Unprofessional Foul


September 6, 2010

Inaugural 2010-11 EPL +/- Ratings

Nigel DeJong: +2

Bear with me here, this will take a bit of explanation. About a year and a half ago, on the email threads, one of us proposed doing +/- ratings of EPL players, similar to the stat used in hockey. A bunch of us said we would work on it for the end of the season. And then we forgot about it.

The first bit of explanation, for those that don’t know, is exactly what a +/- rating is. From Wikipedia:

Plus-minus is an ice hockey statistic that measures the team goal differential when a specific player is on the ice. Players’ plus-minus stats have been tracked since 1968. They get increased by one every time their team scores an even strength or shorthanded goal while they are on the ice. Their plus-minus is decreased by one every time their team allows an even strength or shorthanded goal while they are on the ice (whether or not the net is empty does not matter for purposes of plus-minus). The plus-minus is never affected when a power play goal is scored by either team.

Plus-minus is mainly used to measure defenders and forwards who play a defensive role since offensive forwards are better measured by scoring statistics such as goals and assists. It is directly affected by team performance, thus accurate comparisons can only be made by taking into consideration the defensive performances of the team as a whole.

For our purposes, we are simplifying it a bit. We are not worried about whether or not a team is down a man when giving up goals. Goals count against the players, no matter the situation. Another thing that pops up, since soccer substitutions are much less frequent than hockey ones, players’ +/- rating sometimes mirrors the team’s goal differential. This is especially prevalent with defenders on winning teams (also, this is why I skipped ‘keepers). Finally, this statistic gets easily skewed with a small sample size. These teams are only three games in, so bear that in mind.

Anyway, it’s a fun little exercise that may spark a little debate amongst you all. I’ll try to update monthly (unless I get really bored by it). Know that, for now, there are five Chelsea players tied for first place, and poor Mauro Boselli, a forward for Wigan, is all alone at the bottom of the chart.

7: Vermaelen, Sagna, Chamakh, Walcott, Rosicky, Song
-1: Eboue

Already we see the benefits of being on the field full time for a team that scores more than it concedes. As for Eboue, would you expect anyone else? Left the pitch after Liverpool scored and hasn’t been seen since.

Aston Villa
1: Albrighton, Carew, Collins
-6: Ireland

Collins the luckiest of the three Villans on one point, having only seen action in the Everton win so far. As for Ireland, perhaps he should keep his mouth shut about how good a player he is. Oh, and we’ll see Milner’s number later.

Birmingham City
4: McFadden
-2: O’Connor, Fahey

McFadden earned 3 of his positive 4 playing in matches that were eventually draws–or zeroes for everyone who played 90 minutes. Garry O’Connor comes off the worst of the two on -2, as all of his damage was done in 58 minutes against Sunderland–his only action in the EPL to date this season.

Blackburn Rovers
0: Dunn, Jones, Olsson, Nzonzi, Hoilett
-1: The other 11 who have played so far

Sorry, jjf3, there’s not much to say here. Dunn the only intriguing player so far, and that’s because he got a 0 in both of his appearances: the win over Everton and the loss to Arsenal.

1: Ormerod, Basham, Eardley
-4: Keinan

Ormerod the only of the three Blackpool players on one point to have played in all three matches so far. Keinan’s only appearance was as a sub against Arsenal.

2: Knight, Cahill, Robinson, Steinsson, Muamba, Davies, Blake
0: Elmander, Klasnic

Bolton the first team alphabetically to not have a player in the red. Elmander gets a special mention as his early sub off against Birmingham dropped him from 2 to 0.

14: Terry, Alex, Cole, Mikel Obi, Anelka
0: Sturridge, Ramires

It would, of course, be impossible to find a negative on this team, as Chelsea have yet to concede. Sturridge and Ramires were late replacements in the game against Stoke. Doesn’t matter to the stats gods, as they are the worst players on the team to date.

0: Beckford, Bilyatedinov, Heitinga, Coleman
-2: Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Arteta, Cahill, Fellaini, Pienaar, Saha

Who says Jermaine Beckford is no better than a nPowership player? He may not have scored, but at least he isn’t on the pitch while the team is conceding, like the virtual starting lineup stuck on -2 above.

1: Gera, Zamora, Greening
-1: Murphy, Duff, Dempsey

Sparky sure hasn’t sparked any excitement in this squad. Those 1s and -1s were earned against Blackpool. Both other games, everyone on the pitch for Fulham had net 0s.

1: Mascherano, Poulsen
-3: Torres, Lucas

HAHAHAHAHAHA. Well, this was unexpected. I’ll just let the names and numbers speak for themselves.

Manchester City
5: Milner
-1: Silva, Adebayor, Jo

Unlike in baseball, where trades set and reset stats, I believe transfers carry over their numbers. (Plus, it’s my thing and I can do it how I want.) Therefore, James Milner gets to take his +3 from Aston Villa to leapfrog Tevez, Lescott and Adam Johnson, who sit on 3. At the bottom, I can only infer that David Silva will soon become a disgruntled wantaway.

Manchester United
6: Evans(iar), Vidic, Evra, O’Shea, Scholes, Fletcher, Berbatov
0: Rafael, Park, Owen, Smalling, Carrick

Berbatov, I guess, is the surprise up top and the gloved one gets more playing time than Rooney right now. As for the five on 0, Owen is the only one to make two appearances so far.

Newcastle United
5: Nolan
1: Ameobi, Xisco

Newcastle are the only team we see to have everyone on positives. This is especially notable as they have used the bare minimum of field players so far–13. Nolan takes the top spot for being subbed off before Man U’s third goal on the opening weekend.

Stoke City
1: Tuncay
-4: Shawcross, Faye, Huth, Delap, Etherington, Whitehead

Tuncay earns his +1 as a sub against both Wolverhampton (+1) and Tottenham (0). Shawcross, who is not that sort of player, leads the way at the bottom.

3: Malbranque
-3: Riveros

Malbranque benefits from being subbed out while in the lead against Birmingham–for Riveros. That was a four point swing between them.

Tottenham Hotspur
1: Dawson, BAE, Corluka, Huddlestone, Bale, Lennon, Crouch, Kaboul, Palacios, Jenas
-1: Pavlyuchenko, Dos Santos, Kranjcar

10 outfield players on 1 point. Then the three who get instructions to just go out there and run a bit on -1. Too bad Daws will be stuck on that one point for a while.

West Bromwich Albion
0: Barnes, Olsson, Odemwingie, Reid, Tchoyi, Wood
-6: Tamas, Ibanez, Jara, Brunt, Mulumbu, Morrison

Oh, to be a little used sub on this team. That seems to be the only way to keep your number treading water so far. As an aside, WBA have used the most outfield players in the EPL so far–20. It’s not helping.

West Ham United
0: Diamanti, McCarthy, Sears, Stanislas
-8: Ilunga, Parker, Noble, Cole

Another example of a team where playing as little as possible helps your stats. Diamanti, of course, transferred out of the league entirely, so he may end up in top spot here.

Wigan Athletic
1: Gomez
-10: Boselli

Jordi Gomez played the last 32 minutes against Tottenham and benefited from Hugo Rodallega’s late strike. He substituted Mauro Boselli, who ends the month one point worse than three other players as a result.

Wolverhampton Wanderers
2: van Damme, Fletcher
-1: Elokobi, Keogh, Zubar

Jelle van Damme and Steven Fletcher are both the beneficiaries of early subs out. Of the three on -1, only Elokobi has started a match. Lesson learned: Wolves finish the match poorly.

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