The Trouble With Statistics

Following a very disappointing 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on the opening weekend, Liverpool got their first point on the board for 2012/13 with an impressive performance in yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City. But for a suicidal back pass by Martin Skrtel, the Reds were looking good for a win over last seasons Premier League champions.

Yet to look at some of the key statistics from the two matches, you would think that the better performance of the two came at The Hawthorns last week, not at Anfield on Sunday.

Of course, some of the statistics being worse will be down to the difference in quality of the opponent. Despite playing them at home, Manchester City will always provide a sterner test than West Bromwich Albion; indeed, I read on Twitter yesterday that since they were taken over in 2008, City’s net spend (£358.5m) has been nearly six times that of Liverpool’s (£61.5m).

But the fact remains, that taking the statistics at face value would suggest that Liverpool were far more likely to have won their first league match of the season, rather than their second. Perhaps the stat cynics are right after all, and all that really matters is how many goals both sides score?

Not a view that I would subscribe to myself of course, but the considerable difference in a lot of the key statistics between the two matches does make you wonder about what impact upon a result the above numbers really have.

It’s only a two game sample after all, so outliers are to be expected, but it will be interesting to see how closely Liverpool’s results correlate to their performance in the important stats as the season progresses.

Suárez scoring his first goal of the season, against Manchester City

Statistics were sourced from EPLIndex. Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here. You can follow me on Twitter here.

3 thoughts on “The Trouble With Statistics

  1. Pingback: Howard Webb, Penalties, and Manchester United | Bass Tuned To Red

  2. Pingback: Why Last Season’s 3-0 Defeat Shows Liverpool Can Beat Manchester City | Bass Tuned To Red

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