Quantifying the relation between performance and success in soccer

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TitleQuantifying the relation between performance and success in soccer
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsPappalardo, L, Cintia, P
JournalAdvances in Complex Systems
AbstractThe availability of massive data about sports activities offers nowadays the opportunity to quantify the relation between performance and success. In this study, we analyze more than 6000 games and 10 million events in six European leagues and investigate this relation in soccer competitions. We discover that a team’s position in a competition’s final ranking is significantly related to its typical performance, as described by a set of technical features extracted from the soccer data. Moreover, we find that, while victory and defeats can be explained by the team’s performance during a game, it is difficult to detect draws by using a machine learning approach. We then simulate the outcomes of an entire season of each league only relying on technical data and exploiting a machine learning model trained on data from past seasons. The simulation produces a team ranking which is similar to the actual ranking, suggesting that a complex systems’ view on soccer has the potential of revealing hidden patterns regarding the relation between performance and success.
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