Monday 8 October 2012

Reader Challenge - Guess the Number of Goals Scored

As it's the international break and there have been a few people contact me about the use of player performance stats in predicitng goals scored and fantasy points I thought I would set up a small challenge.

The table below contains real data for 10 players from the Premiership last year.  I've presented the key shooting data from which I believe it should be possible to determine goals scored.  Do not try to look up the stats on websites and such, as that would be cheating and serve no purpose!  Also, I've cunningly adjusted some of the numbers in a meaningless way so they can't be traced.

As I know the answers I cannot participate in this myself, nor can I know if this data set will yield purposeful conclusions, but I suppose that's part of the experiment.

Here's the objective:
  1. Order the players in number of goals scored - in the quest for mini-league glory I believe the first priority must be accurate predictions relative to other players.  If you have Player X and your rival has Player Y it doesn't matter if Player X scores 5 or 20 goals, as long as he scores more than Player Y.
  2. Predict the number of goals scored?   Obviously the more accurate the prediction the better.   At the top of the game the margins are so close.
  3. Can you name the player?  Maximum Internet Points for anyone who does.
So there you go.  Fancy the challenge?  Your answers must be submitted before kick off in the England vs San Marino (20:00 BST Friday 12th Oct) after which I will post the results.

S = Total Shots, Sin = Shots in Box, SoT = Shots on Target

Player S Sin SoT
Player 1 128 98 47
Player 2 146 85 53
Player 3 109 75 44
Player 4 39 31 21
Player 5 130 100 51
Player 6 77 68 33
Player 7 47 42 19
Player 8 100 87 46
Player 9 71 55 27
Player 10 102 46 42


  1. Are these all forwards? That's a key bit of information to help any guessing game.

    1. Well my friend, I'm not telling :) I have a notion that the traditional positional name a player is given should not influence our ability to tell how many goals he'll score. If you think additional stats will help you then let me know which and I will try and rustle them up.

    2. Interesting you would say that. I thought the common thought was that strikers, in general, convert at a higher rate, probably due to the skills of the position.

      With that said, I will take a stab at it later tonight. I was much more casual in my observation of EPL last season (namely, because I was not playing fantasy), so I wouldn't expect anything great in terms of guessing the player!

  2. So I spent about 25 minutes typing up a post with guesses for these and it got deleted when I accidentally hit the back button (not a big fan of the Blogger interface). As such, I didn't feel like typing the whole thing out again, so I will just guess the order of who scored the most:


  3. I'll reply to all this in full tomorrow but for now I have listed their actual goals and how you did as if you were picking these players for your team. I think you would have won your minileague :)

    Player S Sin SoT Goals
    Player 5 130 100 51 11 - correct
    Player 2 142 84 53 15 - again, you're winning your minileague.
    Player 8 100 87 46 13 - not too far off. still winning!
    Player 3 109 75 44 13 - good, good.
    Player 4 39 31 21 20 - you missed this fella, I hope you're rival did too
    Player 6 77 68 33 13 - in the right order, well done.
    Player 9 71 55 27 9 - again, not bad.
    Player 1 126 98 46 14 - oh no! well out, i hope you did not capt. him!!
    Player 10 102 46 42 12 - you may of lost out on a few pts on this guy
    Player 7 47 42 19 10 - bottom of the pile, as you guessed.

    There are 2 major anomolies in this list in terms of the actual stats and goals scored, ast least the way I ahev worked it out - player 8 and player 1, who destroy the correlation from 0.85 to 0.64 when included. I am not being cryptic here by the way, it's just late, and I am a little drunk! Full details in a post tomorrow. Well done, and thanks for participating.