Dealing with Randomness in Match Outcomes: How to Rethink Performance Evaluation and Decision-making in European Club Football

UZH Business Working Paper Series

37 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2018 Last revised: 4 Oct 2018

See all articles by Marc Brechot

Marc Brechot

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Raphael Flepp

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Date Written: September 27, 2018

Abstract

Football is a low-scoring sport in which a few single moments can change the result of an entire match, regardless of what else happened during the 90 minutes on the field. Thus, random forces can have a substantial influence on match outcomes. However, decision makers in European football clubs often rely heavily on recent match outcomes when evaluating team performance, which can lead to systematic misjudgments. In this paper, we propose a complementary approach for performance evaluation aimed at enabling decision makers to substantially mitigate the tendency to overlook the influence of randomness in match outcomes. We build upon the concept of expected goals based on quantified scoring chances and develop a chart that visualizes situations in which a team's true performance throughout a sequence of matches likely deviates from the performance indicated by match outcomes. The insights provided by the chart can systematically alert decision makers of professional football clubs about sensitive situations and should prevent clubs from making flawed decisions when match outcomes are overly biased due to the influence of random forces.

Keywords: football, expected goals, performance evaluation, decision making

JEL Classification: D81, L83

Suggested Citation

Brechot, Marc and Flepp, Raphael, Dealing with Randomness in Match Outcomes: How to Rethink Performance Evaluation and Decision-making in European Club Football (September 27, 2018). UZH Business Working Paper Series. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3122219 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3122219

Marc Brechot

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW) ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Z├╝rich, 8032
Switzerland

Raphael Flepp (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW) ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

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