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A Cottagers Contemplation: For football or analytics

Is football a game of chance or numbers?

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Fulham Football Club has been surrounded by controversy, following the questionable ethics the club's officials have installed at the club.

Fulham is not a primarily revenue driven organisation, as are most of the bigger clubs across the country but have subsequently taken the approach of Analytics, that is most commonly practiced Stateside. The system was adopted by the club after its initial takeover by Pakistani-American businessman Shahid Khan.

Khan's choice to implement said system on the club was met by disgruntlement by the fans.

Tony Khan, the son of the club's chairman, is responsible for delegating the operations of football at Fulham Football club, primarily in the area of analytics, with Khan Jr holding an integral role in the club's hierarchy in helping to identify ideal recruitments.

Craig Kline, close friend of Tony Khan and fellow data analyst, integrated his very own “Both Boxes Checked” system upon the club, in an attempt to fairly, yet productively recruit new acquisitions by using the traditional scouting methods along with his own brand of statistical analysis.

Although it appears Fulham's on-field performances this season make last season's near relegation scrap look like a distant, painful memory. Also with The Whites playing arguably the best football in the league, you have to question, is the club assembling a team that predominantly stands out on the advanced metrics, rather than on games won? assess the statistics of all the club's throughout the EFL, which in turn could come as an interesting read to many Fulham fans.

Both Reading FC and Leeds United are currently situated in the Top 6, a position that's desirable, yet not out of reach for The Cottagers. Statistics from the website indicate that Leeds currently reside in a much lower 14th position on the e-ratings table. Reading’s performances find them closer to the foot of the e-ratings table, in 22nd.

Can you call it luck? Or is it simply that Fulham have built a team that reflects positively in attack and lacklustre defensively?

Fulham sit comfortably in 4th place in the e-ratings table, boasting an impressive 1.65 in attack, which sees them 2nd best in the league just behind table toppers Newcastle United. However a score of 1.28 for the defensive side of their game, finds The Whites’ back four in 14th position in the e-ratings table.

Could an argument be made that Analytics works well in attacking but not in defence?

Has the system merited its place into British sports? If Fulham can seal promotion on a lesser budget than the ‘bigger’ teams in the league, then maybe it will be seen as a success by the fans and the sport in its entirety.

*Statistics correct up until 3/7/2017