The most valuable players of the first half of the 2011/12 Eredivisie: Bony, Overtoom and Malki

The very first parameter to measure individual football players performances is still the most wide spread. Every single league has an award for it: a simple count of the number of goals scored. But it is a flawed metric. It favors players playing on superior teams, it doesn’t take into account whether the goals were scored against decent opposition, whether they were scored at home or away, or whether those goals actually contributed to winning matches or were scored when already leading comfortably.


A fair metric

As has been presented earlier, there is a workaround for this. 11tegen11 has previously presented a metric to account for the importance of goals scored in terms of how many points they did win for the team that scored them. This metric factors in the quality of opposition and the venue by looking at the average bookie odds presented for the match. It deducts a chance for both teams to win the match, and for the match to end in a draw. The resulting estimated chances develop during the game, with possible shifts when goals are scored. This allows to also account for the timing of the goals, with dying seconds winners being rewards much more points than early opening goals.



The result of this metric is an open, honest and fair appreciation of the contribution that each individual player’s goals made to the chances of his team winning points. The following table presented these points for the first half of the 2011/12 Eredivisie.

The most valuable player in terms of goals scored is Vitesse’s Wilfried Bony. His 9 goals won on average 0.67 points per goal, for a total of 6.01. Bony is followed quite closely by Roda’s Sanharib Malki, who also scored 9 goals. Feyenoord’s John Guidetti, on loan from Manchester City, completed the top-3, mainly due to a relatively high number of goals scored, while Bas Dost, who scored most goals in the first half of the Eredivisie, comes in fourth.



An interesting addition to this table is to value to players who provided the assists for these goals. Of all 494 goals, 374 were credited with an assist. The remaining 120 consisted of direct free-kicks, intercepted passes, individual actions, etcetera. Please note that free-kicks and penalties are not provided with assists for the player in question being fouled.

The most value in terms of assists has been created by Heracles’ Marko Vejinovic, whose 6 assists earned 4.58 points. Newly promoted RKC-player Braber came in second with 3.95 points from 5 assists, while Heerenveen’s Luciano Narsingh, who provided a shared highest number of 10 assists, came in third with 3.87 points. Ajax’ Christian Eriksen, who shared Narsingh’s number of 10 assists, only came in 28th with 1.66 points, reflective of the fact that only 2 of his 10 assists were provided with the score of the match level.



Both above tables combine for the Eredivisie 2011/12 first half of the season Most Valuable Player ranking.

Again, based on his impressive goal scoring value, Vitesse’s Wilfried Bony tops the list. He adds 1.12 points from 3 assists to his 6.01 points from 9 goals to finish at 7.13 points from the first 17 matches. Runner-up is Heracles’ Willy Overtoom, thanks to a combination of an 8th place in the goals chart and an 11th in the assists chart.

The top-10 consists of a nice mix of players with 8 different teams presented. Most players mainly scored their points with goals, like Bony (1 – Vitesse), Guidetti (5 – Feyenoord), Malki (6 – Roda), Cabral (7 – Feyenoord) and Toivonen (9 – PSV). Other players mainly contributed through assists, like Tadic (3 – Groningen) and Narsingh (4 – Heerenveen). Finally, some players contributed well in both categories, like runner-up Overtoom (2- Heracles).

Interestingly, neither the top scorer in terms of raw numbers of goals (Dost) or assists (Narsingh and Eriksen) made the top-3 of the MVP ranking. And PSV’s winger Dries Mertens, who set the Eredivisie alight by scoring 11 goals in the first 7 rounds of Eredivisie football, only makes a 15th place overall with a combined total of 22 goals and assists, for 4.56 points.


Data: Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaLive)

6 thoughts on “The most valuable players of the first half of the 2011/12 Eredivisie: Bony, Overtoom and Malki

    1. 11tegen11 Post author

      Mertens’ 13 goals combined for 2.06, which ranks him 34th in terms of points won by his goals.
      The list is cut-off to present the top-20 players.
      By the way, Mertens 13 goals presented as much value to PSV as Labyad’s 3 have. Labyad scored 2.05 points due to a very late opening goal away at N.E.C. and a an early ‘score-levelling’ goal away at Twente. He ranks 35th.

  1. Prender94

    Great piece, really interesting, it analyses player performance from a completely different angle.
    It would be very interesting if clubs applied this method when they are looking to sign new players.
    It would also be interesting to apply this metric to players who are widely considered the best in the world, such as Messi, to see how they fare.

  2. Lesley

    Nice posts, but still I miss something in here. I find it very important to look at a player’s efficiency. An attacking team has far more possibilities to score than a defending team. That’s why it would be very useful to take into account a players goals-over-attempts ratio. The same for assists: this would show you either the effectiveness of a player’s assists and/or the efficiency of the receiver of the assists. Since I’m very interested in this topic, I’d love to contribute on finding data on it and creating a measure for it. Just email me!

    1. 11tegen11 Post author

      Thanks for your interest in this particular topic.
      To answer your topic… The article does not cover efficiency in any way. The objective of the article is to look at the most valuable player. So, more games, more valuable. To look at efficiency, only calculating goals per shot would lead to a biased result, as not all goal scoring chances are equal and not all players are presented goal scoring chances of equal opportunities.
      This article that I wrote about half a year ago would be my first step to such an efficiency score, but no such data are available for the Eredivisie at present.

  3. wolfman

    Awesome stat, will you do a table for the second half of the season. What would be nice is to see a “regression of the mean analysis” showing how much luck is involved in this stat.


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