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There is a lot of great work going on at Untold about various kinds of statistics, that affect Arsenal results – both positively and negatively.
Just recently, one article which talked about how Gael Clichy’s statistics were nowhere near as bad as you would think they would be, if you listen to all the bad things they had to say about him. However, while the statistics do tell one part of the story, they seldom, in my opinion tell the complete picture. So for example if a player had 15 shots on goal; it doesn’t necessarily mean he is the best striker in the world – a lot of those shots could be from way out, with very little chance of a goal being scored from any of them.
Similarly you could argue that a winger who seems to cross every 5 minutes is not necessarily good, if there’s no one in the middle who can receive his crosses or if his crosses are too high or too low, giving defenders the chance to come in and clear. There could be numerous similar situations for every player in every part of the park. So effectively, a completely objective analysis for me does not tell the story.
So what could possibly be done to read and make even more sense of all those statistics that we see? I think someone needs to watch the game; end to end, understand how the opposition was playing that day and how we adapted our game to try and win it.
So for example: Let us say we play United and say that Nani is the biggest threat and he is primarily playing on the right wing. Now the LB on that day decides; “Okay I won’t get forward too much today, as Nani is on form. I will try and stop him”. So that day you will see that the LB did not get forward and cross too much. His overall stats hence do not look good at all. The truth however is, that in the context of that game, he’s done a great job.
Now we all look at games just like this, and have our opinions of players after the game. Then when the transfer season comes up we use those opinions we had of certain players and decide in our minds, about whether they should be sold or retained at any cost. I’m saying, these opinions are not necessarily accurate for the simple reason that there are too many factors per game for us to remember at the end of each game..let alone the entire season, to decide whether a player did well or not.
That’s where I thought – “Wouldn’t it be a great idea if someone could make a list of parameters per position and rate every player on each of these against every opposition all throughout the season?” The person would have to actually watch the game, of course and take into consideration all the factors, which decide the player’s performance. If we had all this subjective data, we could use it at the end of every month, maybe to find out how well one has actually played. This could go hand in hand with the statistics that are put out on a regular basis and provide a more complete picture of what is actually happening.
Lets take an example so you’re clear what I’m saying here. The key parameters on which a fullback at Arsenal is judged..considering we play the ‘Arsenal way’ are in order of importance:
— Recovery Pace to get back into position
— Interceptions all over the respective wing; the further up the better
— Width while attacking
— Kick starting a counter attack
— Heading ability
— Defending in the box
There will be other attributes of course, and maybe the order above is not ideal..but the point is.. On any given day the fullback must be judged against all of those parameters and only then can his performance be decided. Some parameters on a certain day might not be relevant at all. For e.g If a team doesn’t launch a lot of diagonal balls or if there aren’t too many corners or if the ball never came into the fullback’s “zone” – Heading ability means nothing and can be a “NA” for that game.
This is subjective of course, and ratings per game would really depend on the viewer, but I thought its an interesting experiment worth conducting for a few games at least, to see if it is beneficial and helps us understand our players better.
What do you think? Is it an experiment worth trying? I would love to hear your thoughts.