Welcome one and all to a new feature on StatsBomb which will showcase some of the best articles I have read this week. I read a lot of stuff, some of it shit, some of it intelligently written that makes me feel smarter for having had the pleasure of reading it.
It’s worth noting that as much as I would like to link to a 2000 word piece on the innovation and creativity of the seminal mid 90’s double album Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness, most links featured here will be about sports or analytics. [Editor’s Note: Hit Ben up on Twitter for Mellon Collie.]
Also, it must be said that I don’t read everything that is published in the sports or analytics world. I will miss an awful lot of excellent and innovative writing. If I have failed to link to a really cool or smart article, please link it in the comments section below and I will feature it in the following week’s round-up.
Please do send in your links – let’s try and make this a community project and apologies if this weeks list is a little light. My flat is like a hotel at the moment. Time is short, hangovers are more frequent than would be advisable.
Doping In Sport: The Athlete’s Dilemma (link)
Interesting article that explores some of the possible reasons as to why athletes take performing enhancing drugs.
‘The simplest game in game theory is “prisoner’s dilemma”. In the athletes’ version, both players will be better off if neither takes drugs, but because neither can trust the other, both have to take them to make sure they have a chance of winning.’
Colby Cosh Profiles the mysterious TangoTiger (link)
From 2010 a Macleans profile of the man known as TangoTiger. Colby Cosh gives us some background information on one of sabermetrics leading figures and writes of Tango’s consultancy work with MLB teams. This on TangoTiger’s anonymity:
“Take all my past and current employers, colleagues, peers and readers, and I have met exactly one person.”
Look out for Cosh’s reply to the first comment from a reader.
A detailed write up on what Stevan Jovetic’s signing means for Man City and the flexibility it gives the club in terms of potential formations. I really like the 4-2-3-1 formation that Zac lays out in the article.
Soccermetrics with an alternative formulation of tempo in football (link)
Howard Hamilton takes a unique look at speed of possession – match tempo. It’s an excellent article with some fresh and alternative analysis. The team with the quickest average match tempo? Stoke City…..
The full article can be found here (link). God bless them boys!
Gabe Desjardins/Hawerchuk (link)
I’m not sure if anybody remembers this but about a year ago now, James Grayson, in a moment of rare frustration at the self congratulory nature of the football analytics community, posted a really interesting tweet. It went something like this: As far as we think we have come in football analysis none of it even comes close to the work Gabe did 2 years ago.
Grayson was completely correct. Desjardins is a wizard, who along with Vic Ferrari of Irreverent Oil, was the pioneer of the hockey analytics scene. Desjardins turned his attention to soccer/football in the summer of 2010 and some 3 years later a lot of his work still hasn’t been surpassed.
Anyhow, the link above is a very short article on score effects on the percentage of passes and weighted passes.
Eric Tulsky on the effects of rest on a NHL teams’ schedule (link)
If Desjardins is the past of hockey analytics then Eric Tulsky, the inorganic chemist and nano technology researcher, is very much the future. In the link above Eric takes a light-hearted look at the amount of rest a team has between games and the effect it has on expected wins. If you have any free time to spare, do go and check out his archive.
Macaree on the economics of transfers (link)
This article dates back to June, but it’s a really interesting article on the complexities of player transfers.
That’s all until next week.