The SPAM Player of the Season

It’s the time of year when the player of the season debate rages, so obviously it wouldn’t do if Differentgame didn’t have an opinion.

Being different, we like to base our opinion in fact, and what better way to test the top scorers in the EPL than by giving them a good SPAMing? Doing this enables us to compare how many goals a player has actually scored, to what we could expect the average EPL player to score from the shots he’s had.

Here’s how it looks:


Well, our old chum Gareth Bale, comes out on top so far this season. He’s excelled in every area of the pitch – scoring above expectation from central inside the box, wide inside the box and obviously from outside the box both from open play and from free kicks. The only other player that can say the same is Robin van Persie.

Having looked at a number of strikers over several seasons we can confidently say that the only area players show anything like consistency in, is the central area inside the box. Players conversion rates fluctuate considerably in the other areas. One season they might be unbelievable at hitting the net from distance, then barely register from there the next.

The players in the graphic above are the “best” forwards this year, and they’ve all hit double figures this season. However, most aren’t actually performing that much better than expected. Take out the numbers prone to randomness and what are you left with? Is the concept of “Player of the Season” a little bit ridiculous? How much influence does one player really have on a team?

Paul Lambert said the other day that Christian Benteke was worth ยฃ25m. Looking at the Belgian’s numbers, we beg to differ.

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5 Responses to The SPAM Player of the Season

  1. bart says:

    Interesting post … but it is only part 1 of 2 or 3 no? as you bring more questions to the table and the last paragraph goes off on a tangent …

    – Benteke
    From what you show above the good thing about this player is that he’s the only one that has a good chance of improving next season in the main category … but he will drop in “Outside” (so overall will be lower if he reaches average in “Cents In”).
    As for being worth 25m … are there other forwards for whom a team has paid 25m? How do they compare with Benteke? I’d think Benteke has around the same value as Ba if I look at the above chart (expected numbers being reasonable similar as with the goals above #).

    – Player of the Season
    Well, maybe the striker’s numbers can be compared with how they affect the team’s numbers … i.e. Suarez has the best “Cent Ins” rating, but how does that compare to Liverpool as a whole? What about other individual strikers for Liverpool?
    If a player would positively influence every category then you could label him as beneficial to the team (with regards to converting chances into goals). Also one could argue that a goal for a lower placed team is more valuable than for a higher placed team as normally the lower team will score less (thus possibly at more crucial moments in the game) … 11v11 blog does an interesting take on this … hence even though Benteke has the lowest rate for “Cent Ins” those 8 goals might have brought his team more points … things like this will flesh out a player’s importance a bit more. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Personally, I think it is silly that most Player of the Season nominees come from the forward or (attaching) midfield line … but that’s a different discussion. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyway, hope to read some follow-ups to this post. Interesting stuff.


  2. I won’t be expanding on this particular post…but:

    That’s a positive spin on Benteke! The diff between him and Ba is that Ba’s done it for 3 seasons in the EPL. He’s not a risk in that sense. Benteke still is, and especially at that money.

    Re affecting team…it’s something difficult to quantify. You know, if liverpool were more liverpool rather than all about suarez or torres before him, I think they’d have finished further up the league. Much talk of how Arsenal would miss RVP. Will they have come seasons end?

    The benteke point at the end is just to reiterate that the valuation of one player being so key is without foundation. No-ones quantified this yet in or out of the game. I also concentrated on top scorers to highlight the absurdity of the mainstream discussion here: plenty of others are more above goal exp than these lot – its just one measure of performance…

  3. bart says:

    haha. ๐Ÿ™‚ always more than one way to look at data eh (re:Benteke). ๐Ÿ™‚
    Oh yeah … as the buying team … there’s no way I’d pay over 10m for Benteke … I checked how much Ba cost and apparently he had a release clause of 7m at Newcastle … 7-8m sounds about right for Benteke too.
    Also … Ba’s stats may be different for his time at Newcastle and Chelsea …

    As for the rest … agree with you on all fronts … you’re preaching to the choir here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. You can check Ba out over seasons if you go to chelsea link at top of the page

  5. Pingback: United Uncovered? | differentgame

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