Mental errors in soccer

Plenty has been written about the role of cognitive bias in sports. Much of it, however, is theoretical. Having worked in soccer for six years now, I’ve experienced the effect of several biases – and other mental errors – directly in my daily interactions. I thought it might be helpful for other decision-makers in soccer to hear about some of these errors in a real-world setting. Here is a short and doubtlessly incomplete list. I’ve coined some of the terms myself, so expert readers may know some of these phenomena by other names. Prejudice. Simple, old-fashioned prejudice is alive and well…
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How good was Andrew Robertson at Hull?

Andrew Robertson, Liverpool’s left back, has been garnering plenty of plaudits for his performances in the Premier League and the Champions League, including a nomination for player of the week in the latter competition. He’s part of the raft of successful signings by Michael Edwards, the onetime analyst who is now the club’s sporting director. But to some, Robertson’s signing was a bit of a surprise: (By the way, I’d recommend following James on Twitter and reading his always entertaining prose.) Edwards apparently has a team of up to five mathematics and physics PhDs working for him. What did they see in the young Scottish fullback…
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What happened to the Bundesliga?

To quote Duke Ellington, things ain’t what they used to be over in Germany’s top soccer league. For starters, not a single player from last season’s Bundesliga was on the podium at the Ballon d’Ata awards. Okay, maybe that doesn’t seem so important, but also: no Champions League finalists after 2012-13 no Europa League finalists after 2008-09 dropped from second to fourth place in UEFA rankings since 2017-18 sliding Elo ratings may rank the league fourth by the end of 2019-20 mostly Bundesliga-based squad lost twice in 2018 World Cup group stage executives and players of flagship club seem out of touch with social issues These are…
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