Statistics watchdog criticises UK rail passenger survey – The Guardian

Statistics watchdog criticises UK rail passenger survey - The Guardian nevin manimala

A national survey of rail passengers that has guided UK decisions on rail franchising for two decades has been condemned in a highly critical report by the statistics regulator.

The Office for Statistics Regulation said the national rail passenger survey (NRPS) was not yet fit to be designated as an official national statistic.

Writing to the passenger watchdog, Transport Focus, which compiles the biannual survey, the regulator warned there was “a substantial risk of misinterpretation and misuse” of the statistics.

The OSR’s director general, Ed Humpherson, said: “Statistics that inform and drive improvements across the rail network across Great Britain really matter and it is important that they are accurate, quality-assured and reflect the everyday experience of rail passengers. It is our view that statistics derived from the NRPS do not currently meet these expectations.”

The survey provides headline scores of passenger satisfaction with the railways, based on their last journey, allowing for comparisons by train operator. It also shows detailed changes in satisfaction with aspects of the journey, including value for money and onboard amenities.

Humpherson told the Guardian he was concerned that weight was being put on the survey results that, “within their parameters”, they could not really bear, adding: “Our primary concern is that the survey isn’t reflecting public passenger experience of rail travel.”

He said the survey only provided snapshots by inquiring about the last completed journey, and sampling only in spring and autumn, often outside key periods when passengers experience disruption that would negatively affect their experience.

Transport Focus, which had approached the regulator to conduct the assessment, said it welcomed the report, “which acknowledges our efforts to continuously improve and innovate”. The watchdog’s chief executive, Anthony Smith,said the survey led “the debate with the passenger’s voice”, but agreed that its accuracy would be improved if it was carried out throughout the year.

Smith said year-round polling would require approximately three times the £800,000 a year the survey receives from the Department for Transport.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We will work with Transport Focus to help it meet the recommendations set out in the report.”

Vital statistics – Jan. 17-23, 2020 – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Vital statistics - Jan. 17-23, 2020 - Honolulu Star-Advertiser nevin manimala
Vital statistics - Jan. 17-23, 2020 - Honolulu Star-Advertiser nevin manimala


Each week, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser publishes Oahu statistics for marriage licenses and birth certificates filed with the state Department of Health’s Vital Statistics System.

Filed on Oahu, Jan. 17 – 23

>> Jayna Hokulani Arola and Christian James Walter Pennington

>> Valerie Leigh Binzen and Edward Albert Brethauer III

>> Marshall Gene Bringas and Eri Tanaka

>> David Minh Brockman and Courtney Ann Kiyomi Fukumitsu

>> Lindsay Marie Budny and Matthew Allen Skender

>> Donna Gift Cabico and Jairus Alfred Caneso-Solmirin

>> Rebecca Trinidad Carino and Mavric Edwin Barba Agustin

>> Angela Tiffany Carrillo and Nathaniel Paul Chavez

>> Michelle Marie Connealy and David Michael Jones

>> Isabelle Elena Corcoran and Kai Noah Dunlap

>> Bryon Ross Crowther and Marshall John Zeigler

>> Jorden Shawn Daclison and Erika Marie Maldonado

>> Jennifer Ashley Dupriest and Michael John Gorospe Foronda

>> Susan Margaret Marie Elliott and Christopher Evan Crippen

>> Kelly Marie Ferris and Elsworth Kaleialoha Palani Kaanaana Jr.

>> Kayla Ann Gaeta and Evan Alexander Sutter

>> Tyler-Rae Namakanoheaonalani Gante and Jaryn Nolemana Mison

>> Marlyn Ariana Garcia and Chase Matthew Weidemann

>> Christopher Luke Getzie and Shannon Claire Amiot

>> Zechariah Kaeha Keliiolukai Kanealii Goins and Mckenna Helena Keani Perreira Gonsalves

>> Ana Laura Gomez and Jorge Edwardo Gaytan

>> Prescilla Lee Gully and Brent James Morin

>> Ziyi Han and Qin Tao

>> Andrea Annette Hidalgo and Candice Rae Schneider

>> Imran Muhammad Insanally and Farah Nisha Emma Grenfell

>> Britney Charity Josue and Guido Lee Zoller

>> Kam Arlene LaBrunda and Arthur Thomas Marinoni

>> Prince-Jeremiah Meccaveli Muhammad and Crystal Mariko Bailey

>> James Ancheta Navarrete and Genalyn Balanag Juan

>> Shawn Patrick Ogle and Christine Marie Torres

>> Stella Afroditi Sarros Moss and Avraam Terzopoulos

>> Jonathan Martin Smith and Alicia Michiko Kinoshita

>> Kelton Markevis Smith and Katlyn Vorise Suggs

>> George Edward Sutton III and Roger Lee Richards III

>> Gregory Mark Tamon and Mio Ishibashi

>> Ashlee Megan Wilder and Curtis Brandon Spaulding

>> Roy Calvin York Jr. and Lela Colleen Colburn

>> Sanford Tetsuo Young and Thealyn Leihua Ramos

Filed on Oahu, Jan. 17 – 23

>> Avery Marie Makamae Aina

>> Owen Jacob Alexander

>> Keith Matthew Dela Cruz Asencio

>> Brady James Balach

>> Kolson Ehukai Barnes

>> Jaxon Anthony Barnett

>> David Alex Bliss

>> Lenna Andrea Bowens

>> Ivan Lucas Brodlowicz

>> Nazareth Alcon Cabuena

>> Jax Kaden Harnisch Capitulo

>> Cruz Matthew Castagnola

>> Bryant Eli Castro

>> Eleanor Marie Ungacta Cepeda

>> Ollie Pono Chong

>> Annalise Maria Cruz

>> Remi Leona Dang

>> Kealia Ryan Enright

>> Reverie Noel Felipe

>> Ava Scarlett Reiyn Asuncion Garaza

>> Keanu Kealoha Toaali’i Gilman

>> Victoria La Rue Gulden

>> Loki Grimwood Hartill

>> Natalie Skye Hass

>> Maverick Logan No‘eau Kalama

>> Bauer Preston Kovacs

>> Maximilian Lei Landsberg

>> Manutaliu’i Fanga Liongitau

>> Hila’an Dionte Losongco

>> Finnick Riley Miller

>> Jeremy Todd Montgomery

>> Sawyer Alexander Neciuk

>> Charles Hector Pepin

>> Isabella Grace Perez

>> Lisa Elizabeth Slade Raman

>> Kailani Valentina Rubio Peralta

>> Quinton John Ruelas

>> Luke Po‘okela Hideki Sato-Pa‘ahana

>> Jaxon Darryl Sattaur

>> Hilton Howard Schuster

>> Leon Somvang Sengmany

>> Leilani Sky Szumczyk

>> Corey Yoshito Odo Tanaka

>> Liam Keanu Torres

>> Braxton Reyes Viramontes

>> Kofi Peprah Yeboah Jr.

>> Sabrina Yee Min Yong

>> Amelia Maria Zuniga

Who has the edge? Statistics help break down Kobe vs. LeBron debate – NBA India

Who has the edge? Statistics help break down Kobe vs. LeBron debate - NBA India nevin manimala
Who has the edge? Statistics help break down Kobe vs. LeBron debate - NBA India nevin manimala

But let’s take a deeper look in some other areas that might shed more light on how two of the very best scorers to ever grace an NBA court truly measure up. 

Different era, different opportunity

Cumulative statistics are better measures of production and longevity than actual impact. But as far as that goes, Bryant’s career point total would almost certainly be larger, perhaps even significantly so, had he entered the league with a different team, at a different time. 

When the Lakers traded for Bryant in the summer of 1996, he was the first high school guard to join the NBA, and only the fifth high school player overall. As such, the NBA was still grappling with how to best develop them. Bring them along slowly? Throw them right into the deep end? At that point, it was still anyone’s guess.

That was especially the case with the Lakers, who were expected to contend for the championship after adding Shaquille O’Neal to a veteran roster that included, among other standouts, a future All-Star at Bryant’s position in Eddie Jones. The following two seasons would prove to be an exercise in frustration for the precocious young star as he waited impatiently for his opportunity to shine.

It wouldn’t be until his third season that Bryant finally cracked the starting lineup, averaging 37.9 minutes, 15.6 shots and 19.9 points in 1998-99 as a 20-year-old. 

James, of course, never had that issue. By the time Cleveland took him 1st overall in 2003, the NBA was 16 additional players and almost a full decade deeper into the straight-from-high-school experiment. Combined with his otherworldly talent, there was never any doubt: The Cavaliers were LeBron’s team from Day 1, ready to go as their prize rookie went. 

Would Bryant have been able to average 20.9 points as a rookie, or 27.2 points in his second season, as James did? We’ll never know. But we do know he didn’t get the chance to try.

Kobe vs. LeBron | Career milestones

Different type of scorer 

Unfortunately, Basketball Reference’s shot tracking only dates back to 2000-01, which excludes four seasons from Bryant’s career totals. But given that what they do have accounts for more than 87% of his total attempts, it still gives us a fairly comprehensive look at his shot distribution. 

And that look is telling: He simply wasn’t capable of and/or willing to work for the same kind of shots as James. 

Two things stand out the most.

* First, and this will come as no surprise for anyone who saw Bryant play for any significant period, the strong majority of his shots — 28%, almost seven points more than any other zone — came from what we’ll call far mid range (defined by B-R as 16 feet to the 3-point line). This is where Bryant excelled at isolating defenders and, if he couldn’t break them down off the dribble, digging deep into his bag of tricks for some kind of jump shot, degree of difficulty be damned. 

These are also some of the least-efficient shots in basketball according to the recent philosophical revolution that emphasizes 3-pointers and looks at the rim to the exclusion of virtually everything else. 

* Second, James simply takes better shots, and a lot more of them. As a high-volume scorer, he is obviously no stranger to taking contested 2-point jumpers. But it was never a staple of his diet. Indeed, why would it be when he could usually either overpower smaller opponents or speed past bigger ones to get to the rim? 

Standing several inches and at least 40 pounds heavier than Bryant, James has been able to take a whopping 36% of his career attempts at the rim, compared to a relatively paltry 21% for Bryant. Not only that, James is significantly more effective on those shots, shooting 73.3% — the league average this season is 66.0 — compared to 63.4 for Bryant. 

Given that Bryant didn’t make up that ground at the 3-point line — James actually shoots slightly better on 0.2 more attempts per game — LeBron’s advantage at the rim is even more enormous.

Different type of player 

What makes James’ scoring feats even more impressive is that it’s never really been the focal point of his game. 

That might sound like a silly thing to say given that LeBron has averaged virtually the same number of shot attempts (19.6 to 19.5) and free throws (8.0 to 7.4) as Bryant, whose credentials as an aggressive volume scorer are unquestioned. But James has done that while serving as arguably the best non-point guard playmaker in NBA history. 

Indeed, going by raw stats, there’s no “arguably” about it: James has both the highest per-game assist average (7.4, 24th) and assist percentage (36.3, 20th overall) among those who didn’t play the “1.”

That places him in a completely different category as Bryant.

Which isn’t to say that Kobe was deficient in that capacity; far from it. As far as volume scorers go, Bryant was frequently a very willing and able passer, forming devastating tandems with O’Neal (at least when they weren’t trying to kill each other) and later Pau Gasol en route to a total of five championships.

It’s just that far more often than not, Bryant’s clear m.o. was to shoot first, and ask questions later. James, on the other hand, has spent far, far more possessions creating for others where he might have otherwise looked to get his. That’s been especially the case this season as he leads the NBA in raw assists per game (10.8, almost double Bryant’s career-high of 6.0), potential assists per game (19.0) and points created via assist (27.1).  

Kobe & LeBron: Through the years

For the win …

If you ever want to aggravate a serious basketball analyst — which, to be clear, we don’t claim to be — bring up the term “clutch.” They’ll argue to the death that there’s no such thing, that the ability to consistently raise one’s performance in important, end-of-game moments is largely a myth conjured around random outcomes over incredibly small sample sizes. 

Just how small? In 1,566 career games, including the postseason, Bryant was called on to shoot for the lead in the final five seconds of regulation or overtime just 77 times — 4.9 percent. For James, it’s 73 out of 1,480 — also 4.9 percent. In other words, these are extremely isolated opportunities that, given the fact that everybody in the arena knows who’s getting the ball, don’t exactly lend themselves to consistent success.

Indeed, just look at these percentages on such shots:

Annual tally puts faces to Crow Wing’s homelessness statistics – Brainerd Dispatch

Annual tally puts faces to Crow Wing's homelessness statistics - Brainerd Dispatch nevin manimala

This is what homelessness in Brainerd can look like: a family of five, living in a camper after job loss prompted the decision to either make a car payment or pay rent.

Brainerd residents Chad and Amy found themselves and their children without a home after they were forced to make this choice. Facing eviction and no housing options they could afford, the family packed into a small RV, where they lived for about six months until recently landing a temporary one-bedroom apartment.

Amy, 39, faces multiple diagnoses of mental illness, which she said makes it difficult for her to maintain employment. Despite these challenges, she has been unable to qualify for Social Security Disability. Chad’s full-time job in the health care industry does not provide enough income to support the family, he said, including a 14-year-old, a 10-year-old and a 7-year-old. If they’d chosen to forego their car payment, 46-year-old Chad would’ve been unable to reliably get to and from his place of employment, placing their one remaining income at risk.

“A lot of people in Brainerd don’t realize there’s a problem, because they’re like us,” Amy said. “We weren’t like beggars on the street, we weren’t like in a tent city type thing like they have done in the Cities. So I do think a lot of people in this community don’t believe that there really is a homeless problem.

Annual tally puts faces to Crow Wing's homelessness statistics - Brainerd Dispatch nevin manimala

“… I think they need to realize that, you know, most people are just two paychecks away from being homeless. … Going through this experience, you learn that it could be a friend of yours that’s homeless, and they’re just not saying anything, because it is embarrassing to some people.”

The couple were two of those who showed up Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Crow Wing County Land Services Building to participate in the annual point in time count. The nationwide event, conducted with the help of local partners, seeks to determine how many people in the U.S. are homeless. This, in turn, determines the level of funding provided to communities designated to address homelessness and is used as the basis for grant applications on behalf of governmental bodies and social service agencies.

Providers from a number of community organizations and from Crow Wing County Community Services lined the basement meeting room Thursday, offering information and applications for programs from which those in poverty may benefit. Those who completed the surveys, which ask where they slept the night before among a number of other questions, received a free meal along with a bag to take with them containing a number of other food items.

Rebecca Manning, housing program supervisor with Northern Pines Mental Health Center in Brainerd, assisted Chad and Amy with finding a temporary apartment for their family to live while they search for more permanent housing they can afford. She said the Northern Pines program has about 90 current clients — those suffering from some type of serious mental illness who are also experiencing housing instability or have no place to live at all. Many of these people face additional barriers, including chemical dependency issues or felony criminal convictions, that impact their ability to find safe and affordable housing, she said.

“There are some people that I know that are sleeping outside right now,” Manning said. “They don’t have income, or they have criminal records, so there’s no housing options for them. Actually, a lot of board and lodges (group homes) … won’t take people who have felonies. So if you have no income and have a felony, there’s not really any options, unless you have family or friends that will take you in.”

Amy Yochum, who works in the Northern Pines housing program with Manning, said hardly anyone she’s worked with faces just one obstacle to rising out of homelessness and poverty.

“People are so quick to judge, but if they sat down and did simple math, they’d see how difficult it can be,” Yochum said. “… I know frequently, I don’t say, ‘Everything is going to be OK.’ Because truthfully, I don’t know.”

Staying with friends or family — or couch hopping between locations — is called “doubling up,” and is one of the most common forms of homelessness in the rural areas of northern Minnesota. Those doubling up lack the protections of a lease and could be forced to leave at any time, without warning or the ability to respond. Yet, it isn’t as visible as those holding signs at street corners or lined up outside homeless shelters. And there is no homeless shelter within 60 miles of Brainerd for which people could line up. The nearest is located in St. Cloud and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Chad and Amy said they wished there was a shelter they could’ve turned to in their time of need. Living in their cramped camper with three children and no running water, they improvised to take care of many of life’s necessities easily taken for granted — showering and using the bathroom, for example, were often done in public locations. They said they did the best they could to maintain as much normalcy as possible for their children, while also fearing what could happen if someone decided to remove them from their care.

“It’s hard being homeless when you’re just a single person, but when you’re a family, you have to make sure you stay within the guidelines of social services so you don’t get your kids taken away. But also maintaining some sort of normalcy for your kids, because you don’t want that stress put on the kids,” Amy said. “They know that something’s wrong, that it’s not right. They know that you’re homeless, but we try to make it a little bit easier for them, so there’s not as much trauma to them as they get older. I mean, that was the difficult part, especially in winter, because it’s winter in Minnesota. It’s cold.”

Chad and Amy aren’t alone in their desire for improved sheltering options in the lakes area. Following the recent closure of the Brainerd location of New Pathways, a Cambridge-based nonprofit assisting homeless families with the help of local churches, a community-led push for establishing a shelter is gathering steam. Some of the same advocates in the room Thursday are participating in focused efforts to iron out short-term and long-term solutions to serving the homeless population.

In the meantime, there are people in the community facing tough choices just like Chad and Amy. Thursday, they left the land services building with a little more hope for their future. Amy said she learned about someone who could help her navigate the world of applying for Social Security Disability benefits in hopes she could qualify, providing her family with additional income.

“I always tell people, I’m not looking for a handout,” Amy said. “I’m looking for a hand up.”

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or Follow on Twitter at

Send in basketball statistics | News, Sports, Jobs – Youngstown Vindicator

Send in basketball statistics | News, Sports, Jobs - Youngstown Vindicator nevin manimala
Send in basketball statistics | News, Sports, Jobs - Youngstown Vindicator nevin manimala

The Tribune Chronicle and Vindicator will begin publishing high school basketball statistical leaders beginning next week. The weekly feature will be printed in Thursday and Friday editions and will include statistics through the previous Saturday.

Coaches and-or statisticians should send in updated (through Saturday) statistics each week by 6 p.m. Tuesday. They can be emailed to or faxed to 330-841-1717.

Please do not simply send us to a web site link to look up your team’s stats, we have far too many schools/teams to follow.

Friday, Jan. 24, 2020: What the statistics don’t show, net neutrality needs a bipartisan solution, defend our precious democracy – Bangor Daily News

Friday, Jan. 24, 2020: What the statistics don't show, net neutrality needs a bipartisan solution, defend our precious democracy - Bangor Daily News nevin manimala
Friday, Jan. 24, 2020: What the statistics don't show, net neutrality needs a bipartisan solution, defend our precious democracy - Bangor Daily News nevin manimala

What the statistics don’t show

Thank you, Mary Ann Larson, for your recent letter in the BDN, “US economy not ‘best.’” I am so weary of hearing from the White House that the economy is great.

When my teaching job was made part time, I was considered among the employed. Nothing in statistics showed an $800 per month decrease in salary. Nothing in statistics showed the futility of being told over and over again that principals wouldn’t hire me because they didn’t want to pay for my years of experience. Not only does partial employment mean less take home pay, it affects pensions and Social Security.

I am fortunate that my husband remained employed full time. Our retirement plan was to move to Maine and by teaching two extra years at part-time pay, we made it here. Two degrees and more than 20 years experience, and I was still underemployed. However, statistically I was counted in the skewed numbers supposedly representing the low unemployment rate.

Diane Marie Parker


Net neutrality needs bipartisan solution

Sen. Angus King’s recent co-sponsorship of a bill to improve telehealth access exemplifies how transformative broadband-connected remote health care services could be in addressing rural health disparities.

Another step our senators could take to further the same goal: work together toward a bipartisan bill to finally solve the long-running stalemate on net neutrality. Enacting permanent net neutrality protections through legislation would help give certainty to entrepreneurs and investors developing telehealth applications, ensuring they’d never have to worry about being shunted off onto “slow lanes” or charged extra tolls for “fast lanes”.

Moreover, tackling this goal through bipartisan legislation would help ensure net neutrality is implemented in a way that encourages greater investment in broadband network infrastructure.

A Democratic bill to restore Obama-era net neutrality rules has stalled out in the Senate, amidst concerns that it would grant the Federal Communications Commission unnecessarily broad regulatory powers, which could slow down network investment. But while that particular bill has been declared “ dead on arrival,” bipartisan conversations have continued trying to find an alternative path forward. Our senators should join and lead that effort. We deserve a solution, not a partisan stalemate.

Net neutrality is important to protecting consumers online and encouraging continued innovation in areas like telehealth. Done right, it can also encourage network investment to expand broadband access. These are goals deserving of bipartisan cooperation.

Benjamin Plante


Defend our precious democracy

Lev Parnas is not the “cleanest” citizen, but who hired him? And for what purposes? Seemingly not for America. Who is lying? Parnas is under indictment. The Washington Post count of false or misleading claims from President Donald Trump is over 15,000. His level of untruth is unprecedented. The success of democracy demands facts and truth.

Sen. Susan Collins wondered on Jan. 15 about why Parnas’s information came so late. Republican congressmen and senators keep attempting to switch the blame to the House impeachment process by asking why the House acted on articles of impeachment before all “facts” were known.

The House process revealed more than enough facts to indict or impeach, and there were enough threats to the 2020 election process and national security that forced the need to act quickly. At the Senate trial more facts will be exposed, strengthening the case.

The reason that the Parnas documents are just now coming to light is that the president, White House counsels and Attorney General Barr have been taking unprecedented steps to suppress documents and witnesses. A federal judge allowed the Parnas documents to be released. More subpoenas and document requests are slowly working through the judicial process.

I have read the Mueller report, the summary of the July 25 call, and watched the witnesses at the impeachment hearings. There will be sufficient evidence to review in considering whether to remove this President from office compared to the now seeming petty reasons that Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were charged.

Please, senators, we depend on you to protect and defend our precious democracy.

Pamela W. Person



WCG acquires Statistics Collaborative – NJBIZ

WCG acquires Statistics Collaborative - NJBIZ nevin manimala
WCG acquires Statistics Collaborative - NJBIZ nevin manimala

Princeton-based WCG (WIRB-Copernicus Group), a provider of solutions that improve the quality and efficiency of clinical trials, announced on Thursday the acquisition of Statistics Collaborative Inc.

Financial details about this transaction were not disclosed.

“WCG seeks to partner with outstanding companies who share our vision for improving the clinical trial process while maintaining the highest scientific and ethical standards. We quickly recognized Statistics Collaborative as a company with a similar work ethic, employee culture, and industry goals. Statistics Collaborative’s exceptional reputation as a leader in biostatistical analysis and consulting for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies made it a treasured partner to welcome into WCG,” said Donald Deieso, executive chairman and chief executive officer of WCG.

Based in Washington, D.C., Statistics Collaborative has almost 30 years’ experience providing specialized biostatistical consulting services to developers of new drugs and biologics. While the company’s primary focus is on late-stage clinical trials, where it contributes to trial design, reporting for Data Monitoring Committees, data analysis, and consultation for FDA presentations, it also contributes to epidemiological studies, preclinical studies, and non-clinical research.

Statistics Collaborative’s experience encompasses multiple therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular diseases, oncology, infectious diseases, orphan diseases and vaccines.

All of Statistics Collaborative’s staff will join WCG, and its leadership structure will not change. Statistics Collaborative will retain its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

WCG will provide Statistics Collaborative with access to capital, additional clinical development expertise, and corporate operational support. Going forward, the company will be known as WCG Statistics Collaborative and will be part of WCG’s Scientific and Regulatory Review Division.

“We are delighted to be joining WCG. Statistics Collaborative had reached an inflection point in our growth. We were looking for a like-minded partner organization, which could provide the requisite resources and infrastructure that would allow our company to continue to evolve while retaining our position as a premier biostatistics partner to the biopharmaceutical industry. We felt that WCG was a good cultural fit for our company. WCG puts the same emphasis on scientific rigor and integrity, and it puts people first – not just patients and clients, but employees, as well. It significantly invests in employee professional development,” said Statistics Collaborative Founder and President Janet Wittes.

“Statistics Collaborative will continue to provide the same services and deliverables, but with the benefit of additional financial resources and powerful operations and technology platforms that complement our business,” she added.

A statistical look at Joao Paulo – Sounder At Heart

A statistical look at Joao Paulo - Sounder At Heart nevin manimala

Editor’s note: No, the Sounders have not yet signed Joao Paulo. All signs currently point to this getting done eventually. We decided to take a closer look at what the statistics tell us about Joao Paulo

Joao Paulo, in Brazil’s top flight, performed as a roughly above-average starting defensive midfielder when positioned as a CM.

There are two warnings to keep firmly in mind, reading further in this article.

  1. Robustly translating statistical performance in soccer between leagues is not practical, at the moment. Too few players move between leagues, internationally, without also changing playing roles that have a dramatic impact on the numbers. Leagues vary in playing and officiating style — one cannot simply claim that the competition has become easier (or harder) and adjust the numbers to match.
  2. The two key statistics of “holding” midfielders — defensive actions and passes — are also extremely role-dependent. Pair a first-string holding mid with another CM who is not so comfortable in distribution, and the primary passers’ share will rise. A CM who is less defensively active will forcibly increase the defensive activity of his partner. So, while PEAK rates of successful passing and defensive activity are highly dependent on skill, the team’s tactical decisions may make all the statistical difference between an average CM and a “destroyer.”

So, let’s look at those two key numbers among CMs and DMs in Brazil and MLS in 2019.

A statistical look at Joao Paulo - Sounder At Heart nevin manimala Soccer is a universal language

While there is perhaps a touch more specialization in Brazilian players, (represented in extreme values along either axis), the two leagues cover a very similar range of values. Also, apart from a clusters of players who are extremely focused on distribution/possession, there are no distinct boundaries to define traditional CM roles, including the classical “6” and “8.” These roles, in practice, occur on a spectrum.

Two recent Sounders targets in Brazil, for all the highlight-video discussion of their differences, have strong statistical similarities.

A statistical look at Joao Paulo - Sounder At Heart nevin manimala 6 or 8 or whatever

This is not to suggest that Gregore is not more of a classical “destroyer” than Joao Paulo — he clearly falls into a more defensively-focused category of the defensive midfield. That style of “6,” however, is not necessarily a common feature of most team’s tactical setup. Out of 124 CMs between the two leagues in 2019, only four players exceeded Gregore’s 9.98 defensive actions per 90’. Seattle’s Gustav Svensson crossed that threshold in 2017. Osvaldo Alonso exceeded 10 Def90 in 2013, 2014, and 2016. Concentrating so much defensive activity in a DM can free up a central midfield partner for additional attacking movement or cover for an aggressive CB pair, but Sounders fans should not take Alonso’s example to mean the team requires such a player for success (or ignore the fact that the team does not “need” a 6 while Svensson remains on this side of the Atlantic).

A statistical look at Joao Paulo - Sounder At Heart nevin manimala A successful midfield pair, 2016-2019

Joao Paulo’s historical performance at CM fits well within the demands of Seattle’s double-pivot.

Diving deeper into JP’s “role” statistics, we can compare them to his Brazilian peers and look for comparable players who may be familiar from MLS.

A statistical look at Joao Paulo - Sounder At Heart nevin manimala

CMs that can pass at average or better accuracy at high volume while also taking an above-average share of team defense benefit a team, as discussed above. Many productive attackers take diminished roles in defense or buildup play. If we look for similar statistics among the five parameters above, NYCFC’s Alexander Ring is the fourt most comparable performance in MLS (after Felipe Gutierrez, Anibal Godoy, and Sean Davis). Cristian Roldan is the eighth most similar player. If we look instead only at the rates of various distinct defensive actions (tackles, clearances, interceptions, blocks), Ring is the most similar to Joao Paulo, followed by Luis Caicedo, Everton Luiz, Davis, Chara, and then Svensson.

A statistical look at Joao Paulo - Sounder At Heart nevin manimala Chance: Open play chances; Lost: Lost possession; Won: Won possession

“Skill” statistics demonstrate Joao Paulo is not particularly strong in the air. His slightly-below-average pass accuracy is mostly attributable to his higher frequency of long passes. He’s an above-average ball-winner and has shown past ability (2017) to be better still, with a high rate of interceptions. Combined with his strong defensive/distribution activity rates, and we can confidently call him an above-average Brazilian starter in the role.

How that translates to MLS? Perhaps we’ll see.