Saturday, October 3, 2009

EPL Handicapping: Liverpool at Chelsea - Thunder of the Gods

By El Chupacabra
Here's our take on the the premier fixture in the Premier League this weekend.

Liverpool at Chelsea
The Luchametric’s hard numbers tell us that these two teams are virtually the same. A mere .04 of a Standard Deviation separates them, which is like saying that the difference is within the margin of error--well within it. The other numbers tell us that Benitez is a dickhead. It's hard to be objective on this one after what the Scouser fans did to our beloved World Soccer Daily.

The hard numbers tell us that Liverpool scores more goals but also gives up more. Chelsea scores fewer goals but gives up fewer goals, fewer shots, basically fewer everything when it comes to opportunities created against. These teams don't like each other, and when they meet it has all the markings of a classic "derby," and Benitez is a dickhead. Wait, I mean to say that both teams are highly motivated. They have a long history of beating each other in key games and key competitions, and both will be up for the match. Chelsea was beaten last year at home by the Scousers, and they lost last week at Wigan. Liverpool lost on Tuesday at Fiorentina and looked like hell on defense. Plus, every game between top teams is huge as dropping three points to your closest competitors means you have to make them up at some point, and you've just dropped points to a team whose rate of earning PTS/GM is the same as yours making it difficult to overtake them, especially as the season progresses because you have fewer games left by which to acquire points.

Finally, Chelsea's schedule has not been very tough, and they haven't been winning by large margins. This will be the first time they've played a world class offensive side that is clearly hitting it on all cylinders. It comes down to whether Chelsea can stifle Liverpool's attack AND take advantage of the opportunities Liverpool will give up. We think Liverpool's committment to attack explains why they've given up more goals than the Blues, but we also think that their defense is suspect. But that doesn't mean that Chelsea will have many scoring chances, as they certainly haven't lit it up against much lesser teams.

Our prediction: Draw 1-1

LINE Liverpool +215 TIE +210 Chelsea Even

LUCHAMETRIC Draw. Diff is .04 Standard Deviations

RECENT TRAVEL Chelsea: Both teams traveled to Europe midweek for UEFA matches. But Liverpool are traveling down to London. Slight nod to Chelsea here.

INSPIRATION Draw. Chelsea are looking to avenge last year's loss at home to the Scousers. Plus, they lost last week to Wigan and need to reassert their early season form in the EPL. Benitez is a dickhead. Both teams dislike each other, and the Scousers would like nothing better than to stick it to one of their biggest rivals on their home turf. Finally, the Scousers were humiliated on Tuesday, Benitez ripped them a new one, and they'll be looking to convince him and their fans that they're better than they looked on Tuesday.

INJURIES Advantage Liverpool: Chelsea is without Cech, and Ballack is doubtful. But, the Chelsea website is reporting he will be back. Liverpool will be without only Dosenna and Aquilani.

HISTORY Advantage Liverpool: All time results in all competitions: Liverpool 69 Draw 33 Chelsea 54.

Advantage Liverpool: Scousers WLWWWW Chelsea WWWWWL

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