In late November, Alianza Lima defeated Sporting Cristal in the final of Peru's Liga 1 to win their first league title in four years. The achievement came just 12 months after their worst season in the professional era of Peruvian football and represented their first success under the management of José Bellina.
Bellina took on the position of sporting director at the start of 2021 and immediately signalled his intention to improve the club's processes of player evaluation and recruitment. In October, Alianza became one of more than 100 clubs and federations around the world to benefit from StatsBomb's cutting edge data and modelling.
We spoke to José about the role of StatsBomb's data and analysis tools in the club's work.
StatsBomb (SB): Hello José. Firstly, we must congratulate you and the team for an excellent season. If we take a quick step back in time, could you explain the challenge that you were seeking to resolve by signing up for StatsBomb's services?
José Bellina (JB): Primarily, a need to have a means of objectively evaluating the performance of our team and players, in addition to players in other leagues that we want to evaluate in depth to potentially bring into the club.
SB: Can you describe how StatsBomb's services and products are used in your work to help you meet that challenge?
JB: In the analysis of teams and players they give us a clearer picture of our own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of our opponents. They also assist us in eliminating assumptions in the scouting process, helping us in trying to be more objective in our decision making.
We have used StatsBomb data as a fundamental support in all of the contract extensions and new signings we have carried out.
SB: What part or feature of our StatsBomb IQ analysis platform do you or your team use most frequently and why?
JB: We make great use of the ability to compare our players to the averages in our league, and we also compare our players against those we are potentially looking to sign. It gives us a clearer idea of who is performing better and why.
SB: Have any of our metrics or statistical models proved particularly useful in your work?
JB: We have developed key indicators for every position. We use different metrics for strikers than we do for defenders, and so on.
For example, in all of the attacking positions we put a lot of value in xG/shot because it allows us to analyse the decision-making skills of the players. Expected assists are another key metric, as are counterpressures. In general, we use seven or eight metrics for each position.
SB: Why did you opt to work with StatsBomb?
JB: We consider you to be the company that collects the best data and also one that puts a lot of focus on predictive metrics instead of just descriptive ones. We don't necessarily want to know what happened, we want to know what is going to happen, and for that StatsBomb are the best.
SB: What’s your favourite thing about working with StatsBomb?
JB: The quality of the data. That is the most important thing.
SB: How would you evaluate our customer service?
JB: The customer service is great. We receive quick replies, which is very important for us.
SB: Finally, how important are StatsBomb's products in the work of the club?
JB: We consider StatsBomb to be a key tool for the club. As one of the biggest teams in the country, we want to be at the vanguard of scouting and performance evaluation processes, and StatsBomb help us achieve that.