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The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong
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    From Booklist ( /gp/feature.html/?docId=1000027801 )

    *Starred Review* It’s a truism that soccer resists statistical analysis due to its free-flowing nature and
    few set plays. But times, and technology, are different, and now almost anything can be measured. To the recurring
    refrain of phrases such as “Our data show,” the authors subject the beautiful game to a gimlet-eyed accounting,
    determining which cherished beliefs are true and which are wishful thinking. And what do the data show? That luck plays
    more of a factor than most managers like to admit—but that managers are more important than many think. That regional
    differences in playing style are overstated. That weak players are actually more influential than talented stars. And
    that’s just for starters. Coaches should read this closely, though it may prove dispiriting for fans. After all, arguing
    about ambiguities is half the fun. Occasionally, the authors get lost in the weeds (as in their close reading of what it
    means to “possess” the ball), but no matter. By any standard, this is a landmark book, scrupulously researched and bound
    to be influential. Although it’s not light reading for casual fans, it may eventually change the game they watch. We
    compared Soccernomics (2009) to Moneyball (2003), but this hits even closer to the mark. --Keir Graff

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    "The Numbers Game does the impossible of making the beautiful game even more beautiful." - Malcolm
    Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink

    “Chris Anderson and David Sally have the ability to see football in a way few have before them. Be warned: The Numbers
    Game will change the way you think about your favorite team or player, and the way you watch the beautiful game.” –
    Billy Beane, Manager of the Oakland A’s and subject of Moneyball

    "I learned a lot, and it's hard not to applaud a project that is bent on the disenchantment of football's internal
    conversations and archaic practices, while simultaneously acknowledging an ineradicable core of the unpredictable and
    random at its heart." - David Goldblatt, author of The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer for the Times Literary

    “…North American soccer fans would do very well to pick up this book. It will not only help them understand the game
    better, but it will also stimulate new ways to analyze and think about the game.” – Forbes

    “[This] is the book that could change the game forever.” – The Times (London)

    “By any standards, this is a landmark book, scrupulously researched and bound to be influential.” – Booklist (starred

    “Witty and thoughtful…should appeal not just to soccer fans, but to readers of Malcolm Gladwell and Freakonomics.” –
    Kirkus Reviews

    "Their rather innovative and revolutionary way of looking at the game makes for fascinating reading." - The Library

    “A highly original contribution to our understanding of what we are seeing at a match, their book is unbeatable” – The
    Independent on Sunday

    “Pundits, armchair fans and professionals, will find that several of their long-cherished truisms are not true at all.”
    – The Guardian

    “Superb” – GQ

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