What is Football Efficiency?


What is efficiency in football? According the the dictionary a footballer is efficient when:

“performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort; having and using requisite knowledge, skill, and industry; competent; capable:”

Well, isn’t that exactly what we look for in a footballer? Almost everything that is measured in football is about skills and competency. Only the Football Efficiency Monitoring System measures whether a football player plays football with the least waste of time and effort.

Let’s look at Sanchez from Arsenal to see the difference. No one doubts that Sanchez is one of the best strikers out there. Here you see the current standing [April 29th 2017] of who are considered the best football players in the Premier League:

best football players

As you can see Sanchez in #2 with 19 goals and 9 assists. Goals and assists are the easiest way of calculating football efficiency as goals is all that matters. Everybody does so and so do we. If a player is scoring goals or assisting in scoring it is very easy to determine how efficient a player is. But the big question is: how efficient are players who are not scoring and not assisting? Take for example Arsenal’s match against Leicester on April 26th 2017. Sanchez did not score. How do we know how efficient Sanchez was in that particular match? The chart produced by the Football Efficiency Monitoring System tells you immediately:

Sanchez efficiency in Arsenal vs Leicester April 26 2017

As you can easily see in that particular game Sanchez was not very efficient, or in other words: Sanchez wasted time and effort. The blue line is the all important line as that shows Sanchez’ Overall Efficiency. As Sanchez is a striker the orange line is also important as that is his Attacking Efficiency. As we can see the one area Sanchez was efficient in during that match was defensive play (red line). Although we normally would not mind a striker with a low Passing Efficiency as strikers ought to shoot at goal rather than pass, we can see that Sanchez, in this match, was not very efficient. Sanchez wasted his time and effort, but because football is a team sport, Sanchez also wasted the time and effort of his team mates. Because each time Sanchez lost the ball, other players worked hard to get the ball to Sanchez. All in all Arsenal had a tough time against Leicester and only scored a goal against Leicester in the final moments of the game.

As you can see the big advantage of the Football Efficiency Monitoring System is that it is a very sensitive tool to measure football efficiency because it reacts immediately to what is happening in the game in real time. If you go back to the above Premier League Player Statistics you can see that Sanchez has a rating of 7.72. What Sanchez did in the match against Leicester has almost no meaningful impact on his rating or his ranking as the #2 player of the Premier League. That is why it is important to always combine traditional statistics as shown in the ranking with the sensitivity of the Football Efficiency Monitoring System. Otherwise seasonal averages distort the true picture of what is happening on the pitch.


Of course, as soon as Sanchez scores again, his football efficiency will go up. In the previous match against Manchester City Sanchez scored and his football efficiency went up. This can be, again, easily seen in the chart produced by the Football Efficiency Monitoring System:

Sanchez in Arsenal Manchester City 23-4-2017

By scoring Sanchez’ his Overall Efficiency shot up! As this match is the match before Leicester City it provides the opportunity to see why the efficiencies start where they do. The starting point of the efficiencies is the result of the football efficiency of the player in the previous matches. Yet, Sanchez scoring was already foreseen by the Football Efficiency Monitoring System as his Overall Efficiency was already rising rapidly in the second half of the regular play time. As the Football Efficiency Monitor System shows you these charts in real time during the match, the manager can see for each player whether they are wasting time and effort of the team or not.

You can also see that Sanchez’s Overall Efficiency differs quite a lot at the end of the match against Leicester City compared to the end of the match against Manchester City. This is a measure of how precarious a football player is, or as we like to think about it: the chance that a player is going to disappoint. No other statistical package shows how precarious football players are. Sanchez’s chance to disappoint at this point in time is 35.46%. This is quite high compared to our median of 10% for the 1650+ players we analyzed. What this means is that when Sanchez is playing well he is playing very well, but when he is playing badly, he plays quite badly. This is of course crucial information for any club that would want to buy Sanchez. And this information cannot be learned from seasonal averages. Only the Football Efficiency Monitoring System tells you this.

 The valuation model of the Football Efficiency Monitoring System

With the definition of an efficient football player in mind:

“performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort; having and using requisite knowledge, skill, and industry; competent; capable:”

it is easy to see that football efficiency is a very good basis for valuing players. For that reason the Football Efficiency Monitoring System comes with a valuation model that includes the following data to come up with our valuation:


Statistical data CIES Football Observatory The Football Efficiency Monitoring System
Age Yes Yes
Length No Yes
Book value Yes No
Position Yes Yes
Contract Yes No
International Status Yes Yes
Experience Yes No
Performance Yes Yes
Competition level Yes Yes
Results Yes, team based Yes, individual & team based
Achievements Yes No
Football Efficiency No Yes
Chance to disappoint No Yes

50% of the time our valuation model comes up with the same valuation as public sources like TransferMarkt have. Yet, in 30% of the time, based on football efficiency, players are overvalued. In 20% of the cases players are undervalued. When you are buying players it is very important to know whether the price is right, or that a player is overvalued or undervalued. The best strategy is to sell your own overvalued players and keeping your undervalued players while at the same time buying undervalued players and keeping away from overvalued players. With the valuation alone, you recapture the investment in the Football Efficiency Monitoring System each season as the Football Efficiency Monitoring System saves you millions and millions in transfer fees.

To conclude:

As you have seen the Football Efficiency Monitoring System answers three very important questions:

  1. How efficient is a player?
  2. What is the chance that a player is going to disappoint?
  3. What is the value of a player?

In answering these three questions the Football Efficiency Monitoring System tells you which players are Moneyball players made famous in the movie Moneyball. Moneyball players are players who (a) are highly efficient, (b) have a very low chance to disappoint and (c) are undervalued. Here is our top 12 current Moneyball players in football.

To conclude: the Football Efficiency Monitoring System is the ideal tool for supporting decision making in buying and selling players, selecting the starting eleven and substitutes during the match in real time.