The ten traits of ideal soccer metrics

Soccer analytics is still in its infancy. I say that because it lacks a central metric – a way of measuring player performance that is widely accepted by the analytics community, club directors, coaches, players, and fans alike. Yet every day, soccer wonks from around the world come a little bit closer to devising such a metric. Here are some of the traits I think it should have: 1. Accessible. Most of the people who work in professional soccer are not experts in mathematics and statistics, so trying to understand the roots of a complex metric may be too time-consuming….
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The value of a goal in the Premier League, Part II

In my last article, I showed how the value of a goal scored or conceded in the English Premier League could vary enormously depending on the likely position of a team in the table. For many teams, the value of scoring one more goal could also differ from the value of conceding one less goal at any given position. But my first analysis considered goals scored and goals conceded separately when predicting where a team would finish. What if we considered them together? To answer this question, I used a technique called k-nearest-neighbor analysis* to construct a grid of likely…
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The value of a goal in the Premier League, Part I

Cost-benefit analysis is an important tool for soccer teams deciding whether to buy a player. When they’re on the verge of shelling out millions of dollars, clubs probably ought to think about what they might get in return. A new signing could help a team to score more goals or concede fewer, but just how much would those be goals worth? Goals translate into points, and points translate into league positions. In the English Premier League, a high finish can lead to lucrative European tournaments, and a low finish can mean relegation. Even the teams in between receive differing “merit…
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