Football tacticians manipulate quick fix data and risk losing six players | football tactics


england won the second Test against South Africa comfortably enough, but there was A frustrating mantra before tea on the first day Kajisu Rabada and Enrique Norte also added 35 for the ninth wicket. Having thrown the ball relatively completely earlier in the day, England switched to a short-pitched attack without much effect. It is worth noting that it was a ball with a complete floor of Olly Robinson After the tea that made the breakthrough where Nortje lbw was.

So why did England change its approach? Perhaps they were influenced by the test against India at Lords when they succeeded in rebounding the tail, or perhaps it was a reaction to the nature of the Dukes cricket balls of the season losing danger more quickly than usual, requiring something different from the bowler. But there was also, apparently, data that the South African Tail was prone to short-pitched bowling. The problem is that if each ball has a short pitch, the hitter expects it and is able to tune it; Much more dangerous is the short-pitch ball surprise.

As CricViz analyst Ben Jones put it: “You can’t just look at the expulsions” – internal Jimmy Anderson is the most dangerous for following a string of hitters. CricViz’s predicted wicket model shows that good balls tend to take the wicket regardless, but Jones acknowledges that context is important and sees that as one area where the use of data in the sport should improve.

Or take the Yorker, which no one doubts is the most effective ball in one-day cricket. The problem is that there is little margin for error: too full which is a full low, too short which is a hemisphere, both are beatable. The racket that the york is expecting can advance or retract to change length.

As pointed out by Tim Wigmore and Freddy Wilde in Cricket 2.0It was, allied with suspicion, that Ben Stokes would try to get him to hit the limit of the longest leg, which allowed Carlos Brattwitt to hit those back-to-back jackets to win the championship. 2016 T20 World Cup Final. Chris Jordan was on Jimmy Nesham who went for 23 in the 2021 championship, similarly, the result of yorker’s prediction.

Similar problems have hampered data analysis in football almost from the start. Charles Hughes, Football Association coach whose book was published in 1990 winning formula confirmed Live Football as Official Creed, drew his conclusions from the evidence of 109 matches involving “successful teams” – Liverpool and England under-16 and under-21, and World Cup or European Championship matches involving Argentina, Brazil, England, the Netherlands, Italy and West Germany – between 1966 and 1986. He focused almost entirely on the 202 goals he It was scored in those matches – just as analysis of cricket tends to focus on breaks – and 87% of the passes came in five passes or less. Therefore, he concluded that teams should try to limit movements to five passes or less.

Even leaving aside the astonishingly low sample size and selective nature of the data, there is little difference. Isn’t it possible that what works for an England U-16 team in a friendly match in the mud and coldness of a British winter isn’t necessarily right for Brazil in the heat and scorching heat of the World Cup in Mexico?

Hughes even noted that Brazil were the most likely to score after a long streak of passes, 32% of their goals coming from moves of six or more passes, followed by West Germany with 25%. Given that they have won six of the 13 World Cups played, the obvious conclusion is that owning football is good for you, but Hughes didn’t pursue it.

and did not do or Charles Rib, the amateur statistician whose ideas Hughes developed, considers that direct balls may be more effective if used in moderation. Just as the bat can prepare itself for continuous short-pitched bowling, or prepare itself for a series of Yorkies, so the defense can drop deep and prepare for an aerial bombardment.

Brentford coach Thomas Frank with his tactics board during their match against Manchester United earlier this season.
Brentford coach Thomas Frank with his tactics board during their match against Manchester United earlier this season. Photo: Mark Greenwood/IPS/Rex/Shutterstock

Just as the risk of the occasional goalkeeper can be enhanced by the factor of surprise, by trying to get ahead of having to adapt, so the threat of the long ball may be greater if the defense is pulled by a team that has possession. (And because nothing is absolute in sports, there are instances when a hitter is so intimidated by a short-pitched bowling or a defense vibrating with a series of long balls, when the most effective tactic is throttle pressure from a continuous volley.)

Hughes and Rip, to use the more polite term, were pioneers and have as much to do with modern data analysis as Pliny the Elder with modern medicine. But the question of context is one issue that statistics still struggle with.

A manager at a Premier League team told me a story about his manager being persuaded by their data department to work in a high streak against a team with a remarkably fast striker, despite the first-choice center back having to be replaced by a veteran. He was just coming back from injury and wasn’t quick in the role even on his pomp.

They conceded three goals in the space of 30 minutes and lost 3-0, but the analysts justified their advice by pointing out that their team had won xG. But that was because, as the coach responded angrily, after scoring with three early chances, the other team didn’t need to attack. They sat down and kept their energy and didn’t get too upset if they squandered a couple of chances: the match ended with an hour left. This doesn’t mean xG isn’t a very useful tool – it is – just because it doesn’t always give the full picture.

It’s clear to Krickfees-Jones that data analysis is clearly not enough. It only makes sense when used in conjunction with video analysis by those who understand the limits of what statistics can tell you. There are few absolute rights and few absolute wrongs, and the meaning of everything is determined in part by its relationship to everything else. Context is vital; Players are human. Sports is not an algorithm.


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