Who are the most skillful coaches in Europe?

It’s been a while since I posted anything here about coaches. I have a lot of love for coaches, even those with whom I haven’t always agreed. Their job is tough, especially when they have to deal with recruiting, tactics, man-management, the media, and even renting the training pitch. Some coaches get paid a ton, but most of them don’t. They all endure crushing pressure and huge emotional swings. The only “bad” coaches are the ones who are cruel, prejudiced, or lazy. But there are still discernible differences in skill. There’s an adage in soccer that only a small number of coaches can make a…
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What do guideline probabilities offer for betting?

Betting seems like an obvious application for analytics, but that doesn’t mean the analytics is easy. New information that’s pertinent to a fixture can come in at any moment right up until kickoff, and we’ll never be able to specify a model that takes account of everything. For that matter, we’d never be able to calibrate such a huge model properly, either, since we’d be dealing with lots of situations that weren’t quite identical. So what can we do? In theory, we’d like to create a huge model of the game that could suck up any kind of news: injuries, coaching changes, the…
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What are non-shots expected goals models for?

Back in February, I introduced a non-shots expected goals model at the OptaPro Analytics Forum, drawing on earlier work from a year ago. I talked about a simple version of the ball progression model that’s now one of several evaluators used by NYA. As the name suggests, the ball progression model gives teams credit for moving the ball based on the chances of scoring goals from the resulting positions. How should we interpret its results? The first generation of expected goals models attached a probability of scoring to each shot rather than to reaching specific positions on the field. These…
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