Monday, 27 January 2014

1 v 1 Shooting/Recovery Runs

This is a very simple but effective activity. It involves players being in a  1 v 1 situation & then having to make a recovery run to try and get behind the ball to prevent an opponent from advancing to goal. It is a very fun session, as it is quick, explosive and give a bit of competition for the players within the session. It also has a number of progression that can be done within the session as well.


I hope you find this useful, you my even be able to add a progression that I haven't mentioned as well.

If you have any questions please contact me via twitter or email

Michael


All sessions designed using Academy Soccer Coach (ASC)
A fantastic sports session design template

Friday, 10 January 2014

A way to spice up the English Premier League

A way to spice up the English Premier League
At the time of writing the Premier League is ‘the most open it has been in years.’  The highlighted phrase got me thinking. Over the last 15 years the majority of the Premier League seasons have been particular boring. Clear winners, titles won with games to spare, teams relegated with games to spare and so on. Don’t get me wrong, we do get the occasional year of the drama. Manchester City literally stealing the title in 'Fergie' time from Manchester United and West Brom surviving on the last day of the season despite being bottom of the league. But what if there was a system that meant on the last day of the season, almost every team still had a chance to win the league? This article is going to explore a way in which this could happen, albeit controversial and I expect to received some negative comments as the idea goes against the ‘traditional English way’ and the majority of people in this country are opposed to change and to set in their ways, I believe this idea, adopted from Major League Soccer and tailored to suit the Premier League, could work and could be implement in the near future.

In Major League Soccer, teams are split into two conferences: Eastern and Western Conference. They are placed in these each year based on their Geographical position in the country. The teams play a season, where the play teams from both conferences and at the end of the season they are positioned based on points. It’s here where the competition becomes interesting and unpredictable. The side that has the most points wins the MLS Shield, however the main prize clubs want to win is the MLS Cup.

What Happens?

·         The top five teams in each conference advance into the MLS Cup.
·         Sides First to Third gain ‘byes’ into the quarter final
·         Fourth & Fifth in each conference play against each other
·         Two winners go into the MLS Cup Quarter Finals

 From here, it is a straight knock out competition, Quarter Finals to Semi Finals and then to a Final. The winner of the Final wins the MLS Cup and win the MLS for that season.




Above is the 2011 MLS Standings.
·         Sorting KC, Houston & Philadelphia qualified into the Quarter Finals from the Eastern Conference
·         Columbus & New York played each other with the winner progressing to the Quarter Finals

·         LA Galaxy, Seattle & Real Salt Lake qualified into the Quarter Finals for the Eastern Conference
·         FC Dallas & Colorado played each other with the winner progressing to the Quarter Finals
·         LA Galaxy won the Supports Shield due to having the most points across both conferences.

Below is a play off diagram, illustrating how the playoffs work
·         Seed 1 from both Conferences Plays the Wild Card
·         Seed 2 plays Seed 3
·         Winners of Each games play in the Conference Final (Semi Final)

·         Conference Final winners play in the Final for the MLS Cup


How would this system work in England?

I believe this system could work in the Premier League, here I will discuss how it could be implemented.

Firstly, I don’t believe a conference system would work in our country. I propose for this system to work that the format of playing 38 games, once home and once away would need to stay. It is after the regular season finishes where the system would be implemented and in my opinion would shake the 
whole league up.

The Premier League Cup
I propose that the winner of the Premier League to be the winner of an end of season cup. Whoever finishes first will win the Premier League Shield and will be rewarded (I will discuss this later) From there I propose that the top six clubs go directly into the quarter finals. Clubs seventh to tenth will play 
a game to earn the right to play in the quarter finals. This would work by seeding the teams:

·        Seventh will play Tenth
·         Eighth will play Ninth
·         Through the competition the highest seeded side will always play at home.
·         The winners of these two games go into the Quarter Finals
·         Teams are paired up based on seeding

From here, we would lead into the Quarter Finals which would look something like this:

Quarter Final
Semi Final
Premier League Cup Final
Semi Final
Quarter Final
First Seed (First Place)

 

 

 

Second Seed (Second Place)
VS

 

 

 

VS
Lowest Seeded Team
Winner Quarter Final 1

Winner Quarter Final 2
Second Lowest Seeded Team












Winner Semi Final 1



VS
VS
VS



Winner Semi Final 2












Fourth Seed (Fourth Place)
Winner Quarter Final 4

Winner Quarter Final 3
Third Seed (Third Place)
VS



VS
Fifth Seed (Fifth Place)



Sixth Seed (Sixth Place)

As you can see the winner of the tournament is the winner of the league.
Lets used the above format and put some teams into it. Below is the table from the 2010/2011 Premier League Season.

POS
CLUB
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
PTS
1
Manchester United
Qualified for UEFA Champions League
38
23
11
4
78
37
41
80
2
Chelsea
Qualified for UEFA Champions League
38
21
8
9
69
33
36
71
3
Manchester City
Qualified for UEFA Champions League
38
21
8
9
60
33
27
71
4
Arsenal
Qualified for UEFA Champions League
38
19
11
8
72
43
29
68
5
Tottenham Hotspur
Qualified for UEFA Europa League
38
16
14
8
55
46
9
62
6
Liverpool
38
17
7
14
59
44
15
58
7
Everton
38
13
15
10
51
45
6
54
8
Fulham
Qualified for UEFA Europa League
38
11
16
11
49
43
6
49
9
Aston Villa
38
12
12
14
48
59
-11
48
10
Sunderland
38
12
11
15
45
56
-11
47
11
West Bromwich Albion
38
12
11
15
56
71
-15
47
12
Newcastle United
38
11
13
14
56
57
-1
46
13
Stoke City
Qualified for UEFA Europa League
38
13
7
18
46
48
-2
46
14
Bolton Wanderers
38
12
10
16
52
56
-4
46
15
Blackburn Rovers
38
11
10
17
46
59
-13
43
16
Wigan Athletic
38
9
15
14
40
61
-21
42
17
Wolverhampton Wanderers
38
11
7
20
46
66
-20
40
18
Birmingham City
Qualified for UEFA Europa League
38
8
15
15
37
58
-21
39
19
Blackpool
38
10
9
19
55
78
-23
39
20
West Ham United
38
7
12
19
43
70
-27
33

From the above table the following teams would qualify to the Quarter Finals:

·         Seed 1 – Manchester United
·         Seed 2 – Manchester City
·         Seed 3 – Chelsea
·         Seed 4 – Arsenal
·         Seed 5 – Tottenham Hotspur
·         Seed 6 – Liverpool

The following four teams would qualify for the Wild Card games:

·         Seed 7 – Everton
·         Seed 8 – Fulham
·         Seed 9 – Aston Villa
·         Seed 10 – Sunderland

This would produce two games:

·         Seed 7 Vs Seed 10      Everton VS Sunderland
·         Seed 8 VS Seed 9       Fulham VS Aston Villa

Let’s say the results of these games are:

Everton 2-1 Sunderland (AET)
Fulham 0-3 Aston Villa

This would mean Everton and Aston Villa would advance to the Quarter Finals as a Wild Card.
The Quarter Finals would like this:

Quarter Final
Semi Final
Premier League Cup Final
Semi Final
Quarter Final
 (Seed 1) Manchester United
2

 

 

 

 (Seed 2)
Manchester City
4
VS

 

 

 

VS
 (Seed 9)
Aston Villa
3 (Aet)
Aston Villa
1 (5)

Manchester City
1
 (Seed 7)
 Everton
0












Aston Villa
2



VS
VS
VS



Chelsea
4












 (Seed 4)
Arsenal
3
Arsenal
1 (4)

Chelsea
3
 (Seed 3)
Chelsea
2
VS



VS
 (Seed 5) Tottenham Hotspur
1



 (Seed 6) Liverpool
1

As you can see through the random results, the Final would see Chelsea (Third Seed) defeating Aston Villa (Ninth Seed) which would mean Chelsea would have been champions for the 2010/2011 using this system.

There are plenty of questions to ask:

·         What about money rewarded for finishing higher in the league?
·         What about European Qualifications
·         What about the Extra games?

Finance

I believe clubs should be rewarded for where they finish in the league financially and using this system, this could still be the case. Although I don’t know the exact money rewarded per position, the following diagram is just a suggestion of finance to be rewarded to clubs BEFORE the Playoffs would begin.

Final League Position
Club
Money Received
1
Manchester United
£20 Million
2
Manchester City
£19 Million
3
Chelsea
£18 Million
4
Arsenal
£17 Million
5
Tottenham Hotspur
£16 Million
6
Liverpool
£15 Million
7
Everton
£14 Million
8
Fulham
£13 Million
9
Aston Villa
£12 Million
`0
Sunderland
£11 Million
11
West Bromwich Albion
£10 Million
12
Newcastle United
£9 Million
13
Stoke City
£8 Million
14
Bolton Wanderers
£7 Million
15
Blackburn Rovers
£6 Million
16
Wigan Athletic
£5 Million
17
Wolves
£4 Million
18
Birmingham City
£3 Million
19
Blackpool
£2 Million
20
West Ham United
£1 Million

From this, it could be that the semi finalist all received £5 Million extra and with the runners up receiving £10 Million and finally the finalist receiving £25 Million. This way clubs are rewarded for their league standing and rewarded further for progressing in the Playoffs.

European Qualification
The first two sides in the end of season standings would be rewarded with two Champions League group places. The third Champions League Group place would go to the Playoff winners aka the Champions. The final Champions League place would go to the runners up of the playoffs and they would have to go into the Champions League qualification stages. The Europa League positions would then go to the highest seeded teams that had not made Champions League qualification. If one of the top two seeds won the Championship then the Champions League places would go to the highest remaining seed and so on.

Extra Games
I realise there would be extra games for clubs, a way a though this could be worked is that Premier League Clubs would no longer enter the Football League Cup. The name suggests the Football League and the Premier League is its own identity. This would free up games and rest Premier League players, while meaning more opportunity in the League Cup for Championship, League One and League Two clubs.

Relegation
This format could work with relegation as well, what if the 18th placed club is given a lifeline and is placed into the Championship playoffs instead of the 6th placed championship team? They would effectively be relegated but instantly given a chance to stay up, if they could win the playoffs. They would play the fifth placed Championship team, over two legs and third placed playing fourth placed. This would mean relegated sides could still have something to fight for until the end of the season, with the aim of finishing 18th to gain an extra chance.

The System in Practice

If we take a look at the 2010/2011 Table after 37 league games had been played.

POS
CLUB
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
PTS
1
Manchester United
37
22
11
4
74
35
39
77
2
Chelsea
37
21
8
8
69
32
37
71
3
Manchester City
37
20
8
9
58
33
25
68
4
Arsenal
37
19
10
8
70
41
29
67
5
Tottenham Hotspur
37
15
14
8
53
45
8
59
6
Liverpool
37
17
7
13
59
43
16
58
7
Everton
37
12
15
10
50
45
5
51
8
Fulham
37
11
15
11
47
41
6
48
9
Stoke City
37
13
7
17
46
47
-1
46
10
Bolton Wanderers
37
12
10
15
52
54
-2
46
11
West Bromwich Albion
37
12
10
15
53
68
-15
46
12
Newcastle United
37
11
12
14
53
54
-1
45
13
Aston Villa
37
11
12
14
47
59
-12
45
14
Sunderland
37
11
11
15
42
56
-14
44
15
Blackburn Rovers
37
10
10
17
43
57
-14
40
16
Wolverhampton Wanderers
37
11
7
19
44
63
-19
40
17
Birmingham City
37
8
15
14
36
56
-20
39
18
Blackpool
37
10
9
18
53
74
-21
39
19
Wigan Athletic
37
8
15
14
39
61
-22
39
20
West Ham United
37
7
12
18
43
67
-24
33

Under Current rules:

·         League Champions have been decided
·         Champions League places have been decided
·         Europa League places have been decided
·         One team already relegated

Under my suggestion, with one game left in the season, 14 teams could still win the league as 14th place Sunderland could finish 10th, which they actually did. Furthermore One team from: Blackburn, Wolves, Birmingham, Blackpool and Wigan could be relegated and one of those five teams would go into the Championship playoffs.

If we look up the league Liverpool and Tottenham could swap places, which means finishing fifth would produce a game against an ‘easier’ opponent in theory. Chelsea and Manchester City could change positions and so could Manchester City and Arsenal. The sides placed from  to 14th will take up the four wild cards spots. My proposed suggestion means that on the final day of the season 18 out of the 20 teams have something to play for, only Manchester United and West Ham would not be able to change position and their fate for the reasons has already been decided.

What do you think? I believe that my proposed idea could shake up the Premier League, although it adds a few extra games to the calendar, removing PL clubs from the league cup could ease the pressure on clubs. Clubs would still be rewarded for their league position but also gives smaller clubs that extra incentive to push on. Based on my predictions could you imagine the money Aston Villa would have received from finishing Premier League runners up and qualifying for the Champions League? It would do wonders for the club and every year a different club could do this, it would make the league more open, more exciting and makes sure that every game in the season means something.
Thanks for reading, as always, questions, feedback, debate is welcome.

Michael Worthington