Ask any sports fan and they'll tell you about the importance of stats. Beneath all of the flash and cash, an athlete is only as good as his or her numbers. And in Sega's Football Manager 2010 on the iPhone, math is pretty much the entirety of the game: Calculating salaries, player skills and tactics -- all in an attempt to put the odds in your favor.
It's a hardcore sim/management title in which you take the role of manager for a football (we call it soccer here in the States) club. Your duties extend across every facet of the game, as you control things like tactics (whether your players play aggressively or defensively), squad rotations and even player trading.
In the case of that last item, you'll need to manage salaries and scout players suitable for your club, while simultaneously putting those who aren't quite gelling with your team onto the training block. You have to manage your management.
The entire game plays out through a menu interface, aside from the brief, icon-driven portions of an actual match-up you get to watch unfold when your team is either about to make a rush for the goal or trying to stop the opposing team from doing so. As such, it can be a bit boring in the long run -- but as a portable title, it's really easy to dive into and drop a few minutes during those boring subway commutes or while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office.
Overall, Football Manager is a decent way for hardcore sports sim fans to scratch that itch -- it provides all of the control most traditional console-based sports games offer via their franchise modes, just without all of the flash. From a functionality standpoint, the game can easily hold its own next to the big boys.
Football Manager 2010 (Sega, $9.99):