16/02/2009

Chalkbord mania!

The Guardians CHALKBOARD is a wonderful, incredible, impressive and deceptive medicine against workplace productivity.
You just gotta try it (he said in his best street corner voice). The nice thing about it is that there is something for everybody.

Let's say you think Cole is good at the moment, or before the injury rather, but think he was useless in October. Just pick out a few recent games, and a few from back then and compare his stats!
Is his pass completion better? Is his shooting better or more accurate? Does the difference lie in his second halves? It's all there for you to find!
If you think Parker had a difficult time finding a forward pass, in the last PL game? Just analyse the arrows!

What it doesn't tell you, however, is what context the stats are taken from, what kind of a game it was, and every footballer is obviously dependent on what goes on around him.

Let's take a quick example.
Against ManU our passing stats were 428 attempts and out of those 63 were unsuccessful. In the same game the ManU stats were 484 and 54 . So they produced 60 odd correct passes more than we did. Significant?
If it is, it doesn't really say were the problem lies does it? Are the passers worse at passing or does the problem lie with the ones to receive them? Or rather, is it the opponents, not giving you any time to set up good passes? Maybe those extra passes are just useless side way passes?
For this, I'm afraid you still have to watch the game.

But does Collison produce more, but less accurate passes than Behrami and are they more attacking passes? Let's see...

3 comments:

Farbror the Guru said...

Statistics is a Drug!

Hakan said...

I totally agree that the chalkboards are both addictive and deceptive. The WH-MU game is a good example. I've studied the passing statistics for that game from a number of different angles. In the end I think the most interesting fact was that WH’s central midfield, Parker and Noble, gave the ball away by mis-hitting passes a lot more often(14) than Scholes and Carrick (5). Whether this was significant for the outcome of the game is another matter. But I think it might just hint at an important difference between the sides, even though I fully share your reservations about how to draw conclusions from the chalkboards.

Joppe - said...

No coincident that I chose that game.
My theory was that our midfielders were under more pressure than the ManUre ones, therefore wasting more passes. But now I’ve gone back to other games where we played well and won, even comfortably (last Hull game for instance) and to my surprise our passing stats looks more or less the same! Parker seems a stable passer with about 95% accuracy, Noble misses some more but are consistent between games. But then Noble doesn’t have the “back to the defenders” option that Parker has, and makes use of.
Comparing the central midfielders in a straight midfield with the ones playing in a diamond shape may also be misleading. The offensive central midfielder will always look worse in this respect, but may contribute more in the way of creating chances.
Again, I’m not saying this was the case, just saying you need to know a lot about a game and a team to make sense of the output from this fantastic tool.

As Farbror says, it's a drug, and there are some dubious ones out there.