Are you a football fanatic?
Do you love data and analytics?
There is a high chance that you must not be aware of a term called “football analytics”.
Now what is football analytics you may ask? It is the combination of your favorite sport, football, and data analytics!
Football analytics is vastly used in football. It helps teams analyze their matches, improve performances and take their games to a whole new level. But as fancy as this sounds, football analytics is not so easy to crack, and there are very few polished football analysts out there.
In this blog, we aim to help aspiring football analysts hone their skills, and march on towards their pursuit of becoming a football analyst.
While there are many resources available on the internet, the old school book study is hard to replace.
We will be listing out the 7 best that you should get your hands on to learn football analytics.
So let’s start!
7 Best Books On Football Analytics
After you know what football analytics is, it’s time to find out the best 7 football data analysis books:
1. Soccermatics: Mathematical Adventures In The Beautiful Game
Football analytics has a lot to do with numbers which are in the form of players data & stats.
Football is said to be one of the most mathematical sports, and it is beautifully portrayed by the author David Sumpter in this book.
From the geometrical shape of Barcelona’s tiki taka, to the modern day obsession of patterns and formations, this book covers it all.
Former Chelsea and Everton star Pat Navin said that “this book will make you look at football in a very different way.” This is a great read and highly recommended to anyone interested in football analytics.
Total Pages: 353
Publication Date: 5th May 2016
2. The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Football is Wrong
This book by Chris Anderson, former goalkeeper turned football stats guru, and David Sully, former Baseball pitcher turned economist, bust many common myths around football.
The book delivers very insightful information on how numbers are actually used in football and how they can help us in understanding football even more.
The book has many unpopular takes like why saving a goal is more important than scoring one, but all of it is backed by logical explanations.
The Times (London) left a review that “this book could change the game forever.”
Total Pages: 372
Publication Date: 30th May 2013
3. Inverting The Pyramid: The History Of Football Tactics
In this book, author Jonathon Wilson traces football tactics to its roots, and notes down how the beautiful game has evolved over time.
The book analyzes the early British football in the 1930s to South American football of the 1970s. The author also throws light on the start of the 3-5-2 formation.
Overall this is a great read to understand football analysis.
One reviewer said that “one of the most revelatory sports books he had read recently.”
Total Pages: 481
Publication Date: 22nd April 2010
4. Football Hackers: The Science and Art of a Data Revolution
Next on the list we have a book written by award-winning writer Chirstoph Biermann. The book takes the readers on a tour of Europe’s most innovative football thinkers.
It discusses the arrival of advanced metrics and detailed analysis of the modern game of football. The book was written after talking to various scientists, coaches, managers, scouts, and psychologists working with world’s major football clubs.
The book reveals some surprising and lesser known details about the football analytical world, and is a fascinating read.
Thomas Hitzlsperger rated the book as “the most exciting book in an exciting time for football.”
Total Pages: 304
Publication Date: 30th May 2019
5. The Expected Goals Philosophy: A Game Changing Way of Analysing Football
In the world of football analytics, xG is a common term which means expected goals. These are not the actual goals scored, but estimated goals that could have been scored in a match.
This book covers everything that there is to know about the concept of expected goals. It shows how scouts find new players for their teams, analyze which player is performing at his/her peak, and is also used by professional gamblers to make bets as one can predict the goalscorer in the match.
There is so much in this book that it is hard to summarize it all here. The one thing to note here is that this book has some advanced concepts which beginners may not be able to understand. So buy wisely if you are just getting started with football analytics!
Total Pages: 222
Publication Date: 6th November 2019
6. The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines
This book is a treat for all modern day football fans, and especially followers of the English Premier League. This book covers how the Premier League has evolved since its inception in 1992.
From Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson to Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho, and all the way to Claudio Ranieri’s League winning Leicester City, this book takes the readers on a rollercoaster ride.
If you love the Premier League and want to know in depth about how the tactics in it have developed over the years, this book is a must read for you.
One reviewer said that “the Mixer is one of the most entertaining, rich and knowledgeable football books ever written.”
Total Pages: 497
Publication Date: 1st June 2017
This book by Simon Kuper and Stefan Syzmanski is an international bestseller that provides interesting takes on international football. It analyzes why teams like Spain, Germany and Brazil win, and why the USA, Japan, Australia, Iraq are destined to become the kings of football.
The book answers some of the most asked questions by football fans in an analytical manner. It provides interesting insights about football, both on and off the pitch.
The Guardian reviewed this book as “Magnificent…Freakonomics for football.”
Total Pages: 576
Publication Date: 24th May 2012
So there you have it, some of the best football analysis books that are available in the market. Football analytics is making a big name for itself and its importance has grown tremendously over the years.
If you are someone who loves learning new things by reading books, you should definitely buy some of these and learn new skills.
There is no friend as loyal as a book.
And if you are really passionate about football and want to make a career in this industry, check out Mad About Sports!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Football Analytics?
Football analytics is a way of analysing the performances of football players according to different technical and tactical situations by the use of data and statistics.
2. What does a Football Analyst need to know?
Among other things, a football analyst must have knowledge of football and be well versed with data analytics.
3. Which countries constitute the top 5 European football Leagues?
England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France make up the top 5 European football Leagues.
4. Where is the FIFA World Cup 2022 being held?
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is being held in Qatar.