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What the pundits & media are saying about us

Trix

Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2004
20,142
336,986

Ever wondered which members of a soccer team are the most important? After bringing you the Premier League's depth chart for all 20 squads last month, we have turned our attention to the traditional Big Six clubs in England to assess which players are their leading lights.

Based on a simple combination of ability and tactical importance, those whose role is integral to their team will feature higher in the ranking, while those who play less of a fundamental part will filter toward the bottom. Ultimately, the evaluation is weighted more heavily toward ability than tactical importance, but both have been taken into account. To begin, here are a few notes about the methodology.

Why 15?
Well, with 11 first-team players starting any given match, this should allow for those squad positions that aren't 100% cemented. Any long-term injury absences will be noted separately and not considered for the ranking.

How can you rate the players?
WhoScored has an algorithm that gives an overall number out of 10, but it lends itself more to on-ball actions, while this will be more subjective. "Minutes Played" is obviously a key component of how important a player is to their manager, but slight injury issues can complicate that: we will only use it as a guide.

Are stats involved?
Certainly. We'll look within the context of their position and, for example, will make a case why a striker (Goals, Assists, Key Passes, etc) will rank higher than a teammate.

How hard is it?
Some of the decisions to be made are glaringly obvious, but others not so much. Comparing players across different position groups is a difficult task. Within the context of a squad, though, it's possible to get a feel for who is the most integral, even at this early stage of the season, in order to form the ranking.

I disagree wholeheartedly with your decision to put X below Y. Will you change it?
Of course people will disagree and a lot of this is subjective, but it's only a bit of fun. And look out for another ranking around March when we can see how things have developed.

Enough of that; on with the rankings.


TOTTENHAM

Spurs have enjoyed a brilliant start to the season despite the loss of star striker Harry Kane to Bayern Munich over the summer. New manager Ange Postecoglou has breathed fresh life into the club and radically overhauled the team, meaning our scope to judge the tactical element of this discussion is almost solely based on this season so far.

MISSED THE CUT: Winger Manor Solomon was doing a good job of working his way into the team until a knee injury stopped his progress. Defenders Emerson Royal and Eric Dier may have fallen out of favour but are on standby for this list, too. Experienced winger Ivan Perisic would be on it but is likely to be out for the rest of the season due to injury.

15. Oliver Skipp, MID

Skipp is used mainly as a relief mechanism in midfield late in games, stepping in for the final stretch and adding fresh legs. It's hardly the most expansive role, but he carries it out well.

14. Ben Davies, DEF

Davies looks set to be a squad option for Spurs this season. Postecoglou will be delighted he can call upon such a steady presence if required, and the fact he's left-footed makes him a natural backup to either Micky van de Ven or Destiny Udogie.

13. Pierre-Emile Højberg, MID

Højberg has slipped down the pecking order but has shown in consecutive matches that he can play a pivotal role off the bench. He was linked with a move to Atletico Madrid in the summer and that might well be revived in January but, for now, he's chipping in where and when required.

12. Brennan Johnson, FW

The fact Postecoglou handed the £45m new arrival his first start for Spurs in the north London derby speaks volumes of his faith in him. Sadly any early momentum has been curtailed by an injury, but the signs are that the 22-year-old's importance to the team will grow as the campaign develops.

11. Richarlison, FW

Richarlison always offers a base level of commitment, energy and battling qualities to his team, which are all elements Postecoglou appreciates. The problem comes in front of goal, where he's just not doing the business: One goal from 18 shots doesn't read well, nor does the fact he's underperforming his xG by 1.5 -- the third-worst underperformance in the league. Until this improves, he's far from indispensable.

10. Pape Matar Sarr, MID

Sarr had to wait for a run in the first XI but has taken his opportunity with both hands. His game still needs plenty of refinement -- particularly on shots from distance -- but he has the energy, endeavour and intelligence to rotate in and out of different buildup positions.


9. Dejan Kulusevski, FW

Kulusevski is one of the best ball-carrying wingers in the Premier League, but what really sets him apart from the rest is his decision-making in the final third: It's very rare he's chosen the wrong option. You might be surprised to see him ranked so low (honestly, him ending up here shocked me too) but there's logic to it: Almost every player above him is tactically pivotal with no backups of a similar level, whereas Kulusevski plays in Spurs' deepest position group.

8. Destiny Udogie, DEF

Udogie is some player, that much is already clear. His integration from Serie A side Udinese has been incredibly smooth and a tip of the hat is owed to Postecoglou there. The manager has harnessed the Italy international's incredible ball-carrying skills from deep and made them a key tenet of Spurs' buildup play. No other defender in the squad can offer this.

7. Pedro Porro, DEF

Porro's first half-season at Spurs was mixed, but so far this term he has been consistently excellent. The Spaniard is superb on the ball, great in tight spots and makes smart decisions in every area of the pitch. He was once a part of Manchester City's academy setup and, while his career has taken a few twists since, nowadays he looks like a player Guardiola would turn to without hesitation.

6. Guglielmo Vicario, GK

Kane's summer exit was a sign of a new era dawning at Spurs, but a switch of No. 1 goalkeeper felt almost as significant. With veteran Hugo Lloris axed from the squad, Postecoglou asked for a goalkeeper who was more adept with the ball at his feet, and he certainly got one. Vicario already looks a key piece of the puzzle and none of Tottenham's reserve options can do what he does.

5. Micky van de Ven, DEF

It didn't take long for Spurs fans to get "Jan Vertonghen vibes" from Van de Ven, whose commanding presence at the back is already a big part of this team. He has a good left foot, which can provide balance to the buildup play, and his speed and positional sense are excellent in helping him to make recovery tackles.

4. Cristian Romero, DEF

An unfortunate own goal in the north London derby aside, Romero looks like a changed man this season. He still has the natural aggression which defines his style, but he's channelling it positively and barely committing any fouls at all -- indeed, 13 Spurs players were booked before he was this season. There might be some who would rank Van de Ven above Romero here after the Dutchman's brilliant start, but Romero is still an important anchor in this team and, of course, a World Cup winner. We'll give that pedigree the nod for now.

3. Yves Bissouma, MID

From a bit-part player to key cog, it's been quite the turnaround for Bissouma at Spurs. Postecoglou has decided to run his entire system through the midfielder, and the rewards have been (mostly) bountiful, with the Mali international flashing shades of an old Tottenham favourite, Moussa Dembélé, at times. With Rodrigo Bentancur recovering from a long-term injury, Bissouma appears to be the only player in the squad who can play this incredibly difficult role at the base of midfield.

2. Son Heung-Min, FW

The surplus of attackers that makes Richarlison, Johnson and even Kulusevski somewhat interchangeable doesn't hold Son back because, well, he's Son. A stalwart and now captain of the club, the South Korea international has started the 2023-24 season brilliantly, earning a Premier League Player of the Month nomination for September after scoring an incredible six goals. Be it from the left or up top in place of Kane, he has looked a consistent threat in terms of stretching defences and finding the back of the net.

1. James Maddison, MID

Maddison has been on fire in terms of chance creation and final-third effectiveness so far this season. His five assists lead the league and that's no fluke; in fact, he should probably have more. His 65 shot-creating actions is miles clear of the next contender, Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes, who is on 40.

The fact Maddison has been so effective so quickly is a big part of the reason Spurs have flown up the table. They're not dwelling on the loss of Kane, they're pushing on without him, and that's because the England midfielder has been sensational.
Ha ha, like you need an algorithm to work any of that out. If you can't see all that with your own eyes you have no business being a sports journalist. God I hate all this shit, and they called it "soccer" the sodding nerds.
 

Bluto Blutarsky

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2021
15,967
73,894
Ha ha, like you need an algorithm to work any of that out. If you can't see all that with your own eyes you have no business being a sports journalist. God I hate all this shit, and they called it "soccer" the sodding nerds.
Seems a bit over the top reaction for what is really just a puff piece talking about Spurs players.

Its nice to read good things about our players from time to time...
 

Trix

Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2004
20,142
336,986
Seems a bit over the top reaction for what is really just a puff piece talking about Spurs players.

Its nice to read good things about our players from time to time...
I also think this is half the problem with football fans today and their love hate relationship with the media. They say something nice(regardless of how true it is) and it's a great read, they say something negative and they have a clear agenda against us.

It's the same as the "what are our opponents saying about us" thread. The levels of irony in there are off the charts at times. If they have to make up ways to get tell me what I can already see with my own eyes they aren't worth taking any notice of imo.
 

Trix

Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2004
20,142
336,986
Isn’t our new recruitment team using this approach?
Well if it is we are wasting an awful lot of money, because any(and I mean any) competent scout could have told you everything that was written in that article without spending weeks compiling data and writing code, just by watching the games 8 games.
 

Tucker

Shitehawk
Jul 15, 2013
31,932
149,412
IMG_1027.jpeg
 

soflapaul

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2018
9,467
15,846
Ha ha, like you need an algorithm to work any of that out. If you can't see all that with your own eyes you have no business being a sports journalist. God I hate all this shit, and they called it "soccer" the sodding nerds.
Well, we call it "soccer" because the Football Association coined the term to distinguish it from rugby, you know, when they were inventing the rules. So, technically, y'all are a bunch of historical revisionists. We're the purists. :ROFLMAO:
 

Bluto Blutarsky

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2021
15,967
73,894
Well if it is we are wasting an awful lot of money, because any(and I mean any) competent scout could have told you everything that was written in that article without spending weeks compiling data and writing code, just by watching the games 8 games.
I think you are taking that article way more seriously than the authors...

The authors did not use an algorithm, they acknowledged it was subjective - i.e. not based on numbers:

How can you rate the players?

WhoScored has an algorithm that gives an overall number out of 10, but it lends itself more to on-ball actions, while this will be more subjective.


So, basically, they did exactly what you wanted them to do - use their own eyes - and yet, you have worked yourself up into quite the lather over it.
 

Flobadob

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2014
3,653
12,456
Well if it is we are wasting an awful lot of money, because any(and I mean any) competent scout could have told you everything that was written in that article without spending weeks compiling data and writing code, just by watching the games 8 games.
We aren’t wasting money, we are saving it by using data to identify targets that fit the criteria given by the manager and THEN scouting them to make sure it all adds up to the educated eye too. It’s why we’ve had so few misses recently and an awful lot of hits. To say we’re wasting money with this method is absolute nonsense, it’s working wonders so far.
 

RJR1949

Well-Known Member
Jan 31, 2013
993
5,532
I think you are taking that article way more seriously than the authors...

The authors did not use an algorithm, they acknowledged it was subjective - i.e. not based on numbers:

How can you rate the players?

WhoScored has an algorithm that gives an overall number out of 10, but it lends itself more to on-ball actions, while this will be more subjective.


So, basically, they did exactly what you wanted them to do - use their own eyes - and yet, you have worked yourself up into quite the lather over it.
The article reads as though it was written by ChatGPT.
 

Trix

Well-Known Member
Jul 29, 2004
20,142
336,986
We aren’t wasting money, we are saving it by using data to identify targets that fit the criteria given by the manager and THEN scouting them to make sure it all adds up to the educated eye too. It’s why we’ve had so few misses recently and an awful lot of hits. To say we’re wasting money with this method is absolute nonsense, it’s working wonders so far.
Read what I said again. I haven't said we've wasted money, and out of interest which players are you talking about being recent hits bought off the back ofa driven approach, because I don't have a clue who you are talking about.
 

Thenewcat

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2019
3,063
10,599
To get things back on a more positive note, my big takeaway was being outraged when I got to Sarr at #10, then gradually nodding and saying, yeah well Kulu ahead of him makes sense, and Udogie, Porro has been great etc etc. it brings home how strong our first team is right now.

On another note and to keep Trix happy given his comments about the opposing fans thread, the bit where they described Odegaard as clutch did make me laugh. I think he’s an excellent player but if anything I would say he’s been worse in the biggest games
 

Armstrong_11

Spurs makes me happy, you... not so much :)
Aug 3, 2011
8,645
19,402
that article needs a huge spoonful of salt.

it's very American, they need to find the MVP, the all-star, the "designated player" as they call it in the MLS.

the thing about football is different from a lot of other American sports. Basketball/Baseball, 1 really good player can make all the difference. and in American football, the quarterback is far and beyond the most important person.

I think it's all about balance, I always believe the best players make other players better. hard to disagree that Maddison has really been a class act since he joined us, but i would like nothing more than to stop being a one-man team.
 

Japhet

Well-Known Member
Aug 30, 2010
19,342
57,896
Well, we call it "soccer" because the Football Association coined the term to distinguish it from rugby, you know, when they were inventing the rules. So, technically, y'all are a bunch of historical revisionists. We're the purists. :ROFLMAO:

You call it 'soccer' because you already have a game called 'football'. The irony is that in American Football you have about 300 players on each team and only 2 of them actually make contact with the ball with a foot. Go figure (as you like to say ;))
 
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noggen

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2009
1,679
3,421
The irony is that in American Footbal you have about 300 players on each team and only 2 of them actually make contact with the ball with a foot. Go figure (as you like to say ;))
But they called it football because it's one foot long.
 

arnoldlayne

Well-Known Member
Aug 20, 2007
1,114
1,184
Well if it is we are wasting an awful lot of money, because any(and I mean any) competent scout could have told you everything that was written in that article without spending weeks compiling data and writing code, just by watching the games 8 games.
Isn't this the problem?

Identifying the competent scouts?
 
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