This is the heyday of the analytical manager. The longest unbeaten run in English history now stands at 49 games, and belongs to Arsene Wenger's Arsenal. The Gunners dispatched Aston Villa by a 3-1 score today, despite falling behind to a goal in the opening moments of the match. Tomorrow, Bill Belichick's Patriots attempt to extend the NFL's record winning streak to 20 against the Seahawks.
As regular readers of this blog well know, both managers graduated from University with degrees in economics, and are known for their innovative thinking and use of analytical tools. The point? Economics teaches a method of analysis, one that is quite useful. Its application in sport helps break through conventional wisdom and uncovers more productive approaches to both player management, and the strategic approach to the game itself.
We may be at the high water mark for these streaks, as all good things come to an end, and athletic competition is keen and subject to randomness. The 3-1 Seahawks will be a tough test for the unbeaten Pats tomorrow, while next Sunday the Gunners will face Manchester United at Old Trafford. Both will be challenging games. But these challenges are what makes sport interesting. Bring it on!