FM18 Labs: We Need To Talk About Decisions

My sincere thanks to those of you that have contributed data over at Bearpuncher Labs for Major League Statistics! We’ve got 23 full submissions at this point, which is plenty to do some preliminary research. To reiterate, the workshop file provides a league in Bermuda where each team is identically staffed; all players have 10 in all stats, except for their “Team stat” which is set to 20. There are 36 teams for each of the 36 visible attributes a player possesses.

I took a sneaky peek at the submitted data, and the average league table was something I wanted to check up on. The results give us some food for thought.

+-----------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------------------+--------------------+
| name            | wins               | draws              | losses             | gf                 | ga                 | gd                  | points             |
+-----------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------------------+--------------------+
| Bravery         | 17.681818181818183 | 10.545454545454545 | 6.7727272727272725 |  56.22727272727273 |  36.04545454545455 |   20.18181818181818 |  63.59090909090909 |
| Heading         | 16.761904761904763 | 10.619047619047619 |  7.619047619047619 | 53.666666666666664 |  37.42857142857143 |  16.238095238095234 |  60.90476190476191 |
| Work Rate       | 15.619047619047619 | 11.238095238095237 |  8.142857142857142 | 48.523809523809526 | 34.857142857142854 |  13.666666666666671 |  58.09523809523809 |
| Dribbling       | 15.476190476190476 | 11.047619047619047 |  8.476190476190476 | 52.714285714285715 |  39.76190476190476 |  12.952380952380956 |  57.47619047619048 |
| Passing         | 14.904761904761905 | 11.714285714285714 |  8.380952380952381 |  45.19047619047619 |  33.80952380952381 |   11.38095238095238 |  56.42857142857143 |
| Determination   | 15.238095238095237 | 10.714285714285714 |  9.047619047619047 |  48.04761904761905 | 37.857142857142854 |  10.190476190476197 |  56.42857142857142 |
| Strength        |  15.19047619047619 | 10.761904761904763 |  9.047619047619047 | 50.142857142857146 | 38.904761904761905 |   11.23809523809524 |  56.33333333333333 |
| Aggression      | 14.318181818181818 | 12.772727272727273 |  8.045454545454545 |  47.18181818181818 |  35.81818181818182 |   11.36363636363636 |  55.72727272727273 |
| Jumping Reach   | 14.285714285714286 | 11.428571428571429 |  9.285714285714286 |  49.76190476190476 | 40.714285714285715 |   9.047619047619044 |  54.28571428571429 |
| Flair           | 13.952380952380953 | 11.904761904761905 |  9.142857142857142 |  47.04761904761905 |  39.23809523809524 |    7.80952380952381 | 53.761904761904766 |
| Natural Fitness | 14.142857142857142 | 11.095238095238095 |  9.714285714285714 |  46.80952380952381 |  38.19047619047619 |    8.61904761904762 | 53.523809523809526 |
| Teamwork        | 13.619047619047619 | 12.095238095238095 |  9.238095238095237 | 43.714285714285715 | 36.142857142857146 |   7.571428571428569 |  52.95238095238095 |
| Penalty Taking  | 13.238095238095237 | 12.380952380952381 |  9.380952380952381 |  43.19047619047619 |                 37 |    6.19047619047619 |  52.09523809523809 |
| Corners         | 13.095238095238095 | 11.571428571428571 | 10.333333333333334 | 44.714285714285715 |  40.38095238095238 |   4.333333333333336 | 50.857142857142854 |
| Free Kicks      |  12.80952380952381 |  12.19047619047619 |                 10 |  43.19047619047619 | 38.095238095238095 |   5.095238095238095 |  50.61904761904762 |
| Long Throws     | 12.571428571428571 |  12.19047619047619 | 10.238095238095237 |  44.23809523809524 |  40.57142857142857 |  3.6666666666666714 | 49.904761904761905 |
| Off The Ball    | 12.761904761904763 | 10.666666666666666 | 11.571428571428571 |                 47 |  43.80952380952381 |    3.19047619047619 | 48.952380952380956 |
| Leadership      |  12.19047619047619 | 11.523809523809524 | 11.285714285714286 | 41.095238095238095 |                 39 |   2.095238095238095 | 48.095238095238095 |
| Balance         | 12.136363636363637 | 11.181818181818182 | 11.681818181818182 |               41.5 |  40.22727272727273 |  1.2727272727272734 | 47.590909090909086 |
| Long Shots      | 11.857142857142858 | 11.714285714285714 | 11.428571428571429 | 40.666666666666664 |  40.19047619047619 |  0.4761904761904745 | 47.285714285714285 |
| Pace            | 11.666666666666666 | 11.619047619047619 | 11.714285714285714 | 41.714285714285715 | 43.333333333333336 | -1.6190476190476204 |  46.61904761904762 |
| Stamina         | 11.333333333333334 | 12.142857142857142 | 11.523809523809524 |  39.38095238095238 |                 41 | -1.6190476190476204 |  46.14285714285714 |
| Technique       | 10.571428571428571 | 11.761904761904763 | 12.666666666666666 |  38.80952380952381 | 42.476190476190474 | -3.6666666666666643 |  43.47619047619048 |
| Composure       | 10.136363636363637 | 10.681818181818182 | 14.181818181818182 |  37.18181818181818 |               43.5 |   -6.31818181818182 |  41.09090909090909 |
| Vision          |  9.619047619047619 | 11.238095238095237 | 14.142857142857142 | 37.857142857142854 |  46.04761904761905 |  -8.190476190476197 |  40.09523809523809 |
| Crossing        |  9.857142857142858 | 10.428571428571429 | 14.714285714285714 |  35.95238095238095 | 45.142857142857146 |  -9.190476190476197 |                 40 |
| Tackling        |  8.857142857142858 |  12.80952380952381 | 13.333333333333334 |                 33 | 40.523809523809526 | -7.5238095238095255 |  39.38095238095238 |
| Finishing       |  9.761904761904763 | 10.095238095238095 | 15.142857142857142 |  35.80952380952381 |  45.23809523809524 |   -9.42857142857143 |  39.38095238095238 |
| Anticipation    |  9.136363636363637 | 11.954545454545455 | 13.909090909090908 |  35.13636363636363 |  43.04545454545455 |  -7.909090909090914 |  39.36363636363637 |
| First Touch     |   8.80952380952381 | 11.380952380952381 |  14.80952380952381 | 34.142857142857146 | 45.523809523809526 |  -11.38095238095238 |  37.80952380952381 |
| Acceleration    |  9.136363636363637 | 10.045454545454545 | 15.818181818181818 |  37.59090909090909 |  49.72727272727273 | -12.136363636363633 |  37.45454545454545 |
| Concentration   |  8.571428571428571 |  11.19047619047619 | 15.238095238095237 | 34.095238095238095 |  45.76190476190476 | -11.666666666666664 | 36.904761904761905 |
| Marking         |                  8 | 10.857142857142858 | 16.142857142857142 | 32.714285714285715 |  45.19047619047619 | -12.476190476190474 |  34.85714285714286 |
| Positioning     |  7.238095238095238 | 11.619047619047619 | 15.666666666666666 | 31.904761904761905 | 46.666666666666664 |  -14.76190476190476 | 33.333333333333336 |
| Agility         |  7.090909090909091 | 10.954545454545455 | 16.954545454545453 | 31.136363636363637 |  48.95454545454545 | -17.818181818181817 |  32.22727272727273 |
| Decisions       |  5.428571428571429 |  8.571428571428571 |                 21 |                 24 |  51.76190476190476 |  -27.76190476190476 | 24.857142857142854 |
+-----------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------------------+--------------------+

I wasn’t really expecting there to be such a smooth gradient of point averages. Bravery may well be an underappreciated stat, as it was last year. The most eye-catching thing, though, is Decisions. The team with 20 in Decisions is by far the worst team in the league, and significantly worse than the next worst team, over a large amount of data, 805 match days for each club.

I had similar results last year but ultimately threw the data out because I feared I was not meticulous enough in ensuring a level playing field. I have no such fear this year and stand by the data. Now, when Decisions is that far off the pace of the rest of the teams, it got me wondering, would a team with 10 in all attributes and 1 in Decisions outperform this team with 10 in all attributes and 20 in Decisions? And so I began an experiment in private.

The initial data says yes, that’s absolutely the case. Decisions is a broken attribute.

+--------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------------------+--------------------+
| name         | wins               | draws              | losses             | gf                 | ga                 | gd                  | points             |
+--------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------------------+--------------------+
| Decisions 1  |                 18 | 13.285714285714286 |  6.714285714285714 |  54.42857142857143 |  37.57142857142857 |   16.85714285714286 |  67.28571428571429 |
| Decisions 6  | 16.571428571428573 | 13.714285714285714 |  7.714285714285714 | 54.142857142857146 | 38.857142857142854 |  15.285714285714292 |  63.42857142857144 |
| Decisions 10 | 17.142857142857142 | 11.285714285714286 |  9.571428571428571 | 51.285714285714285 | 38.857142857142854 |   12.42857142857143 | 62.714285714285715 |
| Decisions 2  | 16.857142857142858 |                 12 |  9.142857142857142 | 52.142857142857146 |  38.42857142857143 |  13.714285714285715 |  62.57142857142857 |
| Decisions 3  | 16.571428571428573 | 12.571428571428571 |  8.857142857142858 |                 52 | 37.142857142857146 |  14.857142857142854 |  62.28571428571429 |
| Decisions 4  | 16.714285714285715 | 12.142857142857142 |  9.142857142857142 |  47.57142857142857 | 36.285714285714285 |  11.285714285714285 |  62.28571428571429 |
| Decisions 9  | 15.857142857142858 | 12.857142857142858 |  9.285714285714286 | 51.285714285714285 |                 41 |  10.285714285714285 |  60.42857142857143 |
| Decisions 5  | 15.285714285714286 | 13.857142857142858 |  8.857142857142858 | 50.714285714285715 | 37.714285714285715 |                  13 |  59.71428571428572 |
| Decisions 8  |                 15 | 11.571428571428571 | 11.428571428571429 | 49.714285714285715 | 44.857142857142854 |   4.857142857142861 |  56.57142857142857 |
| Decisions 7  |                 14 | 14.428571428571429 |  9.571428571428571 | 51.142857142857146 | 42.285714285714285 |   8.857142857142861 |  56.42857142857143 |
| Decisions 12 |                 14 | 13.142857142857142 | 10.857142857142858 | 47.857142857142854 | 42.285714285714285 |   5.571428571428569 |  55.14285714285714 |
| Decisions 11 | 14.428571428571429 | 11.571428571428571 |                 12 | 47.714285714285715 | 42.142857142857146 |   5.571428571428569 | 54.857142857142854 |
| Decisions 13 |                 12 | 11.571428571428571 | 14.428571428571429 |  40.57142857142857 | 46.142857142857146 | -5.5714285714285765 |  47.57142857142857 |
| Decisions 14 |                 10 |                 12 |                 16 | 37.714285714285715 |  49.42857142857143 | -11.714285714285715 |                 42 |
| Decisions 16 |  8.285714285714286 | 13.142857142857142 | 16.571428571428573 |  38.57142857142857 | 53.285714285714285 | -14.714285714285715 |                 38 |
| Decisions 17 |  8.857142857142858 | 11.428571428571429 | 17.714285714285715 |  34.57142857142857 | 50.142857142857146 | -15.571428571428577 |                 38 |
| Decisions 15 |  8.571428571428571 |                 11 | 18.428571428571427 | 34.285714285714285 |                 51 | -16.714285714285715 | 36.714285714285715 |
| Decisions 20 |  6.285714285714286 | 12.714285714285714 |                 19 | 31.142857142857142 | 52.285714285714285 | -21.142857142857142 |  31.57142857142857 |
| Decisions 18 |  5.857142857142857 | 12.428571428571429 | 19.714285714285715 |                 31 | 52.142857142857146 | -21.142857142857146 |                 30 |
| Decisions 19 |                  6 | 10.714285714285714 | 21.285714285714285 | 31.142857142857142 |  57.57142857142857 | -26.428571428571427 | 28.714285714285715 |
+--------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------------------+--------------------+

This is pretty straightforward. The teams with 10 Decisions or less are all in the top 10. The teams with 15 or more are all at the bottom of the table, and by a significant amount. The team with 1 in Decisions averages 3 times the number of wins as the teams with 18-20, and 3 times fewer losses. The team scores nearly 75% more goals, while conceding 39% fewer. Further recorded data indicates that teams with lower Decisions control the possession game, and complete a higher percentage of passes. That should not be. The common-sense explanation for decision-making ability would manifest as “If you’re not good at making decisions, you’ll give the ball up more.”

Compare that, though, with this:

The top 6 sides in pass completion ratio possess Decision attributes of 1 through 6, in that order.

And the teams with high decision-making ability are really bad at keeping possession of the ball.

Note that the bottom 7 teams in possession have the 7 highest Decisions attributes in the league, and are at the bottom 7 positions in the league table at the end of the season.

Clearly, something is not right.

This data file is also available on Steam Workshop, if you wish to contribute data to the experiment please do! The Bearpuncher Labs page is open and the amount of data requested is significantly less than Major League Statistics.

7 thoughts on “FM18 Labs: We Need To Talk About Decisions

    • Thank you, friend. There’s more experiments getting started with a more real-life scenario that should be more definitive than using the stat in isolation.

    • The more I consider, the more it would line up with what I’ve observed in this and the proceeding article. If Decisions actually correlates to likelihood to attempt a risky pass, but a direct correlation rather than the inverse it would logically be, it would explain the increase in both possession and pass completion ratios.

  • hey sorry i meant the table in a format so that the numbers are aligned ect as it is difficult to understand the two tables above.
    also can you provide the save game or database which you got these results?

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