Performance League

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  • 04 May 2017

    The undeserving champion

    “We need in football this type of luck,” said Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp of Emre Can’s improbable goal against Watford on Monday. A loss for Liverpool would have cut their chances of a top four finish to 62%; a little more than a coin flip. As it was, Liverpool’s win gave them a 90% chance […]
  • 02 Mar 2017

    The Leicester City problem

    Last week’s sacking of Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri evoked an understandably fervent response. Many felt that having won the league, the Italian deserved the opportunity to continue his tenureship, while others simply felt that in a results business he had failed to assure the club that he was still the right man for the […]
  • 29 Sep 2016

    The early indicators

    In the opening weeks of the season, it is desperately difficult to gauge the state of affairs. Not only are new players settling in, the skew of the fixture calendar can make some teams appear better or worse than they are.We can use two composite metrics to give us an early sense of how well […]
  • 28 Apr 2016

    Taking stock

    During the season, we spend so much time in ‘push mode’ that we can forget to celebrate what went well or to evaluate why. “You’re only as good as your last game!”, or so the saying goes.  We tend to take stock only at the end of the season, when we finally get a chance […]
  • 20 Apr 2016

    The Barcelona Problem

    It’s been a difficult month for Barcelona. Three consecutive league defeats and a Champions League exit mean they are football’s current crisis club. The odds of enduring such a miserable run would have been around 2,500 to 1; outlier results this extreme at any club always demand serious examination.The first step for clubs in this […]
  • 03 Mar 2016

    In defence of intuition

    Intuition has historically been a decision-maker’s best friend in business and sport. Then data came along and the value of intuition seemingly diminished - an objective challenger to the notion that we’re capable of understanding something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning or numbers.The commonly held assumption that intuition is nothing more than pure […]
  • 18 Feb 2016

    The unknown truth

    Arguably the story of the season across European football is the rise of Leicester City. After winning 41 points in 2014-15, they’re on course for more than 70 this season and remain in the running for the league title.Leicester are a clear case of a team that is knowingly better - they are vastly improved […]
  • 11 Feb 2016

    Urgent vs. important

    “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower Your next match is urgent.Your position at the end of the season is important.Dealing with a disappointing result from the weekend is urgent, understanding if you actually deserved to lose is important.Signing a new player in the window is urgent, creating […]
  • 13 Nov 2015

    Four defending champions

    A title defence is regarded as one of football’s toughest feats, and across European football we’re seeing different teams approach the challenge with varying levels of success.It can often be easy to get swept up in overly simplistic narratives that exaggerate or conceal the need for change. “Winning ugly”, “suffering from complacency”, “lacking motivation” are […]
  • 08 Oct 2015

    The second season illusion

    In June 2010, Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish vowed that his club - which had just finished an impressive 9th place in the Premier League following promotion - would not be victims of ‘second season syndrome’. “We will do some homework regarding teams that struggled a bit in their second years to see if we […]