The Performance Analyst Staff Role Explained
The Performance Analyst is one of two new staff roles in Football Manager 2021, the other is the recruitment analyst. Today I will examine the staff role performance analyst in Football Manager 2021 and how to take advantage of him.
You will learn more about how to assign him to analyze player performances, provide match analysis of your team and the next opposition, and why he might be essential in your quest for success!
Table of Content
- About the Analysis Team
- The Role of the Performance Analyst
- The Responsibilities of the Performance Analyst
- What types of Reports Does the Performance Analyst Deliver?
- Setting Up Next Opposition Scouting Assignments
- The benefits of utilizing the Peformance Analyst
Statistics and Data – A Brief Background
The increased focus on statistics and data analysis has become a natural part of modern football in the last couple of years. With football clubs around the world embracing the computer revolution and placing more and more emphasis on their analytical department, nothing is left to chance.
Gone are the days when the manager had to solely rely on his subjective sense of the game and how he experienced the players’ achievements.
Gone are the days when you base your judgment on positive or negative perceptions and coincidences. Statistics and data analysis have come to remove any cognitive biases and reveal the truth!
As the level of competition has increased, or the gap between top clubs and mid-table clubs’ financial situation has increased massively, the focus on understanding everything you need to know about your team and your opponent has been put in the driver’s seat.
Clubs have opened their arms to data analysis, partnered with analytics companies or teamed up with football analysis experts to gain an advantage over the opponent.
Although Football Manager has always been driven by a lot of statistical information and information gathering, Football Manager 2021 introduces a number of new statistical data and metrics in the game, such as expected goal model, which facilitates the process of assessing player and match performance.
What started as a way to gain an edge over opponents, the pursuit of processing statistics and analyzing team and player performance in the best way, has become a top priority, both for the best football managers in today’s football industry and for your managerial experience in FM21!
In this case, the Performance Analyst will be a welcome addition to Football Manager 2021 – providing you with valuable information in a simpler way so that you can better judge your decisions relating to training, tactics or fielding the best starting XI.
So let’s take a deeper look into the Performance Analyst in Football Manager, his responsibilities and finally how I approach the staff role.
The future of football will not only belong to those with the best data, but those who draw the best conclusions from the information at their disposal.
Football Hackers: The Science and Art of a Data Revolution, Christoph Biermann, 2019
The Analysis Team in Football Manager
In earlier versions of Football Manager, we have become familiar with the data analysts and their role in analyzing team data and provide reports about the opponent. For Football Manager 2021 the data analyst role has been split in two; the Performance Analyst, which I’ll examine below, and the Recruitment Analyst. Here’s a short introduction to your analysis team.
The new Analysis team in Football Manager 2021 includes the;
A) Head Performance Analyst; will supervise the analysis team by acting as the main person for any performance analysis matters for your team.
Key Attributes: Determination, Judging Player Ability, Tactical Knowledge
He can do the task of both the Recruitment Analyst and the Performance Analyst and can both be sent out to scout the next opposition or provide analyst reports of potential targets if you don’t have a recruitment analyst in your backroom staff.
B) Recruitment Analyst; will work with the scouting team to identify likely prospects relating to performance metrics important for the player role and position in question. You can learn more about the recruitment analyst here. (Coming soon)
Key Attributes: Analyzing Data, Judging Player Ability
C) Performance Analyst
NB! The new staff roles have come to effect with Sports Interactive’s partnership with Scisports which enables Football Manager to bring to the fore a number of useful information and metrics not seen in the game before.
The Role of the Performance Analyst
The Performance Analyst will be an important figure along with the assistant manager and your coaching team in Football Manager 2021. While the coaches look to develop the players and work on tactical instructions and game models of your tactics on the training ground, the Performance Analyst will analyze statistics and data to discover how effective your team’s performance is.
His task is to provide a simplistic visual presentation of statistical data and show you relevant information about your team, their overall performances on the pitch in matches they play, the player’s individual performances as well as gather data about the next opponent. All along will the staff role compare the data he gathers to the playing level you are at (aka the league) and to similar players playing within the same position and role.
By compressing and combining all the data that Football Manager gathers in the processing of matches, the Performance Analyst will process the data at hand to better show you relevant information about major trends, strength and weaknesses that let you make more informed decisions.
His neat visualisation of data through a polygon of stats and expected goals metrics let you get a better picture of your player’s skills, the current performance of the team in a number of areas relating to the phases of play, as well as getting an insight to how the next opponent may play and their strength and weaknesses.
Throughout the season will the Performance Analyst gather data and provide you with useful reports that will help you in the daily management of the team; whether it’s how you will approach the next match, your approach to player recruitments or how you consider developing individual players through the use of a statistics and data. You can then use the data the analysis team gathers to put attention to specific training sessions and schedules to enhance the overall team’s or individual players on-pitch performances.
The Responsibilities of the Performance Analyst
The main responsibilities of the Performance Analyst and where the role excels is letting him scout the next opposition and provide analysis of your team and your opponents.
The objective with having such a type of data analyst is to identify major trends and possible concerns with your team, their on-pitch performances on an event to event basis and individual player performances or analyzing the next opposition to find the best way to counter their play.
As you’ll see from the image to the right his default staff responsibilities are to collate and provide scouting opposition reports, opposition analysis reports and finally provide own team analysis reports.
These reports will be available one to two days ahead of kick-off and feature a lot of useful stats and information that might become beneficial for you!
Essentially, the Performance Analyst will be the go-to man when;
- squad analysis looking closer at their overall team performance and their strength and weaknesses within the statistics
- analysing individual player’s performance and their influence on your tactics and overall team performance
- analysing the next opposition and learn how to counter them most effective
- match analysis in order to make better tactical tweaks and adjustments to my tactics within matches
Key Staff Attributes
In order to take full effect of the staff role, you need a Performance Analyst with great tactical knowledge in order to collate accurate analysis about the oppositions tactical style, their strength and weaknesses and high levels of Analysing Data to interpret the stats in a useful manner for you!
It’s highly essential that he provides you with accurate and useful reports that clearly show major trends, strength and weaknesses that you more easily can act upon.
Analysing Data is the ability of an Analyst to comprehend the data concerning a player or a team and interpret the statistical data at hands in a useful manner to the manager.
This means that a lower level of the attribute might mean the presentation is inaccurate and does not clearly represent reality.
Presenting Data is his ability to showcase the data in the best way.
Tactical Knowledge relates to the experience level of the person. Where they have been and who they have worked with will affect the depth of knowledge they possess.
What types of Reports Does the Performance Analyst Deliver?
The Performance Analyst will provide you with six different types of report cards that will come in handy in your pursuit for wins and trophies.
Let us take a closer look at the report cards the Performance Analyst delivers;
1. General Team Performance
A number of reports relating to the general performance of the team can be found within the Team Report tab. From here you will get an overview of how well your team is doing relating to the other teams within the league. The performance polygon of stats gives you a simple representation of how well your tactics are working relating to goals scored/conceded, pass completion ratio or the expected goals for or against!
It provides a clear and genuine representation of what areas of your tactics are working well, or not, in the course of the season. The Team report overview also gives you a highlight of notable reports from the analysis team concerning interesting facts that you should pay attention to.
For a more in-depth analysis of the team performance, you will need to head to the next tab; the Analyst Report. Here you will get a break down of the efficiency in front of the goal or at the back – providing you with more information about where shots and assists have come from or which areas of the pitch you’ve conceded the most from – and how the data relates to the other team’s performance within the league.
The Performance Analyst will also highlight noticeable trends relating to general performance, scoring, conceding and formations. By clicking on each of these tabs, you’ll get more information that will let you learn more about your team’s result in attacking and defending situations.
The defensive efficiency and attacking efficiency are two vital reports that will give you a better picture of trends relating to your preferred tactic(s).
Like before the analyst will also report the effect of the formations used relating to chances for and against – giving you a better picture of whether a formation has been successful or not.
Did you know?
You’ll be delivered a similar report to your inbox at a monthly basis displaying the four areas of your overall team performance according to ‘General Performance’, ‘Shot Map’, ‘Defensive Efficiency’ and ‘Attacking Efficiency’. Your analyst will include a comment summarising the data that may come in handy. Each area can be expanded upon for greater details.
Let us look closer at the other different areas of statistics the analyst will gather apart from the general performance:
Attached to the defensive and attacking efficiency tables you got the shot map. This represents all the last shot attempts and where they have come from for the last 5 matches. Here you’ll get a break down of the number of shots taken with feet, head or which have come from direct set-pieces. You’ll be able to analyze in detail the expected goals value of each shot attempt to identify how clinical your team are or how clinical your last five opponents have been.
It provides a better visual representation of the quality of the shots taken and our conversation rate – how many chances needed to score goals. By clicking the ‘Shots’ you’ll get more knowledge about the types of shots for all your matches (including/excluding friendlies) whether most goals comes from powerful shots, placed shots, free-kicks or headers.
Within this screen I want you to pay close attention to the goal times to identify trends of when you score the most goals or when you concede the most. This information can be used to;
- alter the match mentality or player role/duties to become more defending or attacking at specific times in the match where you’re either most leaky or have troubles scoring – creating a plan B which looks to both amplify positive trends or improve negative trends.
- improve upon specific positions of the pitch to ensure your attacking threat are coming from the right areas of the pitch according to your football philosophy. It can be used to understand where you concede the most goals or whether the players are coming to the right positions in front of the goal to score.
- low conversion rate from set-pieces in terms of goals scored will give you a hint that your set-piece routines may need attention and must be either improved upon or spent more focus on at the training ground. If you concede a lot of goals from set-pieces it’s vital to fix this by giving attention to your defensive set-piece routines (either it’s corners or free-kicks).
The defensive efficiency looks at the number of shots against and compares it to the number of conceded goals. The table ranges from busy but impenetrable at one end of the scale to busy and leaky at the other end.
– Quiet means that the team faces fewer shots against per game than the league average.
– Busy is the opposite of quiet and means that the team faces more shots against per game than the league average.
– Leaky indicates that the team concedes more goals per game than the average, and what you could have expected from the number of shots against we face.
– Impenetrable shows you that you actually concede far fewer goals per game than the league average.
Most desired you’d like to be quiet and impenetrable.
This defensive statistics and the break down of opposition conversation ratio (in percentage) relating to shots faced per game provides me with vital information about my current strength and weaknesses.
While it doesn’t clearly show you what’s wrong with your tactics nor how you concede you can use this information to investigate further by using the available information within the shot map or look at your player’s skills and performance relating to your tactical instructions or your focus in training.
Perhaps you’ll discover that playing a higher defensive line is not the smartest with the current abilities of your defenders and you need to tighten things at the back, or whether everything is working according to the plan and no further tweaks are necessary.
In my save a noticeable trend relating to goals conceded has come up. For once, 6 out of 17 assists has come from deep positions. A reason for this may be two-folded:
- – my shape and positional lines are two stretched as the opponent got a large amount of space in their midfield to pick out key passes from deep positions. Here it may be worth looking at the duties of my midfielders and consider the level of line of engagement and the related defensive line settings.
- – secondary, it might be worth considering my approach to opposition instructions and close down and tight mark opposite playmakers better.
As the conceded goal times chart represent, I notice a clear trend in that I concede more goals in the last fifteen minutes of the match and closer to the end of the second half.
It’s natural to think the reason is due to poor physical shape as my players are getting tired but likewise, it may be the opposition which plays with a higher tempo and a more attacking mentality to change things around.
Here I must consider creating a plan B tactic where I take a more defensive approach. The 3-3 draw against Inter Milan where I conceded two goals in the 90th and 93rd minute was a result that hurt bad and is a prime example of my lack of defensive consolidation.
When also taking into account the opposition needs fewer shot attempts to score goals than me, it’s time to put more attention to the defensive aspects of my tactics at the training ground.
The Attacking Efficiency table provides a low-down of the attacking statistics relating to your team performance and is one to pay close attention to. It shows you how clinical or wasteful your team are in front of the goal comparing the shots taken per game to the conversion rate.
– Aggressive indicates that the team manages to take more shots per game than the average team.
– Passive is the opposite of aggressive and means that the team takes far fewer shots per game than the average.
– Clinical means that the team is able to convert more of their shots per game into goals which is a positive thing.
– Wasteful is a rather negative statistic to let your tactics be known for. In this case, your team are not able to convert their shots and chances into goals – meaning you might need to look deeper at your tactics, its instructions or focus on Chance Conversion and the attacking side of the game in training to see if performances improve.
Most desired you want to be clinical and aggressive, but this relates also to your football philosophy and the level of your team compared to the others. A team expected to finish in the bottom half might be happy to be clinical and passive – meaning they convert more of the shots they get.
This representation of shots can give you a better understanding of the actual performance of the team.
The report gives you also an insight into the type of assists you score goals from and what has worked most effective.
According to my tactics and my football philosophy, it’s pleasing to see most of the goals comes from through balls and assists comes from just outside the penalty area.
2. Player Reports
If players have managed to rank up enough match minutes within the role, the Performance Analyst will process the statistical data about the player’s performance and present it in a visual appealing polygon of stats – just like real data analysts gather and provide to real managers.
Here you’ll get a polygon of stats with key statistics most relevant to their position and role. The analyst team will compare the player’s performance to the average performance of players in similar positions within the competition and what you should expect from the role.
The feedback from the analysis team provides you with a better picture of the standard of the player’s – whether they are performing at average, below average or far better than expected.
The provided information may indicate specific weaknesses within a team that you might want to improve upon either through edit specific player instructions or take further actions at in recruitment meetings when looking at ways to strengthen your team.
By studying statistics you might discover that a player might be incapable of doing what you expect from him. He might be playing in the wrong role, under the wrong team instructions or in the wrong position… or he might not yet be familiar with your passing or pressing style and needs more time to adapt.
Personally, I use the polygon to compare every player’s statistics and relate it to their strength and weaknesses (their player attributes) and what I want from him in regard to roles and duty setup. Perhaps you’ll discover some notable information that can lead to better decisions relating to your future tactics and squad planning.
If a player has not ranked up enough minutes on the pitch to get enough statistical data to create such a polygon, a basic representation of his current seasonal stats is displayed instead, which you can further break down by the competitions he’s featured in.
Opposition Scouting Report & Team Analysis
When he’s not analysing your own team and its players, the Performance Analyst will be your main source to learn as much about the opposition as possible! Apart from being a prominent figure in the analysis of your matches, his importance relating to team analysis and gathering opposition scout reports can not be forgotten.
It’s how I will look to utilize the staff role most effective.
These types of reports will combine information and insight from your analysis team and your scouts
The feedback and accuracy of the information he delivers me ahead of upcoming matches will become important in my pursuit for success.
We can split the types of reports relating to the opposition in two different analysis:
1. Scouting Reports on the next opposition
The scouting opposition report provides you with information about the next opposition’s likely used mentality, formation, player roles and duties, preferred tactical style and line-up in addition to key strength and weaknesses displayed. You’ll also get an insight into the opposite manager’s preferences relating to passing and pressing style and basic information about their key players relating to most goals, assists and their overall team strength.
The scout report of the next opposition can be found at either:
Opposition Club > Team Report > Senior Squad > Overview or Scout Report
Team Report > Next Opponent > Scout Report
NB! If you would like to get an early insight to the future next opposition you can click Get Team Report within the Team Report drop-down menu which will let you send out one of your scouts to gather a scouting report about them.
If you’ve set up the scouting assignment, which you can learn how to set up further down in the article, the scouting report of the next opposition will be delivered one to two days before the event.
Clicking the full scout report will provide you with further details about areas of the pitch the opposition has issues in as well as their formed player partnerships within their expected line-up.
This is basically the report card found at;
Team Report > Next Opponent > Scout Report
2. Opposition Team Analysis
The opposition team analysis will be the report that might be the most beneficial to you when analysing the next opposition. It’s here you’ll be able to discover any weaknesses of the opponent you would like to counter. In fact, it’s the first step into learning as much as possible about your opponent; their strength and what you can expect from them in the upcoming match.
Basically, you’ll have two different report cards that are built in the same template. Both enable you to delve deeper into the strength and weaknesses of the opposition letting us look closer at their overall team performance, attacking and defensive efficiency.
The primary report from your analyst will be the next opposition analysis which compares your team performance to the opponent’s general performance.
Along with an overview of the overall statistical performance of the opposition compared to your team, the opposition report will feature the expected tactical style and similar break down of their attacking and defensive efficiency compared to your team’s general performance. This report will be provided to you a day before the match and delivered to your inbox.
By clicking the Show/Hide button in the upper right corner you’ll be able to see how your performances relate to your rivals within the competition.
More Detailed Analyst Report
Once the opposition analysis inbox message has arrived a more detailed analyst report is available at:
Team Report > Next Opponent > Analyst Report
This analyst report is more comprehensive looking more at positives and negatives of the opponents last 1 to 3 matches. The information can be vital as it gives us more insight into the opposition and let me spot vulnerabilities that I can take advantage of or specific strengths I need to be aware of.
Worthy information this analyst report consists of are;
- set-pieces analysis
- goal anaysis including assist types, assist location and where most of the goals comes from
- when they scored or conceded
Within this report, you can examine further noticeable events of their last matches.
Match Analysis; In-Match and Post Match Analysis
Apart from general reports about team data and performance, the role excels at in-depth match analysis throughout the match and post-match analysis. In the process of the match, the analysts will observe the match statistics and events to calculate and provide the expected match story (aka xGPlot). This gives you the chance to see how the match develops relating to the quality of shots.
While expected goals value is calculated as the match proceeds according to the quality of the shot and the number and locations of the shot attempts, the analysis team will have a more comprehensive analysis of the match ready at half-time. By clicking the ‘Analytical Data’ button of the half-time backroom advice you’ll learn more about your average positions, heat map, the focus of attack and most importantly where shots have come from and who are the best and worst performers.
This information let you approach the half time team meeting in a better way and let you see if any tactical changes are needed for the first period of the second half.
Once the match is over, the analyst will provide you with a post-match analysis.
Again the xG match story is put in the headlight giving you the chance to see how the quality of chances evolved over the course of 90 minutes which will provide you with far more interesting observations instead of simply focusing on the number of shots on target and possession which might not tell the full story about the match.
New in Football Manager 2021 apart from xG metrics is the passing information providing you with clearer information about the length and direction of passes that your team made, in addition to the former spoken about shot map.
The End of Season Report
At the end of the season, the analysis team will provide you with seasonal data. You’ll get a breakdown of how your actual performance compared to your expected performance, including actual points vs expected points, a stat based on each team’s xG performance across the season as well as more information about how the season went from a statistical point of view. This report might help you to understand where you need to strengthen and improve for the upcoming season in order to perform even better!
Setting Up Scouting Assignments to Get Next Opposition Reports
These reports won’t come by themselves, unfortunately.
In order to receive post-match analysis and opposition team reports, you need to set up two different scouting assignments. I pick the staff with the highest attributes relating to judging player ability and tactical knowledge – preferable the Head of Performance Analyst or delegate it to the chief scout.
The first report I want to gather is opposition scout reports. there are two ways to set up the scouting mission.
- A) Go to the staff overview – Reports and click create new assignment
- B) Head to Scouting – Assignment – Assignment – Create new assignment
Within the Create Assignment screen, I select the Team tab which let me get ongoing reports on next opposition.
To receive a deeper analysis of the opposition you need to go to follow the same approach as above but instead click Ongoing Analyst Reports. Here you can ask a specific member of the analysis team to gather information about the next opponent’s strength and weaknesses as well as providing post-match analysis on your own team, which is what we want!
You can ask the analyst to watch from 1 to 3 matches of the opposition. Despite it will come with a cost, it will be far more beneficial the more matches he watches on the opposition. Not only will the reports be more comprehensive but will also let you see how the opponent approaches different opponents.
Do note that setting up these assignments will come with a scouting cost relating to travel expenditures and accommodation.
The benefits of utilizing the Peformance Analyst
The information and insight the Performance Analyst provide let you make more informed decisions providing you with statistical data in a simpler way. While you needed to spend lots of hours delving into the data and try to calculate different metrics yourself to find out how effective your tactics were, the introduction of the Performance Analyst will make everything easier – providing a helping hand to assess statistics and show you the reality.
The feedback you receive from him will let you more easily discover strength and weaknesses within your team and for specific positions and will hopefully make it easier for you to find tactical solutions and tweaks that might not only surprise your opponents but also counter their main threats. His feedback let you get more insight into how you can approach the next opponent, set up tactical game plans and adjust your tactics.
The statistical data and feedback about major trends can help you to make more informed decisions relating to how you might approach the transfer market as he will influence your recruitment strategy.
Utilizing the Performance Analyst and the feedback he provides you is beneficial for a number of reasons.
His analysis might give you a helping hand to indicate the impact of specific players on the overall team’s performance. Perhaps the data and reports indicate that a specific player does not fit into your formation and system with the current tactical instructions.
The individual player analysis looking at their stats for the season will help you to identify certain problems with your tactics and setup of roles and duties. Perhaps you’ll discover that your playmaker isn’t creating as many key passes or chances you wish him to do, or that your striker doesn’t convert as many shots or the shot attempts comes from the wrong locations of the pitch.
Secondary, by providing you with all sorts of statistics and other metrics you’ll get an insight into why your team might be playing below par or whether they are overachieving. Here the shot map and expected goals for and against stats compared to the actual number of goals scored and conceded will provide you with a clear indication whether the team are overachieving or underachieving.
Thirdly, their opposition analyst reports will give you useful information about how to combat a specific opponent and eliminating specific key players of the opposition.
Finally, the statistical data and feedback about trends he provides throughout the match and after the match will give you a clearer picture of the match and help you understand why you win or lose and hopefully help you to make changes at the right time for the next event.
The feedback he provides you can confirm what you already knew according to your impression of the match or make you totally change your mind, as the truth was far from your subjective first impression. The post-match analysis might help you to better understand the opposition’s opportunities far better than ever by showcasing the xG match story and expected goals.
xG match story and showcasing other statistical data in a clearer way will not only let you delve deeper into the analytical side of Football Manager than ever but let you get a better understanding of your squad and their abilities – perhaps you’ll identify weaknesses in your team that surprises you and forces you to totally change your recruitment plan and tactical preferences in order to get the most out of your squad!
I hope you this guide to the staff role and responsibilities of the Performance Analyst in Football Manager 2021 will make it easier for you to utilize him in the best manner – taking his feedback and statistical data in mind when approaching training and tactics, player recruitment and combat next opposition.
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