StatDNA and Expected Goals.

The latter is becoming a common term in football, and even featured in FOX coverage of the Bundesliga over the weekend.

The former may be less well known in the world of football, particularly among fans, but may sound familiar to Arsenal fans. Just over a year ago, the club confirmed the £2m purchase of revolutionary company StatDNA, which helped identify Gabriel as a player to target.

Arsène Wenger openly speaks about stats and has mentioned ‘expected goals’ on a number of occasions so far this season, but he doesn’t feel Arsenal have an edge over their rivals by using numbers.

“I don’t believe so, I think every club today has its own computer team and has all the stats they need,” the manager told BeIN Sports in a recent interview. “We have our own way, the way we understand each other now and we are quite happy but we always try to develop it and try to make it better.”

While he doesn’t let data dictate his opinions or decisions, Wenger is wary of them and sees huge benefits.

“I always want statistics after the game because I want to see if it confirms what I see,” he said. “Sometimes it denies what I’ve seen, sometimes it gives you a different perspective on the game.

“I never ignore my gut feeling because I’ve managed about 2000 games. Somewhere what I have as a gut feeling, the vibes coming out deeper than the numbers are important as well but I love the statistics, especially when they are well done. They can lead you the wrong way, you have to be very careful.”

In such a competitive world it’s good to know Arsenal are striving for each and every incremental advantage, including the advanced use of numbers.

However, it is also fantastic to hear the manager say numbers can be misleading. All in all, it’s about striking a balance and Wenger seems eager to find it.

 

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Usually found watching or talking about English or German football. Interested in tactics (but often despairing a lack of them). Favourite players: Bergkamp, Arteta, Özil