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June 12 , 2008


Mathematical Adventures in the Beautiful Game


Football – the most mathematical of sports. From shot statistics and league tables to the geometry of passing and managerial strategy, the modern game is filled with numbers, patterns and shapes. How do we make sense of these? The answer lies in the mathematical models applied in biology, physics and economics. Soccermatics brings football and mathematics together in a mind-bending synthesis, using numbers to help reveal the inner workings of the beautiful game.

How is the Barcelona midfield linked geometrically?
What's the similarity between an ant colony and Total Football, Dutch style?
What can defenders learn from lionesses?
How much of a scoreline is pure randomness and how much is skill?
How can probability theory make you money at the bookies?

Welcome to the world of mathematical modelling, expressed brilliantly by David Sumpter through the prism of football. No matter who you follow – be it Bristol City, Burton Albion, Barnet or Barrow, or one of the Premier League big boys – you'll be amazed at what mathematics has to teach us about the world's favourite sport.

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