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Professionals Or Casual Fans: How Do You Compare?

Modern psychology has demonstrated that comparisons can be unhealthy. Indeed, comparing yourself against others can dramatically affect your mood, confidence, and sense of self-worth. However, despite the risks that a comparison process can represent for mental health, football experts and enthusiasts insist in maintaining a habit of juxtaposing the similarities and disparities between countries, teams, players and games. This asks an important question for everyone who’s involved in football games; namely, whether comparison in the football industry can put an individual’s mental health at risks.

The answer, as it happens, is not as straightforward as it might appear. Indeed, comparisons, just like criticisms, need to be constructive to serve a purpose. The act of comparing two players for the sole purpose of causing emotional distress – as it can be the case if you choose to highlight flaws without proposing a workable solution  – is damaging and unnecessary. One would even go as far as to say that this kind of comparison is unacceptable among a team of professional or amateur players.

However, comparisons can also help in improving one’s understanding and perception of the game. Indeed, for anyone who wants to share the experience of a game, comparing is the best way to achieve your goals. In other words, it’s important to understand not only the advantages of showcasing the differences between similar elements of a game, but also the art of comparing positively. How do professionals and fan compare in football, here’s the breakdown of why and how you should compare.

Coaches must compare productively

It helps you to get to know the new generation of players

Each time a fresh face appears in your favourite team, the act of comparison becomes an integral part of their introduction to a new audience. For Arsenal fans, for instance, the transfer of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the club at the start of the year can remind of another famous French transfer to the team; namely Thierry Henry – who wore Arsenal colours for almost 8 seasons before returning for a short-term loan deal in 2012. What positive does the act of comparing bring in this instance? The idea of mirroring Aubameyang’s position with Henry’s serves as a presentation for new players. With over 265 million players in the world, football fans may not be familiar with every single one of them. Consequently, comparing a new player against a former and better-known one helps to introduce them and define their skills and expectations. In this peculiar context, it helps Arsenal fans to gain insight into a new player’s abilities and potential. However, it’s fair to say that once Aubameyang’s performance in the club is established, there will be no need for future comparisons.  

It provides clues for profitable bettings

Placing a bet on a game used to be part of the typical working-class weekend tradition. It was the opportunity to add extra excitement – and potentially make a gain if the bet proved to be lucky. However, the abundance of betting shops depicts now a different portray of the relationship between the football and the gambling industry. In fact, with 21 of the 44 clubs in the top two tiers of football in England being sponsored by betting companies for the past 2017/2018 season, the importance of gambling to the players and the fans cannot be ignored any further. However, while betting as an act of escapism has become popular, more and more gamblers are growing aware of the risks of challenging luck without background data – the UK registered a record betting loss of £13.8 billion as of September 2016. That’s precisely where comparisons play a significant role. Indeed, using platforms such as, enthusiastic fans can rely on analytical information from precious games to evaluate their chances. Ultimately, it’s only by comparing teams’ performances that gamblers can turn their love of escapism into a money-making hobby.

It lets you become a better coach

The professional coaches who work in your favourite clubs tend to have a long career in the football industry. Arsene Wenger, who is stepping down from his time with Arsenal, started his career as a football player in the 1960s and 70s. He made his final appearance as a full-time player in 1979 before running youth teams and passing his football manager’s diploma in 1981 – aspiring managers can get a similar diploma with His strategic approach and thorough understanding of each team game let him become a respected manager among his players. He especially focused on the strengths of his teams, using his knowledge of football as a reference. The fact he played and coached in a variety of games provided him with the ability to identify the most profitable skills in each player. Being able to compare players to highlight strengths is key to the success of the team. It can also encourage players in youth clubs to focus on their training, by using playing style models to improve their strategy and performance.

It makes the game more accessible to new fans

The EFL League One and Two. The FA Cup. The UEFA Champions League. The Premier League. The Bundesliga. The UEFA Europa League. This is only a short extract of a long list of football championships. For a fan, teams, divisions and players hold no mystery. But for newcomers to the football universe, such as casual fans who join the viewing audience during international games, the game remains inaccessible. Comparisons are, in most cases, the quickest way to help to engage new viewers. It can not only provide the necessary explanation and context for the game, but it also highlights forecast and expectations. For instance, to come back to an early comparison, introducing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the new Thierry Henry also implies the potential for a future FIFA World Cup.

The art of positive comparison serves multiple purposes, from a profitable betting strategy to making the game more accessible to casual fans. Done respectfully, it enhances the game experience for players and fans.

Tell us what you think! If you agree, or have a different view, please leave a comment in the comments section or why not write a response or your own article on YouWrite?

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