What do you make of these numbers? Over the weekend in the Premier League, Team A hosted Team B. Team A had 33% of the game's possession, while the remaining 67% went to Team B. Team A attempted 13 shots and put seven of them on target, Team B went for 15 and 4.
Some other data points:
Fouls: 6 for Team A, 15 for Team B
Cards: 0 for Team A, 4 yellows for Team B
Offsides: 1 for Team A, 2 for Team B
Corner kicks: 8 for Team A, 2 for Team B
Can you tell what happened in our theoretical Alphabet Derby? Obviously, Team B had more of the ball and seemed pretty aggressive in trying to win it back. Given the lack of possession for Team A but the relatively even number of shots, it seems likely that Team A was pretty effective on the counterattack; how else to turn so little of the ball into so many attempts? But also: What should we make of the number of offsides or corner kicks? Doesn't that just blur the picture that was starting to come into focus?
I've pulled the data from our very own ESPN box score, but give or take a few, they're the same numbers you'd find on the Premier League's official website or at any number of other publications in print or across the internet. Despite their minor discrepancy, they all make the same point: soccer's box scores suck.
So this is how I propose we fix it.