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October 2016
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Time to get the old board game out as Arsenal play Ludo

By Bulldog Drummond

Oh where are the old days?   The days when you could safely click onto a football web site and read about Arsene Wenger’s dithering and predictions that this will be the season when Arsenal get relegated, thus putting a stop to the celebrations in 2019 of 100 years in the top division?

Gone, all gone.  Instead the nearest we get are headlines like “Dithering Pogba seems to think his mere presence is enough at United.”  It’s just not the same.

Anyway, it seems we have never played a Bulgarian team before in the Champs League so welcome to another first for Arsenal.

Ludo is Latin for “I play” and it is rather curious to see Arsenal opening up the stadium for a board game of two to four players in which players move counters around the board, depending on the throw of the dice.  A bit like the FA moving their executives and England managers around according to the throw of the newspaper, or a bizarre enquiry into football’s doings in Parliament which ended up with yet another manager being accused to malpractice, and the FA defending Large Sam for goodness sake.

So back to Ludo

In the USA it is called Parcheesi, Sorry!, Aggravation or Trouble but in Germany it is “Mensch ärgere dich nicht” which I am unreliably informed means “Man, don’t get irritated”.

Ludo has equivalent names in many other languages (such as Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, and Slovene). For example, the Macedonian name is “Не лути се човеку”, meaning “Don’t get angry, man”. In Iran, the game is called “منچ” [Mench] which is probably an adaptation of the German name.

None of which has anything to do with Професионален футболен клуб Лудогорец Разград which is commonly translated Ludogorets Razgrad or Ludogorets.

But let us not underestimate their position as little more than a board game, for in the Europa League in 2013/14 they reached the round of 16.  They are only the second Bulgarian team (after Levski Sofia) to reach the group stage of the Champions League.  In 2014/15 they became the first Bulgarian team to score points in the Champions League group stages when they defeated FC Basel 1–0 in Sofia.

And here’s a thought: Liverpool! are the only previous English club to have played against Ludogorets – that was in the 2014/15 Champions League group stages. Although Liverpool! won at Anfield, it was a 2-2 draw in Sofia.  Now I know that was only Liverpool! but even so.  Some caution should be observed.

The table this time around now looks like this.

Team P     W     D   L    F    A    GD Pts
Arsenal 2 1 1 0 3 1 2 4
Paris Saint Germain 2 1 1 0 4 2 2 4
Basel 2 0 1 1 1 3 -2 1
Ludo Razgrad 2 0 1 1 2 4 -2 1

Of course Ludo is actually Ludogorie – the region of the wild forests in north east Bulgaria.  The club’s nickname is is the Eagles.  When Lazio played them in the Champs League Ludo were given an eagle named Fortuna before the game.  A nice touch.

The club was founded in 2001 as Ludogorie Football Club. They play in the Ludogorets Arena which has a capacity of 8,808 seats, having been founded in 2001 as Ludogorie FC.  They adopted their current name from one of the first football clubs in the town, Razgrad 2000, which was founded in 1945 and subsequently dissolved in 2006 after lack of funding.

Here are their latest results.

Date Competition Home team Score Away team
14.10.2016 League Pirin Blagoevgrad 1-3 Ludogorets
02.10.2016 League Ludogorets 3-1 Neftohimik Burgas
28.09.2016 Champs Lge Ludogorets 1-3 Paris St. Germain
23.09.2016 League FC Vereya 1-5 Ludogorets
20.09.2016 Cup Botev Vratsa 0-4 Ludogorets
17.09.2016 League Ludogorets 3-1 Slavia Sofia
And the league table…
Pos. Team GP Pts W D L F A Pts
1 Levski Sofia 10 24 7 3 0 19 4 24
2 Ludogorets 9 22 7 1 1 25 9 22
3 Dunav Ruse 10 18 5 3 2 12 6 18
4 CSKA Sofia 10 18 5 3 2 16 6 18
5 Botev Plovdiv 10 17 5 2 3 18 15 17
6 Cherno More Varna 10 17 5 2 3 12 11 17
7 Beroe Stara Zagora 9 13 4 1 4 8 11 13
8 Pirin Blagoevgrad 10 13 4 1 5 11 15 13
9 Lokomotiv Plovdiv 10 12 3 3 4 18 19 12
10 Slavia Sofia 10 10 3 1 6 14 20 10
11 FC Vereya 10 10 3 1 6 9 18 10
12 Lokomotiv Gorna O. 10 8 2 2 6 9 17 8
13 Neftohimik Burgas 10 7 2 1 7 9 18 7
14 PFK Montana 10 5 1 2 7 6 17 5

Who would have thought that a state in the western USA would be bottom of the Bulgarian league?

Up next, the teams

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Players used vs league position, and the range of top scorers so far in the league.

How the media twisted Arsenal v Swansea and Liverpool v Man U

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How Arsène Wenger’s faith in Theo Walcott is paying off this season

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Referee Appointments and Results Matchweek #07 complete with video evidence

Arsenal in December 1934: two steps forward, two steps back.

Former Arsenal player John Barnwell talks about his years at Highbury

13 comments to Time to get the old board game out as Arsenal play Ludo

  • Sammy The Snake

    Played many hours as a kid playing “منچ” [Mench]! Nice one reference.

  • nicky

    Crumbs, at an under 9000 capacity, our away fans may outnumber the opposition in the return leg. 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    And in Dutch it is: “Mens erger je niet”. Let us hope we don’t have to get annoyed this evening.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Good morning Mr Drummond. Whatever Arsenal protagonists may think about our unrivaled continuity at the very top of the old 1st division now the EPL, Arsenal will never be relegated and they will God’s willing, celebrate their100 years continuous presence in the highest division of the English football League in 3 years time.

    Arsenal will undoubtedly beat Ludogorets Razgrad by 4 unanswered goals tonight at the Ems to reaffirm their leadership on top of group A table which they are currently heading on head to head above PSG who are in the 2nd spot.

    4 goals are on the cards for the Gunners to put past Ludogorets tonight. And the Gunners musn’t fluff their lines in this game however Ludogorets proved to be difficult. But take all their chances to score all the 4 goals unfailingly.

    I expect Le Prof to start that his strongest starts of this season he’s been starting for this match day no. 3 Ucl game at the Ems. But make one goalkeeper change to his stars.

    My starts:
    Bellerin Koscielny Mustafi Monreal
    Cazorla Xhaka
    Walcott Ozil Iwobi

    My Bench:
    Cech Debuchy Gabriel Gibbs Elneny Oxchambo Perez.

    I have covered every positions in the team on my bench with positional specialists. And I hope Le Prof does this too. And not drop Xhaka for Coquelin in this match. But Coquelin can be brought on past the hour mark in the game to further instill fitness in his knee in preparedness to start the Middlesborough match on Saturday.

  • Pete

    Samuel – you omitted Coquelin from your bench?

  • Pete

    At a conference in Switzerland (not football related) where Arsenal supporters have just been described as “fickle” by the Chair in a “humorous aside”. This is what the AAA have done to our reputation ! Deep sigh.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    A reminder that the U19s kick off their game against Ludogrets at 13:00 this afternoon the game is live on BT Sportin the U.K. so there may well also be streams available elsewhere. Three points needed from this game as we only have a single point so far in our group.

  • andrew crawshaw

    Reiss Nelson with the opening goal for the young Guns in the third minute. COYYG

  • andrew crawshaw

    Coming up for 20 minutes played and 18 of them have been in the Ludo half. Still just the one goal but it’s all one way traffic so far.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Pete, thanks. This is a not well thoughtout bench by me which has resulted to this omission after I’ve said Coquelin should be brought on latter into the game to replace Xhaka who I said Le Prof should start.

    I am reviewing my bench as follows:
    Cech Debuchy Gabriel Gibbs Coquelin Oxchambo Perez.

  • Gord

    Thanks Andrew. Viewing the website just now, I see that Nketiah added a penalty and a headed goal for a 3-0 win. And Ludogorets picked up both of the yellow cards issued in the game. Congratulations to the U19.

    Hopefully the senior team will have a good game!

    Going through the Google News this morning, I see that another person has agreed to plead guilty in the USA fraud case. Also a father/son pair from Argentina will not be extradited from Argentina to stand charge. Appeals?

    Guardian has a story about this stupid idea to expand WC to 48 teams being something that might implode.

  • Gord

    Evening Standard has a blurb about London fans and how often they bet against the team they (claim to) support.

    > Social betting app Every Fan carried out a survey of 2,000 Premier League fans, which shows that 18 per cent of Chelsea supporters have bet against their team winning a game in the past – the most of any London club.

    Other numbers from the article:
    Arsenal 11%
    Spuds 13%
    Watford 14%
    State Aid 15%
    CPalace 16%

    This wasn’t limited to EPL fans in London, it was all EPL clubs.

    Is there a difference?

    2000 fans were interviewed. There are 20 teams. So, a priori we sort of expect each team to have 100 supporters in the survey. So clubs are bigger (Chelsea, Arsenal, Spuds, ManU, ManC, Liv!!!, Everton). So, maybe we say that half the teams are big(ger) and half are small(er). We’ll bump the big teams about +10%, and the small teams about -10%. So, we have 10 teams at 110 fans (total 1100), leaving 900 votes left among 10 teams, so 90 votes for the smaller teams. I suppose some people could support more than 1 team, I haven’t considered this.

    Chelsea had 0.18(110)=20 fans vote against Chelsea. Arsenal had 0.11(110)=12 fans vote against Arsenal. We’ll start with the assumption that 12 and 20 are in fact the same number, so we use the average of 16. If Poisson statistics are at play, we expect a standard deviation proportional to 4 (which is 25%). Both values (12 and 20) are just at 1 (times some unknown multiplier, assumed to be near 1) standard deviation from the mean of 16.

    It is not unusual to sample a distribution and find estimates 1 standard deviation away. All the other clubs are inside of that.

    My guess, is that this article is all vapour, as there is no indication these numbers are actually different from each other.

  • Gord

    If the above survey had of interviewed 2000 Chelsea fans and 2000 Arsenal fans, we would have:

    Chelsea 0.18*(2000)=360
    Arsenal 0.11*(2000)=220

    Again, we pool by using the average (290). Each value is now 70 from the average. Our first guess at a standard deviation is now 17. And our 2 values are about 4.1 standard deviations off the average. Which would make it unlikely that they are in fact measures of the same thing. And hence the proposed differences in betting behavior would be reasonable.

    But, they couldn’t be bothered seeing if their poll had any statistical power, and published it anyway.

    Or, that is my opinion.

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