FX-Ray Project: Valencia C.F.

Spanish La Liga is included among the most competitive football leagues in the world. It is a championship full of top class players and clubs with rich European history. Having left a tremendous season behind, Valencia is prepared for a hard and demanding new season, as it returns to UEFA Champions League group stage after a two-year absence. The FX-Ray Project will try to deconstruct the performance of the “Bats”, over the past five years. By achieving that, it can be displayed explicitly what should the football fans expect from Marcelino’s squad and what are the obstacles it needs to surpass in the upcoming season.

Data Collection, Analysis and Methodology

For the purpose of the research, team data from certain categories will be collected for all the twenty clubs of La Liga, since 2013-14. Data’s orientation come from La Liga exclusively. Other competitions (ex. Copa Del Rey, European competitions etc.) are not taken into account. The stats will be analyzed in two different parts, based on the offensive and defensive contribution.

Moreover, positive and negative weights will be introduced to the data, by producing a certain score for each one of the statistical categories for both offense and defense. The total score will be representative of the performance a club had for every single season.
Finally, the twenty clubs will be divided in five different groups, concerning their place on the league table (1-4, 5-8, 9-12, 12-16, 16-20). By extracting an identical score for all these groups and by using Forecasting Method, the approximate place of Valencia for season 2018-19 can be estimated.

Results & Discussion

Part I

Offensive Performance

By evaluating the offensive features per season, Valencia is one of the most unstable clubs of Spanish Primera Division. The main reason is that, when the negative stats (unsuccessful touches, dispossession) are gradually increased and the positive ones (goals, shots, dribbles etc.) do not follow the same incline, the club not only performs poorly in offense, but also stays out of the top-6, which leads to European competitions next season.

Having taken into consideration all these categories, which depict the overall offensive performance of Valencia, positive weights are inserted in goals, shots, key passes and successful dribbles and negative weights in unsuccessful touches and dispossession. The same process will follow for the rest of the clubs of La Liga.

SeasonValencia1st - 4th5th - 8th9th - 12th13th - 16th17th - 20th
201431.5150.8535.6525.6521.4823.1
201539.5452.53126.4421.1918.67
201626.8647.5629.1925.2926.4324.96
201732.3452.1131.2329.2727.9221.61
201837.4845.9530.7429.3127.0519

The scores that resulted from the above-mentioned procedure show where Valencia belonged among the other clubs, offensively, during each season. What is more, the scores of the other clubs are merged into groups, based on the places of the league table, providing a clear picture about the offensive performance of each group. For example, in 2016, the clubs of the group 13th – 16th performed better in offense than those of the upper group (9th – 12th).

Part II

Defensive Performance

In defense, the situation is different. Valencia, as many Spanish clubs, is a gifted offensive team. The offensive instincts always influence its overall game style a lot more than its defensive awareness. Back in 2014, the club had more tackles and interceptions and received less shots per match than in 2018. In the first case, it finished 8th. In the second, it finished 4th.

This time, positive weights are inserted in offsides, interceptions and tackles and negative weights in goals, shots conceded and cards (yellow – red). Again, the same process will follow for the rest of the clubs of La Liga.

SeasonValencia1st - 4th5th - 8th9th - 12th13th - 16th17th - 20th
20146,1812,206,126,065,663,64
201514.4712.9210.997.074.764.02
201611.1814.0110.059.75.793.12
20174.969.217.816.851.780.27
20187.749.3543.222.771.27

The scores that resulted show where Valencia belonged among the other clubs, defensively, during each season. According to the table, the defensive performance makes the difference in the Spanish League, as all the groups have better scores than the inferior ones. In 2015, Valencia performed better than the average of the group 1st – 4th and took the 4th place. Correspondingly, in 2017, it performed worse than the average of the group 9th – 12th and hardly took the 12th place.

Part III

I. Overall Scores

After the sum of the two scores that are produced for both offensive and defensive performances, the final score has emerged.

SeasonValencia1st - 4th5th - 8th9th - 12th13th - 16th17th - 20th
201437.6963.0541.7731.7127.1426.74
201554.0165.4241.9933.5125.9522.69
201638.0461.5739.2434.9932.2228.08
201737.2961.3239.0436.1229.721.88
201845,2155,3034,7432,5329,8220.27

The final scores represent the overall performance of each group per season. When Valencia’s score is found between two groups, it deserved to belong to the group with the smallest possible deviation. For example, in 2014, Valencia should be in the second group (5th – 8th), as its score (37.69) was closer to the second group (41.77) than to the third (31.71). At the end, it received the 8th place.

II. Use of Forecasting Model and Final Outcomes

Forecasting is the process of making predictions of the future based on past and present data. The data used must be up to date so as for the forecast to be as accurate as possible. By using the Forecasting Model, the range between the Lower and the Upper Bound of Valencia’s score for 2019 can be predicted. The confidence level will be 95%.

According to the forecasting technique, the average score of Valencia in La Liga for 2019 will be 44.06, with a Lower Bound of 28.79 and an Upper Bound of 59.33. In other words, Valencia is expected to have pretty much the same standards as in the previous season.

The comparison with the average scores per group in La Liga since 2013-14 comprises another significant indicator for the research. In this graph, the score variation of every group, through the years, is illustrated. The average bounds per group for 2019, through the forecasting technique, are also mentioned.

Group1st - 4th5th - 8th9th - 12th13th - 16th17th - 20th
Average Score60.2138.4433.8729.3023.10

The average score per each table group, including the forecasting average bound for 2019, is presented in the above table. If those numbers confirm at the end of the season, the “Bats”, with the gathering of projected 44 (≈ 44.06) score, will fight for the 4th place and the exit to the Champions League group stage of 2019-20, but the most possible scenario is to finish in the 5th place.

Summary

Summarizing, the FX-Ray Project attempted to analyze the overall performance of Valencia, over the past five seasons, to predict the approximate place of the club on the league table for 2019. Several weights were set in order for each one of the categories, which were included in the research, and certain scores were extracted. In the end, by using the Forecasting Model, it was predicted that Valencia will finish between the 4th and the 5th place. Notwithstanding, the second case gathers more possibilities to be confirmed.

 


Bibliography

Whoscored.com. (2018). Valencia Archive – History. [online] Available at: https://bit.ly/2vyS6El [Accessed 1 Aug. 2018].

Sakellaris, D. (2018). The Impact of Large Football Fields on Spurs Football – Statathlon. [online] Statathlon: Revolutionize the Sport. Available at: https://bit.ly/2nrk9kU [Accessed 27 Jul. 2018].

Stamopoulos, A. (2018). Predictive Analysis: Swimming Records in 2020 Olympics – Statathlon. [online] Statathlon: Revolutionize the Sport. Available at: https://bit.ly/2vShzbf [Accessed 30 Jul. 2018].

Data oriented innovation constitutes half of the most amazing parts in my everyday life. The love and the obsession for sports constitute the other half. In Statathlon, I have found a unique opportunity to combine my passions through research, in order to change the way most people perceive athletism on the whole.

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