Analytics in Football

Sports as you may know it today has come a considerable ways. There were instances when watching sports in the media was considered an immense step forward when it comes to technology. Fast forward 60 years, watching sports in the media has become the most elementary thing. Today we watch sports away from home on our mobiles or any device which has a screen and internet connectivity. Proud of what steps we’ve come, aren’t we? Hopefully I can improve your opinion on that at the end of this article.

What is sports exactly about? Sports is often a bunch of people getting together to try out a game with pre defined rules along with a referee to ensure these rules are followed during the passage of play. I am a sport lover and play sports record. My fascination with tennis and soccer for example cannot be defined. My issue if this came to technology and advanced analytics was together with the game of soccer specifically. Soccer is definately a beautiful game. The strategies how the coaching staff produce and the way it really is executed on field from the players, it actually is really a thing of beauty. I became a soccer player myself (just the normal one during this) and have absolutely been a part of various teams. I know firsthand how strategies are meant, just how much thought enters into one single run of play.

Enter -> Advanced Analytics

Most person would’ve seen the movie Moneyball. The movie took it’s origin from the book Michael Lewis wrote in 2003. It references how a jock turned luminary uses advanced statistics to achieve a competitive edge over his better funded opponents. This book brought on a revolution is sports. Fans and boards of soccer clubs didn’t would like to settle for subpar statistics or analytics anymore. What Moneyball did is, it took a classic cliché – “sports are businesses” generating us start working on the next logical question – “how can we do things smarter?”

Now when it comes to advanced analytics. Advanced analytics these days plays a tremendous role in every single business sector. Advanced analytics is a boon for many people. Moving from descriptive analytics to prescriptive analytics, we actually attended a long way. In various businesses, in which the requirement is demanding, advanced analytics are most important.

When we look at soccer, its a casino game that does not require an excessive amount machine intelligence, it is really a game that requires the human element. When you attract analytics and technology and attempt to reduce the human being element within the sports, it really just crushes the spirit with the game.

Relying on analytics heavily killed the Premier Leagues long ball game and created the pressing, continual passing tiki-taka. Each league as an example had a unique style of play. The Premier League had the brash and brazen form of football that’s termed “The way real men play football”. There were beautiful long balls, harsh tackles but each of the players just sucked it down, walked rid of it and it was all nearly the referee about the pitch to penalize the offender or otherwise. There were arguments and fights, the passion from your fans was crazy, that had been the football that screamed of passion, when players got when confronted with other players not fearing punishment. The Eric Cantona’s, the Ivan Genaro Gattuso’s, the Jaap Stam’s on the football world went missing in no time and the diving plus the biting began. Then there were the tiki-taka type of football that’s played from the Spanish La Liga, the silky kind of play that caught everyone off guard. The legendary Pep Guardiola with the exceptional army at Barcelona were the masters with the tiki-taka. There was Real Madrid who had been always a star studded line-up with excessive areas of their play depending upon lightning quick counters which most often than not left the opponents stunned. There was Manchester United who had his or her brand of football being managed through the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson. That United team would have been a team of sheer grit and character. Each of these leagues had their very own beauty plus the teams had their own form of play.

When you generate excessive technology and analytics, there emerge sorry technologies like VAR (Video Assistant Referees).

There are 3 stages about how the VAR works:

Step 1

Incident occurs

The referee informs the VAR, and the VAR recommends on the referee which a decision/incident really should be reviewed.

Step 2

Review and advice through the VAR

The video is reviewed through the VAR, who advises the referee via headset just what the video shows.

Step 3

Decision or action is taken

The referee decides to check the video footage about the side on the field of play before the appropriate action/decision, or even the referee accepts the information in the VAR and takes the proper action/decision.

Now the referee can seek advice from VAR for basically any doubts he wants clarified. What does this do?

• Removes a persons element on the game.

• Takes up excess some time to brings way too many stoppages inside the game, a sport that was previously free flowing and continuous.

This can make it similar to Formula 1 racing. The analytics which caused the fuel weight-loss systems and also the numerous pit stops took the continuity out on the race and viewership reduced with all the increase in technology. A pretty similar trend might exist in football if this type of implementation becomes mandatory.

The Positive Side of Advanced Analytics in Soccer:

Analytics aren’t all that bad in football. Let’s take true of when Simon Wilson joined Manchester City in 2006. Simon Wilson became a consultant with an analytics startup called Prozone initially. He joined City to begin a department of analytics and hired the most effective data analysts under him. He desired to change the way how data was applied by football teams. He saw that, following a defeat there is no introspection about why they lost and what would have to be done next occasion. City were a mid table club during that time. In September 2008, if the club was acquired with the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment, a private-equity outfit belonging to a member in the Abu Dhabi royal family, they suddenly found itself using the resources needed to mount challenging for the Premier League. Today, Wilson is Manchester City’s manager of strategic performance analysis. He has five departments under him, including the group of performance analysis, which can be now led with a sports scientist named Ed Sulley.

After each match, the c’s’s performance data can be examined. The list is extensive. Line breaks (a rugby term), ball possession, pass success, ball win/loss time ratio were what once was analyzed. “Instead of investigating a list of 50 variables we need to find five, say, that basically matter for our type of play,” says Pedro Marques, a match analyst at Manchester City.

“With the proper data-feeds, the algorithms will output the information that have a powerful relationship with winning and losing.” Wilson recalls a definite period when Manchester City hadn’t scored from corners in over 22 games, so his team chose to analyze over 400 goals which were scored from corners. It was pointed out that about 75 percent resulted from in-swinging corners, the type the location where the ball curves to your goal. The next 12 games of the subsequent season saw City score nine goals from corner.

Teams are investing heavily in analytics today and it truly is working in their favor. Look at where Manchester City are today, sitting atop the Premier League table rather than being threatened in any way. Look at Manchester United this coming year, their game continues to be such where their possession percentages are low however goal conversions are high. The Manchester Derby on 7th April 2018 saw United simply have 35% from the possession but they also managed to trump City 3-2. Each team has their group of analysts who provide inputs depending on the strength from the team.

Advanced analytics is similar to the coin Two Face in Batman has, “Heads you die, Tails you survive!”

It can reap crazy rewards from the team’s mindset but simultaneously can disrupt the lovely game by securing unnecessary stoppages, replays through taking a persons element from it. The numerous replays along with the different angles, show the fans should the referee has created an error or otherwise. Let the error happen, all things considered to err is human. Refereeing in soccer is just not an exact science also it’s all actual time. Let there be arguments in regards to decision, allow passion from the argument come through. Do you need to watch a football match such as the El Classico and the Manchester Derby and sit with your number of friends and say “it would be a very clean game, the most beneficial team won!” Hell NO! Don’t drive the passion outside of soccer with technology and analytics. Let soccer be soccer and let technology stop!

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