Coming to an Understanding: MOTM and the Player Ratings

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 07: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between FC Barcelona and Bayern 04 Leverkusen at Camp Nou on March 7, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. FC Barcelona won 7-1 and Lionel Messi scored 5 goals. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The ratings have become a very important aspect in our Barca Blaugranes community. Seeing as there are always debates (almost) every week about who is MOTM and whether a rating given to so and so was fair, it's just about the right time for all of us to come to an understanding, especially since we are all still adapting to the new system.

Here I'm explaining in detail how and why certain things have been done until now and which variables were of the most importance when coming to the decision for MOTM and the rating. What this post hopes to achieve is to get all of us in the community to settle in to using a single standard or method that we'll be using from now on and hence speak a language we all understand.

I think I have explained before, although not in detail, that the player's rating until now has not been based on the particular player's past but their performance in the game relative to others. If they were the best, we give them the MOTM award and all was good.

The following have been the variables used to arrive at the rating:

1. A player's positives in the game and see how much he would get with them alone, a preliminary rating, and then a closer look at his negatives which obviously work against the preliminary rating.

2. Time on the pitch affects the player's rating a little as well. The more time, the better. It obviously requires a seriously strong performance for a player with 10 min on the pitch to be better than one who played the entire game. Don't solely look at the new guy's work-rate because it's expected since he's still fresh and the other guy is more likely than not tired.

3. "Sleeping"

There are some players who are anonymous for most of the game to an extent you even forget they are playing, and then they come on the last minute and score a match winning goal or make a match saving clearance/tackle. You have to be very careful before giving them a 10.

4. Wasting opportunities - we've seen this before; a player is fed about 15 chances before getting that goal. Is he perfect? Of course not.

Now about the MEANING of the rating:

Look at it as a percentage, 1% meaning 'very poor - deserves to be jailed' and 100% meaning 'perfect/excellent - deserves some cookies’. A player who was poor would get below 50. Getting 65 would mean that he did well, but he was not best. Which is why it's sometimes surprising when people say one was a little harsh for giving a player a 75% (or 7.5/10) because that number is really good, or at least I thought it was.

Now for Man Of The Match:

If you do it like I do, and give a rating for a player's performance in the game relative to others on the pitch, you won't have to argue because it'll already be assumed that the guy with the highest rating takes the award. Looking at it any other way complicates things and would sometimes require THE perfect person to do it.

Imagine rating someone because their performance is better than another one they gave 10 days ago, you won't only need to remember everyone's performance from the same number of days ago to avoid being unfair to them but some would have played as substitutes and other wouldn't have played at all, trust me that's very difficult if the goal is to be fair to everyone.

I understand that some or even most of us have English as our 2nd language, but I always thought that the phrase itself is self-explanatory; "Man of the match" or best guy (or outstanding man) in the game is how I looked at it and I think it's the simplest form there is.

Quality or Quantity?

Do you look at the quality of a player's performance or it's quantity? Quantity can be counted and all the stats we always give or read everywhere fall in this category. But using Quality is bad in my opinion because it requires a lot of judging which is where most people are biased.

Example: We don't compare the quality of Messi and Pedro's goals because some of us have a soft spot for the other guy and we'll overlook some of his flaws and ignore some arguments just for him to win and then debates become endless. What we might reasonably compare is the number of shots they both needed to get the goal, maybe the distance from goal (where shot was taken), or the number of players they had to beat to get it and etc etc, because all those things can be quantified (counted or measured) and you don't have to be biased when making the comparison because it's as some say; stats speak for themselves.

The player's review
The paragraph that always go with the player's rating; summarising, analysing and discussing his performance. It helps you understand what the reviewer (or me in most cases) looked at when judging that particular player. It might look like he was harsh only to find that he didn't see something that you saw, but his review will justify and/or indirectly explain all that. This pains me at times because I have a feeling that some of us only look at the rating and never read the other stuff and then go on to talk about "Harsh ratings".

Standards (very important)
Different people have different standards. Someone was/is happy at school when they got a 90% and you might find that someone might be equally as happy by getting an 80%. They have different standards and it's never fair to say one standard is better than the other. If we need to compare their level of satisfaction, we need to standardise them; reduce their respective standards into a common one for it to be easier to compare.

So my request is this:

Say in the comments if you agree with the stuff I said above or not so that we can decide if we continue using this system or another you might propose because we need to all use one system seeing as we are now all involved in the voting and everyone's vote affects the overall. We can't have someone voting with respect to a player's past and someone else using what I explained above because we'll always have people disagreeing with each other. If we use one system, it will always be obvious when someone has been harsh and another has been lenient. Also in the comments, say if you think the current system of giving the MOTM to the highest rated guy is the system we are going to continue using and make a solid proposal which we can all seriously consider. Our managers will help us decide on a method for tomorrow and all the days in future.

By the way I work as an Analyst so trust me when I say I enjoy doing this stuff. Adios!!

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