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Just how much time do goalkeepers waste v Arsenal? The first ever statistics

By Usama Zaka and Tony Attwood

It is going to be a little difficult for the mainstream media to change their approach to reporting time wasting by goal keepers … by actually reporting time wasting by goal keepers.   But as we have shown elsewhere, it is possible to nudge the media a little by reporting the topic ourselves and throwing in as much detail as we can.  This year the media has introduced highly simplistic analyses of refereeing (but at least they are doing something) and have backed away from the notion that Arsenal get more injuries than anyone else (and it is all Wenger’s fault).  Only Talk Sprout kept that myth going last summer.

So, in the hope of very slowly bringing about change, here we go with what we believe is the first ever analysis of time wasting by goalkeepers in the Premier League.

But first a few preliminaries. We have to note that the EPL is the only major league in Europe where only one football is used in the field. No spare/multi balls can used when the ball goes out of play and we might ask why this is.   Because the rule seems to be set between the League and the ultra-secretive PGMO organisation, no one knows the answer to “why?” but the fact that the EPL is out on its own on this one, as the PGMO is on so many, many issues, should raise alarm bells.

Indeed anything that happens in our League but not elsewhere needs investigation, and this of course is exactly what the mass media fail to provide.

Now the analysis.  In what follows we separate the origin of the goal kicks into “long” and “short”.

“Long” means that the ball went out of play far away from the goal area (more than 10 yards +).

“Short” means that the ball went out of play nearer to the goal and the keeper.

And now we look at some goal keepers and see what they do with their goal kicks.  There is a brief analysis of each keeper after each set of figures and a drawing together of the findings at the end.

FRASER FORSTER PETR CECH
Ball Out of Play Kick Taken Time Taken Distance From Goal Ball Out of Play Kick Taken Time Taken Distance From Goal
14:52 15:28 36 Long 11:27 11:50 23 Long
23:59 24:30 31 Short 12:59 13:15 16 Short
25:20 25:50 30 Short 22:43 22:51 8 Short
44:00 44:28 28 Long 66:00 66:18 18 Short
45:38 46:03 25 Short 71:13 71:36 23 Long
46:30 46:56 26 Short 73:44 74:05 21 Short
52:51 53:20 29 Short 83:36 84:00 24 Long
67:42 68:06 24 Long
75:26 75:59 33 Long
77:26 77:49 23 Short
84:49 85:17 28 Short
87:11 87:37 26 Long
89:25 86:49 24 Short

Here’s the summary:

Total time analysis

  • Total Time Taken by Fraser Forster – 6.05 Minutes (363 Seconds)
  • Total Time Taken by Petr Cech – 2.21 Minutes (133 Seconds)
  • Total Time Taken – 8.26 Minutes (496 Seconds)

Average time analysis

  • Average Time Taken by Fraser Forster – 27.92 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech – 19 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken – 24.8 Seconds

Average time taken for “short” kicks 

  • Average Time Taken by Fraser Forster (Short) – 27 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech (Short) – 15.75 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken (Short) – 23.25 Seconds

Average time taken for “long” kicks 

  • Average Time Taken by Fraser Forster (Long) – 29.4 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech (Long) – 23.3 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken (Long) – 27.125 Seconds

A simple conclusion: in every case Forster takes longer to take goal kicks.  The average excess is only five seconds but the fact that Forster had many more kicks to take than Arsenal shows that the time wasting can shorten the game by over four minutes in this case.

Moving on to Burnley

TOM HEATON PETR CECH
Ball Out of Play Kick Taken Time Taken Distance From Goal Ball Out of Play Kick Taken Time Taken Distance From Goal
00:40 01:12 32 Long 05:05 05:35 30 Long
01:59 02:29 30 Long 08:30 08:56 26 Long
03:59 04:35 36 Long 13:12 13:36 24 Long
16:01 16:35 34 Long 14:08 14:29 21 Short
41:49 42:22 33 Long 40:00 40:25 25 Long
49:52 50:26 34 Long 47:06 47:30 24 Short
63:15 63:55 40 Long 50:52 51:13 21 Long
72:50 73:24 34 Short  
83:09 83:42 33 Short  
84:46 85:23 37 Short  

 

Total Time analysis

  • Total Time Taken by Tom Heaton – 5.71 Minutes (343 Seconds)
  • Total Time Taken by Petr Cech – 2.85 Minutes (171 Seconds)
  • Total Time Taken – 8.56 Minutes (514 Seconds)

Average time analysis 

  • Average Time Taken by Tom Heaton – 34.3 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech – 24.42 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken – 30.23 Seconds

Average time taken for “short” kicks 

  • Average Time Taken by Tom Heaton (Short) – 34.66 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech (Short) – 22.5 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken (Short) – 29.8 Seconds

Average time taken for “long” kicks 

  • Average Time Taken by Tom Heaton (Long) – 34.1 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech (Long) – 25.2 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken (Long) – 30.16 Seconds

Here the average time difference between the keepers is just under six seconds, but again the opposition keeper had more kicks to take – emphasising the impact of the difference.

Next the game against Middlesbrough

VICTOR VALDES PETR CECH
Ball Out of Play Kick Taken Time Taken Distance From Goal Ball Out of Play Kick Taken Time Taken Distance From Goal
07:14 07:40 26 Long 56:28 56:54 26 Long
09:47 10:17 30 Long 67:14 67:25 11 Short
11:44 12:13 29 Short 85:26 85:40 14 Long
17:44 18:15 31 Long  
28:56 29:26 30 Short  
31:47 32:20 33 Long  
42:38 43:08 30 Long  
45:02 45:33 31 Long  
51:47 52:12 25 Short  
68:41 69:08 27 Short  
73:56 74:21 25 Short  
76:27 76:55 28 Short  
84:36 85:03 27 Short  
86:25 86:50 25 Long  

Total Time analysis

  • Total Time Taken by Victor Valdes – 6.61 Minutes (397 Seconds)
  • Total Time Taken by Petr Cech – 0.85 Minutes (51 Seconds)
  • Total Time Taken – 7.46 Minutes (448 Seconds)

 Average time analysis 

  • Average Time Taken by Victor Valdes – 28.35 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech – 17 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken – 26.35 Seconds

 Average time taken for “short” kicks 

  • Average Time Taken by Victor Valdes (Short) – 27.28 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech (Short) – 11 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken (Short) – 25.25 Seconds

 Average time taken for “long” kicks

  • Average Time Taken by Victor Valdes (Long) – 29.42 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech (Long) – 20 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken (Long) – 27.33 Seconds

A nine and a half seconds difference between the two emphasised by the fact that the Boro keeper had many more goal kicks to take.

Our fourth example comes from Stoke…

LEE GRANT PETR CECH
Ball Out of Play Kick Taken Time Taken Distance From Goal Ball Out of Play Kick Taken Time Taken Distance From Goal
00:48 01:16 28 Long 03:29 03:47 18 Short
06:50 07:19 29 Long 05:13 05:30 17 Long
08:30 09:04 34 Long 24:56 25:07 11 Long
14:04 14:37 33 Long 34:01 34:09 8 Long
17:19 17:46 27 Short 55:48 56:19 31 Long
18:53 19:24 31 Long 67:14 67:41 27 Long
25:42 26:08 26 Short 72:32 72:57 25 Long
31:45 32:12 27 Short  
32:53 33:19 26 Long  
38:42 39:09 27 Long  
43:10 43:39 29 Long  
45:25 45:51 26 Long  
45:33 46:21 48 Long (with Ref Warning)  
46:45 47:15 30 Long  
52:46 53:15 29 Long  
56:32  56:53 21 Short  
61:41 62:08 27 Short  
86:12 86:34 22 Short  

Total Time analysis

  • Total Time Taken by Lee Grant – 8.66 Minutes (520 Seconds)
  • Total Time Taken by Petr Cech – 2.28 Minutes (137 Seconds)
  • Total Time Taken – 10.95 Minutes (657 Seconds)

  Average time analysis 

  • Average Time Taken by Lee Grant – 28.88 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech – 19.57 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken – 26.28 Seconds

  Average time taken for “short” kicks 

  • Average Time Taken by Lee Grant (Short) – 25 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech (Short) – 18 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken (Short) – 24 Seconds

  Average time taken for “long” kicks

  • Average Time Taken by Lee Grant (Long) – 30.83 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech (Long) – 19.83 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken (Long) – 27.16 Seconds

Another similar pattern, Grant had many more kicks to take and took 9 seconds more on each one.  He got a warning when his “time taken” when off the chart and started to approach a minute.

Now last of all perfidious Albion.

BEN FOSTER PETR CECH
Ball Out of Play Kick Taken Time Taken Distance From Goal Ball Out of Play Kick Taken Time Taken Distance From Goal
02:35 02:59 24 Long 23:20 23:30 10 Short
07:14 07:42 28 Long 31:35 31:45 10 Short
11:29  11:59 30 Long 33:33 33:44 11 Short
15:07 15:37 30 Long 45:50 46:01 11 Long
19:56 20:25 29 Long 45:43 46:04 21 Short
25:27 25:53 26 Long 46:43 47:04 21 Long
27:31 27:59 28 Short 50:54 51:18 22 Long
28:59 29:23 24 Short 88:11 88:38 27 Short
32:40 33:12 32 Long 93:15 93:44 29 Long
35:34 36:04 30 Long  
40:27 40:57 30 Long  
42:05 42:40 35 Short  
45:09 45:43 34 Long  
46:09 46:31 22 Long  
53:58 54:26 28 Long  
75:50 76:23 33 Long  
80:55 81:23 28 Long  
82:08 82:46 38 Short (Ref Gives Foster Yellow)  
84:03 84:34 31 Long  

Total Time analysis

  • Total Time Taken by Ben Foster – 9.33 Minutes (560 Seconds)
  • Total Time Taken by Petr Cech – 2.7 Minutes (162 Seconds)
  • Total Time Taken – 12.03 Minutes (722 Seconds)

  Average time analysis 

  • Average Time Taken by Ben Foster – 29.47 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech – 18 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken – 25.78 Seconds

   Average time taken for “short” kicks 

  • Average Time Taken by Ben Foster (Short) – 31.25 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech (Short) – 15.8 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken (Short) – 22.66 Seconds

   Average time taken for “long” kicks

  • Average Time Taken by Ben Foster (Long) – 29 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech (Long) – 20.75 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken (Long) – 27.26 Seconds

This time a yellow card and it was for the longest delay, just as the warning in the Stoke match came for the longest delay.  These events suggest the referee is keeping an eye on events – even if walking away looking in the opposite direction.   The difference between the keepers is 14 seconds.

Conclusions:

Certainly these five visiting keepers have been taking far long to take kicks than Cech.  Indeed in the case of WBA their keeper took around twice as long.  The average time taken for kicks by keepers in summary is below – Heaton was the worst offender

  • Average Time Taken by Fraser Forster – 27.92 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Tom Heaton – 34.3 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Victor Valdes – 28.35 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Lee Grant – 28.88 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Ben Foster – 29.47 Seconds
  • Average Time Taken by Petr Cech – 19.58 Seconds

These differences don’t look too much when presented in this form but given that the visiting keeper had anything between three and 11 more kicks to take than Cech the amount adds up.

The analysis can also put to bed the notion that where the ball went out of play had an influence (suggesting the time of retrieval could affect the time taken to get the ball back in play) as there is no consistency in this issue.  Keepers don’t take the kick more quickly when the ball goes out close to them.

This is not to say that the multiple ball notion that the rest of the major leagues use is not a good idea, as it can speed up the game considerably, but it is not the reason for keepers taking a long time to get the ball back into play.

It could however be argued that the slowing down of the game is however a psychological issue, and that is possibly so – the team that sees the opposition taking ever longer to take kicks can become frustrated.

Untold Arsenal: After the Bus Station

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

Current rules make matters difficult for youngsters trying to become professionals, and FA aspirations are not helping.

Arsenal v West Brom Bus Station. Foster allowed to get away with breaking the rules throughout most of the game.

Arsenal – Wall Building Army 1-0: Giroud the demolisher with the important goal

 

Christmas Day schedules for Arsenal: when Arsenal regularly played on 25 December.

Christmas Day at the Untold editorial offices by the office dog

Arsenal v West Brom 26 December – The Match Officials

It’s Christmas. Goodwill to all men, and a time to end the anger and prejudice

Why it is so hard for many clubs to buy new players in January, and West Ham’s begging letter.

42 comments to Just how much time do goalkeepers waste v Arsenal? The first ever statistics

  • Leon

    I think that favouritism towards the home team by ball boys was a reason once put forward as to why substitute balls were not used in matches in the the UK.
    Remember that incident involving Hazard and a ball boy a while ago? The little turd deserved it, but that’s the sort of thing that can happen when play is deliberately slowed down by ball boys.
    Usama
    Thanks very much for that SopCast info. Excellent streaming site!

  • Good, keep the excellent work coming. The team can only fight than on their own if they score the first goal before 20th minute. Then you can see the cowards coming forward like fools to trying to score.

  • Chris

    Guys,

    good work on the analysis. Hoewever, can you remind us if there is a rule, I mean a ‘time limit’ ? Or is it at the appreciation of the referee ?
    Wonder what the figures look like with City, MU or Chealsea ?

  • Chris

    Great to see figured and analysis like this. Clearly the amount of time wasted by the keepers is regarded as tactical, with Cech taking longer when we are in the lead, so we “abuse” this as well to or advantage.
    I would like to see yellow cards issued earlier for persistent time wasting, but I don’t think there is a guideline on this for referees is there?

  • Usama Zaka

    Cheers Leon

  • WalterBroeckx

    Leon,
    If I’m not mistaken the ball boy incident was because the ball boy went down on top of the one ball that was used and thus Hazard didn’t get the ball back. In case of multiple balls the ball boy close to the goal (posted on both sides in CL matches) should throw the ball immediately to the keeper when the ball goes out for a goal kick. And then the ball boy who receives the ball can go sitting on top of it if he wants it will not delay the restart of the match.

    And on top of that ball boys should get strict instructions and do their “job” in a proper way. And if they don’t, they will never do it again.

    It can be done in CL matches so there is no excuse it couldn’t be done in the PL.

  • MickHazel

    Terrific work and the results are in no way surprising.
    I would expect similar results if we studied the relative times taken at throw ins and free kicks as well in which case it is entirely possible for the offending team to illegally take a substantial amount of actual playing time out of the game. With the probability that the ref would be unlikely to do anything about it and probably only add on a couple of minutes additional time, if any, you can see why it is such a frequently used tactic.

  • finsbury

    99% understand and accept gamesmanship: wasting time towards the end of a match! running into the corners etc.

    Time wasting from the 5th minute throw in? Asking your players to feign injury just like Mourinho from mid way in the first half? This is why everyone was laughing at Pulis when he got upset at the short amount of time added on at the end of a match.

    And non of the above means that football fans are out of order to ask why the pgMOB reps have so much trouble with stopwatches (amongst other things) and why PGMOB reps who apparently care about how much people pay to watch the Arsenal (in their own words) don’t appear to care about giving the average football fan their money’s worth (by their own actions).

    It’s a fair question.

  • Usama Zaka

    Credit to Tony for a fine write up, and also agree with what Walter said.

    I tried posting it on twitter too, got fairly decent coverage, and ended up angering the West Brom twitter fans haha. (Looks like they are more than happy to see their team waste time)

  • finsbury

    “Twenty’s plenty”

    “Learn how to use a stopwatch?”

    Etc.

  • Bernard Cordell

    Another major time waste by goalies is when they hold the ball before clearing up field. Does anyone know if there is a time limit on this? I thought it was 6 seconds but, if so, it is completely ignored by the refs.

  • finsbury

    Less a psychological ploy more a technique in breaking momentum and adrenenline, ‘slowing the game down’, a quick tempo from a dominant team in possession is what is usually required to break down a team hoping for a draw or sneaky winner at best. Carragher falling to the floor in the final periods of a match in order to help his team regain some rhythm is a sight that many have seen.

    Nothing new or odd about that. However: watching the PGMOB retake dropped balls in order to help one team over another, for example, or to ignore time wasting in a first half, that is indeed strange. And remarkable.

    So we remark upon it.

  • Stevo

    Don’t want to be contentious but does our shooting accuracy play some
    Part in the amount of goal kicks our opponents have to take?

  • Leon

    There was another issue with multiple balls which I noticed at the Euro 2016, and that was quite often there were more than one on the pitch at the same time which confused the players and went unnoticed by the referees.
    Still as Walter says it works well enough in the CL so any issues (like the ones I’ve mentioned) shouldn’t be too difficult to overcome.
    The really, really big problem would be which ball would a hat trick scorer get to keep?🤔

  • finsbury

    < adrenaline

  • Usama Zaka

    Stevo,

    Teams that play full defensive are most likely concede long shots that fly over often. And when it becomes hard to break them down, players tend to risk any shot they can get at goal. So yeah one of the causes for more goal kicks.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Bernard, it still is 6 seconds. Foster from WBA managed to hold the ball in his hands for some 15-20 seconds somewhere in the first half…. unbelievable…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Cech is rather fast for an old man 😉

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I think it has become an accepted norms among the goalkeepers to adopt the time wasting in the game a bit as a delaying tactics when they are in the ascendancy in the match’s scoreline that looks to be favouring their game plan to slowdown the opposition team attacking them so as to reduce their chances at scoring. But this is mostly hinged on what they are seeing they are looking to be achieving in the game. It could be an unlikely win appearing in the offing for them. Or a deliberate effort put in the game to get draw is appearing likely achievable. Hence, their keeper is self encouraged to start wasting time, more so encouraged if he’s not punish by the referee.

    If time wasting by goalkeepers is to stop or be reduced considerably to the barest minimum, the FA/Pgmol should set the approved limit of the time for a goalkeeper to hold on to the ball to throw it in field or take a goal kick after retrieving the ball or received it from the ball boys or even from his colleagues or from any of the opposition player. The FA/Pgmol know what to do to curtail time wasting by goalkeepers if they want to do it.

  • Ben

    Great work Usama and Tony! In future can you or someone with the know how include some video clips of the time wasting?

  • Goonermikey

    Great work again guys.

    What would be really interesting is to see how the average time taken changes once a team goes 1-0 down. It is quite clear that this changes dramatically but if we’re going to highlight this issue, this might make it even more glaringly obvious.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I feared this question Ben. 😉 The problem is that this is very time consuming for Usama who is working behind the scenes to make/find all the clips. Maybe we would add the time wasting of the match clip? 🙂 But that will probably be the most boring clip on Untold then… 🙂

  • Tom

    Most referees only consider time being wasted when keepers delay their kicks after the field players have taken their positions in around the center circle.

    Usually it’s the field players who take their sweet time getting into position and keepers just add a hand full of seconds on top of that.

    Here’s a question though. Why should Arsenal elect to kick long against a team like WBA in the first place, especially when they need a goal?
    With Rondon as a single forward our defense should be able to play from the back and around him with ease every time.
    Save a couple of minutes and ensure to keep possession . It’s a win win.

    If more PL clubs elected to fast play from the back instead of kicking long, the time wasters the likes of WBA would be exposed even more by the sheer contrast of how quickly/ slowly it takes them to introduce the ball into play, and maybe refs would start taking proper steps.

    When both sets of players walk slowly to the center circle every time the ball goes out for a goal kick on either side of the pitch, the ten seconds difference between the time wasters and clubs like Arsenal is harder to discern.

  • porter

    Stevo my first thoughts on the stats were the number of ” long ” kicks taken by the opposition keepers. Certainly it could be used to comment on the accuracy of the shots. As for time wasting it’s always gone on and so have other forms of gamesmanship especially when there is a need to take the wind out of the sails of a team mounting an ever increasing spell of pressure. Unfortunately the referees seem to fall for it every time.

  • Gord

    Nice work Usama, Tony and Walter. And good point Tom, something to look for (below).

    I think what would be nice for someone else (Usama and Walter shouldn’t have to do it all), is for someone (or group of people) to look at possible outliers.

    For instance, in the last set of kicks listed for Cech, there are about 9 kicks. The square root of 9 is 3. Look at the shortest and longest times, to see if up to (about) 3 could be outliers.

    For Cech, the low times (10 and 11 seconds) take up almost half the data set, so it isn’t likely there is an outlier at the low times. At the high time, we have 27 and 29 seconds, which are considerably longer than the next longest 22 seconds.

    What (in your opinion) are the reasons for why Cech took 5 and 7 seconds longer than 22 seconds to get the ball into play? The tendency for Cech across the game was increasing time to put ball into play, but these 2 possible outliers are both after Foster had been cautioned and we had scored. Take that into account.

    For the last Ben Foster, we have 19 kicks; so the square root is 4 and change. So we want to look at 4 (or 5) kicks. His kicks take from 21 to 38 seconds, and there is seemingly no pattern to the time (he certainly didn’t feel pressured into speeding up, after being cautioned). There doesn’t seem to be any obvious outlying modes, so maybe look at the 22, 35 and 38 second kicks, to see if there was anything that made them further from the mode (28) than they needed to be.

    If there are reasons, do they also apply to 34, 33, … durations?

    Usama, do you grok Perl? Do you believe in TMTOWTDI or TIMTOWTDI?

  • porter

    Stoke and Burnley were the most wayward , the other two pretty even

  • Gord

    One (2?) snippets of news. We may not have to deal with Clattenburg any more. It seems that China wants him to (further) screw up their officiating system. I did not read the article to see if this was in the middle, or a move to running the office.

    Why do other countries think England has a good system?

    In the news lately, first Australia, and now China.

  • Usama Zaka

    Thanks Gord. If its a programming language related question you are asking, then I really have no basic knowledge/info about it to be honest.

  • Gord

    Usama.

    I am not necessarily looking for you to program in Perl. But I think most people if asked would roll their eyes back and tell me to go away. I am looking to bounce some ideas off someone, someone who has some knowledge of officiating and the statistics of football.

    I know that Tony and Walter are not the people I am looking for in this regard. 🙂

  • Usama Zaka

    Gord,

    There is one guy I know that might have just the skills and knowledge.

    If anyone here listens to the podcast and also reads the blog “A Bergkamp Wonderland” then they will know of a statistician gooner there named Geoff Hollefreund. This is his twitter https://twitter.com/Hollefreund

    I will try and contact him sometime…

  • Gord

    Come on Southampton!

    It sounds like I scared you off Usama, I wasn’t trying to push programming on you. Just trying to figure out what is and isn’t needed for “book keeping”. But sure, if you talk to this other guy, that’s fine too.

  • Usama Zaka

    Haha, no problem Gord. 1-0 to Saints as it stands

  • Mike T

    It was quite interesting that when we played WBA a couple of weeks ago for from minute one they were defending, or trying to, defend what they had and taking far more time over throw ins goal kicks than really you would expect . You sort of expect it if you are defending a lea or later on in a game but not so early in the game.
    I am not suggesting that anyone computes the time they took at throw ins but the irony was after they went one down against us there was still 15 minutes or so left so all of a sudden Forest took the kick from the side the ball went out and if you could have seen his body language when at one down the crowd kept hold of the ball it was quite amusing.
    From memory one minute of additional time was added on at the end of the first half and just 3 at the end of the second.

  • Gord

    Oh well, it was nice to see what’s his name miss a penalty.

  • omgarsenal

    The Laws are very clear and most competent officials will apply them in the spirit,not just the letter intended. when I officiated, I found 6 seconds very short and few keepers able to respect that limit so I used a rule of thumb that worked well; a reasonable time to control the ball, move into a position to distribute it and obvious willingness to actually send it on its way. No official I know actually counts 6 seconds, they usually do what i did and will only whistle when it is obvious that the keeper is really abusing the time needed to distribute the ball successfully and safely.

    Keep in mind that a keeper can drop the ball at his or her feet and play it just like an outfield player for as long as he or she wants. He or she cannot pick the ball up again but they can futz around with it long enough to draw opponents towards them and open up the midfield a bit…..not many do this but its probably because they cannot kick the ball as far on the ground as they can from their hands.

  • Marcus

    Hi Gord, bit late and off topic but I am interested to chat to someone with an interest in football statistics. I am an economics student, studying econometrics, in my final year at university and have access to and working knowledge of the statistical software Stata. I have followed Untold for a long time and have always been keen to do a causal analysis of aspects like refereeing, transfers, and the outcome of games. I have had a bit of a look but can’t seem to find any sizeable datasets (with useful variables) in .dta format and was wondering if you might be able to point me in the right direction of any? Cheers.

  • Gord

    I was in refereeing school and playing at about the time the 6 second rule/passback to the goalkeeper came in. Being in Canada it was soccer. And we have extensive winter, and so indoor soccer (5 aside, and added to free kicks and cards, was penalties) was also something I played. Two referees (no linespeople), one on the pitch and the other in the penalty box.

    The referee in the penalty box was required to audibly count out the 6 seconds. So I know there are at least some football players who are familiar with the explicit counting out of 6 seconds to get the ball back into play. Mind you, this is artifical turf indoor, so perfect bounces and netting to keep the ball in play.

  • Gord

    Marcus

    You want data in a specific format? I think you are getting greedy. 🙂

    There are a bunch of related sports database things at github, many of which are football related. They all seem to be written in ruby. The thing to do, is to see if they data they can present to you, is what you are looking for (ignore the format issue). In a sense, all of that data is XML at some point. It should be possible to translate that XML into whatever a .dta is. One of the older data sets is the Usenet/NetNews rec.sport.soccer data set, which is still available, viable and ongoing. Again, it may nbot be the format you are looking for, but there may be ways to translate things.

    In terms of what to use, I think you might like to consider learning R. There seems to be lots of easily available programs/methods in R, often which come with significant datasets (for free).

    I am too used to Perl (and FORTRAN). I will probably try and figure out how to use R from Perl.

    I can find some pointers to data, if that isn’t enough of a help.

  • Gord

    Marcus

    Here is one link to some football data. I don’t think any of it is .dta.

    http://opisthokonta.net/?page_id=995

    .dta is a proprietary format associated with the statistics program you prefer (Stata). StackOverflow has a page about converting .dta files into csv (comma separated value, a type of text file). Here is the title of the page, which you can search for.

    Convert Stata .dta file to CSV without Stata software

    I would imagine Stata knows how to import CSV. CSV is one of the formats that opisthokonta references.

  • finsbury

    Don’t think we need any stats where Mike Dean is concerned!

    😐

  • finsbury

    *gollum gollum*