Goal scorers are always regarded as the best players if they are posting good numbers. Now that might be fair enough if you think that is all that matters. Now I’m a big believer in that a players stats is a good reflection of his ability. But I mean all the stats, not just goals and assists. The problem is that some stats are disregarded and some have not been collated because it’s not possible to quantify them accurately.
For example, how do we measure which was the key pass or movement that opened up the game leading to a goal or a chance? A pre assist or a pre pre assist , could be much more key than the final assist, which could be as simple as anything.
How do you measure the understanding a player has for his team mates? If someone is pulling opposition players out of position , opening up space for the assist or goal, how is that measured?
How do you measure when a player passes to a team mate and he has time and space to create or pass the ball on again, against a hospital pass or one that will surely result in loss of possession? They are both recorded as completed passes.
How do you measure the skill of a player finding good space, if he doesn’t get given the ball?
How do you measure the cost of squandered possession if it’s a while before the goal against us is scored, or how much energy is used by the team trying to regain possession?
But “GOALS AND ASSISTS” they scream, when rating players.
Most fans watch the ball, so if a player chases the ball, hogs it when he gets it and takes a shot from anywhere, fans will be impressed. Not all fans of course, some actually understand the game.
Some of you might already have guessed that this blog has been inspired by my opinion that Sanchez was not a world class player for us, and perhaps the most overrated player in the clubs history. Not because he wasn’t an incredibly gifted player, because he was also incredibly bad at many of the things that define a great player.
I have to be honest, I didn’t want him when we signed him and thought he would not fit with our style. That style was based on dominating the ball with technically gifted players, since Arsene had introduced it(very much before Pep at Barca) in 2008.
When Sanchez arrived, we had Jack, Santi, Ozil, Rosicky and had began to look like contenders for the title and started winning silverware. Despite he himself being technically gifted, he was the opposite of these players. He often lost the ball 30+times in a game, our team play became disjointed and we were left exposed to counters. Occasionally he had games where he didn’t squander the ball, and frankly, he and the team then looked very impressive.
People will talk about his “peak” season, where he was prolific with goals and also more than decent with assists. But that coincidentally was the first time in 20 years we finished outside the top four. Go figure.
So let’s think about just how much sense the “BUT GOALS AND ASSISTS” merchants make.
Dennis Bergkamp made a goal or assist every 1.74 PL games
Sanchez made a goal of assist every 1.20 (all comps) games.
So those stats would tell a “BUT GOALS AND ASSIST” merchant, that Sanchez was better than God himself.
Ramsey scored 40 goals in 262 appearances, one every 6.55 games (PL)
Vieira scored 27 in 279, one every 10.33.
Assists are even more in favour of Ramsey
So “BUT GOALS AND ASSISTS” merchants would have us believe Aaron was better than Patrick. Now I’m a huge Ramsey fan, but I would laugh at myself if I made such an assertion.
There you are then, judging a player’s worth to the team ,based on stats alone is stupid, but judging them on headline stats is utterly ridiculous.
Finally, if anyone thinks I’m calling them stupid if they thought Sanchez was a great player, I’m sorry, because that’s exactly what I am doing. His form since he left Arsenal and didn’t have Ozil and Arsene, to make him appear good, is the real reflection of him. The proof of the pudding, as they say.