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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How good was David Beckham?

Was David Beckham a great soccer player, or just a good one who became a cultural icon? He undoubtedly had talent, but teams who signed him faced questions about whether they did so for his star power more than his sporting prowess. To assess him as a player, we could look at his shots, goals, passes, and tackles. But a new method – new to soccer analytics, as far as I can tell – can help to reveal Beckham’s true value to his teams without looking at any of his individual statistics. Though a fairly reliable starter for Manchester United,…
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