Outcome bias and Robbie Savage

I’ve just been watching Bournemouth versus Newcastle and, not for the first time, I’ve found myself getting more and more irritated by Robbie Savage’s commentary.

Newcastle somehow managed to win the game 1-0 but Bournemouth totally dominated with 20 shots to 2, and 68% possession.

Nevertheless, Robbie Savage spent the latter part of the second half laying into Bournemouth and their young manager, his main contention being that they were a team of style over substance. They could play all the nice football in the world but it counted for nothing. They may be ahead on passes and shots but only one statistic really counted.

You get the general idea, cliche after cliche.

Crucially he made the contention that something had to change. That Eddie Howe had to rethink things. That Newcastle, with two shots and one goal, had shown the qualities necessary in the Premier League.

Change their style when they limited the opposition to 2 chances and made 20 for themselves? What a load of rubbish.

Harry Redknapp was the voice of reason in the studio, pointing out that Bournemouth could take heart from the performance. If they kept playing in the same vein, they would eventually start winning.

While it is true that Bournemouth’s finishing has been poor and they are missing some key attacking players due to injury, Newcastle were incredibly lucky. If you played that match back 100 times, Bournemouth would win the vast majority.

It’s not just Savage. The media is obsessed with building a narrative based on the result, ignoring the vast amount of luck involved in an individual game. The result may matter most in a cup tie but in a 38 game league, the ups and downs will more or less even themselves out. Bournemouth won’t miss 20 chances consistently for the rest of the season, and Newcastle definitely won’t continue to score from every second opportunity.

Having watched the match, I feel much more confident about Bournemouth’s chances of avoiding relegation than I do Newcastle’s.

I’m off to put a bet on Bournemouth staying up.

Do you agree with Robbie Savage? Do you think Newcastle or Bournemouth have more chance of avoiding relegation? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Spurs travel to the Emirates – Tomorrow’s North London derby dissected.

Discuss it with me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs

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12 thoughts on “Outcome bias and Robbie Savage

  1. Bob Parker

    Can’t disagree with any comments about Savage, but you must have missed Newcastles last 2 matches where they played Sunderland and Stoke off the park and lost 3-0 in one and only drew 0-0 in the latter! These things happen in Football, I’d prefer to watch good football but when you teams in the proverbial at the wrong end of the league, the 3 points are massive.

    Reply
  2. Kevin

    To Savage’s credit, he did admit that he tends to ‘controversial’ just to get attention and set him apart. He revealed that when constantly bashing Van Persie – even though they get along very well. I’m not saying that he’s a great pundit but he is always going to pick a controversial approach.

    But one pundit i cannot stand is Paul Merson… He makes the worst analysis and the worst predictions :P

    Reply

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