Books | Sports

August 7, 2013

Creating Order from Soccer's Chaos

David Sally and Chris Anderson use advanced analytics to poke, prod, and disrupt thinking about how soccer works.

David Goldenberg

There are far better sports to apply advanced metrics to than soccer. Basketball, for example, features loads of statistical categories and tons of points. In American football, everyone lines up in position after each down, making it relatively simple to run simulations. And baseball is so stats-friendly that it's often more fun to argue about changes in WAR and hat sizes than to watch the actual games themselves. The beautiful game, on the other hand, features frenetic action but relatively little in the way of discrete, quantifiable occurrences. Even soccer's results are maddeningly obtuse; the most common score is a 1-1 tie. Slowly, though, the world's most watched sport, which features most of the world's most popular athletes, is giving up its secrets to the quants.

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- Books
- posted on Oct 24, 13
Ade woods

Great book on football.

I support Brentford, a small local London club. We have our own forum where I have been trying to persuade other posters to think about your findings. You were certainly right about one thing most of them don't like this type of analysis. A few do but majority are anti.

I found your research very good. I enjoyed the book a lot. I am now an emeritus prof of management spending part of my professional career taking middle managers up to the next level. So I find reading about football management so interesting. Years ago I did a book on strategic management using Man U as a case study. Doing the research for that was so enjoyable.

Thanks for the book.


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