The Double Pivot

The Double Pivot


Introducing The Double Pivot from Howler Magazine, hosted by Mike Goodman and Michael Caley. The Double Pivot is for people who want smart soccer/football commentary with a healthy dose of analytics to back it up.


Real Madrid, where tactics are overrated  

El Clásico never fails to create talking points, but this one was a lot different than most in recent memory, particularly if you start to look ahead in the season. But first, a trip through the Premier League top six and their hijinks. From Liverpool's collapse to Bournemouth, to the weird problems hampering the triumvirate of Arsenal, Manchester United and Spurs, to the bar room brawl that was Chelsea vs. Manchester City. Also, everyone's favorite dog wears a t-shirt.

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Who will win the Premier League's race to the bottom?  

A few surprise candidates snuck into the relegation race, and that makes sorting through the field even more interesting than usual. From West Brom to Sunderland, the two Mikes make the case for the demise or survival of all of the clubs struggling to get out of the cellar. 

Adventures in the Bundesliga, or why everyone hates RB Leipzig  

If you're wondering why RB Leipzig isn't the feel-good story that Leicester City was just a year ago, there are a few things you should learn about the Bundesliga. But before the guys welcome in this week's guest, they examine the "other" three teams chasing the leaders in the Premier League.

Our sponsor this week is Futchi. Get $20 off a Futchi set with the promo code HOWLER.

The Best of La Liga and the Worst of USMNT  

The axes have been sharpening to oust Jurgen Klinnsman, and a 4-0 result against Costa Rica didn't help. The two Mikes examine whether it's time for the U.S. to make a change at the helm, and what factors are most important when making that decision. Then, they try to figure out which La Liga team is the best. Is Barça actually in crisis? How is Real Madrid doing something so crazy? And is Atletico Madrid the best team in the world?

Our sponsor this week is Futchi. Get $20 off a Futchi set with the promo code HOWLER.

The role of analytics in football media w/ special guest Gab Marcotti  

The two Mikes are joined by one of the world's most preeminent soccer journalists to discuss how the rise of analytics has changed how the sport is covered, how far the relationship between the two still has to go, and what hurdles stand between those covering the game and today's ultra-informed fan. 

Breaking down four strikers, plus the "father of soccer analytics"  

Four Premier League strikers are having very different seasons. What's wrong with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and is this a slump to ride out or do something about? Jamie Vardy's shots are way down, and there are a few reasons why. Romelu Lukaku isn't struggling at all, and yet doesn't seem to get the credit he deserves. And Spurs aren't the same without Harry Kane. The two Mikes dive into the unique situations confronting each striker and club before switching gears to chat with Joe Sykes of FiveThirtyEight about Charles Reep, widely considered the father of modern soccer analytics, and the subject of a Hot Takedown podcast you need to check out. 

How the Premier League title race is shaking up  

The two Mikes revisit their preseason rankings of the title contenders, and examine what's changed for each of them since then. They start with Manchester United, who have a very cranky and expensive group of reserves that never see the field. Injury riddled Spurs have had a lot go wrong so far this year, and the jury is still out on Chelsea for some very specific reasons. A few numbers suggest that Liverpool is for real, a lack of depth may haunt Arsenal yet again, and you'll be stunned to find that Manchester City are still leading the pack by a wide margin (but one part of the field remains a potentially large problem). 

Two very different Manchester vs. Merseyside clashes  

Two draws were received very differently this week. The two Mikes take a longer look at the scoreless draw at Anfield (sorry in advance), and then flip to the 1-1 result at the Etihad. They examine a few questions along the way. Can this United team win a title, or even finish in the top four with this approach? Is Daniel Sturridge a problem for LFC? Should expectations be shifting higher for Everton? And of course, the annual wave of "Is Pep a fraud?" narratives.

Life cycles and time horizons  

During a riveting international break, the two Mikes desperately search for something else to talk about, and land on the windows of opportunity in front of four premier league clubs. How badly do Manchester City need a fullback? Does Liverpool need a left back or a midfielder more, and does that change if Jürgen Klopp thinks they can win the title this year? Should Swansea City and Sunderland buy or stand pat when the January window arrives with relegation potentially looming?

Spurs stun City, Barca in crisis and Bob Bradley is a Swan  

Tottenham Hotspur played a slightly different style against Manchester City, and it totally freaking worked. The two Mikes discuss whether the outcome outlined the ways in which City are vulnerable, revisit the idea that Barcelona might possibly be in trouble, walk the path of the hottest takes to assess Swansea City's hiring of Bob Bradley, and then spend a lot of time talking about Hamilton (the play, not the Scottish team).

Introducing The Goalmouth, Howler’s newest podcastisode  

The Goalmouth is a new, 5-minute podcast that will show up on your phone by 7 a.m. EST every weekday morning so you can hear the latest soccer news and nonsense on your commute. In collaboration with the Total Soccer Show and Dirty Tackle. For more information, visit:

Introducing The Goalmouth, Howler’s newest podcast  

The Goalmouth is a new, 5-minute podcast that will show up on your phone by 7 a.m. EST every weekday morning so you can hear the latest soccer news and nonsense on your commute. In collaboration with the Total Soccer Show and Dirty Tackle. For more information, visit:

True injury impact and re-evaluating some hot takes  

How much will injuries to Messi and Harry Kane affect Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur, respectively? The two Mikes dive into the numbers, and then re-examine their preseason assessments of four English clubs: Manchester United, Chelsea, West Ham and Stoke City.

Taking stock of the Premier League's Top 6  

After four matches, the two Mikes assess whether their preseason predictions are playing out as they expected. Is Manchester City's terrifying attack enough to overcome issues at the back? Yes, Chelsea looks fantastic, but there are some problems. Speaking of problems, Arsenal has a whole mess of them. Plus, thoughts on Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and even Everton(!).

Expected Goals Extravaganza  

This episode answers the age old question: Is football played on spreadsheets? In the heart of the international break, the two Mikes take the extra time to dive deep into everything you could ever possibly want to know about expected goals, and then talk about it some more.

Pressing Matters  

What we talk about when we talk about pressing actually varies more than most pundits would have you believe. For instance, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have similar approaches, but one big difference. Bayer Leverkusen has a tendency to turn their pressing into hockey on grass. The two Mikes dive a little deeper into types of pressing and their desired results, and then sort out all these Champions League changes everyone is freaking out about.

Should we be more worried about these English teams, or Messi's hair?  

The two Mikes provide the hottest of takes regarding a certain Barcelona star's bleached quaff, but also marvel at how good Barcelona looks in spite of its best player's hair. A bit farther north, Manchester City and Liverpool put in some eyebrow-raising performances, and is it time to be concerned about Crystal Palace, Sunderland, and Bournemouth?

What we absolutely did not learn from Week 1 of the Premier League  

You might think you can learn a lot about a team by watching them play for 90 minutes, but when those are the first 90 minutes of the season, all bets are off. The two Mikes review the most interesting results from the Barclay's Premier League opening weekend, and decide which parts were worth filing away for later, and which were worth throwing out the minute the final whistle blew.

Premier League Preview Blowout – Part 2  

Get comfortable with life in the middle, as the two Mikes assess the dealings and futures of the "Middle 7" – teams that probably won't win the title, and probably won't get relegated. Much is covered, including: Liverpool’s favorable schedule, Spurs’ reinforcement of their core, Leicester City’s understandable variance, Southampton’s process, West Ham’s ugly numbers, Stoke’s lack of moves, and Everton’s perplexing moves. Then, it's time for the opposite of Hot Takes: it's Cold Gives. Which somehow translates to: What are the biggest question marks in the league for the 2016-17 campaign?

Premier League Preview Blowout – Part 1  

The first installment of this preview covers the top 4 (teams with the best shot to win the title), and the bottom 9 (teams that will probably fight relegation). The two Mikes discuss Manchester City’s attacking options, Arsenal’s lack of significant upside, Chelsea’s seemingly perfect additions, and Manchester United’s high risk/high reward moves. Then the real fun starts with odes to the talents of Pardew and Moyes.

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