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Canary On The Wire

The Wire Report: Blackpool 1-3 Norwich City

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City1st wrote,

I have not the slightest clue what a heat map is, though I suspect it may well be something akin to lay lines or celestial orbits. I don''t doubt that all this stuff provides you with many hours of satisfaction but whether it has any relevance to the game of football or how it is played is another matter. I further suspect it has the same relationship to football that train spotting has to running a railway or driving a locomotive.

Perhaps the following taken from www.prozonesports.com will help City1st and any others with a limited knowledge of how heat maps, etc. play a major part in modern football.

Established in 1995, Prozone has been pioneering performance analysis for 19 years. In that time we’ve worked with many of the leading clubs and organisations in sport to deliver the world’s leading performance analysis services.

In 2011, Prozone and Amisco joined forces to lead the performance analysis industry with a strong combined vision.

We are the pioneers of performance analysis in sport. Amisco invented the technology and set the standard, Prozone created the industry. Together, our mission is to deliver insights which have a genuine on-field impact. Through intelligence and innovation, we unlock the rich potential of your data to reveal the true nature of performance.

With a global network of local expertise, Prozone continues to change the game through innovative technologies and applied performance insights.

I think I''m correct in saying all Prem clubs and the vast majority of Champ clubs use Prozone plus most top clubs elsewhere, so it appears all the top coaches in football realise the importance of heatmaps and other data.

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[quote user="Ray"]City1st wrote,

I have not the slightest clue what a heat map is, though I suspect it may well be something akin to lay lines or celestial orbits. I don''t doubt that all this stuff provides you with many hours of satisfaction but whether it has any relevance to the game of football or how it is played is another matter. I further suspect it has the same relationship to football that train spotting has to running a railway or driving a locomotive.

Perhaps the following taken from www.prozonesports.com will help City1st and any others with a limited knowledge of how heat maps, etc. play a major part in modern football.

Established in 1995, Prozone has been pioneering performance analysis for 19 years. In that time we’ve worked with many of the leading clubs and organisations in sport to deliver the world’s leading performance analysis services.

In 2011, Prozone and Amisco joined forces to lead the performance analysis industry with a strong combined vision.

We are the pioneers of performance analysis in sport. Amisco invented the technology and set the standard, Prozone created the industry. Together, our mission is to deliver insights which have a genuine on-field impact. Through intelligence and innovation, we unlock the rich potential of your data to reveal the true nature of performance.

With a global network of local expertise, Prozone continues to change the game through innovative technologies and applied performance insights.

I think I''m correct in saying all Prem clubs and the vast majority of Champ clubs use Prozone plus most top clubs elsewhere, so it appears all the top coaches in football realise the importance of heatmaps and other data.[/quote]Ray, I am an agnostic in this debate, but what on earth made you think quoting that load of corporate garbage (which would happily stand as a spoof) might help your case? "Mission"? Astronauts have missions; companies have sales targets and bottom lines. "Insights"? I think only opticians deal in those. "True nature"? As opposed to the untrue nature, presumably. And "genuine on-field impact"? By contrast with ungenuine off-field unimpact I suppose. And best not to allow anyone to get too worked up by the promise of unlocking the rich potential of their data. The Conservative party has lost too many MPs that way already...

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"that is why scouts watch the games, why fans watch the games and that is why opinions are made from watching what actually happened on the pitch - not meaningless old tosh that is probably available on the NHS for those with limited social skills"

Well I would just comment that such an out of hand rejection of the value that statistical analysis can bring to management of a team is exactly how Oakland were able to successfully compete v the New York and Boston and Detroit and Chicago and Anaheim, even with a greater than 2 x disadvantage in payroll...

So again it''s not about just collecting a bunch of stats, it''s understand what you want to study, going out and getting the relevant data and then evaluating it to see if or how it helps you understand the problem you wanted insight into.

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Its all very well collevting stats and I can see that they can be useful in certain situations, but stats are always open to interpretation and it has been shown time and time again that what appears to be a cast iron stat can be shown to be misleading because it doesn''t show any variables. Such as the pass compeltion stat. 85% completion means little because it gives no indication of the kind of passes. If you break that stat down into short passes, long passes, creative passes, defensive passes, passes to colleagues who are ready to receive that pass, colleagued who are not ready to receive a pass, passes made under pressure, passes made when in plenty of space, passes made standing still, passes made on the run...........the 85% figure suddenly starts to show very little, making the stat nothing more than a generalisation. So at the best, stats are just generalisations and show nothing othet ghan what the person quoting the stat wants to show.

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Stats are just a way of modelling data in a simplified form, so by definition they are not going to capture all its variables.

The point is, that if you are aware of the limitations and apply the model to a limited domain, you can still get very useful results. The problem is when people misuse statistics, not in statistics itself.

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PurpleCanary,

I don''t have a case, I was merely pointing out that all the top clubs use data, heatmaps, etc. almost entirely provided by Prozone, and as what I quoted is direct from their site I can only assume that football is more ''coporate'' than many think. I too often think that some people/organisations could use less words at times, but hey ho, Prozone use these wordfs and they are incredibly successful!!

As for the term mission, any company of any note has a Mission Statement, I wouldn''t be at all surprised if NCFC have one?

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Thanks for the Wire report. Fills a welcome niche alongside Ricardo''s and less formal reports.

 

 

As a musician perhaps you could do song-based Youtube reports from now on, to inject the emotion back into your science communication mission ;-)

 

 

It''s apparent that most of your readers don''t have an inherent problem with the use of phrases and concepts originating after c.1990, to propose a date. As most show, it''s a straightforward task to work out any unfamiliar ones and join the debate courteously. (Health warning: modicum of respect for other beings required! May contain learning something new as byproduct - has been shown to cause pain in some subjects.)

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It''s interesting to read the comments about Prozone. Back in 2007 I was lucky enough to be invited to the classroom at Colney to see some of the stats. This was in Glen Roeder''s day and I have no idea if it''s the same now. But back then it wasn''t the coaches who analysed the data they had specialist people to do that. Maybe the coaches decided what bits of data to use though. I doubt the players could effectively take in much of the data available. It would be far too much to remember. But these specialists would uncover what were viewed as weaknesses in our team and the opposition. For example it maybe that a central midfielder would have a better pass completion rate to the left than the right. If it was one of our players I guess we''d work on it and if it was an opposition player we''d try and exploit it. These stats most certainly aren''t the be all and end all but I don''t doubt they are a very important part of the big picture.

 

 

 

 

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"][quote user=" Badger"][quote user="PurpleCanary"][quote user=" Badger"]COTW, I would like to add my name to the list of posters that enjoy your reports. Please continue with them and ignore the criticism. I also agree with you about statistics, the use of which is mainly criticised by those who don''t understand concepts like normal distribution and regression to the mean. You probably have already seen it, but if you have not, I would recommend "The Numbers Game" by Chris Anderson and David Sally, which I found to be a very interesting read.[/quote]Certainly interesting, Badger, but there are times when the authors are so in love with statistics and oblivious to commonsense that they can''t see the wood for the trees. An example is their argument that Chelsea should have bought Darren Bent rather than Torres, which has a flaw the size of the Grand Canyon running through it.[/quote]I agree to some extent Purple, but as Ricardo points out, it contributes to the debate. The Darren Bent point was his goals tended to be more critical (i.e. earned more points) than Torres. It''s also worth pointing out that the big difference to the statistics used related  to the 10/11 season when Torres only scored 10 goals for Chelsea compared to 17 for Bent (Sunderland/ Villa). Had they used subsequent data for both Bent and Torres, neither would have fared very well! The problem is inherently one of extrapolation: trying to predict future behaviour from historic data, which we know is a vary imprecise science with a wide margin of error. From a historical perspective, however, it certainly supports a claim that commentators might make that "Bent scored crucial goals." As ever with statistics, the danger lies in trying to do too much with them and not being aware of their limitations.[/quote]I know, Badger, but that is the nonsense. Of course Bent scored more "critical" goals than Torres. In  2009-10, which is the main season The Numbers Game looks at here, Bent was the main striker in a not very good Sunderland side that ended with a -8 goal difference. By definition Bent was likely to score either the only goal in a draw or the winner in a 1-0 or a 2-1. So he racked up loads of "critical" goals.Torres, by contrast, had a rival striker in Kuyt (plus Gerrard close to double figures) in a Liverpool team that ended with a +26 goal difference, and so was winning games by wider margins than were Sunderland. So Torres'' goals were doubly less likely to be"critical". Someone else might be a scorer and in any event if his was, say, the third goal in a 3-0 or a 4-1 win then by this absurd definition it wasn''t critical.[/quote]This is the one stat that I always dislike.  How do you judge a "critical" goal?  The goal which wins the game?  The goal which sparks a comeback?  There are too many variables in football to define which goal/goalscorer has earned the most points.  Torres at the top of his game had a great touch and a fantastic turn of pace, so he undoubtedly scored goals when other teams were chasing the game.  Is a third goal in a 3-0 win not "critical" if the other team have been knocking on the door for 20 minutes?

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[quote user="92 vintage"]The part where it''s suggested that we totally abandon any attempts at passing football in favour of hoofball is a wonderful example of the naivity that is so prevalent, but overall quite an enjoyable read. It''s a sort of "through the eyes of a plastic" piece written for a students union newspaper. I especially liked the bit where Turner''s rating is bookended by the words ''mammoth'' and ''ace''.[/quote]

92 vintage, direct passing play is not hoofball. Thankyou for your patronising comments in veiled kindness.

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As I have said, I do not believe stats to be the be all and end all (god knows how many times I''ve had to say that to people who seem to think I do believe that)

But are people really suggesting that professional football clubs pay organisations such as Prozone to provide these statistics whether as hard data or graphically represented, just to spunk money up the wall for a laugh in what is ''at best a generalisation'' for the ''i know he''s good cos he runs around a lot'' brigade?

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