After every game, we as fans love to go through the starting 11 and the substitutes that come off the bench and give everyone ratings. Newspapers and online publications do the same, and I for one immediately gravitate to this section.
It’s a great forum for discussion and debate, and rarely do people completely agree.
Usually on a 1-10 scale, the numbers are meaningless. Aside from 1 being absolutely terrible and 10 amazing (2 numbers I’ve never seen given), the handing out of player ratings is arbitrary. Most journalists who give out these numbers tend to say it’s a quick after thought to round up a piece, or drive readers to view the report.
I for one, have never seen a “key” or explanation as to what each number represents. Does a goal automatically give someone a rating of 6 and higher? Often a casual fan watching on TV might have given Claude Makalele a 5, as that would seem average, and since he doesn’t really do anything spectacular, it would seem about right.
As all we soccer experts know, Claude Makalele was the cog and link up in the Real Madrid sides of the early naughts and Chelsea after that. He was often voted the MVP by his fellow players, because he was the guy that made the engine run, made everyone else look better and gave recognition to a role often left unsung.
So a one game rating of 9 does not make a player Lionel Messi, and maybe they just happened to score a goal, but were pretty useless aside. A rating of 4 does not make a keeper terrible, just cause they let in 3.
What is a clear indication of a players worth in the fans and journalists eyes, is consistency, and in the other Guardian’s, reader match ratings after each league game, they rank Stuart Holden Number 1 (WITH AN AVERAGE OF 7.4!!!!). It’s a good and interesting read, and the final 11 in a 4-4-2 formation may not be the exact top 11 of the season so far (another topic of great discussion debate), but one would have a hard time arguing that these 11 were not having incredible seasons, and the fans have seen that.
Is he the US midfielder the number 1 player in the premiership so far this season? Probably not, but he’s certainly up there.
Congrats to Stuart Holden and the other 10 for an ultimately meaningless accolade, but one we as fans are proud off!
The Guardian U.K. readers ratings so far…
G – Richard Kingson (Blackpool); D- Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Leighton Baines (Everton); M- Samir Nasri (Arsenal), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham); F- Johan Elmander (Bolton), Andy Carroll (Newcastle).