Fink Tank’s scientific ranking of Premiership players is 99.7% shit


5th, June 2007


physician-scientist.jpgThe Times’ football boffin, Daniel Finkelstein (the man responsible for the brilliantly named Fink Tank column), has ranked every Premiership player based on some impossible-to-comprehend mathematical formula. It’s ‘a multivariate Poisson log-normal model’, if that means anything to you at all.
The rankings are based purely on players’ contributions to their team, not ‘abstract talent’, and so Frank Lampard ends up in 2nd place with Steven Gerrard – a better player, indisputably – down in 80th (!). Frankly, it’s all a load of scientific bollocks, but it still makes an interesting topic for pub debate.
To see Fink’s Top 10 Premiership Players of the Season, click below…

Finkelstein’s top ten players of the season:
1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
2 Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
3 Gilberto Silva (Arsenal)
4 Petr Cech (Chelsea)
5 Jens Lehmann (Arsenal)
6 Paul Scholes (Man Utd)
7 Tim Howard (Everton)
8 Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd)
9 Benni McCarthy (Blackburn)
10 Alexander Hleb (Arsenal)
Hleb! Hleb!!!!! Hleb??????!!!!! Madness gone mad. Gerrard in 80th position????!!!! Stick to long division Daniel.
And the five worst Prem players of the season, by position (the number is their overall ranking – lower numbers are worse, obviously):
344 Antti Niemi
381 Paddy Kenny
383 Jussi Jaaskelainen
391 Ben Foster
402 Paul Robinson
390 Graeme Murty
393 Leighton Baines
396 Nicky Shorey
397 Phil Neville
398 Nicky Hunt
Midfield players
377 Gary O’Neil
378 Kevin Kilbane
380 Keith Gillespie
389 Matthew Etherington
395 Gavin Mahon
394 Darius Henderson
399 El-Hadji Diouf
400 Tommy Smith
401 David Bentley
403 Kevin Davies
So Kevin Davies was the worst player in the Prem last season? He may be average, but he’s not that bad. And don’t ask me why David Bentley is listed as a forward.

Posted in Top 10s & lists

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  1. Col says:

    I can agree with Phil Neville. Just because i don’t like him :-)

  2. Adam says:

    The problem with a statistical analysis like this is that what factors are used to determine this list are subjective. And since it’s impossible to capture everything that makes up a quality player (there are just some things that can’t be counted up, and too many factors to begin with), it’s bound to be heavily subjective anyway.
    It’s probably safe to say that the list is more or less accurate in general terms, with (more than) a few anomalies (Gerrard, Hleb, etc.)

  3. ze says:

    my seven y.o. brother could make it more solid tbh

  4. Anonymous says:

    “multivariate Poisson log-normal mode” does mean something to me (M.V Log-Normal is just a type of distrubution that tends to well model processes that are normal is nature, but where one result affects the next – like the stock markets), but I still don’t really know how they did it as the article doesn’t have enough information.
    However, Hleb is my favorite player. I think he is brilliant to watch. Kind of suprised he is listed there though. My experience is that nobody else likes him!

  5. rob says:

    There’s no way Robbo was the second worse player in the Prem last year. This list is rubbish.

  6. joe says:

    The top ten list wasn’t completely laughable until it got down the Hleb, who must be viewed as a bit of a dissapointment for arsenal. From here the list becomes rediculous.

  7. nobbynolan4 says:

    i think the quality of the list can be shown be comparing it to the list that actual managers use, u know those people who actually know what they’re talking about as opposed to science geeks, in that list el-hadji diouf came somewhere between 10 and 20th best (cant remember where exactly but he was top 10 most of the season) and this list puts him 399. admitedly he aint popular but hes still a damn good footballer. also how is david bentley third worst, the guys just been called up to england ffs, but hes WORSE THAN DARIUS HENDERSON?!?!?!?!?!?!?!