The Frustrating Promise of Analytics: Soccer Has a Left-Handed-Pitcher Problem

“… The field of public soccer analytics has a left-handed-pitcher problem. Since it consists of so many events, baseball is fertile ground for analytics. A whopping 143 players in Major League Baseball had more than 500 plate appearances this season. Meanwhile, in the Premier League last season, only seven players took 100 shots, and only two had more than 50 shots on target. To get around that problem, most of the advances in soccer analytics have come from working with aggregates. Whether it’s some of the more basic concepts (like total shots ratio or comparative shots on target) or slightly more opaque metrics (like expected goals), the process comes from looking at the totals across leagues and then drawing conclusions.” Grantland


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