Lies, Damn Lies, and Historical Match-Ups

ports statistics are a hypnotic tool, they provide a quick, satisfying certainty to any fan looking for empirical guidance.  But their validity is seldom questioned by pundits or supporters, and perhaps the most meaningless statistic is the oft cited historical match-up statistic.  In a preview it will inevitably be recited that Team A has not beaten Team B in X number of previous games, that Team B has a history of upsets in the particular match-up, or that one of them has not won the meeting since men’s hats were in high fashion.  The emphasis on history has the appeal of being an analysis born of tradition and experience rather than reason.  The mystique is comforting to the footballing community, not least because it ensures the continued employment of their wisdom, but because it reaffirms the bias that football is not a thinking man’s game.  We are thinking men, however, and it is time to take a look at the conventional wisdom. Continue reading “Lies, Damn Lies, and Historical Match-Ups”

Lies, Damn Lies, and Historical Match-Ups