Yesterday Landon Donovan tore up the right flank of the pitch at the Emirates Stadium and helped his new club Everton secure a draw against my beloved Arsenal. This morning one of the soccer blogs I follow showed this great visualization of Donovan’s impact on the game.
The graph shows Donovan’s completed passes in blue. If you roll across the dots you can see when he passed to which team mate.
The graph is built with the Guardian’s interactive chalkboard which has apparently been around for almost a year. I have to say that I am ashamed that I only found out about this fantastic little tool today. OK, I have been living in the US now for 6 years and I have started to refer to the beautiful game as soccer (mainly because I discovered the other beautiful game of American football). And coverage of soccer in the US media is spotty at best. But that should still not be an excuse for not knowing about this amazing interactive visualization tool.
It uses data collected by UK company Prozone who record all Premier League matches and use that footage to code all data on passes, shots, tackles etc for every player on the pitch. The guardian then build this very easy to use application that allows every aspiring Arsene Wenger (who was one of the early Prozone adopters) to analyze the patterns of the game.
What is probably most impressive about this little application is the ease with which one can share chalkboards with others. This makes it a potentially powerful social media tool. And with most of the coverage of soccer in the US happening on social media, it could be a great tool to educate the US audience on the tactical aspects of the game. Nothing gets America more excited about sports than stats and analysis!