Data and analytics about to more deeply entrenched in the game? 💾⌨💻📡⚙🔬

by .


The moment you arrive in your hotel after a smooth journey from New York, and you realise you made a conscientious effort to preserve a half eaten bag of Nutter Butters, but you left your brand new earphones in the plane seat pocket.

A real burner. But at least I have some sweets to cure my sadness.

Still, it’s great to be back in London. I’ve done a banter about the weather, jestered with a coffee barista about the shit tea in the states… IRONY LOST ON A MAN SERVING SUBSTANDARD COFFEE FOR AN ENGLISH CHAIN MASQUERADING AS SOMETHING FOREIGN… I’ve also had to relearn that you don’t talk to people you don’t know in public spaces. That’s being a pervert / lunatic in London.

I also feel more connected to Arsenal here. It’s good to be back. If I wanted to touch the stadium, I could do it.


What treasures do we have for you today?

Well, we’ve all the usual suspects on the ‘get dem hits!’ case…

‘Guys, no one does internet during international break. Bring me your fantasies and we’ll make them real’

‘How about Granit Xhaka boss?’

‘Too far… but maybe not?’

There’s a treasure trove of crap out there with a daily and a broadsheet in a weird symbiotic shite sharing session so intense you’d assume they’re all chatting in the same Slack group.

I’ve read Sanchez to United, Jese Rodriguez over from Madrid – who I’m sure is a baseball player… we’ve got a young kid from Barcelona we’re interested in… we’ve got most of the Bundesliga coming over at some point. I like the guy with the freekicks. Reminds me of Juninho (Lyon) for Youtube excitement moments.

One thing I will say about the states and it’s my only point of reference at this very moment, they certainly have some interesting places to read-up on sport. But, they have the same issues as we do. Durge and bitesize sells. It’s a shame. In a digital world of the 8 second attention span, the Buzzfeed wins out if you want to make money, whilst sites like The Grantland wither and die (good read on that if you’re into digital and publishing).

We don’t really have sports sites like Grantland unless I’m just not seeing the content shared on my feed?

I really liked this article on stats in the game. Basically about how it’s all a bit rubbish in football analytics at the moment and it’s tough to draw game changing conclusions from data.

I can’t imagine that’ll stay the same for too much longer. A little rule change that crept under the radar in the summer centres around the little GPS packs players wear in training are getting sign off to be used in-game. That’s kind of phase one as we plod into the 21st century.

I don’t think clubs are allowed to monitor the data in realtime from the bench, and third parties can’t use it, but there will be ways around that I’m sure (both areas, Sky will want that data). If we’re successfully driving cars across the US driverless with no problem, it’s not going to be long before cameras in the ground, meshed in with GPS packs on players chests can start giving some really deep and meaningful data in realtime.

The money is in the game to make it happen because the margins are so fine, and when we move out the current backward crop of FIFA dinosaurs, hopefully the appetite will come from the top.

Fans want to see the fittest / smartest teams playing each other week in week out. If tech can keep players on the pitch for longer, playing with deeper insights to help them along the way… who knows what the game will look like in 5 years time.

Probably faster than it is now… but kinda looking the same. Maybe they can start geo-fencing players with electrodes strapped to their balls… every time Flamandowski goes into the final third he gets a serious jolt of ‘back in your box you muppet.’

What was my point again?

Oh yeah, it would be great if some of our big publishers invested in a deeper kind of journalism. I’m not saying there aren’t great writers, there are. I’m just saying we have a very standardised version of  sports writing in the UK. In sport, it’s very opinion based and it’s not particularly curious. A lot of the what… not a lot about the why or how. A shame, because the game is starting to get more curious, clubs are doing some really cool things and I don’t feel UK readers are hearing about it.

Anyway, that’s my semi coherent jet lagged rant on journalism and data.

P.S. If anyone can spare me a single ticket for the Sunderland game in December, let me know, it’s for a pal.


381 Responses to “Data and analytics about to more deeply entrenched in the game? 💾⌨💻📡⚙🔬”

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  1. Sam

    Wilshere is 23, same age Coq started shining for us. So not too late
    The fact that he’s fragile Wenger shouldn’t count as first teamer this season, only a sub role in competitive games

  2. Goondawg

    It reads worse in translated English tbh guys. Mostly because of the use of colloquial ghetto slang they use. I personally don’t see us going for him again.

    So basically some blackmailers have a sex tape, they know Benzema’s buddy and contact him and ask him to reach out to Benzema to get to Valbuena. Benzema tells Valbuena about the tape and the fact his buddy has connections with the blackmailer and that he should get in touch with him if he wants to sort it out. At the end, both Benzema and his buddy are saying now Valbuena knows, he does what he wants and its out of their hands and saying “the piranhas will eat him”

    Benzema’s friend Zenatti is the one you can assume is benefitting financially from the blackmail. And as Benzema refers to him as his best friend, his brother almost, it certainly looks like Benzema could be in trouble as that means helping Valbuena is a lie. It’s incredibly damning. The courts have to decide whether Benzema was helping Valbuena or helping the blackmailers. Benzema says in the phone call no police, no family don’t tell anyone, so in my eyes telling Valbuena not to call the police and to seek his friend, that is straight up extortion. Also sounds like Cisse got blackmailed by the same guys..

  3. Goondawg

    In a way you could say it’s not Benzema’s fault as he is not doing the blackmailing. And it’s not his fault that he has dodgy friends from a rough past with questionable ethics, that he hasn’t fully split from. And these same people using their friendship with Benzema as a means of facilitating their extortion of Valbuena. Well that’s what I would go for if I was Benzema’s lawyer …

    Here’s a snippet of the call in English

    Benzema: Me, I am helping you (Benzema to Valbuena)… I said to him look, I don’t give a shit, it is not me. I came to see you. Yes thank you, it is good of you. He said to me: What do they want? I said to him: me I do not know. My aim, my thing ends here, you see, my train ends here. Now my friend (Zenati), he takes the matter up. He is the guy who knows the person, there is only one person who has your video. But I do not know him but my friend, he knows him.

    Now if you want to sort this out, give your number, I will give it to him and you can take it up with him.

    Zenati: Yes, perfect.

    Benzema: I said to him: he is my friend, my mate, my best friend, he is like my brother. It is like as if he had a video of me.

    Zenati: Hum.

    Benzema: He said to me, yes, but you what would you have done? I said to him: me, I don’t give a shit about buzz, you see, so I would have paid just for my family… I said to him: you, if it is about buzz, if it is just about the buzz and you have warned your family, and they don’t care, well then let it be released, I said to him.

    Zenati: Well yes, even I would have said that brother, but there you have it… (he laughs) Yes, yes its us brother, we are here in any case to sort it out. If he does not want it, then leave him, he can deal with these piranhas, he will deal with these piranhas and then he will…

    Benzema: They will piss all over him.

    Zenati: They will piss all over him brother, I’m fired up eh.

    Benzema: The piranhas they will eat him, bro.

  4. WengerEagle


    The bit I have trouble understanding is why Benzema who earns €8 million+ a year would jeopardise his career by helping his mate blackmail Valbuena out of some money.

    It is all very strange.

  5. Goondawg

    And loyalty in the hood or some bollocks. I idolised him, and have lost so much respect for him.

    Also believe Valbuena is not getting enough support in France, as he is the victim here, yet many sport personalities over there have come and defended Benzema instead. It’s a joke

  6. vicky

    Surely, even his club career may take a hit. The article I read in which it was reported Lewa will replace Benzema had these sex tape controversy as the main reason why Madrid will look to offload him.

  7. MidwestGun

    Eagle –
    Ya. .. it seems really F-d up. Something similar happened in the NFL , Ray Lewis a big defensive star for a super bowl team helped one of his buddies cover up a murder/shooting at a night Club because he felt some sort of obligation to one of his childhood crack head friends from the ghetto.
    Don’t know why profession athletes feel the need to help out these unsavory types from their past. Like some sort of ghetto bro code of honor.
    Anyhow, Ray Lewis got acquited as the jury felt that he wasn’t the one doing the actual crime so not part of conspiracy to commit a crime so maybe Benzema does too.

  8. WengerEagle


    Yeah, could well be.

    RE Valbuena getting stick, agree that it’s appalling but it’s simply because Benzema is France’s best player whereas with all due respect to Valbuena, he is replaceable.

    If talent wise it was the other way around, Benzema would be getting buried over there.

  9. Goondawg

    So pissed off at the post-2006 french bunch. So much talent, but they are all fucking cunts. Hope the new batch Griezzman, Pogba, Martial, Coman, Zouma, Fekir, Lazacette, Kondogbia, Kurzawa, Coquelin (lol) come through for us

  10. Nasri's Mouth

    Goondawg: I just honestly think he is a bit thick WE

    Yep, and it’s a bit of excitement, getting down with the crims etc.

    He may just be stupid enough that he just thinks of it as a laugh.

    While I’d have jumped at having him in the summer, it’s looking as though we’ve lucked out a little by not getting him.

  11. Nasri's Mouth


    That might be the press just putting 2+2 together though. It’s a transfer story anyone on here could come up with.

    And of course the big stumbling block, why would Bayern want to lose Lewandowski?

  12. vicky

    NM, yeah true that.

    Where is CA, our in house lawyer ? Will he get a jail sentence if proven guilty and if yes, for how many years at the minimum ?

  13. WengerEagle


    That’s nuts, so the guy walked in the end?

    I’d say the guilt wears heavy on their mind as well when that comes into it, the fact that they’ve escaped their past (Benzema, Lewis) and made enough money to never have to work a day in their lives come retirement and these guys that they grew up with as kids are still living in poverty and as a result are now involved in organised crime.

    Would be a tough one as these boys know Benzema unlike anyone in the football world (speculating here but it’s likely) does and he’s probably happier and more comfortable in their company to this day.

    Look at Tevez now, have never seen him happier now that he’s back in Buenos Aires and in his spare time playing poker out on the streets with his childhood mates.

  14. WengerEagle

    ‘And of course the big stumbling block, why would Bayern want to lose Lewandowski?’

    Yeah that’s my feeling too.

    Can’t see them willing to sell him at all, let alone for under £60 million which must hurt the buying team knowing Bayern didn’t spend a penny on him.

    There are no strikers out there right now available that you could say have a chance of replicating Lewandowski’s performances at Bayern either.

  15. MidwestGun

    Eagle –
    Yep…. he’s actually bigger then ever, does television for Espn, now retired from playing , he claims the incident helped him get religion but the victims family has never forgiven him and there was quite a bit of controversy about him doing television analysis. Anyhow, point being big stars have a way of getting off and forgiveness pretty quickly in the publics mind , be interesting to see regarding Benzema.

  16. Goondawg

    The alleged price they were asking for was €100.000, I swear Benzema makes more than that in one week. Can’t believe he threw away his career for such a paltry sum

  17. Nasri's Mouth


    As a facilitator, you’d imagine he’d get 10% of that at max.

    Even now, I’m still surprised at how badly advised some really rich people can be,

    Maybe he just doesn’t give a shit

  18. underrated Coq

    Threw away his career? I don’t know the details of the case but is it really that big a scandal? I mean, if Valbuena says “Benzema said no such things”, this case will be as good as dead. Or is it Valbuena that’s given the complaint against Benzema? Honestly think all parties will come into some sort of mutual agreement and this scandal will be all but forgotten within six months.

  19. MidwestGun

    Most likely some sort of plea bargain will be worked out, I’m guessing, like in exchange for cooperation plead guilty to a lesser charge or something. Also, not familiar with French legal system.

  20. kwik fit

    Why would Benzema seek any dirty money when he already is filthy rich. I just don’t get it

    Its called greed

  21. WengerEagle

    underrated coq

    The conversation was between Benzema and the extorter, his mate Karim Zenati.

    It’s not like he can now come out and say that he was just trying to help Valbuena out, the transcript puts paid to that.

  22. WengerEagle

    ‘ like in exchange for cooperation plead guilty to a lesser charge or something.’

    You feel though that anything other than him being found not guilty would spell the end for his France NT career at the very least.

    Could jeopardise his club career too as it shows him to be a bit of a snake, not exactly ideal for a dressing room regardless of how talented he is.

  23. Louis Almeida

    But the money Benzema stands to make from this is not a lot? I’m sure he gets more in merchandise/sponsorship etc in addition to his weekly wage. I think he is just a bit stupid.

  24. underrated Coq

    WE, yeah, but IF Valbuena rubbishes it saying : ” I don’t know what Benzema was saying to his mate, but me and Benzema never had such a conversation “, well, the case is dead.

  25. underrated Coq

    ” Even Benzema has admitted that he talked to Valbuena and advised him RE the tape. ”

    Oh. So he’s admitted that to the authorities ? Then he will be in trouble. But if the burden of proof comes from this transcript alone, I don’t think the case has any legs to stand on.

    If Valbuena says he never had such a conversation with Benzema, there’d be little to charge Benzema with. The authorities will have to charge him with ‘Lying to childhood mate’, haha 😀

  26. Goondawg

    After the conversation in training that Benzema had with Valbuena, saying tell no one, no intermediary, no police, no agent, no one. Valbuena went straight to the police and told them lol. They then went and bugged Benzema’s phone

  27. Dissenter

    Is it conceivable that Kroenke’s NFL franchise might have to play an international game at Spuds new stadium sometime in 2018. He will have to be represented at the game, per NFL guidelines.

    There are looming difficult times that will pose conflicts for Kroenke’s in the years to come. The NFL thinks there’s a market for them in London and will continue to push harder into the UK market.

  28. MidwestGun

    Diss –
    Ya.,, I was thinking about that and the Jacksonville owner Sheik whathisname owns Fulham. What happens if they award him a move to whatever stadium permanently in London how does that affect Fulham should they get promoted ever? Seems like favoritism. The whole thing doesn’t sit well with me when the Nfl helps certain teams and not others. And I find it strange that at the very least Kroenke hasn’t commented on the move to sponsor the Spuds as the only NFL owner currently.

  29. Dissenter

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the NFL forced Kroenke to choose between his NFL franchise and Arsenal.
    They could extend the restriction on owning other sporting franchise to cover international clubs.
    I know Kroenke found a simple way around the domestic restrictions by transferring his soccer and basketball ownership to his wife. It’s just that I never want to see his face again at the Emirates.

  30. Leedsgunner

    “After the conversation in training that Benzema had with Valbuena, saying tell no one, no intermediary, no police, no agent, no one. Valbuena went straight to the police and told them lol. They then went and bugged Benzene’s phone”

    #ReleasetheBenz will now have a whole new meaning… incredulous that Benzema was stupid enough to get himself mixed up in this.

  31. Leedsgunner

    “Wouldn’t it be nice if the NFL forced Kroenke to choose between his NFL franchise and Arsenal.”

    If this is public knowledge, why can’t the FA impose the decision on Kronke now? Whether Krone one of 2 or 32 owners, it seems to be that there are dangers of conflict of interest at the very very least.

  32. vicky

    Red, why do you think Di Maria is useless ? He has got pace, amazing dribbling ability, on his day can tear defenses apart. I am very curious to know why do you not rate him.

  33. Louis Almeida

    Di Maria was awesome for us at Benfica. Never scored much but was always fit, consistent and capable of the spectacular. We didn’t have him long enough. Miss the days when we had him and Ramires together 🙁

  34. MidwestGun

    Right.. …Giroud probably has a whole closet full of sex tapes. Benzema would be like… Oly, my friend has a sex tape of you.

    Giroud…… ya…. so? And… he needs another one?

  35. Nasri's Mouth

    Midwestgun: Haha poor old Sanogo…. maybe he has a sex tape of Arsene Wenger?

    Now that Wenger has divorced from his wife, expect to see Sanogo moved on pretty quickly 😉

  36. Nasri's Mouth


    You’ll get one on ticket exchange without much trouble. Alternatively, follow @arsenal_tickets on twitter nearer the time

  37. karim


    Not sure Zenati is the blackmailer, to be fair, he’s only supposed to have been contacted by the blackmailer as the latter knows he’s friends with Benzema..
    And Benz isn’t supposed to get any 10 % or whatever I have read…

    Slightly different.

    Maybe I got it all wrong though. One thing’s for sure, he’s stupid to have accepted to be a part of it, knowing his buddy has already been in jail and so on…

    Sorry about that Sam, those will be my last words on the issue.

  38. Uwot?

    Leeds gunner geezer.what’s all this talk about “syrup” & conflict of there a chance he might be forced to sell up?

  39. MidwestGun

    How can the Benzema thing not be interesting? he’s one of the biggest footballers in the world. Sorry Sam… but that’s the truth. And it will have ramifications on the transfer market.

  40. Uwot?

    Forget about that tossed Benz who dissed us in the summer.karma is a wonderful thing.more interested in ” syrup” hopefully packing his saddle & f ****ng back west!

  41. karim

    Here we go again

    He never dissed ” us “, whoever that is.
    The so-called clowns were the ones making rumours, not the Arsenal fans !

  42. MidwestGun

    Uwot –
    Benz… might be a tosser or at least very stupid but he’s the number one tosser for RM. Anytime they are forced to make a move it affects everyone.

    Too early to tell what will happen with Stan , to me, it’s a clear conflict of interest but the rules of ownership between completely different Leagues and across different countries isn’t clear to me. Just know Spuds are
    getting a monetary boost from NFL and we aren’t to my knowledge despite having an NFL owner.