This week I saw a few more new bloggers getting into the act with the data.
First up, there was this article by @RWhittall of TheScore.com where Richard talked about “soccer data abuse by some bloggers using the MCFC data”. The gist of the article is that some of the bloggers are extrapolating too much with their conclusions based on one year’s worth of data from one league. The other point made in the article is that the output of the majority of the work in soccer analytics isn’t groundbreaking and it is just adding a data context to what we already knew.
While I see where Richard is coming from, I don’t quite agree either with his assessment of the state of soccer analytics or the “data abuse” bit.
Unquestionably, we haven’t even scratched the surface of what we can do with data in soccer. The majority of the research work in the soccer analytics is carried out in the private domain. That is because soccer data is not a commodity like it is in other sports like Baseball. The MCFC & Opta project could be a significant step in the direction of making soccer data more accessible to a wider audience, if it can get enough passionate people interested in the project. However, like in any type of writing in the public domain, there is the good and the not so good. One of the things we discussed with Gavin Fleig, Head of Performance Analysis at Manchester City, Simon Farrant, Marketing coordinator at Opta et al is to build a community that fosters communication, collaboration and open feedback among the members and the readers. This should help everyone get better in some time.
Without further ado, here are links to some interesting work I found in this past week.
@MarkTaylor0 has a comprehensive piece on the state of soccer analytics and where it stands vis-à-vis other sports like NFL and Baseball. – The case for data analysis in football. This is a must read.
- @PedroAfonso85 has a couple posts using the advanced data set
- @ChrisJLilley continues with his positional analysis series with Strikers and Central attacking midfielders
- @FootballFactman ‘s piece talks about what to look for in goalkeepers of the premier league
- @shots_on_target talks about the correlation between points in fantasy football and attacking stats
- In my weekly opposition analysis series I analyzed at Sunderland using last season’s data.
- Earlier today I saw Voetstat, a neat blog by @Voetstat_craig which has some visualizations of pass completion + heatmaps. There are multiple posts. I haven’t had a chance to read all of them yet.
- @TomBerthon has this visualization of how goals were scored in the Bolton – City game from last season
If I missed any links, post them in the comments section and tweet them with the hashtag #MCFCAnalytics. I will retweet them.