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Tactics Tuesday

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Sometimes the numbers tell a lie!

Gabriele Maltinti

Two teams played this weekend in Serie A, one is in first place the other is not...one of them won, the other did not, here were their stat lines...

Shots on Target 6, Pass Completion 84%, Tackle Success 60%, Possession 52%

Shots on Target 5, Pass Completion 84%, Tackle Success 63%, Possession 57%

The first is Juventus, with a two goal win over Bologna, the other is our very own Milan. Not a bad a stat line it what could be a considered a gutless draw.

The moral of the story? Sometimes in football, the numbers tell a lie...

Statistically this season Milan ranks 5th in Serie A, the problem is they don't hand out trophies for statistics and while a select few here criticize Allegri ball, as they have so aptly called it. Milan lead the league in possession and pass completion, two stats that seem to have the masses whipped up into a frenzy. The problem is in stats that actually determine the Champion, say goal differential Milan boast a zero to Roma and Juve's lofty +20s. Can this Milan win the Title, not a chance, not with that defensive exposure, but hey we can pass the ball alright!?

I don't really know when ball possession and passing became the gold standard for statistical measurement in Italy, granted Milan has always been very high up on this list, but has also been high on other lists as well. What was one of the better tackling teams is no longer true, one of the better finishing teams, that is gone too. As a child, when nobody counted this stuff, I filled notebooks with my Dad counting the littlest of things for the sake of enjoyment. Those notebooks are long gone, stupidly, but there were times in Milan's heyday were they were scoring 3 and 4 goals on 8 chances.

In my real life, I am a data driven guy. My line of works requires data to validate and give me the ammo I need to negotiate and present problems and plans to the Customer. When it comes to football though I find there is something more, something less tangible and while the data sure makes for some great analysis, it sure tells a massive lie about this season's AC Milan.

I hope to use some of this data in the next few tactics post to flesh this out a little more but would like to see some thoughts and opinions on how the data reflects against this AC Milan!