ARSENAL PLAYERS LOSE THEIR HEADS?

November 22, 2010

By Red Arse

How do you rate a player’s performance in a game?

After our dismal second half performance against Spurs on Saturday, I thought to myself, how do I explain that outcome? Well, I cannot know what either ‘Arry or Arsene’s role was in the dramatic change of fortune but I can offer an opinion on the players’ performances, but how can I rate them meaningfully?

Here is a suggestion for you to consider.

So you have been to the game, read the reports in the papers and now your eye drops to the box which shows the players’ names, and the reporter’s rating of each player’s performance, marked out of 10.
The usual outburst tends to follow. “What? That’s outrageous! 8 my arse! He gave him an 8? That’s a ridiculous score. He had a terrible game; he missed that tackle on the edge of the box, and also missed what should have been a simple tap in, from the winger’s cross. It should have been a 6, at best!” — And so on, and so on –.

The rating of a player’s performance is very subjective but causes much irate discussions between fans. And that is not surprising because there is no standard formula for comparing individual performances.
For example, — is the player being marked against his own expected standards, based on previous games played, or against the standards of the best player, in a particular position? Is an allowance to be made for the age or relative inexperience of the player? Or is it subjective, because you have a soft spot for the home players, commonly known as describing all your “ugly ducklings as swans”.
Clearly there is no agreed formulaic method, so I am going to propose one!
First, we need to go back and see what we can learn from history.
Throughout the Roman Empire, games were held every holiday or festival, indeed not unlike our Saturday football ritual, which usually entailed gladiators fighting animals, and the performance ratings were straight forward. You either killed the wild animal, and were treated as a hero, or you were killed and it was game over!

But there was another massively popular type of entertainment, a gladiator versus gladiator match up. Each man selected a weapon of choice, be it a sword and shield, or a spear and net, or a mace and dagger.
After a usually bloody encounter, there was often an outright winner where one of the gladiators was killed, leaving the survivor to be greeted as a hero and winning all the accolades.

Just occasionally, one man would be exhausted, disabled and lay prostrate before the victorious gladiator. The accepted practise was for the crowd to then decide the outcome. They would recommend the “coup de grace”, (killing strike), if they thought the loser had put on a poor show. If the crowd thought the fight had been entertaining, and the loser had fought well, they would sometimes recommend clemency, and his life would be spared.
So how was this “rating” communicated?

The crowd, apart from howling their exhortations to the Emperor, would gesticulate, holding their hands aloft and clenched into fists with the thumb extended.
Crucially, if the thumb was held pointing aloft, they were beseeching the Emperor to spare the life of the loser, if, however, the thumb was pointed downward, they were showing their disapproval of the performance and demanding that the loser be fatally dispatched!
So how can we use this simple, straightforward method of “rating”?
I PROPOSE: that the losing team are to be individually subjected to the fans judgement, using the same simple old Roman system of choice. To encourage fans’ participation, we could also use the power of the word to expedite matters, so that amusing chants would be awarded an extra point for the team.

So here we go;
A good, albeit losing, performance would receive a “thumbs up” and the player would be free to play the next game.
A mediocre performance would receive a trembling, horizontally held thumb and the player would only be suspended for the next game.
Then, the finale — a player who clearly had played poorly, in the opinion of the fans, or who had broken the leg of any Arsenal player, would see the execution paraphernalia rolled out, accompanied by the downward pointing of myriad thumbs and, the sombre sound of the fans displeasure, baying for his head, and chanting;

“He needs a short, sharp shock from a cheap chippy chopper on a big black block.”
Or
“Bing bang bong, it’s your head or your dong!”

This would have the immediate effect of;
· Standardising players’ ratings;
· Ridding the game of the clogging leg breakers;
· Ensuring only fabulous Wengerball would be played;
· Improving the standard of the fans’ chants.

All those in favour say AYE! ———— “AYE!”

OK, OK, I can hear some of you saying what a load of twaddle. We need something more modern to gauge our players’ performances by.
Well what about putting your thinking caps on, and make some suggestions of your own as to how we should rate performances, in a consistent manner, in the real world?

Should we, for instance;
· Make allowances for age? Those players under 20 would get an extra 2 point weighting, so a 5 out of 10 becomes a 7?
· Make allowances/comparisons for previous performances? A player who rated a crappy 5 last time out, but played much better in the current game, would get an extra 1 for the effort?
· Perhaps Goal Keepers, who only need to make one mistake to lose a game, but who can play brilliantly in a poor team performance and save a point, should be rated separately and marked out of 12?
· Should an extra mark be awarded/deducted for wearing a particularly fetching pink outfit, a la FabiPinkski?
· Perhaps points should be deducted for any player wearing bilious Bendtner type boots.
· Or, should we say — sod all that, let the reporter give the marks he wants, and then tear him an extra one if we disagree with him?
Let us have your views, the majority view will prevail!

ARSENAL, THE TEAM THAT WILL MAKE US PROUD!

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