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By Martha Kang, Editorial Manager

 

Brothers Ben and Joe Radburn both love soccer—or football as they call it in the UK where they live. So with the help of their dad, the boys, aged 10 and 7, are looking into some data on UK Premier League clubs.

 

Each with his own iPad loaded with Vizable, Ben and Joe begin their data exploration.

 

“I’m basically looking at different clubs and the goal difference,” says 7-year-old Joe. The goal difference is the club’s number of goals scored minus the number of goals allowed. The higher the score, the better the team.

 

And in just a few moments, he shouts out an insight: “Manchester United had a score of 970!” (The data set spans from 1992 to 2014.)

 

Ben has his own question of the data: “I’m looking at what position [in the Premier League] everyone was in.” Who had the most first-place finishes, Dad asks? “Manchester United,” Ben answers. What about Chelsea, the household favorite? “Second place,” says Ben.

 

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The boys wonder how many games Chelsea has won. Ben digs in and finds the answer: 474.

 

Joe looks over, reorders the data, and sees something that delights him: “Swindon Town won five—only five games!”

 

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Ah, but they were only in the league for one year, adds Dad.

 

“Ohh, that’s why they only have five wins,” Joe says.

 

Back to Chelsea. Ben filters the data to see how Chelsea compares to Manchester City.

 

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The boys are thrilled to see Chelsea leading in both the goal differential and the number of wins.

 

Joe wants to see how the two clubs stack up in losses and draws.

 

“Chelsea has 224 times and Manchester has 172 times,” he says.

 

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“Oh, oh!” adds Joe. “Chelsea has got 188 losers, and Man City has got 239.”

 

“That’s what I like to hear,” adds Ben.

 

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The boys pinch, tap, and swipe their way to more insights. Ben learns that Manchester United won the league the most times. The boys see that Aston Villa has been in the league every year, which comes as a surprise. Why? “Because they’re rubbish,” adds Dad.

 

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How about the number of goals? How many have Chelsea scored? 1,501 to Man City’s 1,022, the boys learn.

 

“I thought they would’ve scored more,” says Ben of Man City’s total.

 

“Oh, but this is close,” Joe chimes in. “Man City conceded more goals than Chelsea. Man City conceded 825 goals, and Chelsea has conceded 839 goals.”

 

In just 20 minutes time, using data they'd never before seen, the boys have learned something about their team: Chelsea is better than Man City. The data says so.

 

Ben and Joe are old hats at exploring data. Joe’s used Vizable to explore data on video games—something he loves as much as soccer. (“I learned that the top-selling games are Wii games, which is like a Nintendo console,” he says.) And Ben’s looked to data to rank rollercoasters by speed and height. (“There was one called Kingda Ka, and it was really fast and really high. I like the fast ones,” he says.)

 

Whatever your fancy, there’s data to explore. Just ask the Radburn boys.

 

“Basically you get data of the stuff that you like, put it on there, then change it, and add more stuff to it, and stuff like that,” says Joe. “Data is way, way fun.”