How to win on Saturday
When we refer to ‘strategy’ in football, we normally think of processes where the results may not materialise for months or even years. A club’s strategy might seek to exploit inefficiencies in the transfer market or youth development, for example.
A football club boardroom can however also focus on strategies that will help the team win on the weekend. Specifically, there are three notable in-game inefficiencies that can be exploited with better strategy, processes and hires:
- Home advantage: initial 21st Club research suggests that the crowd forms as much as a third of home field advantage, with familiarity, travel and other factors comprising the rest. Knowing how to maximise these factors can lead to better results both at home and on the road
- Game states: teams are less effective when they’re winning; after controlling for the strength of teams and venue, we find that the losing team is about 20-25% more likely to score the next goal than the leading team. Knowing how to fight loss aversion can make a substantial difference to results
- Set pieces: there is no relationship between open play team ability and set piece ability (below), which presents an enormous opportunity for weaker teams to punch above their weight on a weekly basis
While we are often swept up in the noise of week-to-week results, there’s no reason not to take a strategic view of the things that can make a difference every weekend.