I just read a very interesting article by Jen Chang at SI.com regarding the use of analytics to prepare for matches. Everton's extensive use of analytics might not be news to some fans of the Blues, but I had no idea how vital it was to Moyes' game strategy planning.
We have seen many times across many sports that the effective use of analytics can give one team an advantage over its opponent by being better prepared to anticipate their strategies and tactics, most famously in baseball with Bill James' Sabermetrics. I'm wondering, though, if this isn't a contributory part of the reason the Toffees have typically started so slowly and then come on strong at the end of the season under Moyes.
Certainly, there is a limited set of data from which to draw early in the season, which could theoretically give a less accurate prediction of teams' tendencies (especially since rosters tend to change significantly in the offseason), leading to the use of less effective tactics in a match environment. Conversely, as the season marches on, the sample size grows ever larger, which would presumably provide a much more accurate prediction of a given team's tendencies.
I'm not faulting Moyes or Everton for using analytics at all... quite the opposite, in fact. If this is his secret behind "doing more with less," I think it's a magnificent use of technology to get more out of the game, and I'd love to know if more players besides just Landon Donovan and Tim Howard have been extensively using the information available to their advantage. Now, if we could just figure out how to make it through the first 10 or 15 weeks of lean data... then we'd really be on to something!