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Dealing with randomness in match outcomes: how to rethink performance evaluation and decision-making in European club football


Brechot, Marc; Flepp, Raphael (2018). Dealing with randomness in match outcomes: how to rethink performance evaluation and decision-making in European club football. UZH Business Working Paper Series 374, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Football is a low-scoring sport in which a few single moments can change the result of an entire match, regardless of what else happened during the 90 minutes on the field. Thus, random forces can have a substantial influence on match outcomes. However, decision makers in European football clubs often rely heavily on recent match outcomes when evaluating team performance, which can lead to systematic misjudgments. In this paper, we propose a complementary approach for performance evaluation aimed at enabling decision makers to substantially mitigate the tendency to overlook the influence of randomness in match outcomes. We build upon the concept of expected goals based on quantified scoring chances and develop a chart that visualizes situations in which a team's true performance throughout a sequence of matches likely deviates from the performance indicated by match outcomes. The insights provided by the chart can systematically alert decision makers of professional football clubs about sensitive situations and should prevent clubs from making flawed decisions when match outcomes are overly biased due to the influence of random forces.

Abstract

Football is a low-scoring sport in which a few single moments can change the result of an entire match, regardless of what else happened during the 90 minutes on the field. Thus, random forces can have a substantial influence on match outcomes. However, decision makers in European football clubs often rely heavily on recent match outcomes when evaluating team performance, which can lead to systematic misjudgments. In this paper, we propose a complementary approach for performance evaluation aimed at enabling decision makers to substantially mitigate the tendency to overlook the influence of randomness in match outcomes. We build upon the concept of expected goals based on quantified scoring chances and develop a chart that visualizes situations in which a team's true performance throughout a sequence of matches likely deviates from the performance indicated by match outcomes. The insights provided by the chart can systematically alert decision makers of professional football clubs about sensitive situations and should prevent clubs from making flawed decisions when match outcomes are overly biased due to the influence of random forces.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:30 September 2018
Deposited On:10 Sep 2019 15:24
Last Modified:04 Feb 2020 16:14
Series Name:UZH Business Working Paper Series
Number of Pages:37
ISSN:2296-0422
OA Status:Green
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:18179

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