Some Priors for the 2019-2020 Football Seasons in Europe

The 2019-2020 football seasons in Europe have started with Liverpool’s 4v1 win over Norwich in the English Premier League (link).

Last year, I looked at the scoring patterns in six European football leagues (English Premier League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Serie A, Eredivise and Primera). In total, I monitored 1875 games. These provide the basis for the priors leading into the 2019-2020 seasons.

Scoring First and Winning

Scored First and Did Not Lose

It will be interesting to see how the posteriors respond in 2019-2020. The Scored First and Did Not Lose Prior looks particularly robust. This prior is based upon a one goal lead. Even this indicator seems very stable. In only 9 of the 1875 games did the team that scored twice and led 2v0 lose (3 EPL, 1 Ligue 1, 1 Bundesliga, 3 Serie A, 1 Eredivisie, 0 Primera).

When Liverpool went 2v0 ahead against Norwich in the first game of the EPL season after 19 minutes (link), the probability of Norwich winning was in my estimate 0.005 in Europe and 0.008 in the EPL. Liverpool went ahead 3v0 in the 28th minute and at that stage no team in the previous season had come back to win from 0v3.


I read Aaron Kearney’s tweet about the Junior Matildas and the Tonga Under 19 team:

It reminded me of a tweet earlier this year (in April) shared by England Rugby:

Both are wonderful examples of open sharing with young athletes and their coaches. I think they add momentum to idea that “sharing is the new competitive edge”.


Back in 2013, David Brooks wrote in the New York Times (link):

If you asked me to describe the rising philosophy of the day, I’d say it is data-ism. We now have the ability to gather huge amounts of data. This ability seems to carry with it certain cultural assumptions — that everything that can be measured should be measured; that data is a transparent and reliable lens that allows us to filter out emotionalism and ideology; that data will help us do remarkable things — like foretell the future.

David’s work appeared in an article by Oleksii Kharkovyna (link) in which he looked at ‘dataism’. In the article, Oleskii observed “dataism began as a neutral scientific theory but is now mutating into a religion that claims to determine right and wrong”.

Oleskii’s post led me to look more carefully at some data ideas. I have created a Citationsy list of my reading (link). The readings encouraged me to think about the volume, velocity and variety of data and how organisations, particularly in sport, are dealing with this.

Jim Harris makes some very important points in his 2012 post. I paid particular attention to:

Our organizations have been compulsively hoarding data for a long time. And with silos replicating data as well as new data, and new types of data being created and stored on a daily basis, managing all of the data is not only becoming impractical, but because we are too busy with the activity of trying to manage all of it, we are hoarding countless bytes of data without evaluating data usage, gathering data requirements, or planning for data archival

We do need to contemplate gathering, evaluating and storing as we become awash in data. David Slemen has discussed this in his look at the role of Director of Strategy and Analytics in football (link).