne Rooney, the English striker, with 1,800 and Ronaldo with 1,500).One measure of the quality of a group of passes is how many are completed successfully, but it also matters what happens when those passes get where they’re going. It doesn’t help if a player passes 60 yards to someone swarmed with defenders. So a useful metric (made possible by play-by-play data) is the percentage of a player’s passes that lead to “successful” plays on the other end — meaning the receiving player manages to get off a shot, or passes the ball to someone else, and so on.As it turns out, not only does Messi pass the ball forward aggressively, he does so accurately, and the balls he delivers are “successful” a very high percentage of the time.For example, let’s look at Messi’s long ball forward passes from the midfield area. I’ve created a scatter comparing each player’s completion percentage for these passes to the percentage of them that are “successful,” and I’ve shown the volume of long pass attempts for each player as bubble sizes:Messi is among the most accurate passers for both metrics, and no one with as many attempts is more accurate.11Yes, that giant bubble in the middle is Wayne Rooney. There are players who complete a higher percentage of these passes and/or are more “successful” with them, but they’re typically being more selective in their attempts. For example, Ronaldo’s “success” rate of 60 percent beats Messi’s 54 percent (with a slightly lower completion percentage), but Ronaldo has only 35 successful long ball passes to Messi’s 81.Given that, it’s no surprise that Messi excels at the through-ball, the delicate and gorgeous play that requires perfect circumstances and perfect timing to be successful. Messi attempts almost twice as many of these passes as any other forward, and still manages to beat the trend.And then there’s the bread and butter of aggressive passing: moving it toward the goal on the opponent’s side of the field. In attacking territory, no one attacks as often as Messi does, and no one has more success doing so.These passes are where most assists come from, and indeed, Messi has the most assists per game from these kinds of passes of any forward, by a large margin. And again, despite making twice as many attempts as most people, he beats expectations.Touch by TouchBy this point, it should be evident that Messi has at least a little bit of skill. But there’s still heavy lifting to do: We have to show that he actually makes his team better.First, to ensure that we’re celebrating the greatness of Messi and not the greatness of Barcelona, we need to make sense of Messi on Barcelona. The easiest way to do that is to evaluate Barcelona without Messi, also known as the Spanish national team.The contrast between Spain in 2010 and Spain in 2014 seems huge: The 2010 team won the World Cup, and the 2014 team was tied for first in the tournament to be mathematically eliminated. But lost in this narrative is that the 2010 championship team wasn’t all that great, at least on offense. That World Cup team scored fewer goals per game than this year’s: only eight goals in seven games in 2010, while this year’s group-stage dropouts scored four goals in three. (That’s 1.2 goals per game overall.) For comparison, in the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League (the highest level of competition for European club soccer), Barcelona scored 30 goals in 13 games. In 47 UEFA matches since 2010, Barcelona has scored 104 goals, or 1.08 goals per game more than a Spanish team comprised of a similar offensive core and using the same “tiki-taka” playing style, minus Lionel Messi.Perhaps that’s an unfair comparison to make — but it’s consistent with the theory that Barcelona’s “play keep away until lightning strikes” offense really only works when it has Messi as its striker.Between Messi’s shots taken and chances created, he is responsible for about 48 percent of Barcelona’s regular (non-penalty, non-set play) shot attempts. Yet he and the players he assists score about 60 percent of Barca’s goals.In fact, the more involved Messi is in a shot attempt, the more likely his team is to score. He has scored on 22.1 percent of his regular (non-set, non-penalty, non-shootout) shots for Barca himself. The people to whom he’s dished assists and chances have scored on 18.1 percent of their shots. Meanwhile, Barcelona shots that didn’t come from Messi’s foot12Or other non-arm body part. But he mostly uses his feet. or Messi’s passing scored just 12.5 percent of the time.Even though Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world, there’s a huge difference between when Messi is involved in creating shots and chances and when he isn’t. Here are the equivalent differences for all players since 2010 with more than 100 games played and four or more shots or assist chances per game:Of course, these are raw shooting percentages and don’t account for the types of shots each player is taking or assisting, or the number of attempts. It’s generally harder to stay valuable over a larger number of shots, and we haven’t yet factored in that difficulty.For that, we turn back to the goals above average model, which compares each shot or chance outcome with its expectation. From this, we can tell whether a player has exceeded expectations for all of his shot attempts and chances created. Then we can do the same for all shots taken by his team without the player’s involvement, and compare the two. For example, if the player scored .02 goals above expectation per shot attempt, and the rest of his team scored -.01 goals less than expectation, that player’s value-added would be +.03 goals per shot (the value above replacement for that player on that team). Now let’s plot that added value against each player’s13Among players who played 100 games with two or more shots per game and one or more chance created per game. total offensive participation (the percentage of team shots he’s involved with):Finally, after however many charts, we see a diminishing return. At least for everyone not named Lionel Messi. He once again tops the field, impervious to the burden.But that’s just what happens once the shots are lined up. If we want to explore a player’s efficiency, we have to look into his touches more deeply. For this purpose, I created a stat called “possessions used.” It’s a little bit analogous to usage rate in basketball, and incorporates the number of touches in which a player:Takes a shot;Passes the ball to a player who takes a shot;Turns the ball over;Tries to pass the ball and fails;Tries to take on a defender and fails.In other words, it’s a stat meant to reflect anything that ends a team’s possession, whether that outcome is positive or negative. Events that simply prolong the possession (taking on a defender and succeeding, or passing the ball to another teammate who does not take a shot) aren’t factored in.Obviously passing the ball is an important skill (which I covered a bit above), but for this metric I just want to know about the relative likelihood of good outcomes (goals, assists) to bad ones (misses, turnovers, etc.) when the player does something possession-ending.14This also somewhat neutralizes any statistical advantage for players who play for pass-happy teams like Barcelona. Looking at players who “use” more than 15 possessions per game, we can plot possessions used against scoring and assists like so:Cutting out all the passing that doesn’t end in a shot, Messi generates the most points per touch of any player with a similar usage rate. But there are a couple of other important things to notice in this graph: Despite not taking as many shots, Messi uses more possessions per game than Ronaldo does. This is generally because Messi is much more likely to take on defenders, and thus is much more likely to lose possession of the ball or turn it over entirely. (He is also relatively more likely to set up a potential assist.)Importantly, turnovers in soccer aren’t as big of a deal as they are in basketball or American football. Shots, even bad ones, are more of a limited resource in soccer than possessions. Risking a turnover to increase your chances of scoring a goal even by a small amount can be worth it.Finally, Messi’s defense is consistent with that of a high-volume striker.15Which is to say, players who’ve logged 100-plus games, taken an average of three or more shots per game, and who’ve made at least 50 percent of their touches in the attacking third. That he’s practically munchkin-sized (he’s only 1.69 met — ahem, excuse me — 5’ 7” tall) seems not to matter.To look at Messi’s defensive skill, I combined successful tackles,16I didn’t count missed tackles as either positive or negative, because they aren’t nearly as bad as a successful tackle is good. interceptions and blocked shots, then adjusted for number of opponent possessions (as I did with offense above).There are a few lines where Messi’s stats are considerably worse than his peers’ (meaning Ronaldo’s): He doesn’t get a lot of clearances — although this is partly style, as Messi is more willing to pass out of defensive territory (or even take on defenders). And he doesn’t go for (or succeed at) a lot of aerials (50-50 balls in the air). While I haven’t studied this aspect of his game in depth, soccer experts in the FiveThirtyEight office theorize that it has something to do with his stature.ConclusionHow should Argentina fans feel about all this, given the disappointment they’ve experienced in World Cups past and the hopes they’ve pinned on Messi this year? So far in the 2014 tournament, Messi has been erasing whatever gap there was between his Barcelona stats and his Argentina stats, with style. And that gap was never really as big as it appeared.Since the 2010 World Cup, Messi has scored 19 goals and six assists for Argentina in 22 games (.9 goals per game and .3 assists per game, compared to 1.1 and .4 for Barca). For shooting/assisting efficiency, he has scored .199 GAA per game for Argentina versus .262 for Barca. He also has better defensive stats for Argentina, so even if there are persistent differences, it’s quite possible it has to do with style and Messi’s role on each team rather than the quality of his play.And 22 games is a tiny sample. Even so, these stats are perfectly consistent with the argument that Messi is the best footballer on earth: That .199 GAA is better than the .175 GAA per game that Ronaldo has earned at Real Madrid since 2010. This is what that .199 GAA looks like:In other words, if Barca-Messi and Argentina-Messi were two different people, even based solely on the stats recorded since 2010, there’s a good chance they’d be the two best players in the world.One of them is playing on Tuesday.CORRECTION (July 1, 12:32 p.m.): The axes in an earlier version of the chart on through-balls above misstated what they measured. The chart shows attempted through-balls and through-ball assists, not attempted and successful assists.CORRECTION (July 1, 1:06 p.m.): This article originally misstated that Cristiano Ronaldo had 289 goals since the 2010 World Cup. He had 230 goals, and 59 assists in that time, for 289 combined goals and assists.CORRECTION (July 7, 7:29 a.m.): An earlier version of this article also incorrectly said that Ronaldo had 41 successful long ball passes when in fact he had 35. In their Group F World Cup match late last month, Argentina and Iran were still deadlocked after 90 minutes. With the game in stoppage time and the score tied at 0-0, Lionel Messi took the ball near the right corner of the penalty area, held it for a moment, then broke left, found his seam, took his strike and curled it in from 29 yards. What was going to be a draw was now a win, and Messi had put Argentina into the Round of 16.It was the sort of play that inspired the phrase “Messi magic.” But for those who only watch soccer when the World Cup rolls around, this was probably only the second (or at most third) goal they’d seen from the little man they call La Pulga (“The Flea”). Despite having 407 career goals in club and international play (including a record 91 in 2012 alone) and a record four Ballon d’Or (World Player of the Year) awards, until this year’s tournament, Messi hadn’t scored in a World Cup match since 2006.Since scoring an eerily familiar goal in the 2007 Copa Del Rey, Messi has constantly been compared to Argentine great and his former national team coach Diego Maradona. Despite his young age — he turned 27 on June 24 — Messi has taken substantial criticism in Argentina and elsewhere for failing to engineer a World Cup run like that of the man with the “Hand of God.”To Argentina devotees, it probably doesn’t help that during Messi’s tenure at FC Barcelona the club team has won two FIFA Club World Cups to go with six La Liga and three UEFA (All-European) championships.Perhaps this year will be different. Messi is finally having the kind of World Cup expected of him. He has scored in every game so far (four goals overall), including one on a beautiful free kick against Nigeria and the aforementioned game-winner against Iran. As of this writing, FiveThirtyEight gives Messi and his compatriots a 16 percent chance of winning the tournament — second only to host nation Brazil.Even though national teams are patchwork and only play together for a handful of games each year, how Messi plays with Argentina relates to what is ultimately a fair criticism of his success: Most of it has come for FC Barcelona, a free-spending virtual all-star squad, packed with many of the world’s best players.1Imagine how good Peyton Manning would be if whomever he played for could spend three times as much as 90 percent of NFL teams.As the primary striker for such a juggernaut, it can be hard to detangle Messi’s goal-scoring prowess from Barcelona’s general offensive dominance. And the 2013-14 season hasn’t helped: Battling minor injuries and facing competition for touches from superstar arrival Neymar, Messi’s most recent season was slightly below par by his standards, yet Barca finished second in La Liga. (And in the seven games Messi missed, they went 6-1.) He still scored 41 goals, but that total was less than the 60 he scored the year before, and fewer than the 51 that rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid scored en route to capturing the Ballon d’Or.I think this criticism is fair — and I found it intriguing enough to look into the matter myself. So I gathered and organized data, crunched it, re-crunched it, and gathered more data2The crux of my research is based on play-by-play data (plus x-y coordinates) from ESPN’s partnership with the sports data companies Opta and TruMedia. and crunched it some more.By now I’ve studied nearly every aspect of Messi’s game, down to a touch-by-touch level: his shooting and scoring production; where he shoots from; how often he sets up his own shots; what kind of kicks he uses to make those shots; his ability to take on defenders; how accurate his passes are; the kind of passes he makes; how often he creates scoring chances; how often those chances lead to goals; even how his defensive playmaking compares to other high-volume shooters.And that’s just the stuff that made it into this article. I arrived at a conclusion that I wasn’t really expecting or prepared for: Lionel Messi is impossible.It’s not possible to shoot more efficiently from outside the penalty area than many players shoot inside it. It’s not possible to lead the world in weak-kick goals and long-range goals. It’s not possible to score on unassisted plays as well as the best players in the world score on assisted ones. It’s not possible to lead the world’s forwards both in taking on defenders and in dishing the ball to others. And it’s certainly not possible to do most of these things by insanely wide margins.But Messi does all of this and more.ScoringI think it’s fair to say that goals mean more in soccer than points do in most sports. And Messi scores a lot of them. Since the end of the 2010 World Cup, Messi has been responsible for 291 goals and assists in the 201 of his games in club and national team play tracked by the sports analytics company Opta. How does that compare with other soccer stars across top leagues around the world? (The Opta data set includes 16,574 players and 24,904 games in both league and international play since the end of the 2010 World Cup.)Coming in just behind Messi with 289 goals and assists since the 2010 World Cup is Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi’s rival from Real Madrid. When it comes to scoring, these two aren’t just on top of the pile, they’re hang-gliding somewhere way above it. Messi and Ronaldo have been compared to each other so often by sports media and fans alike that it almost feels trite to compare them again, but it can���t be helped. If we want to compare Messi to all players with a remotely similar volume of production, we’re left with Ronaldo.Now let’s leave assists aside for a second (much more on them later), and concentrate on Messi’s shooting. Like Ronaldo, he has an enormous number of goals, but also takes an enormous number of shots. If this were basketball, we might expect a negative (or at least decelerating) relationship between shot volume and shot efficiency — the more shots a player takes the less efficient he is.3Unless he is LeBron James. But it turns out this isn’t really the case in soccer: More efficient shooters tend to take more shots. Despite this, Messi is still a trend-breaker:4For this plot, I’ve excluded penalty shots, shootout shots and direct free kicks. I’ll discuss those separately. Of the 866 players who qualified for that plot — by playing in 50-plus games and averaging at least one shot attempt per game — Messi is the ninth-most efficient shooter overall (Ronaldo is 173rd), and he’s by far the most efficient of anyone with a similar shot volume. The highest-volume shooter who is more efficient is Mario Gomez, the former Bayern Munich striker, who takes about two-thirds as many shots as Messi.But in soccer, unlike in basketball, shooting efficiency isn’t the single most important stat. Since the value of a possession in soccer is much lower, so is the cost of missing a shot (and missed shots often have good outcomes as well). That said, quality shot opportunities in soccer are still a limited resource, so making the most of them is important.To generalize a bit, some of the value a shooter provides comes from taking more and better shots (e.g. taking them closer to the goal, at a better angle, amid fewer defenders, etc.), and some of it comes from putting in those shots more often. For example, Messi’s typical regular (non-set piece) shot comes from 14.9 yards out, while Ronaldo’s average shot comes from 20.1 yards out. ESPN/TruMedia has a model for estimating the chances of a player making each shot he takes based on type and location (this metric is known as expected goals). The difference between a player’s actual goals and his expected goals is called “goals above average” (or GAA). Because Messi takes shots that are more likely to go in, his average attempt has an expectation of .182 goals, while the average Ronaldo shot has an expectation of .124 goals — so we would expect Messi’s shooting to be more efficient based on that alone. However, Messi has also exceeded that expectation by a greater amount than Ronaldo has. Messi scored .220 goals per shot attempt for .038 GAA per goal. Ronaldo scored .139 goals per attempt, so he had .015 GAA per goal.Here’s a comparison of the top 20 shot-takers overall (regular shots in all games since the 2010 World Cup):In this group, Messi both takes the best shots and does the most with those attempts.If we break this down using shot-location data, it’s clear that Messi is highly efficient across a wide range of distances.The percentage of shots Messi makes from outside the penalty area is absolutely stunning. He scores almost as often per shot from outside the penalty area (12.1 percent) as most players do inside it (13.1 percent).Of 8,335 players in our dataset who have taken at least one shot from outside the box, only 1,835 have scored from that distance at any point. There are 47 players with 50 or more attempts from outside the box without a single goal, and about 500 with at least 20 attempts and no goals. Messi leads the world with 21 goals from outside the penalty area, on just 173 shot attempts.Ronaldo takes more than twice as many shots from this distance, but still has fewer goals overall. Messi, meanwhile, scores at a remarkable rate. Adjusting for shot quality with the GAA model, Messi is running 12.6 goals above expectation (based on shot-by-shot expectation, not the trend line in the chart). Ronaldo, with more than twice as many shots, ran just 5.5 goals above expectation, and no one but Messi is higher than 7.5 goals.The 21st of those outside-the-penalty-area goals was Messi’s extra-time winner against Iran, which came from 29 yards out (33 yards to where it went in). That goal was quintessential Messi: He got the ball on the right side of the field, held it for a few seconds, broke to the middle and — in heavy traffic — swerved it in on off his left foot. Plus he did it all without an assist.Unassisted ShootingDespite dishing a large number of assists (more on that to come), Messi sometimes gets called “selfish.” But maybe he isn’t selfish enough.About 44 percent of Messi’s “open” (non-set piece) shots are “individual plays,” taken without an assist.5I should note that the data on this has a little gray area. The play-by-play data lists “assisters” on several plays that are nonetheless designated as “individual plays” and for which no one was awarded an assist. I treated all such shots as unassisted, even if another player’s assistance was noted. This is lower than the 46 percent of unassisted shots for players overall, but Messi scores on these shots more than 23 percent of the time, compared to all players’ 5 percent. Additionally, he gains .089 goals above average on each unassisted shot. Ronaldo gains .023, and the average player is slightly negative at -.004 GAA.Let’s look at how Messi’s assisted shooting compares to other players with 100 or more shots both assisted and unassisted6Since assist-related stats tend to be dependent on a team’s offensive system, for this chart I’ve grouped shots by team, so it only includes Messi’s shots for Barcelona and Ronaldo’s for Real Madrid.:Somehow, Messi has done even better when taking it on his own than when somebody sets him up. Moreover, on unassisted shots he shoots nearly 10 percent and .044 GAA better than the next best player (Sergio Aguero for Manchester City) does, despite taking the fourth-most such shots of the 28 players in the group.To be clear, you could probably choose any skills for your axes and produce a similar graph. Messi can shoot it just about any which way. Here are some miscellaneous shooting stats he’s accrued at Barcelona:Messi loves his left foot, shooting with it 78 percent of the time, and scoring 23 percent. But don’t sleep on his right foot: When he uses it, he scores 23 percent of the time. He shoots slightly below average on (a limited number of) headers (10 percent vs. 13 percent).About 8 percent of his shots are “weak” kicks (compared to 6 percent for all players in the data set), but he makes 27 percent of them, and does so more often than we’d expect. He has an average GAA of .026 on those kicks (all players: 5 percent shooting on weak kicks with -.055 GAA). Only 5 percent of his kicks are “strong” ones (compared to 8 percent for all players), but those kicks score 36 percent of the time, and have .251 GAA each! All players have scored on 11 percent of their “strong kick” shots and have an average .051 GAA per shot.About 12 percent of his shots have “swerve” on them (compared to 10 percent for all players); 31 percent of those swervy kicks score, for a huge .202 GAA (all players: 8 percent, .020 GAA).On direct free kicks (like the one he scored on against Nigeria), Messi has scored about 8 percent of the time (compared to all players’ 5 percent), with .021 GAA per shot (Ronaldo has scored on 7 percent with an identical .021 GAA).7I’ve excluded other set-piece attempts because they’re very dependent on each player’s role on his team. Ronaldo has taken five times as many shots in those situations, but Messi has been slightly more efficient.Messi has scored on 86 percent of his penalty kicks, versus an average of 77 percent for all players. But put one check-mark in Ronaldo’s column, as he has scored on 93 percent of his penalty attempts. Since both are the primary PK-takers for both their club and national teams, this difference — if it held up in the long run — would be worth about three-quarters of a goal per year.To make all those unassisted shots possible, Messi has to take on a lot of defenders one on one. There’s a stat for that, and in my view it’s one of the most revealing, reflecting both Messi’s skill and style, and the relationship between the two. Of all forwards in our data set who’ve played 100-plus games, he “takes on” defenders the most, and he’s the most successful at it.The only forward who takes on defenders nearly as aggressively as Messi is Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan striker for Liverpool who is perhaps too aggressive for his own good (ahem). Suarez is successful less than 35 percent of the time.This may help explain how Messi gets so many better shots, and why his “unassisted” shots are so good. It also points to the main stylistic difference between Messi and Ronaldo: Ronaldo takes more mid-range shots but misses a lot of them; Messi tries to beat a lot more defenders, loses sometimes, and then makes up for it (and then some) by having better assisting and shooting opportunities as a result. That’s not to say one approach is better than the other, but note that it means that the observed shooting gap between them is at least somewhat exaggerated. While Messi appears to shoot much more efficiently, that’s partly because he loses the ball more during failed take-on attempts, while Ronaldo loses it more because of missed shots. Only the second of those is accounted for in shooting stats. (I’ll get more into how we can account for loss of possession in the touch-by-touch analysis later.)Passing and AssistsFrom the above, you might think Messi is a selfish player. Or you might assume that if Messi is so good at shooting, he’d focus on it to the exclusion of other skills. But, in true Wayne Gretzky-esque fashion, Messi is also one of the top assisters in our data set. Once again, that makes him a crazy outlier: No one else (aside from, yes, Ronaldo) even comes close to his combination of goals scored versus goals dished.Not only is Messi the top game-by-game goal-scorer of the last four years, he’s the third-most productive distributor of assists, despite being the primary scorer on his own team! Only Mesut Ozil and Franck Ribery8Frank Ribery is a terrific winger/midfielder who can sometimes put the ball in the net, but he’s the fourth-leading scorer on powerhouse Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga-winning squad. earned more assists than Messi, and Ozil did it on Real Madrid9Messi and his Argentina teammate Angel di Maria (also of Real Madrid) are tied to four decimal places, but Messi just edges him in the fifth. — setting up Cristiano Ronaldo.But how does he do it? The biggest obstacle to evaluating Messi’s passing ability is accounting for the fact that he plays for the most pass-happy team in the world. Watching Barcelona can be a bit like watching a playground game of keep away. Barcelona’s players are infamous for their “tiki-taka” style of play, which relies on an enormous amount of short, high percentage passing. Above all else, they try to maintain possession of the ball until a chance opens up. This sounds like a great strategy, but there’s a reason it isn’t employed universally: To make it work, a team has to be stocked with amazing passers, and it has to have strikers capable of creating chances against set defenses.10Whether “possession football” — much less the extreme form employed by Barca — is even a good strategy at all is controversial. In a seminal 1968 study, Charles Reep noted that 80 percent of goals came from possessions involving three or fewer passes, and that successfully completing a lot of passes without losing the ball was very difficult. He thought this proved that possession football was inefficient, but many have disagreed with his logic, and subsequent studies have shown mixed results.Messi is both of those things. And what’s more, his passing profile is nothing like the other Barcelona forwards, who typically send 72 percent of their passes back or square. Messi is far more likely to try to advance the ball toward the goal, and far more likely to succeed:
Feeling its season slipping away, Ohio State baseball stepped up on offense Sunday, defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes 11-6 to avoid a sweep and earn coach Bob Todd his 900th victory at OSU.Center fielder Ryan Dew led the Buckeyes (27-21, 10-11) in the win, going 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs against Iowa (23-26, 10-11).Dew’s four RBIs came from a first-inning grand slam that gave OSU the lead for good.OSU added another run in the first inning when third baseman Brad Hallberg scored on a fielder’s choice from right fielder Brian DeLucia.The Buckeyes added two more runs in the fifth, and four in the seventh inning to secure the road victory.Buckeye catcher Dan Burkhart also contributed two RBIs in the win.Pitchers Brett McKinney and Jared Strayer combined to give up only four runs in eight innings, allowing the Buckeyes to build a big lead.The Hawkeyes scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to cut the deficit to 11-6, but pitcher Eric Best was able to get the final two outs to end the game.OSU, in seventh place in the Big Ten before the game, needed a win to get some important positioning before the conference tournament begins.Iowa took the first game Friday 7-5 on a three-run home run by shortstop Zach Lee in the eighth inning. The loss erased a strong effort by Strayer, who allowed just three runs on four hits in 6.1 innings of relief work.OSU gave up a 3-0 lead to Iowa on Saturday and lost 4-3.OSU returns to Bill Davis Stadium at 12:05 p.m. Tuesday to face the Pittsburgh Panthers in its final non-conference game of the 2010 season.
When I first heard that renowned coach Urban Meyer was returning from retirement to coach at Ohio State, I almost choked on the microwavable meal I was eating. I mean, this was the coach who led the Florida Gators to two national championships in 2006 and 2008. Possibilities of great potential rushed through my mind. OSU could now return to its title-contending status it had under former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel. Some changes, however, would need to occur. One of these changes was the implementation of the spread offense into the playbook. No harm done, right? I mean, numerous college football programs across the country use the spread offense and thrive, including many schools in the dominating Southeastern Conference, where Meyer previously coached. In the realm of college football, it’s a great idea. But what happens when the top-notch players move to the NFL? The spread offense has been tried in the National Football League and, sometimes, it can bring some success. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady used this scheme in 2007. But, time and again, the spread offense, for the most part, doesn’t work in professional football. The old tradition of dropping back in the pocket and making plays rules dominant in the NFL and will most likely do so for a long time. The question facing college athletes playing in spread formations across the country is whether individual success in that type of offense translates to the pro level? It might just be the case that it doesn’t. Need an example? How about former Gators and current New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow? Tebow played in Meyer’s spread offense at Florida and he was a freak of college football nature, winning the Heisman Trophy and two national championships. Tebow entered the NFL after his senior season in 2010 and was drafted 25th overall by the Denver Broncos. Once Tebow had his chance to be a starter, he led the Broncos, who began last season 1-4, to the playoffs. Since Tebow was accustomed to using his running ability often in Meyer’s spread offense, though, he was forced to buckle down and throw in the pocket in NFL. He failed miserably, not even being able to throw with the correct form. This complication allowed Tebow and the Broncos to eventually be flushed out by the New England Patriots in the playoffs. Despite Tebow’s sincere dedication to reshaping his throwing form, it didn’t help him when it mattered most. Everyone knows from a psychological perspective that integrated physical habits are extremely hard to overcome. Now, Tebow finds himself as New York Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez’s backup. This was also the case for quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who was the quarterback for the LSU Tigers and played in a spread offense under Tigers coach Les Miles. While he was a dominant player in college like Tebow, Russell struggled after being drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2007. In May 2010, the Raiders cut Russell. While it’s hard to say that the spread offense doesn’t work at all in the NFL, the chances aren’t good from a historical point of view. Spreading the offensive line can open up holes for a no-huddle offense in college, but the speed and athleticism by defensive players in the NFL is too great, and the players will still cover the open gaps. So what about OSU quarterback Braxton Miller? Known for his ability as a dual-threat quarterback, Miller has done well as the Buckeyes’ (3-0) season rolls on. But being under this coaching scheme, success in the NFL still remains murky. Meyer is a sensational coach, there is no question. He’s arguably the best coach in the game right now. His plays and schemes work well for college football, but is his work really going to Miller if he moves on the big stage?
Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith opened up on his role in convincing John Terry to join the club’s coaching staff following his retirement.Smith emerged as Steve Bruce’s replacement on Wednesday, with Terry and Richard O’Kelly acting as assistant coaches to the former Brentford manager.“I was told there was an opportunity to take John and I said if I speak to John I think we can both come up with good enough honest answers to see if we both want to move on with it or not,” said Smith via Sky, who took his first training session at Villa alongside Terry on Monday.“That’s what we did. John and I spoke about it and decided it was right. If it wasn’t we both could have said no but I felt it was a win-win for both of us. It was my decision to bring John in, yes.Match Preview: Tottenham vs Aston Villa Boro Tanchev – August 10, 2019 Tottenham Hotspur will get their 2019-20 Premier League season underway at home against Aston Villa, today at 18:30 (CET).“It was probably an hour of Facetime meet. He was warming up for a pro-am golf event and he probably wanted it to be a bit quicker. But to be fair we both had really good questions that we wanted to ask.“He’ll be the first to admit he was nervous this morning. You’re going in front of people who you were once in the dressing room with, having banter with, and getting involved in coaching them and trying to improve them.“I’m quite flattered he’s chosen to work us and Richard, to get those coaching hours in and learn what we do.
A Chelsea supporter, George Bradley has been charged for homophobic slurs during Sunday’s match with Brighton at the Amex Stadium.The incident occurred just one week after Raheem Sterling was allegedly racially abused at Stamford Bridge by a number of Chelsea fans who were later banned by the club.Before the Brighton game, there were reports of Chelsea fans chanting anti-semitic slurs in Hungary during Chelsea’s Europa League away game against Vidi.George Bradley will appear at Brighton Magistrates Court on January 3 to answer to the charges.“The vast majority of Chelsea fans supported their team with passion and pride and were a credit to their club,” a statement from Sussex Police read.Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“One individual was ejected from the away section after club stewards dealt with an isolated incident of alleged homophobia.“The individual was subsequently arrested and charged and his details have been passed to Chelsea FC, so they can take the appropriate action.“He was charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior to cause harassment, alarm or distress and bailed to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on January 3, with conditions not to attend any Chelsea Football Club match, home or away.”