How much difference does one player make anyway?



Just goes to show, doesn’t it?

When you think about it, football has to be all about the team, right?

For a team like Fulham, how many points a season do you suppose even our best player is worth?

If we win 50 points all year and use 11 players does that mean they’re all worth 4 and a bit point each? How much could we expect that to improve if we upgraded someone? It’s hard to think of a single player being able to make that much difference, isn’t it?


7 thoughts on “How much difference does one player make anyway?

  1. Rich, I almost always agree with you, but not here. I get the point that a team is larger than a player, but within that context I think individual players can make big differences. Arsenal were not just more or less the same minus RVP, they went out and got Cazorla who did some very heavy lifting. RVP was explosive for Man Utd but at the same time Rooney faded a bit, either because of this or for other reasons, so you could even look at it as RVP served as a replacement for the massive role Rooney had been playing. I watched every Barca game without Messi and they sure looked like a different team. I think your data above is simply presented and any statistician will tell you it’s a small sample size. Does anybody think Spurs will be the same team w/o Bale (and without then getting a coup signing)?
    That said, here’s to hoping this further post-retirement entry marks the return of CCN!

  2. It’s not meant to be rigourous or anything, but I think there’s something to it, too. We saw this with Demba Ba at Newcastle. Couldn’t stop scoring.They signed Cisse and moved Ba wide and guess what? Cisse couldn’t stop scoring! Ba didn’t get any.

    Not disputing Cazorla’s input but just seems weird that the two teams involved basically did exactly the same despite moving the player of the year.

    Messi’s a bit different as everything happens through him and the effects are exponential when he’s there.

    I don’t think Spurs would struggle that much without Bale though, no. Maybe he’s worth 3 wins over playing Dempsey full-time in the same role, but then with all the ups and downs you get, and with an expensive replacement I’m almost certain that the right thing for them to do is sell.

    1. Re Arsenal–yes, the moved player of the year but they also brought in someone new who, while not player of the year his name was at least tossed around at times, and he was definitely Arsenal’s player of the year.

      Re Spurs, 9 points better than Dempsey–which seems on the face of it to be a pretty reasonable assumption–strikes me as a significant difference.

      I think the key is replacement player. When you have one you can absorb a big loss. We were hoping Ruiz might turn into Dempsey but he didn’t. Berbatov was good but he wasn’t quite doing what Dempsey had done either. Fulham finished last season 9 points lower than prior season and I’d argue that we didn’t bring in as much quality as left us and that difference is down to a couple key players (Dempsey, Murphy and Dembele).

      1. You’re sort of proving my point with Cazorla though. I know it’s not like-for-like but it does demonstrate the slightly easy-come-easy-go nature of things, that they could so easily replace such a supposedly indispensible player. I appreciate that Cazorlas don’t grow on trees but the fact was that they lost a big player and didn’t suffer at all.

        Absolutely re. Fulham, Dempsey, Murphy and Dembele becoming Berbatov, Karagounis and Sidwell is pretty much all we need to know.

        But Spurs would replace Bale with their £80m so it wouldn’t be 9 points, perhaps not even anything.

  3. Glad to see that CCN is living on in some form. My Fulham “fanship” (there really needs to be a good word for this) suffered greatly since December.

    It’s an obvious point but the biggest teams are able to draw from a qualitatively different talent pool when replacing a key player. Cazorla is a great example. Not all such signings will work out but the potential for finding a player as good or better than the one lost must be higher for sides with millions to spend.

    Replacement potential should be thought of differently at a smaller team like Fulham. For instance, is it reasonable to think that Dembele and Dempsey’s value to the team can be recreated through judicious spending of the surplus they provided? (I’m not saying this is the goal of the ownership, presumably they consider at least some of those funds to be profits). Our club draws from a much more limited pool of talent and I think this lowers the potential for any replacement of a key player to truly be as good or better.

  4. I think this is the nub of it isn’t it? Arsenal and United can more or less replace anyone, whereas for Fulham the chances of acquiring that kind of talent are more or less nil. The really good players we’ve had in recent times:

    Schwarzer – free, came because he liked our goalkeeping coach (Mike Kelly)
    Hangeland – cheapish, came because of Roy
    Duff – cheapish, came because his career had gone off the rails at Newcastle
    Murphy – cheapish, came because his career had gone off the rails at Charlton
    Diarra – was an injury waiting to happen or we’d hever have got him
    Dembele – no idea how we did get him but Jol moving him to central midfield made him twice the player
    Dempsey – slowish burner that we got cheap and nurtured over a long period.
    Zamora – shone brightly but briefly

    Other than Berbatov (and perhaps Ruiz) we simply don’t buy at the top of the market, so replacing players who are at the top of the market is necessarily tricky. Hmmm. This sounds so obvious but I’m not sure it’s really crossed my mind until now. cheers.

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