Predict 6 winners and win a book

Around three years ago I met, in a virtual sense, David Sumpter, a professor of mathematics at the University of Uppsala in Sweden and a football nut like myself. He was writing a book called Soccermatics, which combined his work in the field of animal behaviour and his love of football, which he generously allowed me to read and comment upon.

David now has a new book out, Outnumbered, which investigates the algorithms which are being built on all of the data we are producing about ourselves.

You can win Outnumbered in my third annual competition to predict the winners of the three English league play-offs, the FA Cup, the Europa League and the Champions League. You can also buy a discounted copy of Outnumbered by scrolling down and clicking on the link.

9781472947413
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Six Nations Report Card: Scotland

With the 2018 Six Nations Championship in the books, I am publishing report cards based on my data and observations.

Number 1: Ireland
Number 2: France
Number 3: Wales
Number 4: England

While Scotland have received praise for their style of play during this Six Nations Championship, there is still a long way to go particularly defensively. The way Scotland attack is very exciting but they still lag behind England, France, Ireland and Wales in terms of creating opportunities which take them into the opposition 22. Arguably, Scotland’s risky way of attacking may help create opportunities for their opposition via pass intercepts and other thrown away possession. Scotland allows the opposition into the Scottish “red zone” far too much compared to the teams they want to challenge.
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Six Nations Report Card: England

With the 2018 Six Nations Championship in the books, I am publishing report cards based on my data and observations.

Number 1: Ireland
Number 2: France
Number 3: Wales
Number 5: Scotland

England lost three times as many matches during the 2018 Six Nations Championship than they had in the rest of Eddie Jones’ reign as coach combined. England’s performance was one of the surprises of the competition as they had been favourites before the first fixture kicked off at the Millennium Stadium on February. The frequency of England visits to the opposition 22 were at the level expected from a very good team but the ability to convert those into points was the lowest I have seen from any side over a five-match run. At the other end of the pitch, England kept their visitors out of their own 22 less than Ireland, France or Wales managed.
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Six Nations Report Card: Wales

With the 2018 Six Nations Championship in the books, I am publishing report cards based on my data and observations.

Number 1: Ireland
Number 2: France
Number 4: England
Number 5: Scotland

Wales were the 2018 Six Nations runners-up but at virtually no time did the Welsh team look like genuine challengers for the title, losing both of their away matches at Twickenham and the Aviva Stadium. In each case, Wales fell to a near unassailable deficit before they had been in the opposition 22 more than once.
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Six Nations Report Card: France

With the 2018 Six Nations Championship in the books, I am publishing report cards based on my data and observations.

Number 1: Ireland
Number 3: Wales
Number 4: England
Number 5: Scotland

France may have finished fourth in the 2018 Six Nations but there was really very little difference between the teams ranked second to fifth in the table this year. Analysing the 22 entries inĀ  France’s five matches makes a good argument that France were actually the second best team in the competition. Either way, France were certainly the surprise of this year’s Six Nations Championship with a game which was built on defence.
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Six Nations Report Card: Ireland

With the 2018 Six Nations Championship in the books, I am publishing report cards based on my data and observations.

Number 2: France
Number 3: Wales
Number 4: England
Number 5: Scotland

Ireland deservedly won the 2018 Six Nations Grand Slam, only having trouble winning one of their five matches. Ireland’s success was built on the number two attack, number one defence and number one attack efficiency in the competition. Looking at when teams got deep into Ireland’s territory, the Ireland team probably controlled matches far better than any of their rivals.
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Our Lions XVs – how close were they?

Everyone loves making our British and Irish Lions starting XVs, a pursuit which starts a long time before the players are named, let alone steppimg on an aeroplane to Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. This year, and probably last year too, was no different. Fans, blogs, journalists, ex-players and others all had a go and once the three Tests had been played, it was possible to see how close or otherwise they came to Warren Gatland’s selections. An impressive 11 starters was the best score but others managed to name as few as five of those who started a Test in New Zealand.
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