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Customer Review

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mildly diverting but weak analysis, 27 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Football is Wrong (Kindle Edition)
If you're interested in football and maths then it is refreshing to read a different approach to football statistics. But I didn't find any of the analysis particularly insightful and in many cases it was plain wrong. A section that stood out was measuring the performance of strikers by whether they scored the first, second, third goals etc for their team. The authors had previously described goals as a Poisson process, so a striker's goals will arrive at a certain rate but not at predictable times. Therefore, retrospectively deciding which goals were more important shouldn't have any predictive power as to which strikers are likely to score more important goals in the future. As another commenter pointed out, this also biases heavily towards strikers whose teams don't score many goals overall.

Compounding that they decided that the second goal was more important than the first, which doesn't stand up to a moment's thought. There are occasions when the first goal matters to the result but not the second - but the opposite is never true.

The book gave the impression they had cobbled together some results and published them without considering whether they actually improved our knowledge of the game.
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