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What you should know about a good football analysis

What you should know about a good football analysis
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Tactical Review: What you should know about a good football analysis – Why you should at times consider Analyzing Football Matches without the use of Numerical data

Many people have mistaken what actually a good football analysis is since the advent of technology and numerically supportive tools most especially in the rich countries.

Take for example, in a country like England or the English Premier League where every team as well as the League is rich, they have all got all their numerical data tools to get each player’s data as well as each team’s data. That is fine.

Take another example from Cameroon (MTN Elite One) or Nigeria (NPFL) or African as a whole where clubs and their leagues are unable to cater for such numerical data tools, would you still want to base a good analysis of a player or team on numerical data? Use your eyes.

MUST READ: Statistics in modern day football- a discrediting idea?

This is why we at BraggsSports have decided to note down what you didn’t know about a good football analysis.

Good analysis in football doesn’t require supplementing every assertion with numerical data. Raw data can be misleading and affected by many conflating factors. What good analysis does need to do though is to explain the assertion and justify it with ‘proof’ (video, quotes, etc).

You can justify it and offer proof in the form of logical reasoning too – as long as you can explain why. The main thing is that narrative based claims that read like a story aren’t the ideal format for top analysis. Analysis should aim to convince in a sort of methodical way.

Data actually has a qualitative and availability problem. The availability problem (where data is available and what data is available) is easily solved with time through expansion and innovation. It is irrelevant in this instance. Somethings are (can) not yet captured by data. You have to use your eyes.

EDITOR’S PICK

Always Apply Context in a Good Football Analysis

My stomach rolls at the amount of times Barcelona lose the ball in some of their games I have watched. I don’t want data to tell me that. I don’t need data to tell me that. It’s procedural instinct.

Data requires a lot of context and good brains. Barcelona may have lost the ball 99 times against Team B. Maybe their average is 100 dispossessions but watching the game will tell you the context and specifics of how they lost the ball in a way that was unusually dangerous.

That is just a crude example of how not being precisely backed by data is not fatal for insightful analysis or opinion-making. It’s always good to apply context. Always.

Examples

  1. The best example is Declan Rice (Playing for West Ham), who was greatly undermined last season for his price tag by analytic fans using data. But that didn’t factor the good things he was doing, and the fact that with West Ham’s likely development, he was going to be rated as well as he is.

It’s why Rice is a better single pivot holding midfielder than someone like Fred (Man United) and always will be. Despite Fred having better pressure numbers, tackles, interceptions etc. Over the last couple of seasons. Fred flies out vacating space when unnecessary. So his numbers aren’t a net positive.

READ: Three of the Most Common Football Tactics Explained

Secondly, a player’s capacity to change his position base on the angles he plays at, the physicality he possesses, the technique he has, the tactics of the team he is in etc. Cannot be measured by data as far as I am aware.

It’s nonsense to say that data is the be all and end all when. Pep turned Delph into a full back, Conte turned Moses into a wing back etc. These changes aren’t predictable by data but are based on understanding of the things a player does and how they can be maximized in another role.

MUST READ: Pep Guardiola – The Ultimate Thinker

Sometimes video and data also may not tell you the whole truth if the system covers for weaknesses and allows them to be seldom exposed.

2. Another example of this is Sergio Busquets (Barcelona). He is considered a GOAT no. 6 despite his weakness if exposed to a more transition based or open set up.

Someone like Michael Carrick (Man United Legend) has thrived in possession based, transition based and deeper block set ups is based on qualitative assessment arguably a more complete footballer. But because Busquets pre-Valverde/Koeman era was never exposed that way, he is still considered the GOAT no. 6.

Now, do you get the whole thing?

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