Data analytics have come to play an important role in the football industry today. Clubs look to gain a competitive edge on and off the pitch, and big data is allowing them to extract insights to player scouting, improve player performance, prevent injuries, their suitability to the club’s system and ethos, output prediction and increase their commercial efficiency. However, contextualizing the information and extracting valuable insights is not always an easy task.
Moneyball & Football
Overtime, Analytics has started to play more important roles in Football with respect to player recruitment. There are many Football clubs in the world who pride themselves over their player recruitment models based purely data and metrics. Billy Beane, the pioneer of the ‘Moneyball’, a system of player recruitment based purely on stats instead of the old, tried and tested ‘eye-tested’ proved to revolutionise recruitment in Baseball. Nowadays clubs like Liverpool FC, Brentford FC, Barnsley, Midtjylland, AZ Alkmaar the Red Bull Franchise and many other clubs are known for their data driven approach to player recruitment.
There are many metrics over which a football player is analysed. These include Xg(Expected Goals), Xa(Expected assists), turnovers, dribbles, different per 90 minutes stats like passes, dribbles, pressures, tackles, interceptions etc. These stats can be viewed by the helps of charts and graphs which can present a player’s overall stats and make it easy for assessment. This model also helps in predicting potential risks and assessing the weaknesses of a player which reduces the chances of signing a player who can prove to be a flop, significantly.
Moneyball and the modern data driven approach in football has been proved to be a efficient, smart and cost effective way of recruitment. This model has allowed many smaller clubs to punch above their weight and challenge the bigger, more established clubs and have a successful trophy winning runs.
There are many football applications and websites available where one can view player stats like Sofascore, StatsBomb, FbRef etc. This field has gained more demand recently and many clubs are moving towards a pure data driven approach towards recruitment.