Bargain shopping in Argentina

Well, that didn’t take long. Less than a month ago, Mauricio Macri, the former president of Boca Juniors and mayor of Buenos Aires, was elected Argentina’s new president. Today, the country is dropping its currency controls. Buyers of Argentine players should take note. Macri follows Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, whose administration was, among other things, an enormous machine for creating and then denying the existence of inflation. Prices rising at 20-30% annually would normally send a currency cratering, but Fernández used billions in foreign reserves to prop up the peso while curtailing her compatriots’ ability to exchange it for dollars…
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Manchester United is a defensive marvel

Louis van Gaal has been getting a lot of heat in the media this month. Apparently players aren’t happy with his discipline and decisions, and fans aren’t happy with his style of play. Well, guess what – Van Gaal’s Manchester United is doing some important things so well it’s practically miraculous. They’re just not the things that fans and the media seem to appreciate. I’ve already posted here that Van Gaal seems to be overachieving given the talent – including a lot of young players – at his disposal. But how is he doing it? In a word, defending. Currently,…
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What does that correlation mean?

Soccer analysts are big fans of correlations. Whenever one of us brings out a new metric, we usually quote some correlations to show how “good” it is. But these correlations can be meaningless or, worse, misleading. Here’s what to look for. As I’ve written before, most soccer metrics ought to be correlated with winning or with some other objective – perhaps a style of play or avoidance of injury – that is important to the team. Here, for simplicity, I’ll stick with one version of winning: attaining the highest possible position in the league table at the end of the…
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