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Learn to take statistics and sport with a pinch of salt

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By: Liam Lines 26 Feb 2014 11:12:34

Learn to take statistics and sport with a pinch of salt

For me I love statistics, I can’t get enough of comparing stats plus having a visual of who is better to assist an argument, such as based on how many goals they’ve scored, to how many games they've played.

The more I look and use stats, the more I find out that maybe they are only used sometimes in bias or just because statistics are the new in thing.

Many say the Premier League, especially in this country is the best in the world and the most competitive. More often than not, the Premier League and La Liga lock horns together in this argument.

The point difference between the top 4 in the Premier League is 4, and for La Liga it is 22.

By this you’d say the Premier League by competitiveness wins this section.

However I could also flip the coin and say the two leagues aren't separated that much at all as the top ten are both separated by 29 and 28 points respectively. So by this point it is a much more level playing field, pardon the pun.

Here are the two tables; can you notice the flaws with those statistics?

Premier League Top 10PlayedPoints
Chelsea2657
Arsenal2656
Man City2554
Liverpool2653
Spurs2650
Everton2545
Man Utd2642
Southampton2639
Newcastle2637
Swansea2628

La Liga Top 10PlayedPoints
Barcelona2460
Real Madrid2460
Atletico2460
Bilbao2444
Villarreal2440
Sociedad2440
Sevilla2432
Valencia2432
Espanyol2432
Levante2432

One is Swansea in the Premier League, their points’ hall of 28 drags the whole table to a more equal total; this miss leads the numbers slightly. Another is even though the top three in LA Liga are inseparable with 60 points each showing a certain level of competitiveness, with Bilbao bringing the 22 points difference alone. This shows how the top 3 dominate the league and no one comes close, compared to the much tighter Premier League at 53, 54, 56 and 57 points. In all, even though the stats show the leagues to be equal by numbers, the difference between each club is very different in each league, but if I had just given you those stats to push my argument and you didn’t know the tables, you would just accept the leagues are closer than expected overall without knowing that isn’t the case.

I know this isn’t the most perfect example and if there is a better please comment and let me know and ill do some research into it. It’s just a short, simple way to express how statistics can be something great and we rely on them more and more for coverage of each game. They are extremely useful to compare but watch out for those few articles that use stats to manipulate them for their own advantage.

 


DSG

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