Dec 17

7 is the magic number – using player ratings to judge your team


Back in Football Manager 2008 we only had ratings going from one to ten. This was fair enough, but it didn’t really give the best indication of how well players were doing. When all of your players play either a “6” or a “7”, who is doing better than whom? Other than by taking the average rating over five or six games, there really was no way to tell – certainly in a one off match, it was next to impossible to really differentiate between the players, and so it was very difficult to see which parts of your team were not functioning that well.

Football Manager Live got ahead of the curve, however, by introducing the decimal place. Now, players are rated, in effect, out of 100 (between 0.1 and 10.0). Football Manager offline soon caught up, and now, in both games, we can really begin to see those who are performing well.

7 is the benchmark

In Football Manager 2008, a rating of “7” was always the target. “6” was a mediocre performance. “5” a bad one. “4” was awful. Similarly, “8” was good, “9” great, and “10” worthy of the highest possible praise.

Obviously, Football Manager Live limits us in what we can say to our players. But performances are, nevertheless, a good indicator of who is performing well and who is performing badly.

First of all, I believe that “7” is still the benchmark performance for people to aim for. A player who does nothing that good but nothing that badly should be getting a low “7”. A player who has done pretty well should be getting a high “7”. And then, exceptional performances (positively or negatively) should deviate from this average.

But you need to remember your GCSE mathematics here – “7” = 6.5 to 7.4.

This change is subtle, but important. 7.5 is not a “7” – it’s an “8”, and a good performance. By the same token, 6.6 isn’t really all that bad. It’s a low “7” but a “7” nonetheless. It also allows a very quick comparison between players. On the whole, consider anything 6.5 – 6.9 to be a “low 7”. Anything from 7.0 – 7.4 is therefore a “high 7”.

Use this information to your advantage. For a good team, you really want those “high 7s” on a regular basis. Indeed, your key performers should be averaging over 7.00 for the season. Similarly, your squad players should be doing a decent job for you, hovering around the 6.75 mark. When people were putting emphasis on their youth players’ average ratings, remember, it was 6.80 which was quoted as the magic number for youth development. There were obviously good reasons for that – an average of 6.8 suggests a player who is having a solid season.

If you find you have a position on the pitch which regularly struggles to get high 7s, it may be time to ask why. Look at the player’s stats. Is it because this individual player isn’t good enough? Or does the team’s tactic not use him effectively? Is he getting assists (for a midfield or attacking player)? Is he getting goals? What about his shots on target compared to his shots attempted? Pass completion? Runs made? Interceptions completed? Headers won? Tackles? Check to see if any of these seem unusually low compared to the rest of the team.

A high number of attempts with low completion (for any stat) suggests a player who is getting very involved in the game but is not making the right decisions. Perhaps the player is just poor, or perhaps his instructions are asking him to do the impossible.

On the other hand, a low number of attempts in many of these areas suggests that the player is a passenger, rarely receiving the ball and rarely chasing after the ball to make himself useful to either the defence or the attack. Again, maybe he’s just a lazy, bad player, unable to get involved. Or, perhaps, he is receiving terrible supply from his team mates, has the wrong settings for things such as closing down, forward runs or roaming, or the balance of the team is just out of whack.

So remember – 7 is the magic number. Your lads should be getting a 6.5 as the minimum for every game, and should really be encouraged to aim for the 7.0 mark and beyond. Players who regularly score in the “low 7s” or worse should be candidates for the bench; for those who get into the “high 7s” or better, you’ve hit the sweet spot with them. It is a shame, definitely, that we cannot use the media in Football Manager Live to try to turn around dips in form (or maintain hot streaks), but use the tools at your disposal – keep playing those on fire, and bench those who don’t rise to the occasion.

Written By Gareth Millward
"Millie" is a long-standing member of the FM community and a co-founder of Gameworld One.Com. As part of FM-Britain, he was a contributor to TT&F and involved with the new tactical interface in FM2010.
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