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 favours 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.
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 won 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 and it corrects for the timing of the goals, with dying seconds winners being rewards much more points than early opening goals.
Now, straight to the data for goals scored. Much like last season, the chart is led by Vitesse’s Wilfried Bony. The striker has scored just two goals in the first four matches, but as one of them was the injury time winning goal over Feyenoord, he scores high in this ranking. The nominal top scorer chart is led by AZ’s Jozy Altidore, with four goals from four matches, but his two goals against Heracles at home hardly scored any points.
The assists chart is led by Vitesse’s Marco van Ginkel, with only a slight lead over Dusan Tadic, who provided no less than five assists in Twente’s first four matches.
Adding both charts leads to the Most Valuable Player chart with respect to points won for them respective teams by goals and assists. This shows a top-3 consisting of Bony, Chevalier (ADO) and Schaken (Feyenoord), while nominal top-2 players like Tadic (7), Mertens (6) won less points with their goals and assists.
Obviously, no metric is perfect. But correcting for ‘easy goals and assists’ seems a reasonable thing to do when looking at scoring charts. We’ll revisit these charts regularly during the season and see which players show up when it counts!