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The reason any elite level club make extensive use of stats is because the benefits are proven. Nowhere more so than in recruitment. It has allowed clubs to discover players who would have been really hard to find before, who have the exact qualities they want. I’m pretty sure Kante was a case in point. His defensive stats were off the charts when Leicester found him. Hagi is another one. We had missed a number 10 who can play a killer pass for a long time, and even at Genk where he had struggled his xA, xG, shot assists etc were all significantly higher than Kent and Ojo. We found a player who wasn’t valued highly by his team but who possessed abilities we needed.

Edited by DMAA
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Am I correct in stating there are clubs using this quite extensively now for recruitment? Brentford and Midtjylland are the two I've read about, Midtjylland clearly finding success with it. The inspiration for it coming from Moneyball and the Oakland baseball team's success with recruitment that went against perceived sport wisdom? Baseball, like cricket, has a history of statistics based fandom, something that relatively new to football. I remember being told that professional scouts could watch youth matches and decide in 10 minutes whether a boy had the ability to 'make it' or not. I remember thinking this was bonkers at the time but professionals I've spoken too over the years say the same thing; they can tell very quickly if someone is a player or not. 

 

Our recent recruitment has been fairly good at first glance, but is that skewed by the fact we're playing well? Roofe and Itten can't be declared successes just yet, despite Roofe's wonder goal and good all round play he's already  picked up injuries that have kept him out and Itten hasn't settled or looked like a guaranteed starter yet. Hagi is as polarising a player as we've got just now, frustrating and vital in equal measure he's got great 'stats' but I suspect would attract a lot of criticism from our support if we were allowed into the ground. Balogun and McLaughlin look like good signings already, comfortable and already easily fitting into the first team when asked. 

 

If we look across the city though that's when our signings start to look pretty good by comparison. Outside of Eduarde there's not an obvious player going to move on for big money currently, indeed some of their recent signings have been surprisingly poor. By comparison we look pretty astute, with Kamara, Barasic, Jack, Kent, Aribo and Morelos all capable of moving on to a better league than Scotland's for considerably more than we paid for them. Celtic's issues might be related to their management not getting the best out of the players of course. 

 

I find the stats approach interesting but I can't see it changing my views of players based on what I see myself. I'm too much of a dinosaur to be swayed, but I'm glad the club are taking a different approach, as long as it works. 

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16 minutes ago, JohnMc said:

Am I correct in stating there are clubs using this quite extensively now for recruitment? Brentford and Midtjylland are the two I've read about, Midtjylland clearly finding success with it. The inspiration for it coming from Moneyball and the Oakland baseball team's success with recruitment that went against perceived sport wisdom? Baseball, like cricket, has a history of statistics based fandom, something that relatively new to football. I remember being told that professional scouts could watch youth matches and decide in 10 minutes whether a boy had the ability to 'make it' or not. I remember thinking this was bonkers at the time but professionals I've spoken too over the years say the same thing; they can tell very quickly if someone is a player or not. 

 

Our recent recruitment has been fairly good at first glance, but is that skewed by the fact we're playing well? Roofe and Itten can't be declared successes just yet, despite Roofe's wonder goal and good all round play he's already  picked up injuries that have kept him out and Itten hasn't settled or looked like a guaranteed starter yet. Hagi is as polarising a player as we've got just now, frustrating and vital in equal measure he's got great 'stats' but I suspect would attract a lot of criticism from our support if we were allowed into the ground. Balogun and McLaughlin look like good signings already, comfortable and already easily fitting into the first team when asked. 

 

If we look across the city though that's when our signings start to look pretty good by comparison. Outside of Eduarde there's not an obvious player going to move on for big money currently, indeed some of their recent signings have been surprisingly poor. By comparison we look pretty astute, with Kamara, Barasic, Jack, Kent, Aribo and Morelos all capable of moving on to a better league than Scotland's for considerably more than we paid for them. Celtic's issues might be related to their management not getting the best out of the players of course. 

 

I find the stats approach interesting but I can't see it changing my views of players based on what I see myself. I'm too much of a dinosaur to be swayed, but I'm glad the club are taking a different approach, as long as it works. 

Haha, great minds think alike, we posted more or less the same thing at the same time. 
 

Stats are only a tool. Nobody uses them in isolation, a good scout is vital. However they can be a huge help to helping a scout find players with specific abilities to check them out, and of course a sense check for the scout to see that they haven’t missed anything. 
 

Hagi has raw ability, but you are right that some fans struggle to take to him. It doesn’t bother me that he isn’t that fast or strong and gives the ball away too much because he makes goals that nobody else in our team can make, because that can be the difference between 0-0 and 1-0 and I’ve seen apparently “good” performances from Rangers players in a 0-0 too often. 
 

I spent a year coaching an under 10s team in the west end, and I took over the team from a Rugby coach. I told him who I was demoting to the B team and he told me he thought he was their best player. He wasn’t. He was big and physical but he was poor, he went on to struggle for games in the B team. There were players in the B team who were head and shoulders above A team players who were, ironically, literally head and shoulders above them. People see different things when they watch the game and some people are better than that than others. (not intended as a boast, the other guy was a Rugby man and out of his depth coaching football). 

Edited by DMAA
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39 minutes ago, DMAA said:

The reason any elite level club make extensive use of stats is because the benefits are proven. Nowhere more so than in recruitment. It has allowed clubs to discover players who would have been really hard to find before, who have the exact qualities they want. I’m pretty sure Kante was a case in point. His defensive stats were off the charts when Leicester found him. Hagi is another one. We had missed a number 10 who can play a killer pass for a long time, and even at Genk where he had struggled his xA, xG, shot assists etc were all significantly higher than Kent and Ojo. We found a player who wasn’t valued highly by his team but who possessed abilities we needed.

Yes! Kante epitomises this.

 

Average player, in an poor team, but yes, his defensive stats were tremendous. It would be easy for a scout to overlook that. 

 

Idrissa Gueye was similar: not a standout, but had an uncanny knack for interceptions and winning the ball back. He was signed by Villa, moved to Everton, and is now playing for PSG. 

 

They're not brilliant players (I'm not a fan of Kante - even if I think his ball-wining ability is stunning), but they have a superb skill-set that teams can use.  

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12 minutes ago, Rousseau said:

Yes! Kante epitomises this.

 

Average player, in an poor team, but yes, his defensive stats were tremendous. It would be easy for a scout to overlook that. 

 

Idrissa Gueye was similar: not a standout, but had an uncanny knack for interceptions and winning the ball back. He was signed by Villa, moved to Everton, and is now playing for PSG. 

 

They're not brilliant players (I'm not a fan of Kante - even if I think his ball-wining ability is stunning), but they have a superb skill-set that teams can use.  

The Kante one is interesting. 

 

I can recognise from the stats that he's an incredible ball-winner.

 

But, for me, his overall game is poor. It's a personal judgement. I wouldn't be using him at Chelsea, unless they want that singular player to win the ball back in big games, etc. 

 

Teams like Leicester can use him more consistently. 

 

So, I can use the stats to see what he's good at, but still disagree with someone over Kante's overall merits. Like @DMAA with Hagi.

 

I was the opposite with Hagi: he wasn't quite doing it, for me, but seeing the assist stats, he's clearly creating chances for our players. He just needs to find the right position, or perhaps only be used in the right games. I think SG is going for the latter, and only using him in certain games. 

 

Stats are just a tool.

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1 hour ago, Rousseau said:

"The Beautiful game" is still there. We all still get caught up in the emotion of it. 

 

But then some of us, afterwards, want to look beyond that to see that stats of the game; to see how it really was. 

 

I was bouncing on Sunday (and sick on the Thursday!). Then on Monday I wanted to look at the stats to see how dominant, or not, we actually were. In the same way people re-watch games, to catch things they missed. 

Well it was until VAR. Now you are never quite sure if a player is offside, a goal scored will be chalked off or a when is a hand ball - hand ball? The legislators are doing their best to ruin the spontaneity and emotion of the beautiful game.

 

The stats are take it or leave it, i look at some but usually come away from a game with memories of a particular bit of skill or fantastic goal or even a terrible mistake and i wouldn't necessarily dig into the stats other than the usual possession, corners, shots on target etc but appreciate they can be useful. 

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