This is Part I of a five part series looking at player ratings. Each part will look at a different rating – Defence, Distribution, Technical, Attack, and Goalkeeping. As this is the first series I’m doing it may be a little long as I’ve to explain a few things, but in future we’ll be diving straight in.

I’ve already posted the team ratings following week 7, so here’s a look at how well individual players are doing so far. First up, let’s take a look at defending.

Defensive Rating:

A big problem with rating defenders is a lack of positional data. Many people who do this sort of thing make a huge mistake straight off the bat by just averaging out tackles, blocked shots, goals conceded etc… but think about it: worse teams have more to do defensively, so defenders that play for these teams seem to have a lot better stats. People have been raving about Curtis Davies and the job he’s been doing for Hull, and at first glance the stats do look impressive. But let’s compare him with the world renowned Ben Gibson (of Middlesbrough fame) .

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Looking at the stats here it does look like Davies is the superior player. But defensive stats need to be taken in context, and the best way to do that is by looking at possession. You can read up on the maths behind this here if that is your wont. Hull City this season are averaging 42.57% possession. Middlesbrough are averaging 52.16%. So while on the face of it it looks like Curtis Davis has been performing better, that is really due to his having more to do. When we adjust these figures for possession it looks like this:

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Here’s a better visual look at the difference

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Curtis Davies currently has a defence rating of 0.508, Ben Gibson’s rating is 0.561 (All ratings go from 0-1).

So now that’s out of the way lets take a look at the top 20 defence rated players

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There are currently four Tottenham players on the top 20 list. This underlines again just how solid they have been in this campaign. Toby Alderweireld is currently the best defensive performing player this season with a rating of 0.668. Teammate Jan Vertonghen follows in a close second with 0.654, and even Victor Wanyama sneaks into the top 20 with a rating of 0.568.

Here’s a closer look at Alderweireld

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** CBI’s are combined Clearances, Blocks, and Interceptions.

** Temperament refers to fouls committed (would be improved if someone knows where I can get data for cards received by players) – Closer to the edge of the chart here, the better

** Reliability refers to (lack of) errors made

** Goals Conceded – closer to edge = better

Of all the players who have played more than 270 minutes, Alderweireld has the best record in Goals Conceded, Reliability, and CBI’s, his tackling is the 6th best in the league.

He was crucial in Tottenham’s win over Manchester City. He showed bravery and determination throughout, making a key tackle inside his own box and making a huge 14 clearances for his side.

While Spurs take up the top two spots in the ratings, the team with the most players in the top twenty is surprising Arsenal. They have six players who are leading the defensive tables and bizarrely Mesut Özil finds himself amongst them!

 

The 20 worst rated players are

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So there are some obvious names we would expect here – especially players with attacking roles such as Aguero, Origi, and Borini. But worryingly there are a few defenders to note here as well. Patrick van Aanholt (0.244) and Papy Djilobodji (0.258) of Sunderland are both among the last few places. It should be pointed out here that Sunderland’s best defence rated player only has a rating of 0.441 (Lamine Kone). Another defender who wouldn’t want to see their name on this end of the list is Swansea’s Mike van der Hoorn. Granted, he has only played 180 minutes, but so have West Brom’s Jonas Olsson and Stoke’s Philipp Wollscheid who have a respectable rating of 0.478 and 0.424 for the short time they have played.

So I’ll leave it there for now. If you want to check out the full ratings, click here, and hover your cursor over the image to zoom.

 

Next up: Player Distribution Ratings (coming soon).