Statistics are becoming more critical than ever in the world of football.
Websites devoted to soccer statistics continue to spring up and have plenty of readers.
Skeptics, though, believe the explosion of data into the sport is in danger of going too far.
Soccer remains a fairly simple sport, and there is a chance where data might overcomplicate matters.
For disciples, soccer statistics provide a way to access marginal gains – increasing the chances of winning.
But what are the most critical numbers in football? Let’s take a look.
Goals win games
There is still no doubt about what the most crucial statistic in soccer is – goals.
Ultimately, none of the other numbers matter if your team scores more than the opposition.
But soccer statistics are used to help explain how and why teams are outscoring their opponents.
Goals might win games, but the soccer statistics show possession numbers are of vital importance too.
Data tends to show that the team that has the most of the ball in 90 minutes has the best chance to win the game.
Some managers believe possession to be more critical than others. Pep Guardiola insists on his team dominating the ball. Jose Mourinho, though, is not as bothered – he will try to find any way to win a match.
Expected goals–What is it?
Moving on to more advanced metrics, with expected goals, one of the latest arrivals into the world of soccer statistics.
Expected goals – which is usually referred to as xG for short – is a metric designed to show the quality of chances created by a team.
The higher the xG number, the more times a team should score in a game. Your team may beat the opposition on xG but lose the game due to failing to take their chances.
Many fans may not like xG, but it is becoming increasingly influential, from the top of the sport right to the bottom.
Key passes and chances created
As well as xG, there are a few other numbers that show how effective a team is in the final third.
Are you interested in creative playmakers? Chances created and key passes can show how well they are playing.
Tackles, blocks, and interceptions
Soccer statistics are important at both ends of the football field, of course.
Defenders have some metrics that can show whether they are playing well or poorly.
Among them are blocks and interceptions, which show how they are getting their bodies in the way.
Tackles remain a key part of the game for defenders, and the best of them will record plenty of data in this area.
Using soccer statistics in football betting
Soccer statistics can also have a pivotal role to play when it comes to placing bets on football matches.
A wealth of data is available to help bettors to decide where they are going to put their money.
For example, xG can be used to show a team is currently over-performing based on the chances they create.
This creates an angle to bet against them as xG is usually closely linked to points won at the end of the season.
Soccer statistics should not be used alone when placing bets, as expert tips can also help to select wagers.