Match highlights

Briggs: Football goes wild with big data- Apps, Al & sweeper keepers.

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07 Sep 2019
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As City’s players returned to the home dressing room after exhausting 2-1 win over Liverpool, music shuddered from the speakers.


But in one corner, three men crowded quietly together.

Consequently, Ederson and John Stones stared at the big screen. Harry Dunn zipped through a timeline of the match to show a replay of Stones clearing the ball off his goal line with only 11 minutes to spare.

By the time they got back to the privacy of their cars, Ederson, Stones or any of their teammates could open the Hudl app on their phone and watch that moment along with every other involvement they had in the game.

How it works

The orange icon will be on most Premier League players’ screens. Some will log on after a match to find a similar comprehensive compilation of highlights. Others will find a selection of clips with complementary or critical coaches’ notes. Some are even required to put together their showreel, demonstrating where they felt they did well and could do better.

When it comes to what happened on the pitch, all 20 Premier League sides have a relationship with the American technology firm. It monitors every match from five tactical cameras, as well as the traditional broadcast angle shown on television.

Watching from high in the stands at Etihad Stadium, two of the clubs performance analysis department worked furiously on laptops. Definately, they used the program to capture the devil on the match’s detail.

Tackles, touches, shots, passes, high presses, deep blocks, set pieces, slip-ups are monitored with about 90 different aspects of the game “coded” live or while the game is going on.

“At half time the coaches can see anything they want,” explains Aaron Briggs, Manchester City’s senior first-team performance analyst.

“If they spot an incident at a corner, we can pull the clip. Thereafter find the best angle to get the coaches’ point across and they will deliver it to the player using the technology.”

Consequently, Briggs has his memories of technology limiting rather than accelerating analysis.

“When I first started my career at Preston in 2008, there was a television with a massive back and a small 20-inch screen. Below, it had a double cassette player. You would play the game on the top VHS, stopping, fast-forwarding to find the bits that you wanted to record on to the bottom deck.” Briggs said.

“Then came the DVD era. Right now, spatial information is the latest frontier in football’s big data arms race. It is the other 98% of the game that no-one has looked at previously.”

In the future, there will be a scouting tool that will flag potential transfer targets.

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