There may be people railing against it, but statistics and the analysis of them is here to stay.
Football is no longer just a game. It’s a business worth billions of pounds, that spawns more businesses and the analysis of the sport is one of those. However, the Telegraph has published a piece saying that expected goals and similar analyses are worthless. Using these sorts of statistics has become a vital part of the game and it’s only going to grow from here.
It’s not just the media that’s using these now. The best recruitment departments in the world are studying these statistics to define how a club is run. The example used, along with the tasteful term, football nerds is the analysis of Brighton and Hove Albion under Graham Potter. With Potter at the helm, the Seagulls are playing attractive, attacking football to a high standard.
Their biggest issue? They seem incapable of finding the back of the net. According to this piece, they’re just a bad team, simple as that. They’re near the bottom of the ladder, and that’s an end of it. However, we should be looking at why these things are happening. It’s what allows for analysis of where things are going wrong for Brighton.
It allows us to get a deeper understanding of the game. We can better identify the issues that players are having, why clubs are struggling or doing well. It would allow us to say Graham Potter’s team may be down near the bottom of the table, but he is not a bad manager. God forbid there be a bit of nuance in the analysis of football other than, this team is bad because they’re bad.
Reality does trump statistics. Of course, if Brighton gets relegated there will be little comfort in saying they were unlucky. However, this doesn’t mean that this sort of analysis isn’t useful. It also can tell us why they would have gone down. Which players have performed, which haven’t, in which areas they’re failing.