Mathematical Modelling of Football

5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1RT001

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Computer Science A1N, Data Science A1N, Image Analysis and Machine Learning A1N, Mathematics A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 12 June 2020
Responsible department
Department of Information Technology

Entry requirements

120 credits including Probability and Statistics, Linear Algebra II, Single Variable Calculus and a course in introductory programming. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Identify statistical relationships and visualize football data with, for example, passing networks and heatmaps.
  • Develop and fit models of expected number of goals and action value models, using logistic regression, neural networks and other classifiers.
  • Implement simulations of football matches, including Poisson models of goals, Markov chain models of player actions and self-propelled particle models of movement.
  • Perform match analysis using position and velocity of players, team formations and models based on tracking data.
  • Perform tactical analysis using fitness data and workload monitoring.


This course gives the required set of tools to work as a data scientist within a professional football club, national body or the media. It covers the technical knowledge anyone working in this area should have to contribute to a football organisation: The course covers basic statistical methods and visualization; data sources and relevant cloud computing; standards for handling and storing data; classification and regression; expected goals and action value models; logistic regression, neural networks and other machine learning methods applied to football; basic analysis methods for tracking data; simulation methods; and pitch control. The examples in the course are primarily from football, with a focus on practical applications found within footballing organisations, focusing on creating key performance indexs for players and teams. It shows how sata and models can be used to communicate with coaches, scouts, sporting directors, players and fans


Lectures, computer laboratory work, feedback on shorter exercises and supervision of group project.


Shorter exercises in computer laboratories, including creating a pre- and post- match report. Group project with oral examination.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.