Crab Stats started in July of 2020, as a place to expand on my thoughts, sharpen my analysis and share the fun ideas for looking at soccer.
Who or what is Crab Stats?
My name is Scott Willis and this is my website where I write about soccer/football in general but with a focus more on Arsenal. As you might be able to tell from me calling this sport soccer I am an American, I grew up playing the sport but never really watched outside of World Cups until I started following the Premier League in 2012-13.
How I got into the Premier League is a bit of an interesting story, my oldest daughter was to be born in April of 2011 and being a morning person, I would take the early morning time with her to let my wife catch up on some sleep. Getting up before dawn means that the pickings for what is on TV were pretty slim but soccer being on Live was a big draw for me. This was the days of sporadic coverage of Fox Soccer and ESPN so at the time I would really just kind of watch whatever was on.
I didn't decide to fully commit to Arsenal until midway through the 2012-13 season and that is a story of spite. Some of the guys that I worked with on a San Francisco Giants Baseball blog were Liverpool fans, they liked to poke fun at Arsene Wenger and Arsenal in our group chats. I could have joined them in supporting Liverpool but thought it would be more fun to pick the team that they seemed to like to make fun of who I thought were actually more fun to watch when I saw them. From there, there was no looking back and now I am happily stuck with my choice.
My professional background is that I have my undergrad degree in Economics from California State University, Sacramento and about two thirds of a masters degree in Economics from California State University, East Bay that I never quite finished, doing night school while working full time with two small children was just too much (maybe someday I will finish). I have worked primarily in the technology field since graduating school doing risk analysis, requirements engineering, project management and now finally into program management.
Why is this place called Crab Stats?
You're probably wondering about the name of this place, well that goes back to the days I used to write a lot more about baseball. My blog (which my younger brother sort of took over) was called The Crazy Crabbers, it was an homage to the SF Giants anti-mascot the Crazy Crab that the team had in 1984 and became kind of a cult classic.
On twitter some one made some sort of comment about me to that went along the lines of "oh that crab" on some hot take I had made. Thus I made a secondary twitter account with that name, it became my primary account for soccer and now I have decided to stick with it even if it makes no sense what so ever. I am @oh_that_crab on twitter and decieded I would make my website crab stats (but couldn't get crabstats.com because when I was first setting things up that was a site litterly dedicated to stats about crabbing).
My Journey as a Soccer Writer/Analyist
Over the years I have been doing this, I have been proud of how my work and understanding of the game has evolved. I was a guy that came from watching a lot of baseball where everything is measured and analyized to coming to soccer where things were just at the starting point. So I started digging into how could I go about collecting things and started collecting my own stats.
My first foray into analysis was taking the commentary data that is posted on the BBC or ESPN website and converting that into a crude expected goals system (you can still do it and its decently accurate because you get rough shot location data and that is one of the biggest drivers of how often a goal is scored).
From there I was able to figure out how to work with event data and what I was able to do grew. The next big step for me really came when I looked at creating my first version of what are now Possession Value/Expected Threat type models in 2017. This opened up my eyes on valuing players and the types of actions that players did. It was also around this time that I got my first "big break" with guest appearances on the Arsenal Vision Podacst doing short little stats segments.
From there I moved from dinky blogspot hosted blog to writing for the Short Fuse. That opened me up to a much wider audience and gave me more leeway with my wife to spend time on this hobby (I was actually getting some money for this now!). Writing for the Short Fuse was great and gave me my first opportunity to do something offical in visiting Los Angeles to see Arsenal play Bayern Munich with a press pass.
This was also the first time I got to meet some of the writers that I really admired including James Benge, John Cross and Andrew from Arseblog (where I had started doing the By the Numbers column) and got to appear on my first (and so far only) Arsecast.
After a great few years a the Short Fuse I decided that it would be fun to go back on my own and started this here website as the place to be the home of the writing that I would do.
That brings us to where we are now, I write here doing a bit of whatever catches my fancy, I do the post match By the Numbers column on Arseblog.news and host the Arsenal Vision Analyitics Podcast with some time permitting appearances on the main show.
If you want to contact me, my DMs are open on twitter or feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com