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__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Andrade, Pablo; Cisneros Jorge; Suárez Francisco

Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Quito, Ecuador

Mechatronics

Abstract:

The purpose of this project is to anticipate the outcome of a football match of a local team (LDU) using various types

of neural networks via MATLAB®. To achieve the objective of the project a series of input data has to be collected

in relation with the football team in question, the data was collected based on past matches records against

different teams. With the relevant data and the target for the project three virtual neural networks where trained

(Perceptron, Feed-Forward and Cascade) and simulated with the latest match played by the home team to see if

the network could predict accurately the outcome of the match.

The best results were achieved with the implementation of a feed-forward neural network. These results as well as

the results from the other types of networks utilized are thoroughly discussed in this project.

fare, simply because the analysis can use more data. On the

other hand, the bigger the percentage of the data that is used

1 1 INTRODUCTION for testing, the more statistically reliable our test will be. In

order to split all of the data, Weka offers a very good solution

There are many methods to predict the outcome of a football for this problem, namely a ten-fold cross validation. It splits

match. It can be predicted via a statistic model, using an the data into ten equal-sized portions and uses nine out of ten

ordered probit regression model. This particular method was portions as training data and the last one as testing data. It

used to predict English league football matches [1]. repeats the process ten times, each time choosing a different

In the static model, a wide range of variables were taken in portion as the testing data [2].

account, in addition to the different teams past matches’ The selection of the relevant features is an important feature

results data. These variables are the significance of each since an accurate set makes it a lot easier to predict the

match for championship, promotion or relegation issues; the outcomes of matches. Features are characteristics of recent

involvement of the teams in cup competition; the matches of the teams involved, but how far in history do we

geographical distance between the teams’ home towns; and need to go in order to get the best predictions? To answer this

a ‘big team’ effect [1]. question we set up a very basic set of features and then each

Knowing that these results will serve as a starting point in time we changed the amount of history looked at and

establishing the prices and award for betting in the sports compared the results. This initial set included the following

industry, the efficiency of such prices is also analyzed using features:

empirical results [1]. Goals scored by home team in its latest x

A limited but increasing number of academic researchers matches

have attempted to model match results data for football. It is Goals scored by away team in its latest x

in this way that it can be observed that different distributions matches

are used, such as the poisson and the negative binomial

distributions [1]. Goals conceded by home team in its latest x

The statistic take on predicting football matches is widely matches

used for increasing the betting chances of the user, however , Goals conceded by away team in its latest x

the algorithm also requires training the machine. A database matches

is collected during the past years to have an analysis sample

Average number of points gained by home

for training and for validation. The bigger the percentage of

the data that is used for training, the better the system will team in its latest x matches

Cisneros, Jorge: Mechanical engineering student

Suárez, Francisco: Mechanical engineering student

1

Andrade, Pablo; Cisneros Jorge; Suárez Francisco

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __

Average number of points gained by away quantitative strength of the connections between variables,

team in its latest x matches allowing probabilistic beliefs about them to be updated

automatically as new information becomes available. A

The x stands for the (variable) number of matches looked at. Bayesian network for a set of variables X = {X1,…..,Xn} consists

The first four features are pretty straightforward, the last two of:

describe the points the home and away team gained in their 1. A network structure S that encodes a set of

latest matches. These are calculated as in the football conditional independence assertions about

competition itself, namely, 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and variables in X,

0 for a loss. The average over the latest x matches is taken. By

importing the features in Weka and letting several machine

2. A set P of local probability distributions

learning algorithms classify the data as described in Section associated with each variable. Together, these

1.3, a percentage of correctly predicted instances is given. components define the joint probability

Now that an optimal number of matches to be considered has distribution for X. The network structure Si s a

been found, we can move on to selecting the best possible directed acyclic graph.

classifier (machine learning algorithm). These will by means

of a certain machine learning algorithm classify all matches as The BN used in the research of ref. [3] is as follows:

home wins, draws or away wins, depending on the features

belonging to that match. During the previous test round a

selection has already been made. Below is a list of seven

classifiers includi ng a short description of each one:

ClassificationViaRegression – This algorithm

uses linear regression in order to predict the

right class.

MultiClassClassifier – This algorithm is a lot

like ClassificationViaRegression, except that it

uses logistic regression instead of linear

regression.

RotationForest – This algorithm uses a A neural network approach can be established to predict the

decision tree to predict the right class. results of football matches. It is the case of ref. [4]. In that

work, the input and output variables were known, however

LogitBoost – This is a boosting algorithm that

the hidden layer and weight distributions were not known.

alsouses logistic regression. Another way of obtaining the wanted results, a compound

BayesNet – This algorithm uses Bayesian approach can be adopted, as explained in ref. [5]. The authors

networks topredict the right class. designed FRES (Football Result Expectation System), which

NaiveBayes – This algorithm resembles consists of two major components: a rule based reasoner and

a Bayesian network component. This approach is a compound

BayesNet, except

one in the sense that two different methods cooperate in

Home wins – This algorithm will, regardless of predicting the result of a football match.

the feature set, always predict a home win. The reasoning can be divided into two stages, strategy-

making and result-calculating. Strategies include overlapping,

In the previous section we have already seen that the first two man-marking, pressing, position, and passing. The results

perform best, using the given simple feature s et. We now from Bayesian networks form the bases for these decisions.

expand our feature set by a few more features and make Each team is assumed to have its own particular

several selections of them to see which classifier is best. characteristics, such as work rate, aggressiveness, pass

Please note that the “home wins”-classifier is used merely as length, etc. Jess takes all these facets into consideration to

a reference. It can immediately be seen that this classifier determine a strategy. As well as play-making strategies, the

performs worse than all the others. system also reasons about higher-level decisions such as

A Bayesian Network was used to predict the results of substitutions and formation changes. The result calculating

Barcelona FC team in the Spanish League [3]. During the last part models the actual flow of a match. It models such aspects

decade, Bayesian networks (and probabilistic graphical as the effect of goals on morale, the effect of reputations,

models in general) have become very popular in artificial relative scores, and locations on the state of the players. The

intelligence. Bayesian networks (BNs) are graphical models state changes throughout the match – for example, perhaps

for reasoning under uncertainty, where the nodes represent a team’s morale is very good at one moment; if nothing

variables (discrete or continuous) and arcs represent direct special happens for a long time then their morale can be

connections between them. These direct connections are expected to converge to normal [5].

often causal connections. In addition, BNs model the

2

Predicting Football Matches using Neural Networks in MATLAB®

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bayes(ian) model or probabilistic directed acyclic graphical Feed forward

model is a probabilistic graphical model (a type of statistical Perceptron

model) that represents a set of random variables and their

These networks will be defined using the NNTOOL toolbox of

conditional dependencies via a directed acyclic graph (DAG).

MATLAB.

For example, a Bayesian network could represent the

The results of these simulations are shown in the next section.

probabilistic relationships between diseases and symptoms.

Given symptoms, the network can be used to compute the

probabilities of the presence of various diseases [6].

2.3 Simulation

The simulation process consists in adding the statistics of the

WHAT

last match and compare the simulation with the result in the

reality.

The project intends to create an artificial neural network

capable of predicting within a reasonable margin of error the

outcome of a football match during a specific season based

on statistical data from past seasons and performance ratings 3 RESULTS

from the players as well as the team as a whole when playing The results of the different networks are presented for LIGA

against other team from the same league. DE QUITO firstly.

Mathematical and statistical challenge

3.1.1 Perceptron

The process needed to train an artificial neural

network can be implemented in other similar

applications

Advancing the artificial intelligence field.

Betting

2 METHODOLOGY

The team to be analysed will be LIGA DE QUITO this being the

last winners of the stage in the Ecuadorian Cup.

A neural network will be established for each team, taking in

account the statistics from 15 matches of the last season.

These statistics are taken from

http://www.futbolmetrics.com. [7]

2.1 Inputs.-

1. Shooting ratings

2. Effectivity ratings

3. Goalkeeper saves

4. Team defensive challenges won

5. Goals in favor

6. Goals against

2.2 Outputs.-

2. Drawing the match.

3. Losing the match.

three different types of network:

3

Andrade, Pablo; Cisneros Jorge; Suárez Francisco

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __

3.1.3 Cascade

4

Predicting Football Matches using Neural Networks in MATLAB®

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3.2 SIMULATION However, the error in this network is null for predicting the

The statistics of the match taken in account are the ones of losses and the winnings.

the second match of the second season of the 2015, as shown

below [7]. In the simulation, this network did not predict accurately the

outcome of the test match, effectively, it shows a winning

score.

in the first and second layers.

The feed forward network begins with a large error, but the

training process reduces the error dramatically. Effectively,

the error in the last training was in the order of 4 ∗ 10 −10 .

comparing with the target. There were no values that differed

with the expected results.

These simulations will be done in each neural network. The accurately predicted the outcome, it predicted a draw (very

combined results of these simulations are shown below. close to 1).

4.3 Cascade

This network showed a good trai ning process, a reduced error

in each training.

the last training, in the order of 4 ∗ 10 −10 .

The expected result is a draw, i.e. a matrix as of:

[ 0; 0; 1] The simulation result of this neural network was not

The simulation that better suits the result is for the Feed conclusive, since it didn’t predict any outcome, the values of

Forward network: drawing, losing and winning were 0.

[𝟑. 𝟔𝟒𝟓𝟑𝒆 − 𝟎𝟔; 𝟎. 𝟎𝟎𝟏𝟐𝟔𝟒𝟗; 𝟎. 𝟗𝟗𝟖𝟓𝟑]

4.4 Applications

4 DISCUSSION AND APPLICATIONS This work can be applied with further refinement in the input

variables to predict the outcome of a football match.

4.1 Perceptron Network Another application of this project can be in other sports.

it has a better visual way of comparing the results. Effectively,

the perceptron network shows values of 1, 0 or -1. This makes

it easier to compare.

The training stage is also easier, however, the results did not

converge, and the network always reached the maximum

epoch without a conclusive result.

5

Andrade, Pablo; Cisneros Jorge; Suárez Francisco

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __

5 CONCLUSIONS AND

RECOMMENDATIONS

The best suited neural network for this project

is the Feed forward network, since it was the

one that learnt that scoring more goals than

those the team receives translates into winning

the match.

The perceptron network is not suited for this

kind of project, since it does not cope well with

drawings.

The cascade network is not good for this

project, since it does not predict any outcome.

The current network does not predict

accurately, since it needs the scored goals to

predict. Further variables are needed in order to

discard the goals from the inputs.

6 References

[1] J. Goddard, Modelling football match results and the

efficiency of fixed-odds betting, Swansea: University of

Wales.

Twente: University of Twente.

Prediction with Bayesian Network in Spanish League-

Barcelona Team," vol. 5, no. 5, 2013.

http://neuroph.sourceforge.net/tutorials/SportsPredi

ction/Premier%20League%20Prediction.html.

for Football Result Prediction," Seoul National

University, Seoul.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_network.

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