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Analytics

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  • 27 Aug 2020

    One leg good, two legs bad?

    There has been discussion about whether the enforced change to one-leg ties for the Champions League knockout structure should become the new normal. The all-or-nothing games were fantastic television, so why not keep them around?

    The key difference is that one-legged ties bring greater uncertainty. For evenly-matched teams the effect of one or two legs is […]

  • 01 May 2020

    Finding signal in the data

    A lot is often made of the fact that Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk does not make many tackles. The Dutchman averages almost exactly one a game, less than every other central defender at England’s “Big 6” clubs bar one. Paolo Maldini famously said “If I have to make a tackle then I have already made […]

  • 12 Mar 2020

    What can you get for a hundred grand?

    Last year, the FT ran a feature on FC Barcelona’s Innovation Hub, and about how the club is looking for new ways to gain a competitive edge. For most other clubs around the world, it is not possible to match Barcelona’s spending in areas such as analytics, sports science, nutrition, and stadium infrastructure, so it […]

  • 10 Oct 2019

    The Curious case of Mohamed Salah

    Since his Player of the Year winning season of 2017/18, Mohamaed Salah has divided opinion. In the last 14 months he has continued to be the biggest direct contributor to Liverpool’s attack with 46 goals and assists across the Premier League and Champions League (Mane 35 and Firmino 31) yet the fans seem to be […]

  • 20 Jun 2019

    How to get lucky in the transfer market

    “The stockmarket is a risky and complicated place. For more than a century many investors have trusted financial experts to pick the best shares for them, in return for a hefty fee. But even the experts can get it badly wrong” wrote The Economist earlier this month. And while decisions made on a trading floor on stocks […]

  • 10 Jan 2019

    Messi peso, Ronaldo euro

    You’re probably thinking: not another debate about Ronaldo and Messi. Believe me, we’re as bored as you. But we do think there’s a lesson in their international goalscoring records that clubs can use in their player recruitment.

    Ronaldo has 20 more goals than Messi for his country – 25 if you exclude penalties – and even […]

  • 13 Apr 2016

    I cannot make bricks without clay!

    “Data, data, data!” [Holmes] cried impatiently. “I cannot make bricks without clay!” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

    The brilliant detective of Conan Doyle’s creation is not alone.  Today, key decision-makers in most fields rely on a healthy supply of objective, accurate data and analytics in order make the decisions on which their […]

  • 07 May 2015

    What if the manager is asking the wrong questions?

    A recent article by Alex Morgan for Football Everyday covered some of the football-related presentations at the recent Sports Analytics conference in London. The column featured some hitherto unknown titbits of the kind data leading club analysts have at their disposal, including a long and detailed look at the excellent work of Ian Graham at Liverpool FC. For that reason alone, it’s worth your time. 
  • 22 Apr 2015

    Can analytics help a last-placed team avoid relegation?

    Let’s pretend for a moment you’re Sean Dyche, manager of Premier League bottom-dwellers Burnley FC. All that stands between you and the drop are five fixtures against beatable sides, a potential 15 points to take your team to safety. You know, grimly, that you’ll likely need a minimum of ten to survive. In desperation to stay up, you decide to consult a stats analyst.