The Guardian’s chalkboards have been really useful to this site. We spend a lot of time trying to understand the game, understand why things have happened, and the chalkboards always helped us to do this.
Over time you learned to look for different things: how high up the pitch were the two teams’ full-backs getting? Which attacking players were getting in and around the box? Where are the midfielders playing, and how are they doing at keeping possession?
A few flicks through the chalkboards after a game could give you a sense of what had happened out there. And now they’re gone, the Guardian’s contract with Opta being up and not renewed. I am sure that similar tools are available elsewhere, but in these cost-cutting times I’m not sure that this’ll be the case for much longer. The Telegraph site, which also used to be handy for further analysis, seem to have stopped their detailed stuff after Norwich, too. ESPN does the heatmap thing but I don’t know how useful that is.
So… bummer, really.