Analytics comes to the forefront in football

Premier League soccer club Manchester City plans to publish player performance data on its website, giving the public access to new analytical possibilities.

...and by football, we mean "soccer" to our American readers.

Premier League club Manchester City plans to make available data on every player in every team from every game the the league last season in an attempt to boost data analysis beyond the club level.

The analysis of performance data has been of great interest to clubs around the world, but until now the practice has largely remained in the confines of the club. Manchester City is moving beyond that, publishing loads of data to its website.

The Guardian's Andy Hunter reports:

Until now, data that costs all Premier League clubs a small fortune each season has not been widely available or at least widely accessible to the public. Baseball may have been revolutionised by Bill James's sabermetric findings from the late 1970s onwards, leading to Michael Lewis's book Moneyball and now a film starring Brad Pitt, basketball coaches make tactical decisions based on live data during a game, but developments in football have largely remained in-house.

Standing to benefit: researchers, sports scientists and fans who want better ways to measure the performance and value of individual players. The team is working with Opta on the project.

Manchester City has four data analysts attached to the flagship team and another six for its lower levels. It's no longer enough just to warm down after a game; now, players spend time before and after games analyzing what to do -- or what they did wrong.

Photo: Manchester City FC

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