Real Madrid have won the Champions League in three of the last four seasons. However, if the competition were organised slightly differently, it’s not impossible that we would be reading headlines as the one above.
Imagine the Champions League were contested every four years, like the World Cup is. The narratives that would emerge would be […]
The irony of Moneyball is that it is a story, and the Oakland A’s management hated stories.
That story is now well-told:
The antagonists – old school scouts – used narratives (“ugly girlfriend”, “presence”, “a tools guy”) to draw conclusions on players.
The protagonists – Bill James, Billy Beane and sabermetricians – used data to try […]
After identifying a player that has the potential improve our team, we often want to see how he responds in different circumstances. How does he perform away from home, for example, or in matches where the team is expected to dominate? We often place a lot of value in a player’s ability to step up […]
Last Wednesday, Roma led 1-0 at half time against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. Their coach Eusebio di Francesco urged his team to continue attacking; not only had they outshot the Ukranians 9-4, they’d created by far the better chances. Roma had an opportunity to put the tie to bed.
Within seven second half minutes […]
In a recent article for The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman reported on some of the work being done by Tasha Eurich, an organisational psychologist, author and expert on the subject of self-awareness.
According to Eurich, 95% of people think they’re self-aware but only 10-15% of us really are. If we’re not self-aware then we only have a […]
Back in January we wrote about some of the cognitive biases that can hinder our better judgement when recruiting new players. For example, we might overvalue experience – because know-how feels safe and so we assume it’s important – or be overly optimistic about a new player because we desperately want the signing to work out.
It never ceases to amaze us as to why footballers choose to shoot so regularly from outside the penalty area, when less than 4 in 100 of these attempts are scored.
Or why top-division clubs continue to use a substantial amount of scarce resource into scouting lower and weaker leagues for peak-age players, when the relative […]
Just like people tend to believe that the country they live in is better than most, we tend to overestimate the relative strength of our own league, and so overlook transfer targets who could improve our squad. There’s a reason why players bought from strong clubs tend to be more successful at their new club. […]
- If there’s an off-field parallel to the penalty shootout, it’s the month of January. The arrival of the transfer window coupled with contract renewals and sometimes decisions about the manager’s future make it a month of high-pressure choices, much like the choices our players must make after the 120th minute.
- A curious thing happens when a player hits 30. Ten of the most expensive signings ever made have been of players aged 28 or 29, but only one player in this subset was bought after his 30th birthday - the 31-year-old Gabriel Batistuta in 2000. This is a severe drop-off, no doubt influenced by the fact that it is much easier to convince ourselves of the value of a deal when a key characteristic falls just below a significant number.