FOOTBALL – The Guardian’s analysis of Leicester City’s surprise season included a reference to scoring opportunities, one of the numerous variables that we at Infostrada Sports collect in our live coverage of football matches around the world. As explained in the article, this is a measure which counts major chances whether they result in a shot or not. Calculating the difference between scoring opportunities for and against produces a measure which is highly correlated with the league table standings. Below are some examples of goal attempts which would be classified as scoring opportunities.
A scoring opportunity is defined as a situation in which a player gets a free goal attempt from shortish range. Here are a few examples:
Arjen Robben against Iker Casillas in the 2010 World Cup final
Luis Suarez against Real Madrid in November 2015 (0:10)
Cristiano Ronaldo against Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final
We also record opportunities which do not result in a shot due to the ball being just missed by the player or control being lost just prior to shooting for example.
Infostrada’s Head of Football Data Danny van Mourik explains how we try to ensure consistency: “The scoring opportunity has more subjectivity to it than most of the events which we collect during a football match and it is therefore important that we have a check process in place to ensure that there is consistency across all of our live operators. With an average of only three to four of these situations per match, it is straightforward to include this variable in our usual checking process so that we can be certain that all of our live operators are treating these situations in the same way.”
The scoring opportunity is one of a number of useful variables we use to separate different types of shots. We also have an expected goals model which applies probabilities of scoring to each and every shot.
If you would like more information on our football data collection or any other part of our business please contact us.