Happy good morning to you.
Again, as there’s not much going wrong at Arsenal, there’s not really much to write about.
The Telegraph have dropped a bit of ‘analysis’ on the workrate of the players.
When I say workrate, I mean they’ve got figures for how far players averagely run per game.
Sanchez has a low distance number. Ozil is higher. But the highest in the team is Flamini.
It’s a weird number to pick on. Workrate goes beyond distance run. You have to factor in number of sprints, length of sprints and a whole host of other metrics to get to a defacto figure. You also have to consider position. Otherwise, the figure is just who runs the furthest. That number doesn’t really tell you that much.
The same paper claims we’re interested in signing Gundogan from Dortmund. Not sure this is the sort of player we should be hunting down. He’s played about 25 games this season. He played one last season. About 30 the season before. We need fitness in the middle of the park. We don’t need a liability.
Morgan Schneiderlin makes the most sense. 26 years old. Played through the ranks of British football. Knows the league. Can dominate games. I guess the only issue is that Gundogan would be far cheaper.
Who are these two? Well, the guy on the left is an irrelevance, but the one on the right is Reece Watson, pitchman to the stars. He’s just won pitch of the year with the United chap. Great work sir, great work. Read more about it here.
If you see something advertised as an injury-prevention tool and Arsenal one of the teams using it, it is but normal to be suspicious of the product. But quips aside, one of the ways that football is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the modern age is via performance-monitoring technology.
To follow up on the El País story published about FC Barcelona players wearing monitoring vests as part of an overall training and injury prevention program, it seemed worth digging a bit deeper into the STATSports product, to know what it does and try to explain just a bit about why it can work.
They’ve been with us for a few years, so obviously, there’s more to injury prevention than just wearing a black pack on your chest. But an interesting read all the same.
As the money in football grows and the competition increases, clubs will be looking for whatever edge they can gain. However, it’s important to note, data is only one segment. Having people who understand how to use it is a totally different ball game. You can have all the observations in the world (like ‘distance run’) but if you can’t convert those observations into actionable insights, they’re pretty worthless.
I was reading an interesting article in Monocle about creative data science. They featured a company called Quantum Black who take big swathes of data and convert them into beautiful visualisations that make the numbers actionable. They’re apparently working with Premiership football clubs as well. It’s a fascinating space and one that’ll keep evolving as football moves away from gut feel and more into science…
… what is interesting is the flip side of that. Data can make people lazy. I think one of the big trends in marketing centred around data-driven creativity. Some agencies totally get it, some don’t. Same with sport. Data informs strategy, it doesn’t dictate it. Facts and figures are there to alleviate risk, if you take that mindset too far, you can kill the spirit of what you’re trying to achieve.
Anyway, that’s my piece for the day.
Have a bloody good one.