The importance of 'big games'...

Discussion in 'Football Forum' started by Rozay, Oct 12, 2017 at 16:52.

  1. Oct 12, 2017 at 16:52
    #1

    Rozay Not good at posting fixture lists

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    Surely the 'big game' thing is largely a media construction, pedalled by Sky etc to add theatre to the game?

    I mean, I appreciate that we all look forward to them, but we have created a construct where the importance of them is so over-stated now. We keep hearing that nothing matters until we play this team or that team. In the grand scheme of our attempts to win the League, I am boring enough to see them all the same. 3 points.

    They are certainly good fun, but with the exception of a Cup 'big game' with knock-out consequences - it's all grossly overplayed in the media for their own benefit in my opinion.
  2. Oct 12, 2017 at 17:23
    #2

    Hullyback Full Member

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    I think the main difference between a big game and a normal game is the effect on players. If Liverpool beat United, they'll probably go into their next few games pumped up, if they lose it'll hit them hard.

    I think United are different at the moment, a loss won't be too harmful and a win will be a bonus, as you're flying right now. Points are points but these crunch games can have effects on upcoming games, whereas beating West brom would be par for the course, losing to them might gee you up.
  3. Oct 12, 2017 at 17:33
    #3

    Minimalist Full Member

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    I don't think it matters much to win all of them (or a lot of them) if you're dropping points to dopey teams down the table. Klopp has a great record doesn't he? feck all good it's done him.

    I think the performances in big games are important though, even if some end up as a loss. If you're regularly getting bossed or embarrassed in them, it would seem unlikely you're going to do well in the CL or any latter cup stages.

    For this season so far, United have done the business in their home games. It allows us to go to Anfield on Saturday and quite happily walk away with a point (at least...hopefully).
  4. Oct 12, 2017 at 17:37
    #4

    Hullyback Full Member

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    With Mane out I think JM will be going for nothing but a win, everyone, including fans like me knows that he's almost essential and with him out it's gonna be a long 90 minutes. A draw for United now will be a poor result, unless Ox decides to actually play like so many people have said he can for the past 5 years or so, which is highly unlikely.
  5. Oct 12, 2017 at 21:30
    #5

    donkeyfish Full Member

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    I think the hype makes it seem the difference between teams are larger then it really is. The margins are small in the Premier League, also when we play against Southampton or Stoke. Every game is a serious test, and a small drop in performance will concede points often enough.
    I doubt there's that much difference for the players, the preparation is probably very similar.

    It matters a lot to fans though, which is probably a reason they're that hyped up in the media. And it often produces fun games, since both teams tends to be ambitious.
  6. Oct 12, 2017 at 21:52
    #6

    Moonred Full Member

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    Surely one of the last things to be bothered about.
  7. Oct 12, 2017 at 21:56
    #7

    Bubz27 Full Member

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    3 points is 3 points, earnt against Liverpool or Palace.

    Undoubtedly though, you do get a psychological boost getting good results v the bigger teams. And it'd also make you more confident going into a cup final for example, if you had a good record in the 'big' games.
  8. Oct 12, 2017 at 21:56
    #8

    adexkola American Arse

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    Interesting OP, considering that we rate players partly based on their ability to perform in so called big games.
  9. Oct 12, 2017 at 21:58
    #9

    James Peril Full Member

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    A draw against a top 10 team away from home, the first game after an International break, is never a bad result. It would have been disappointing against Stoke or WBA, but never against Liverpool. It all depends of the game though. If United are great and draw after missing three big changes, then you're gonna be mad - but if you grab a later equalizer then everything's OK. Go on to the next game and get three points against Bournemouth, just get Liverpool away out of the way.
  10. Oct 12, 2017 at 22:00
    #10

    Sterling Archer Full Member

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    I've seen a few posters put together really good tables comparing results against the other top 4 with final standings and season points across various seasons.

    I think the more recent was during the LVG period when we had a reasonably good head-head record but we all recall how awful those seasons were.
  11. Oct 12, 2017 at 22:00
    #11

    James Peril Full Member

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    Yeah, this is pretty much the only important aspect going into a big game. The most important thing (except for the three points) is not winning, but rather not losing. I do not necessarily think a win leads to easier wins, but I think a bad loss leads to desperation and more insecurity. Arsenal are a good example, they often go on bad runs after losing big games. If Arsenal lose to United or City, then Soton away suddenly looks like Barcelona in their eyes.
  12. Oct 12, 2017 at 22:01
    #12

    Theonas Full Member

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    From a pragmatic point of view, big games only matter if they are against your closest rival point wise. They become more significant at the end of the season as they can directly decide titles. Other than that, the main significance of big games is reputation, status, image, etc ... Barcelona would not have nearly the same aura around them today if they did not produce majestic performances against big opponents. That Bayern side that won the treble is always referred to on the terms that they did it against mighty clubs like Barcelona. Winning a big game and even better, if it is with style, enhances your profile and legend as a club which in turns gives you aura and bigger following and prestige. So if your concern is winning the very next league title, then, there are no big games really until March/April. Everything else is worth 3 points. If you are concerned with legacy as a club, you have to not only win big games, you have to do it with style which is why you see the biggest and richest clubs everywhere placing so much importance on their style and the image they want to portray.
  13. Oct 12, 2017 at 22:02
    #13

    OnlyTwoDaSilvas Gullible

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    Agree with this. Words to this effect have been repeated plenty by players through the years, both former and current, so I don't think it's something that has been created by the media. Results in derbies/rivalries are definitely significant.

    I do disagree it will have a bigger impact on Liverpool though. Win or lose, I think the impact on both sides will be fairly equal. United are in good form, but this is the first big game we've played this season, whereas Liverpool have already played City and Arsenal. A United loss could bring us crashing down to earth. We'll certainly be under a bit of pressure to silence the critics that we're flying purely because we've had an easy start. I think we'll definitely have a point to prove on Saturday, and if we fail to do that, it will inflict a bit of damage.

    We also have the opportunity to open up a 10 point gap on a Top 4 rival, and you're missing arguably your best attacking player, whilst we've done well without Pogba. We could be left ruing a missed opportunity as we enter a very tough run of games.
  14. Oct 12, 2017 at 22:02
    #14

    Moonred Full Member

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    Not really overplayed if you believe winning ‘big’ matches gives you extra confidence and rhythm which goes a long way. Its not the only way ofcourse.
  15. Oct 12, 2017 at 22:02
    #15

    Rozay Not good at posting fixture lists

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    I don't. I've made the same point before, but it's all much of a muchness. Usually, some guy like Marouane Fellaini, Phil Neville or Ji Sung Park ends up being the best player on the pitch in a 'big match' anyway. It doesn't affect their reputation as footballers in the other way.
  16. Oct 12, 2017 at 22:07
    #16

    el3mel Full Member

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    They give a psychological boost but that's it. The importance for them in the title race is somewhat overrated.
  17. Oct 12, 2017 at 22:26
    #17

    alsabi Full Member

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    Had our home game against City in 2011/12 ended 2-1 to them rather than 6-1, and had all other results that season stayed the same, we'd have been level on points, goal difference and goals scored and there would've been a playoff for the title. One of the exceptions that prove the rule when it comes to the 'big games' supposedly being crucial in the end (you could also cite Liverpool vs Arsenal in 1989, a genuine title decider). Psychological benefit of winning/damage from losing is harder to quantify.
  18. Oct 12, 2017 at 22:29
    #18

    VeevaVee despite the protests, wears Ugg boots

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    At the end of the day, it's more points for you and less for your nearest competition. Considering how close everything is lately, there's probably some importance.
  19. Oct 12, 2017 at 22:34
    #19

    SalfordRed18 Full Member

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    1) Its psychological.

    2) Theres quite clearly a difference in impact in taking points off relegation teams, and taking points of your closest title rivals, hence why theyre more important. They are the games that shape the season. If we go into the derby as is right now, it be the game that put the first sort of distance between the manchester clubs.
  20. Oct 12, 2017 at 23:02
    #20

    Rozay Not good at posting fixture lists

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    Our game against West Ham in 95, or City's against QPR were as big as any derby. Meanwhile, our game at the Etihad last season meant nothing.

    Footy has become very much a soap opera, and I think big games are huge in terms of plot.

    I agree with point 1, but I think it is largely down to the narrative, which is a media construct. Players have grown up in it and take it on.

    Drawing 4-4 to Everton cost us the title in 2012 if you like. Perhaps if we had approached it in the same way as we'd have approached a derby we wouldn't have switched off at 3-1 up or whatever it was. Meanwhile, if City got demoralised after losing a 'big game' to Arsenal with 8 games to go or so, they wouldn't have gone on a run beating all the smaller teams in 'smaller' games and won them the title.
  21. Oct 12, 2017 at 23:39
    #21

    SalfordRed18 Full Member

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    Big games between big teams doesnt mean you cant have big games against smaller teams, the two arent mutually exclusive. Going off the logic that the big team games mean nothing because they dont matter in the grand scheme of the league, means there are no big games till the end of the season doesnt it?

    Of course the media try to make the games as big as possible, but that doesnt mean they arent still big games.
  22. Oct 12, 2017 at 23:46
    #22

    Blackwidow Full Member

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    What is a big game? If you call ten matches each season a big game then they aren't special at all...
  23. Oct 12, 2017 at 23:55
    #23

    Rozay Not good at posting fixture lists

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    I agree that in reality, the games aren't big in themselves until the end of the season. Well, they are, but no bigger than the others. The rest is all for the storyline.

    We don't want to get thrashed, but mainly because the media will start spinning it as a crisis and create pressure. If we could be absolutely certain that our players would react to a defeat on Saturday, even a heavy one, in a normal way - then it's no bigger than Bournemouth away.

    I remember last season before Anfield. The press really pushed the 'Red Monday' thing all week. I must admit that it felt like FA Cup Final week a bit. Was a damp squib 1-1 with low intensity and everyone moved on. The forgotten games we drew 1-1 in after all of our rivals dropped points were probably more important.

    If we can somehow approach those games with the same focus, we could probably lose most of the big ones and win the league.
  24. Oct 13, 2017 at 00:01
    #24

    SalfordRed18 Full Member

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    Liverpools a big game because theyre out biggest rivals historically. Do you deny united v liverpool is a big game?

    City will always be a big game because its the derby and one of the best in the league. Do you think its only a big game towards the end of the season?

    Genuine questions.
  25. Oct 13, 2017 at 00:21
    #25

    Hullyback Full Member

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    It might hit you a little should you lose mate, I don't think it'll have quite as little effect on Liverpool though. You can write it off, it's an away game to your most hated Nemesis (City have been pretty much irrelevant until very recent) so a point would be a decent result, a win a great result and a loss can be shrugged off.

    Had it not been for the City capitulation I think LFC might have gone into this full of confidence, decent record against the big boys before that. I can't help thinking they're going into this one shitting themselves it could be another Maneless drubbing and if that did happen could start a real wobble.

    I'd be happy with a draw here I'll freely admit it. Zero confidence at all in that defence and the ability for the rest of the team to keep calm if we go a few goals down due to said defence dropping another clanger or two.
  26. Oct 13, 2017 at 00:22
    #26

    red_devil83 Full Member

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    Of course big games matter because that's where you challenge yourself against your peers. This tells you how good you really are.

    As a fan, they're the games we get excited for. Nobody gives a feck about playing West Brom let's be honest (unless it's in the semi/final of a cup). We watch it and expect to win. If we play Chelsea or Liverpool etc it means something.

    If you don't get more excited about these games then I'd say you're weird :p
  27. Oct 13, 2017 at 01:37
    #27

    automaticflare New Member

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    It's a game for the fans and the rivalries. In terms of the league it means no more than anyone else unless you have a 2 horse race or something.

    If you beat the bottom 14 teams consistently you will win the league. It is why we are so dominant under fergie we rarely lost one.

    Even the bottom 12 gives you 72 points.

    That leaves you 14 games to get the rest. 7 of them at home
  28. Oct 13, 2017 at 01:42
    #28

    MyOnlySolskjaer Creator of Player Performance threads

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    Gary Neville said that winning at Anfield made the team feel worthy of being Champions. Perhaps, it's the type of game to give us a mental boost for the rest of the season. Even in 15/16 it helped us go on a small winning run to win the battle for a Champions League spot.

    Does also seem to be the metric in which we value "big players", people are going to look at Lukaku in particular and judge him on whether he can do it in those games. Albeit, personally I don't mind as long as he's doing it against everyone else.
  29. Oct 13, 2017 at 10:33
    #29

    Zoo Full Member

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    This is a good article that expands on the OP's point.
  30. Oct 13, 2017 at 10:37
    #30

    Sky1981 Fending off the urge

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    Excitement aside yes big games matters as losing one means - 3 and +3 to the winner.

    A 6 point possible swing is alot in a competitive league
  31. Oct 13, 2017 at 10:52
    #31

    12OunceEpilogue Full Member

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    Sky and BT are obviously going to hype these games as the pivotal, be-all-and-end-all events of the season, but it's plain to see wins home and away against the bottom 14, teams that the top six should be beating, are what matter.

    That being said the psychological boost, the 'laying down a marker' that comes with beating a near rival, is important as of course is the three points (particularly when said rival gets nothing). As has been said a draw against a top team should rarely be sniffed at, particularly away from home.
  32. Oct 13, 2017 at 10:53
    #32

    Sammyjunn Full Member

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    Sort of yeah, losing doesnt mean -3 but not winning 3 points that team likely would if they played a smaller team. It is huge but doesnt matter much early in the season.
  33. Oct 13, 2017 at 10:56
    #33

    Raees Sporty Guy

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    When you determine the worth of a champion or compare the champions to great teams of the past, H2H records against rivals and big clubs definitely comes into play.

    If you're just interested in the here and now, and just looking at things through numbers ultimately it is only three points, same as any other game but psychologically if you're repeatedly getting battered or outplayed in big games, it will begin to have an impact on your games against weaker opposition as well because the team feels deflated and motivation/confidence levels take a hit.

    So yeah, Sky might over sell the entertainment aspect of the big games, but they're definitely important for fans and players alike in the here and now and massively important when comparing sides to those of yesteryear.
  34. Oct 13, 2017 at 11:01
    #34

    LoneStar Full Member

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    You can look at it in two ways. One is the rivalry aspect (United V Pool, El classic). They have a huge history behind them and can create a great atmosphere. Players will be up for it.

    But on the other hand, it will not have a huge significance wrt the league at all. It's just another 3 points that you gain or not. But the media assumption that big games decide the title is hardly true. It's the team which can consistently win against the lower sides and draw/win the bigger matches that wins the league. Hence I don't really mind if we draw the game there, but I think we'll win.
  35. Oct 13, 2017 at 11:12
    #35

    VeevaVee despite the protests, wears Ugg boots

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    But 3 points can win you the league, specially if it's 3 taken off 2nd place, or steam taken out of another competitor's engine.

    We all know winning the lesser games is what makes you compete for the league, which I think is why there's a discussion here, but winning against the top 4 could be the difference between 1st or 2nd.
  36. Oct 13, 2017 at 12:59
    #36

    GaryLifo Nice Bloke

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    It could, but as the article in fourfourtwo argues very well - it often isn't as important as you think. I reckon a team that won every game except against the other 4 of the eventual top 5 would likely still win the league - 30 wins = 90 points. Even losing 10 games and winning 28 = 84 points which is still likely to be good enough.
  37. Oct 13, 2017 at 13:19
    #37

    VeevaVee despite the protests, wears Ugg boots

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    I know, but that's not going to happen very often, so some of these games will decide final standings, which makes them important to me.
  38. Oct 13, 2017 at 13:20
    #38

    SirAF Ageist

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    Completely agree.

    The only thing that makes a difference is taunting of or by oppo fans.
  39. Oct 14, 2017 at 14:22
    #39

    Damien Self-Aware RedCafe Database (and Admin)

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    Yeah. I think a good record against the bottom 13 teams is enough to finish in the top four but to decide the title it is the games against the other teams in top 7 (and top 4 in particular) that matter most. Have a poor record and you're unlikely to win the title.