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Goals in Tier 1 European Football: Are they all Equal?
Dr. Garry Gelade Business Analytic Ltd
garry@business-analytic.co.uk

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Problem of Context
• All performance is performance in a context
• Failing to account for the effects of context leads to biased evaluations of individual ability

• EPL recruit 50% of players from outside the UK ▫ 60+ different nationalities • How do we evaluate players who have not played in the EPL?

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Recruitment Decisions
2004 - Risky Decision • • • • Age 21 15 Goals 61 Appearances (Feyenoord) Goals/90 0.37 2012 - No Brainer • • • • Age 29 96 Goals 194 Appearances (Arsenal) Goals/90 0.67

2004

2012

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Problem
• Understand the different contexts in European first –tier football.
▫ Do we have a level-playing field?
▫ Is it easier to score in some leagues than others?

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Sources of Information
• • • • • Conventional wisdom (Guru/expert) Official rankings Historical records Direct observation Analytics

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Conventional Wisdom
• “[Damian] Comolli worked on his own rule of thumb .... • .... with the exception of Ruud van Nistelrooy, strikers imported from Holland only score around a third of the goals in the Premier League.”
▫ Daily Mail, 17 September 2012

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Conventional Wisdom
• Garry Gelade’s Rule of Thumb ....
• .... Don’t trust anyone else’s Rule of Thumb.

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Official Rankings
• Club coefficients based on the results of all European clubs in UEFA club competition. • Increasing number of points awarded for each stage reached.
Europa League First qualifying round elimination Group stage win ...etc First qualifying round elimination Group stage participation ..etc 0.25 points 2.0 points .... 0.5 points 4.0 points ....

Champions League

• Points aggregated over past five seasons. • Clubs aggregated by country.

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UEFA Association Rankings

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Historical: Erd EPL Transfers
Eredivisie
Player Bryan Ruiz Suarez Van Persie Kluivert Van Nistelrooy Kezman Kuyt Overmars Bergkamp Alves Martins Ryan Babel Arjen Robben van der Vart Collins John Productivity 0.54 0.75 0.23 0.49 0.77 0.86 0.55 0.31 0.56 1.15 0.19 0.24 0.44 0.28

Premiership
Team Productivity 0.11 Fulham 0.47 Liverpool 0.52 Arsenal 0.24 Newcastle 0.63 Man United 0.16 Chelsea 0.25 LIverpool 0.25 Arsenal 0.28 Arsenal 0.24 Middlesboro’ 0.15 Liverpool 0.22 Chelsea 0.38 Spurs 0.21 Fulham

Average Productivity Erd = 0.53 gm EPL = 0.33 gm

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Historical: Erd EPL Transfers

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European connections
Bilbao Celta Vigo

Spain
Barcelona Real Madrid Man. United

England
Stoke

Chelsea

Fulham

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Data
Seasons 2006/7 – 2011/12 171 teams 13,291 matches
Competition No. Matches 2,280 1,836 2,280 1,836 2,242 English Premiership Dutch Eredivisie Italian Serie A German Bundesliga Spanish La Liga

French Ligue 1 Champions/Europa League

2,280 537

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Model
Goals HOME  Attacking Strength HOME , Defensive Strength AWAY Goals AWAY  Attacking Strength AWAY , Defensive Strength HOME

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Model
Diagonally inflated Bivariate Poisson

Goals are Events More draws Goals For and Goals Against

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Modelling process
Data Attacking & Defensive strengths for each team

Model

Analyse

Simulate

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Attacking Strength by Country

Top Ten Attacks
Team Attacking Strength

Barcelona
Real Madrid Manchester United Arsenal Chelsea

.85
.82 .67 .58 .58

Bayern Munich
Internazionale Werder Bremen

.53
.45 .44

Atlético de Madrid
Liverpool

.43
.43

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Defensive Strength by Country

Top Ten Defences
Team Manchester United Barcelona Defensive Strength .76 .71

Chelsea
Liverpool Real Madrid Milan Arsenal Everton Bayern Munich Internazionale

.68
.62 .47 .44 .42 .42 .39 .37

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Overall Team Strength by Country

Top Ten Teams
Team Barcelona Real Madrid Strength 2.26 2.01

Manchester United
Chelsea Arsenal Bayern Munich Liverpool Internazionale Milan Manchester City

1.81
1.56 1.38 1.25 1.22 1.08 1.04 .95

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Validation check
Correlation=.83

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RESULTS
• Use Attack & Defensive Strengths to calculate number of goals scored by the average Dutch team ▫ a) Playing in the Erd ▫ B) Playing in the Premiership
Eredivisie Premiership

Goals scored per match

1.35

0.80

• 17 Goals in Erd == 10 Goals in EPL

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Comparison with Historicals
Team Strength Analytics
• Average Dutch Team
Eredivisie Premiership Eredivisie Premiership

Historical Data (Individuals)

Goals scored

1.35

0.80

Goals/ Match

0.53

0.33

10 goals in EPL ⇔ 17 in Erd
• • Average French Team in France: 1.07 goals Average French Team in the Premiership: 0.95goals

10 goals in EPL ⇔ 16 in Erd

10 goals in PL == 11.3 in France

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Is RvP an outlier?
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0.8

Goals/90

0.6

0.4

0.2 Erd 04/05 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12 12/13

Season

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Thanks for Listening. Any questions – I’ll be around to chat.
For further information or to discuss your requirements, please contact Garry at garry@business-analytic.co.uk
Garry’s Linkedin profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/garry-gelade/2/482/44b