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Machine Learning Models Reveal Key Performance Metrics of Football Players to Win Matches in Qatar Stars League

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journal contribution
submitted on 2023-08-24, 08:39 and posted on 2023-09-20, 12:02 authored by Jassim Almulla, Tanvir Alam

As football (soccer) is one of the most popular sports worldwide, winning football matches is becoming an essential aspect of football clubs. In this study, we analyzed football players' performance in a total of 864 football matches of the Qatar Stars League (QSL) between the years 2012 and 2019. For each match, the collective performance of the players in key playing positions was analyzed to understand their effectiveness in winning games. We formulated this study as a classification framework in the machine learning (ML) context to distinguish the winning team from the losing team in a match. This allowed us to check the effectiveness of different performance metrics considered a feature vector for ML models. Different ML models were considered for this classification task, and the logistic regression-based model was considered the best performing model, with more than 80% accuracy. Multiple feature selection methods were leveraged to identify players' performance metrics that could be considered as contributing factors to determine the match result. The proposed ML model identified several features, including (a) shots on target by forwarders (b) distance covered by forwarders and midfielders at very high speed (c) successful passes, that can be considered as effective performance metrics for winning a football match in QSL. Interestingly, we revealed that the defenders' role could not be ignored for match results, and playing fair games improves the chance of winning matches in QSL. We also showed that players' performance metrics from the last five seasons would provide sufficient discriminative power to the proposed ML model to predict the match-winner in the upcoming season. The proposed ML model will support the players, coaching staff, and team management to focus on specific performance metrics that may lead to winning a match in QSL.

Other Information

Published in: IEEE Access
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2020

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Science and Engineering - HBKU
  • Qatar Football Association

Geographic coverage