The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong

The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong

4.0 1
by Chris Anderson, David Sally
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Moneyball meets Freakonomics in this myth-busting guide to understanding—and winning—the most popular sport on the planet - now with a new afterword on the 2014 World Cup!

Innovation is coming to soccer, and at the center of it all are the numbers—a way of thinking about the game that ignores the obvious in favor of how

See more details below

Overview

Moneyball meets Freakonomics in this myth-busting guide to understanding—and winning—the most popular sport on the planet - now with a new afterword on the 2014 World Cup!

Innovation is coming to soccer, and at the center of it all are the numbers—a way of thinking about the game that ignores the obvious in favor of how things actually are. In The Numbers Game, Chris Anderson, a former professional goalkeeper turned soccer statistics guru, teams up with behavioral analyst David Sally to uncover the numbers that really matter when it comes to predicting a winner. Investigating basic but profound questions—How valuable are corners? Which goal matters most? Is possession really nine-tenths of the law? How should a player’s value be judged?—they deliver an incisive, revolutionary new way of watching and understanding soccer.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Numbers Game does the impossible of making the beautiful game even more beautiful." - Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink

“Chris Anderson and David Sally have the ability to see football in a way few have before them. Be warned: The Numbers Game will change the way you think about your favorite team or player, and the way you watch the beautiful game.” – Billy Beane, Manager of the Oakland A’s and subject of Moneyball
 
"I learned a lot, and it's hard not to applaud a project that is bent on the disenchantment of football's internal conversations and archaic practices, while simultaneously acknowledging an ineradicable core of the unpredictable and random at its heart." - David Goldblatt, author of The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer for the Times Literary Supplement

“…North American soccer fans would do very well to pick up this book.  It will not only help them understand the game better, but it will also stimulate new ways to analyze and think about the game.”  – Forbes
  
“[This] is the book that could change the game forever.” – The Times (London)
   
“By any standards, this is a landmark book, scrupulously researched and bound to be influential.” – Booklist (starred review)

“Witty and thoughtful…should appeal not just to soccer fans, but to readers of Malcolm Gladwell and Freakonomics.” – Kirkus Reviews

"Their rather innovative and revolutionary way of looking at the game makes for fascinating reading." - The Library Journal

“A highly original contribution to our understanding of what we are seeing at a match, their book is unbeatable” – The Independent on Sunday
 
“Pundits, armchair fans and professionals, will find that several of their long-cherished truisms are not true at all.” – The Guardian
 
“Superb” – GQ

Library Journal
09/01/2013
What Michael Lewis did for baseball with his now-classic 2003 book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, Anderson (systems manager, London Sch. of Economics & Political Science) and Sally (business administration, Tuck Sch. of Business, Dartmouth Coll.) attempt in this lively study of the application of analytics in soccer—and they do it very well. Tracing the use of numbers, applied to soccer, the authors draw surprising and valid conclusions about the world's most popular game. The study of data in soccer—and in most sports—is a growing business, turning games of tradition into situational contests best managed by examining numbers to create a winning solution. For Anderson and Sally, soccer is not a game of possession but a game of managing turnovers. Their rather innovative and revolutionary way of looking at the game makes for fascinating reading at times amid a plethora of numbers and analysis. In the tradition of Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski's Soccernomics, Anderson and Sally contribute an admirable addition to the emerging literature of the business and analytics of sports. VERDICT Soccer enthusiasts and fans, sports historians, and even general readers will be captivated by this new and nontraditional account of the magical game.—Boyd Childress, formerly with Auburn Univ. Libs., AL
Kirkus Reviews
Using data to better understand (and improve a team's odds of winning) the Beautiful Game. Analytics, the use of data and statistics, has grown exponentially in the world of sports in recent years. Michael Lewis' Moneyball revealed how Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane utilized analytics to exploit inefficiencies in the baseball marketplace of players and ideas. Coaches and administrators, as well as fans of other sports, have increasingly tried to apply analytics to the games they love. Anderson (London School of Economics and Cornell Univ.) and Sally (Business/Dartmouth) fit well into that tradition in this fine book about the use of analytics in soccer. Like many within the growing number of books in this genre, the authors, both of whom are academics, former athletes and fans, have the ability to convey complicated ideas and even more complex data and statistics into a readable whole that will appeal to fans who want to better understand the most popular sport in the world. Whether they are trying to ascertain what percentage of possession determines victory, to decide whether it is best to focus on scoring goals or not conceding them, to establish just how much coaches matter to a team's success or myriad other exercises, they make compelling and occasionally contrarian cases for breaking away from thinking that too often comes down to, "seven words [that] have long dominated soccer: ‘That's the way it's always been done.' " Anderson and Sally destroy most of the rationales for such thinking in this entertaining, witty and thoughtful book, which should appeal not just to soccer fans, but to readers of Malcolm Gladwell and Freakonomics. Even the most innumerate soccer fan will find in this book justification to add some math to make the world's game even more beautiful.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143124566
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/30/2013
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
200,454
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 5.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Chris Anderson is a pioneer of soccer analytics and a professor at London School of Economics in the U.K. and Cornell University in the U.S.

David Sally is a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >