Category: Statistics

January 7, 2011 / / Statistics

Lordy. Barely halfway into David Villa’s first season, and people are wanting to trade him in for a goat. Now, I will say for the record, that if you haven’t had goat’s milk ice cream …. boy, howdy! Now I’m not sure that’s worth a striker, though there are a lot of guys I’d happily trade for some of that goat’s milk goodness. Just sayin’. But David Villa ain’t one of them.

And for the record, I’m a journalist. I work with words. I chose to work with words because they promised me that no math would be involved. And yet, here we go, with numbers.

As I said in the Bilbao Copa match review comments section, we have gone through this with Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and now David Villa. Let’s have a look at just what we’ve gone through, shall we, and where Villa will potentially sit.

October 7, 2010 / / Statistics

This post is about statistics. You have been warned.

Now then: isn’t Bojan adorable? Doesn’t Busi look like a horse? Shouldn’t we burn Ibra at the stake if he ever comes back to visit? These questions can all be answered, to some degree or another, with numbers. Bojan, for instance, is way more adorable when you say that he scored as many goals per minute as Ibra last season or if you point out that his productions levels at 20 are way ahead of Pedro’s at the same age—don’t forget that Pedro is already 23, after all. And Busi totally looks more like a horse if you replay the gif of him against Inter about 30 times.

The Ibra thing I won’t even get into because of the whole Hulk Smash thing I do when you disrespect The Guardiola and, really, my lovely lady is getting tired of replacing the coffee table (and you wondered how Ikea made so much money–aha! Now I know it’s a dastardly Swedish plot to get at my moolah!).

April 5, 2010 / / Nonsense

Kevin has written a review of the Athletic match which, if you haven’t read it, should be your first stop. Besides joy at watching Banjo Crickets get his two goals and our team continuing to look like a brilliant machine of goal-making beauty, there was the obvious “Oh shit” of hearing that both Ibra and Pique could be out for the clásico next Saturday. I’ll cover much more of that in tomorrow’s Arsenal second leg preview, but suffice to say that I’m arching eyebrows in concern.

I’m here, though, not to discuss negative outlooks on the coming matches, but rather to give some updates about various topics. Check ’em out after the jump.

December 21, 2009 / / Statistics

This post was written by reader Luke, who wins eternal brownie points for this.

Being an American fan of FC Barcelona is sometimes trying. It is often times difficult to find team information—let’s be honest, is useless about 94% of the time—as well as intelligent qualitative analysis of games and team decisions, as Soccernet almost exclusively covers the EPL. Finding games, even those in La Liga, can require an abacus, a farmer’s almanac, and a working knowledge of the timing of Haley’s Comet. But it is times like this when it is all worth it, when Barça completes the most historic and dominant season in the history of club football, and maybe even all professional sports. As Americans, we always attempt to compare teams, even across different eras when it may be impossible; what follows is my best effort to put this achievement into perspective.


November 16, 2009 / / Statistics
Nate Silver: Rock Star
Nate Silver: Rock Star

I like Nate Silver. I read his political blog virtually every day and followed it religiously during the 2008 presidential election cycle here in the US. He’s a man who knows his statistics and also his sports: he writes for Baseball Prospectus and uses more decimals than I do. A lot more. So yeah, I like Nate Silver and when I learned that he was involved in ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), I was pretty excited. After all, Nate has a bigger brain than I do and maybe I would be able to learn a few things about approaching football/soccer statistically.

Nate’s article is here. The actual SPI rankings are here and you can the full methodology here. You can read about how smart the guy is here.

October 12, 2009 / / Statistics


I previously wrote about La Liga’s head-to-head tiebreaker system and found myself attacking the league’s system. Then I started thinking about all the various things that make a league what it is: the format, the structure, etc. Then I started thinking about how that compares to other leagues around the world, both within the footballing world and in other sports as well. In researching this, I came up with potentially more questions than answers, but I think they are valid questions and comparisons that need to be made if we’re to understand, in the end, La Liga from the ground up.

October 7, 2009 / / State of the Liga

Lies, damned lies, and pie charts.
Lies, damned lies, and pie charts.

Everyone has their own point-of-view on things. Mine is usually that pie is a solid breakfast. Also, I like statistics mixed with a heavy dose of perspective. I’m a fan of numbers because they sound fancy and you can bend them to your will fairly easily, yet I can claim to not understand them.

Today’s statistical analysis is merely an overview of what has transpired so far this season, focusing mostly on Barça’s current achievements and personnel, for obvious this-is-a-Barça-site reasons.

September 17, 2009 / / Champions League

Please: 0.40

Put it a different way: 11-1.

Those numbers are, of course, from a very small sample, but would you take those numbers as a ratio for the entire season? I would because I know that the first one is Ibrahimovic’s current scoring rate (5 appearances, 2 goals) and the second goal is our total goals scored to goals allowed. Feel free to extrapolate that to how many goals would be scored in an entire year: 16 goals for Ibra if he makes 40 appearances, 113.67-10.33 in a 62-game season.

My point is, of course, that we need to take a moment to look at the overall picture, the picture that keeps in mind not the price paid for a particular player, but the value of that player within the greater framework of our club and our club’s future. Yes, we’ve had some “funky” displays over the last few games, but during those “funky” displays, we’ve successfully won five out of six matches and we drew the other one. We’ve allowed one goal. We’ve scored 11 from six different players. We’ve incorporated a major new piece of the total footballing puzzle and have been attempting to change our tactical approach in every match. This is not a momentary effort, a light switch that goes from off to on.

No pressure or anything…

September 8, 2009 / / Statistics

bojangoalBojan Krkic is an interesting question in our lineup. Not necessarily from a talent perspective, but rather from an efficiency and capability perspective. There are those who question Bojan’s abilities and his place within the squad. Those are legitimate questions, so long as they’re framed in the right way with the requisite information available. Naturally, I’m here to provide some decimal points for you to look at when comparing Bojan’s current contributions to the team with his previous contributions.

I previously posted this as a comment on his birthday post, but I’m going to repost it in an easy-to-read table so that it’s clearer what’s going on. I’ll draw my own conclusions at the end of the post, but I’d like to point out here that 1) you should draw your own conclusions as well, 2) these stats are from all three of our competitions last year (I haven’t weighted the value of the competitions simply because that would require me to qualify the competitive differences between the competitions), and 3) I haven’t included all the available stats, partly because that’d be a lot more work, but mostly because I don’t believe in the assists stat and don’t want to sully my “scientific study” with that hoodoo.