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Orbinho 20 pts

I am Orbinho, ask me (almost) anything!

Posted by Orbinho over 4 years ago · 19 replies

Stats connoisseur, Arsenal fan, mystery person. On Twitter I am @orbinho

This is an AMA (ask me anything) thread

From time to time we will invite people to answer questions about their connection to Arsenal. Keep in mind that not all questions will be answered, and that our community guidelines still apply. Don't bother asking what the person thinks of Tottenham, the answer will always be shit.

19 Comments

Ix Techau Evil Mastermind 14,276 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by Ix Techau

I'll start: what is your favourite Arsenal stat of all time?

AMA Response:

The Thierry Henry scoring 100 goals at a single stadium is one of my favourites. I came up with it and it was used on the big screens at the stadium when he did it. Almunia saving five of six penalties faced at the Emirates. I researched and watched all 7000+ goals from 1992-1999 from old VHS tapes to work out that Thierry Henry held the record for Premier League assists. And this season, Diego Costa not committing a single foul against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, despite kicking, pushing, gouging and hacking everything that moved. That got over 6000 retweets on OptaJoe - that was fun watching the mentions :)

Banter
Proper banter
Posted over 4 years ago by JermainePenis

what do you think is the most common misconception amongst fans when it comes to stats?

AMA Response:

That one stat explains everything. Having more possession doesn't guarantee a win or mean that you were better. Having more shots doesn't mean you will win. Data has to be looked at with context to provide any real insight. What was the quality of those shots? Was that possession in good areas or create scoring opportunities?

Praxeum Slappin Da Bass Monn 1,141 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by Praxeum

Have you ever calculated the statistical significance of Leicester winning the league? Did you see it coming early on?

AMA Response:

I don't think anyone saw it. Even those who bet on them at 5000/1 wouldn't have expected to be cashing in. I am not a statistician so haven't calculated anything, but I don't think anyone can truly claim they would have predicted a Leicester title win.

Posted over 4 years ago by TheJenkinsonEffect

Disregarding the obvious players like Messi, Ronaldo, etc…who could Arsenal buy that would make an instant impact, based on stats alone?

AMA Response:

This is a hard one to answer. Most stats don't tell a complete story. If I had to pick one thing it would probably be a more clinical striker.

Praxeum Slappin Da Bass Monn 1,141 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by Praxeum

In your opinion, why are Arsenal struggling to take the title this year?

AMA Response:

Arsenal earned 75 points last season and signed one player. They went into the campaign with one striker. You pretty much knew that if we stood still we would end up with roughly the same outcome. I don't think it felt like we had enough to win the title at the start of the season and the only reason it seemed possible halfway through is that all the other big teams were underperforming.

Morleys Mesut Özil > You and your mum, chief 4,431 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by Morleys

What is the most damning statistic that reflects Arsenal's 15/16 season?

AMA Response:

If you had said Arsenal would be above Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd at the start of the season, most people would have been delighted. The fact that we are ahead of those teams and still 13 points off top spot is not great.

Liamdowski Staff 2,157 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by Liamdowski

Who is the biggest football player you’ve met and HOW tall were they?

(I am not good english)

AMA Response:

I met Almunia at London Colney. He's probably the tallest. I also met Eduardo & Eboue that day.

Ix Techau Evil Mastermind 14,276 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by Ix Techau

Will Opta ever go into the predicted goals territory, or is that too vague an area? Have you guys experimented with it?

AMA Response:

To be honest, we are more of a data provider than anything else though so we provide the raw materials and wallow others to use it to make their predictions, either for fun or in the betting industry.

Posted over 4 years ago by TheJenkinsonEffect

What does Leicester do that Arsenal doesn’t? Why can’t we get the same type of results as they do...what do the number tell us?

AMA Response:

What Leicester have done is win tight games. They have scored fewer goals than Spurs and conceded more yet are comfortably clear. You get three points for winning 1-0 as well as 4-0 or 3-0. Arsenal have won six games by a one goal margin, Leicester have won 14.

Praxeum Slappin Da Bass Monn 1,141 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by Praxeum

What would be the benefit of Arsenal purchasing their own data company, instead of just coming to Opta for a custom solution? Ignoring the conspiracy theories about Kroenke, it seems Opta would offer more experience than a brand new data startup.

AMA Response:

The advantage of owning your own data company is that you can collect the things you want to and that you deem are important. This also gives you competitive advantage over your rivals if they don't have access to that data. One of the things we get asked for a lot is second balls, or shots made under pressure. Because we have limitations on how much we collect and what we do collect is mainly for media consumption, then a generic approach isn't ideal for all clubs. Also, the company Arsenal bought has some very clever data scientists who use that data to come up with insights into player scouting - it isn't just data gathering.

Posted over 4 years ago by thesecretfootballer

What is your actual role at Opta, you mysterious bastard?

AMA Response:

I am responsible for working internally with other areas of the business and externally with clients in how to best utilise sports performance data.

Ix Techau Evil Mastermind 14,276 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by Ix Techau

What is the worst stat of the season for Arsenal that you think we could easily improve for next year?

AMA Response:

Possibly the worst stat is having dropped 14 points from winning positions. Only two teams have dropped more this season. I think a team that is serious about winning things can't throw away leads. Points dropped at Liverpool, West Brom, West Ham and Swansea have proved costly. Once we're ahead, we seem more intent on scoring more than biding our time for the right moments.

Praxeum Slappin Da Bass Monn 1,141 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by Praxeum

Ignoring statistics and just going by emotion, who would be your (realistic) dream signing for Arsenal this summer?

AMA Response:

I think based on data and emotion Sergio Aguero. I love watching him play. My son would like us to sign Antoine Griezmann, I'd take Marco Reus. I think the team needs a dominant central midfield player in the Patrick Vieira mould though. Not many of them around.

Ix Techau Evil Mastermind 14,276 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by Ix Techau

Have you ever gone back to the dominant era (1998-2004) to track stats, just to see what it would be like and how it would compare to today? If not, what do you think would be the biggest surprise?

AMA Response:

We have data from those seasons. I think what might surprise you is that the Invincibles averaged just 14.2 shots per game. We have averaged more than that in 11 of the last 12 seasons, including this term. We also have a better chance conversion this season than in 2003-04.

In comparing old football, we have analysed all World Cup finals matches back to 1966. The World Cup final of 1966 had over three times as many shots as 2006. We also analysed the Matthews final (1953) and compared it to Arsenal v Chelsea in 2002, for the anniversary in 2003 and as you would expect the passing accuracy was far lower, the number of dribbles far higher and the number of shots higher in the 1953 final.

Praxeum Slappin Da Bass Monn 1,141 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by Praxeum

Moneyball showed that making decisions based on stats gave Oakland Athletics a statistical edge...but as soon as all other teams started relying on stats the advantage was erased. Do you think that in an era where every club uses stats, they become less important in terms of scouting and match analysis from a club's perspective?

AMA Response:

I don't think football is at the point where anyone can claim they have found a real competitive advantage using data in the way the Oakland As did. It's very much in its infancy and the fluidity and sheer unpredictability of football means that clubs are some way off being able to claim that. What data can help with is identifying potential talent and short-cutting the scouting process. It can identify strengths and weaknesses of your own or opposition teams, but if you know Liverpool are bad at defending corners, you can't necessarily turn your own team into a team that is brilliant at corners just to exploit that weakness in a one off game. There are certainly some insights the performance data can offer, but I wouldn't say any of those are currently giving anyone a significant advantage.

As more physical and tracking data becomes available and is matched with event data, then we may see more insight being gleaned but as with most things, a lot will come down to the talent of the people using the data as well as the talent being maximised of the players and staff at a football club.

medintern 196 pts
Posted over 4 years ago by medintern

In terms of Wenger's "weak in the air" comment, can you look at Ospina vs Cech and goals conceded via header/crosses comparing the 2? My gut feeling is that Cech is a better aerial challenger, and just wondering if the stats back it up.

AMA Response:

38% of the goals Arsenal have conceded while David Ospina has been in goal have been from headers over the last two seasons. 14% of the goals Arsenal have conceded have been headers with Cech in goal. 29% of the goals Cech has conceded have come from crosses, while 50% of those shipped by Ospina have come from centres into the box. This suggests it's a more profitable route for teams to score against us when Cech isn't playing.

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