OT: the increasing role of statistics when discussing football

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Post by BarrileteCosmico Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:59 am

So I'm not going to go very in depth right now as I need to hit the sack soon but I thought maybe this would be an interesting topic. So lately, stats have gathered an increased importance in the sport. It started with things such as assists and now it has evolved to the point where people try to determine who the best players are. So this brings up a couple of questions: Just how telling are stats when it comes to discussing football? Do they have important limits? Is it possible to truly grasp how good a player, or team, is based only on stats? What makes football so different than the other sports that lend themselves more to stat-based analysis?
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Post by The Franchise Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:34 pm

I hate stats.

There is nothing wrong in letting people know about certain things, but I find people who use them as the base to prove a point are simply lazy or unknowable.

What people seem to forget is, often stats are a by product of factors outside the individuals control.

A clear example, assists.

Player X got 20 assists whereas player Y got 11, this means player X is better at giving the final pass.

Terrible.

Ignoring the possibility that player X

Maybe player X plays higher up the field, perhaps player Y has a teammate who plays in a better position to make these passes, perhaps player X simply has been finishers of his chances.

There is so many possibilities.

Stats are a useful thing to throw into you point to further demonstrate your point, but still, only if the correct explanation behind the stats is present.

You can never understand football based on stats, never.

To be honest, football isnt alone. Even more stats centered games, like basketball. I find it incredible the credence given to stats and the sheer amount of different stats. I dont agree with the constant use of it there either.

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Post by Albiceleste Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:45 pm

alfredandrew wrote:So I'm not going to go very in depth right now as I need to hit the sack soon but I thought maybe this would be an interesting topic. So lately, stats have gathered an increased importance in the sport. It started with things such as assists and now it has evolved to the point where people try to determine who the best players are. So this brings up a couple of questions: Just how telling are stats when it comes to discussing football? Do they have important limits? Is it possible to truly grasp how good a player, or team, is based only on stats? What makes football so different than the other sports that lend themselves more to stat-based analysis?

Stats tell a lot, pretty much everything you need to know honestly, other than off the ball movements and how hard people work on the pitch it tells nearly the whole story.

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Post by Piquenbauer Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:47 pm

Lionel Messi wrote:Stats tell a lot, pretty much everything you need to know honestly, other than off the ball movements and how hard people work on the pitch it tells nearly the whole story.

I think you need to look at all the stats and combine them to get the full picture and even then sometimes it can turn out wrong.
Therefore i believe stats to be very deceiving.
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Post by Albiceleste Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:51 pm

It really depends on what the stat is honestly

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Post by DirkVA Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:57 pm

Mark Twain: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

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Post by Pinoy_Cules Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:06 pm

I find game and player statistics to be a useful tool in understanding what happened in a game. I like to see possession percentage, shots taken, and shots on target after a game. I also like to see the visual heat maps of a player's movement but maybe that's because I'm a visual person. BTW, is there a site that provides game statistics for free?

Of course statistics can be misused. I find it pretty hard to swallow that Frank Lampard (13) is ranked much better than Xavi (24) in the Castrol Rankings. LAME!!!
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:22 pm

Pinoy there are several. I know of a great one I'll post ti when I get back to my laptop.

As for my own take on the subject I think there are some instances in which stats can be useful to prove a point. For example: 'Messi has a sub-par final pass' 'No, that's not true, he has made 23 assists this season'. That being said there are scenarios where stats are just not applicable: 'Messi has made more assists this season than Xavi, therefore he's a better passer' is simply a false statement.

I personally believe stats are not very telling. Perhaps it's an outcome of my environment, barely anyone uses statistical analysis in Argentina (compared to the US, a place that loves to quantify everything, this was a bit of a culture shock when I first came here). I simply think that there is a lot that they're not telling. For example, Madrid has made more shots on target vs Barca in the 4 clasico sequence. Based on that you'd think Madrid was a more attacking team, or even comparable to Barca, when we know that's clearly not the case.

edit: here's the link to the stats website http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=de&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fussballdaten.de%2F


Last edited by alfredandrew on Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by joksa Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:30 pm

Stats can give you an idea about a player, match etc. but at the same time they can be very deceiving. Stats can't be ignored by I don't judge players or thei abilities by them.

Dani (or Franchise, which should I use lol) pointed out a few of the problems. But the main advantage of stats imo is that they're something concrete. It's very subjective to rate players abilities, such as who is the better dribbler, X or Y. Stats are easy to use, it's quite easy to compare goals scored by two players.

But I don't like it that much when stats come into player comparisons (even though I myself use them every now and then lol). Look at Iniesta for example: the best AM around imo, one of the best players in the world. But his stats aren't that great which is sometimes used against him. That's wrong imo, stats don't tell whether you're a good footballer or not.

But they are useful sometimes, especially when analysing a team's performance. And I've always liked to mess around with numbers so I shouldn't complain too much Smile
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Post by The Franchise Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:28 pm

Dani is fine Jok lol

To you guys, its the same old, same old.

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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:30 pm

@The Franchise wrote:Dani is fine Jok lol

To you guys, its the same old, same old.


What a wonderful treat cheers

P.S Stat's sux :coffee:
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Post by Mr Nick09 Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:37 pm

I think the depth of study defines whether or not stats are useful.

the situation Dani described up there with 20 v 11 assists is the usual need jerk argument some will abuse.

But i remember reading an in-depth analysis of Nuri Sahin passing statistics in bundesliga, which was showing just how impressive and accurate he was at passing the ball forward, and how much superior he was to the rest of the bundesliga.

they can emphasize things we already observe, good compliment to the modern sport providing it's done correctly, but even using things like shooting percentage and goalscoring ration isnt enough to find the best striker in the world. just too many factors numbers do not take into consideration.
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Post by The Franchise Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:45 pm

I agree Nick.

There are certain stats when applied correctly give you good information.

But this is information you should be able to see with your two eyes and then the stats can back that up for you to a degree.

My problem with stats is simple, football is more art then maths, it always has been and always will be.

There are too many things you see and even can feel about a player or a team, which cant be explained by stats, but is something which is real and is there.

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Post by Mr Nick09 Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:50 pm

The simple fact that the american stats masters still havent gotten their heads around it is proof enough Razz
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Post by ChollaVille Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:47 am

At the and of the day... stats are all...

We won 78 official trophies, Messi will won 3rd Ballon d'or, we scored more goals, we conceded less, we have more points, we are champions...

Casillas is better than Valdes, but I would rather have Valdes who will save 82% of shots than Casillas who will save 70% of shots.

I would like to have Dani Guiza who will score 26 goals in season more than Ibraimmobile who will score 16 in season.
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Post by Guest Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:04 am

Seeing as I run a statistical website myself I thought I would throw in my opinion.

Stats can be manipulated to almost better anyone's argument no matter what it is.

What needs to be said is you can not use statistics as a baseline when you have not watched the players or teams you are talking about in the first place.

ie Player X is better than Player Y from the past their stats are the same.
If you have not watched the player in the past wholly and completely in his career including at the very least 20+ full games then you should not be discussing the point to begin with. And no youtube does not count lol

Stats no matter how in depth no matter how complete can never tell you the whole story. YOU NEED TO WATCH THE PLAYER/TEAM YOURSELF!

Stats are a good tool to help your argument buts that's only assuming you have watched the players you are discussing and know what your talking about. Not only that but the person you are debating or discussing with really needs to have that understanding as well.

Also most stats recorded today were not less than 10 years ago and most from back then especially assist statistics are not reliable.

Even today, take the one team I focus on Real Madrid, I verify with 3 different sources sometimes 4, and sometimes they will have different numbers each single one.

That being said I do believe stats are a good tool discussing certain things.

ie with playmakers you can discuss, assists, goalscoring chances created, movement, pass completion in the final third etc etc
That being said YOU STILL NEED TO WATCH THE PLAYER YOURSELF.

Just my two cents




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Post by messixaviesta Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:56 am

In the words of an ex-cricketer and now cricket commentator from my country, one Mr. Navjot Singh Siddhu.

"Statistics are like mini-skirts. They reveal a lot but they conceal the vital bit."



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Post by The Franchise Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:23 pm

@ChollaVille wrote:At the and of the day... stats are all...

We won 78 official trophies, Messi will won 3rd Ballon d'or, we scored more goals, we conceded less, we have more points, we are champions...

Casillas is better than Valdes, but I would rather have Valdes who will save 82% of shots than Casillas who will save 70% of shots.

I would like to have Dani Guiza who will score 26 goals in season more than Ibraimmobile who will score 16 in season.

But this is exactly where it falls down.

Casillas saved 70% of shots for Madrid, the % could and probably would change playing for us. So you wanting Valdes because of that % is pretty flawed.

The last line is the just the same. How do you know Guiza will score 26 for us? What about all the things that get us to the point in which the goals are scored?
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Post by ChollaVille Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:49 pm

@The Franchise wrote:
@ChollaVille wrote:At the and of the day... stats are all...

We won 78 official trophies, Messi will won 3rd Ballon d'or, we scored more goals, we conceded less, we have more points, we are champions...

Casillas is better than Valdes, but I would rather have Valdes who will save 82% of shots than Casillas who will save 70% of shots.

I would like to have Dani Guiza who will score 26 goals in season more than Ibraimmobile who will score 16 in season.

But this is exactly where it falls down.

Casillas saved 70% of shots for Madrid, the % could and probably would change playing for us. So you wanting Valdes because of that % is pretty flawed.

The last line is the just the same. How do you know Guiza will score 26 for us? What about all the things that get us to the point in which the goals are scored?

Casillas could be worse... and how do you know that Guiza wuld not score more than Ibra?
Very Happy
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:54 pm

Right but what he's saying is that statistics don't provide enough support to make those claims Very Happy

Although if there's one position that could get scrutinized statistically it would be keepers. At least in the aspect of shot-stopping if you were to divide the success % instead of shots vs saves but rather long range shots, 1v1 situations, free kicks, headers, short-range, etc you would have a very accurate idea of how good that goalkeeper is and what team he suits best.
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Post by messixaviesta Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:13 am

alfred, you changed your user name after joining the forum. How does one do that?

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Post by BarrileteCosmico Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:38 pm

Send a PM to one of the admins (preferably check for the ones that are online first) and they can do it in a split second.
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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:40 pm

@BarrileteCosmico wrote:Send a PM to one of the admins (preferably check for the ones that are online first) and they can do it in a split second.

You sure about that Alf? I asked Dani if mine could be changed and he said no because the admin's dont want to create confusion.
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:57 pm

Oh well, in that case ask Jack Daniels, he had no problem with changing mine Very Happy

(if it's a one time change I don't see why it would create confusion, and I'm keeping 'formerly alfredandrew in my sig for a few weeks so as to avoid it)
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Post by The Franchise Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:46 pm

I was wondering how you got your name changed, sorry Mole, I know you must be disappointed.

Cant explain tbh what has happened here, a lack of communication on our part.

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