am a stats man and many do have their place in football. I do follow the money ball theory and have read countless books on statistical analysis on football. But you can go too far with football, and as media outlets attempt to find the new thing they can end up inventing a statistic that is simply pointless.
Recently the BBC have created (or adopted) a statistic called “Expected Goals”. The idea being that it shows how many goals should have been scored against how many were scored.
This is pointless as all the matters is the goals actually scored.
Against Manchester United, Arsenal were expected to have scored 4.6 goals based on the chances. Manchester United 1.9 goals. Ignoring the fact that you can not score a decimal point of a goal, Manchester United scored 3 goals, and Arsenal 1.
Now I understand the stats surrounding chances created, shots on target, etc, but how the analysts decided Manchester United should only have scored 1.9 goals when all 3 of their chances were fairly routine is beyond me. It is a baffling statistic.
I have even seen a league table of expected goals – ie how the table would look if each match went to the expected goals rather than the actual. It is like those league tables which are altered to show results if shots that hit the woodwork went in. Or that Chelsea one from years ago which took out all goals by black players.
It is pointless.
At the end of the day, there is only one statistic that really matters, and that is the score at the end of the game.