The Tracks of my Peers
When, this time last year Ivan Gazidis revealed in a Q&A session with the Arsenal Supporters' Trust that Arsenal had invested in a GPS tracking system which could measure every movement of a player in training and potentially detect flagging performances that might indicate increased injury risk it seemed it could only be a force for good.
According to Robin van Persie though it may have its downsides too saying in a recent interview: "It's really hard in England because nowadays, everyone knows everything about each other. Opponents have GPS. They can track us down - how much we run in a game, is he a lazy player, is he defending well, is he attacking, is he running a lot? They know absolutely everything."
The use of GPS tracking in training prompted Robin to highlight one potential downside from the players perspective if not the clubs. "Everyone is training with the GPS thing around you as well. You don't have a private life. One of the players went home. He had to pick something up but he still had the GPS around him.
"One of the physios said, 'OK, go home`. So these guys went straight on the computer and tracked him down - and they could actually see that he went home to get something and came back. So he wasn`t lying."
Prozone, and other similar systems, has used the technology to track players and produced statistics for clubs and media for some time but it does also permit teams to analyse the performances of the opposition and individual players far more precisely than previously. How compatible these systems are I'm not sure but the idea that teams can recruit computer experts to hack into other teams training sessions can't be altogether fanciful can it?
The league has been weaker or stronger this season depending on your inclination but all the top clubs have had their struggles against lower level teams who seem better prepared than ever to spring regular surprise results. The idea that these are being planned on computer models showing how to set up to get the best result may inspire those with good track records on computer management games to apply for any future vacancies. All those hours spent playing computer simulation games may have been time well spent after all.
Maybe we'll see Avram Grant replaced by a bespectacled 17 year-old with a Btec in IT? Or perhaps Pat Rice`s eventual replacement will come with a quad-core 4.0 GHz processor?