This long piece results in the creation of a different way of looking at a player’s goal tally by taking into account both the teammates he had to play with and the opposition he had to face. The results,in spreadsheet format, can be found in my stats page, along with the actual player coefficients (the multiplier used to compare the players).
Ugh. As a Man City fan, this wasn’t easy to do.
Every team plays every other team in the league twice, right? Right. But a team like City has a an advantage: They don’t have to play Man Fucking City. This and a bunch of other factors leads to the fact that players play against varying qualities of players, and are also playing alongside varying quality of players. So, a player playing with weaker teammates against stronger opponents should get more credit. So, first we gotta decide how we’re going to decide how much credit we should give to differences in competition.
So I went with points scored:
Ranked by points, this simple coefficient system ranks how much better or worse your team performed then average. For example, the two Manchester teams performed 70% better then an average EPL team.
So with this information, and with the lovely data Opta provides of every single players performance in every game they were in, I calculated the average quality of the competition faced by every player by weighting the data by the amount of time faced against each opponent, as well as the average quality of his teammates (usually a constant unless he moved teams mid-season. Combining those two numbers into a multiplier, which is the relative gap between the average quality of his teammates and the average quality of his competition.
Here are the 10 players who faced the biggest gap in quality:
Who are these people? I just hope this blog gets enough popularity so that when they google their own names I can provide them with some sort of good way of looking at the fact they have to play for teams like fucking Wolves or Rovers. Now,
The 10 players who faced the slackest competition:
9 Manchester-based players and… Danny Rose. ‘Arry believes in you, Danny! (he didn’t believe in you, Danny)
Goals is a pretty useless, context-desperately-needed stat. Strikers on better teams simply get more oppurtunites at goal as their team dominates the game, and they’re put in a much better position to succeed, so it seems like the perfect place to test out a way to give players on shittier teams more credit.
The 20 most frequent goal scorers from the EPL season:
The 20 best scorers based on my competition and teammates contextual multiplier:
Knocking both wayne rooney and timitar terbatov off their perch can be seen as a success in itself, but the vaulting to the top of names like Yakubu and Djibril Cisse make this truly a great revelation. This may validate what some of the more forward thinking front offices in the EPL (Manure, Everton) already knew. Some great talent can be scrapped from the bottom of the league and can be made to succeed if put in the right circumstances to succeed.
There are some problems with the competition multiplier, the biggest one being the player’s own role in driving his team’s success. But overall I think a basic co-efficient of a team’s overall performance is a good starting point for this kind of work.
Goals is such a context-based thing, and I think by making some adjustments we can give some credit to some of the unsung goalscoring talents in the league who aren’t given as many oppurtunities to succeed.
Most of this data comes through the way of Opta and MCFC’s analytics department, of which I am truly greatful. Access to the full spreadsheet on my coeffiecient multiplier can be happily passed along by emaili at matthewpfeffer [at] trentu [dot] ca