Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Frankie de Jong's perfect game

After a 4-0 Barcelona win, Frankie de Jong was asked how he felt after he had “a perfect game”. His response, “I think today with the ball was one of my worst games” this season. Results based analysis is always a losing game.

No, no, I don’t think so. I think today with the ball was one of my worst games in the season with the ball. I think like the passes and stuff. It’s true that I scored a goal and the action that led to the goal was good. And also in the fourth goal. But I think people think too much like this to football. For example, today I scored and with the fourth goal I was involved in the play, and then they think you played really good, but I think in general, during the game, I’ve not been good. People think if you score you play good, I don’t look at football that way. Statistics are not always what it means.

Goalkeepers, defenders, holding midfielders all have the most thankless jobs because they rely on the goal-scorers. If the team doesn’t score, where does the blame go? It goes to facilitators. The janitors. The players that put the makeup on the pig.

You are in a try-out for a club. How do you stand-out? You score or play the final pass. You get on the scoresheet because very few can notice a good performance from someone that doesn’t register a goal or assist. They need to see you in the highlights as the focal point to get the proper recognition.

Pep Guardiola has talked about this recently with the use of “Big Data”, data analytics, statistics. He explains that he based most of his decisions off feeling:

The big data, all analysis after the game or before the game, I pay a little bit attention but not much. So at the end people say you could score a lot of goals, you didn’t score it. Yeah, that’s good but you have to score, so why you have the best team defensively with score but you lose the game, you lose the game. So at the end, yeah, have to give you an idea, okay, how is the team is moving — but at the end sometimes it is a feeling.

I always said, you are human beings, the human beings have feelings, and the feelings are not in the big data. And sometimes you have to pay a lot attention to the person, the body language, how is the mood. That is at the end makes these kind of things, the big data, better, and this is what we have tried to do.

Even in the bad team performances there can be players to single out that had a good game. Depending on the position, that won’t always show up in the stats. You have to see the players, see their mood, their body language, how they interact with others.

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