Like for Like

[ed. – Ramble starts….. now!]

Brian McBride is gone. Long Live Brian McBride.

Now we need to find a replacement.

McBride played for Fulham for five seasons. His record in all competitions:

03/04 – GS (8), SB (11), G (5), A (1) — Goals Per Appearance – (0.26)

04/05 – GS (17), SB (20), G (9), A (4) — Goals Per Appearance – (0.24)

05/06 – GS (36), SB (5), G (11), A (3) — Goals Per Appearance – (0.27)

06/07 – GS (38), SB (4), G (12), A (4) — Goals Per Appearance – (0.29)

07/08 – GS (14), SB (3), G (4), A (0) — Goals Per Appearance – (0.24)

Now this is a rough tool since I don’t have the minute numbers at hand. Goals per 90 would be more accurate. But still, it gives us a rough idea what we’re looking to replace.

And what we’re looking to replace is a very consistent 1 in 4 striker.

McBride was more than the sum of his parts. His intangibles are legion, but by definition unmeasurable. But if other players take up the mantle of his leadership (and I’m looking at you Danny Murphy), then from an admittedly simplistic numbers perspective, the production should be attainable.

Just for comparison like, here are the 07/08 numbers for “Player X.”

07/08 – GS (1), SB (22), G (5), A (0) — Goals Per Appearance – (0.22)

Who is Player X? Why, it’s the oft-scorned Marlon Harewood, who did almost all of his work from the substitutes bench. He did play for a much better team, tis true.

Now, this might be a textbook example of the way statistics can be misleading (at least the way I’m using them). But it could also mean that, well, if Roy only tries to replace McBride’s numbers and not McBride himself, he might not find the task so impossible. Of course Roy might try to upgrade the numbers from that position, which is a whole other kettle of fish.

One last line. Clint Dempsey last season

07/08 – GS (31), SB (7), G (6), A (2) — Goals Per Appearance – (0.16)

Not fantastic, but when you consider that he played almost the whole season in midfield, nothing to sneeze at either.

The more I close my eyes and think hard about Clint Dempsey (which I do way to frequently), the more I can see him as a striker. Out on the wing, he is too slow to get by people, and not a good enough crosser to be a truly dangerous threat. Where he does significant damage is by arriving late into the box when the play is on the other side of the pitch, which suggests good spacial awareness. And the more I think about it, last season he was more or less a target man transposed out on the wing. He would get the ball and hold it up long enough for the full back to overlap, or Bullard or Murphy to get position, or one of the strikers to show for it. He’s pretty decent in the air. So here’s what I’m thinking: If Roy is looking for a like for like replacement of Brian McBride, he could do worse than Clint Dempsey.

[ed. – Ramble complete.]

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4 Responses to “Like for Like”

  1. withaplum Says:

    Remember, for all your actual fulham statistical analysis, see championshipatbest.com. Trust me. Colin actually knows what he’s talking about.

  2. Adrian Says:

    With regard to Mr Dempsey, the man in my opinion has never looked like a striker. He’s a good tricky attacking midfielder who works hard, but his positioning was awful last season when he was played up front.
    I like Clint, I see him as a great squad player, he will be able to cover for any injuries in the middle 4 and is also a fantastic impact sub in the middle of the part.
    But a striker? No way. He doesn’t win many headers. Sure he leaps. But he doesn’t often win. His first touch is erratic, to be kind. When he does score they are more often than not tap pasts or deflections, you don’t often see a Dempsey smash from 30 yards. Without a Mcbride to knock balls down to him, he was virtually neutered last season. Just like Healy, but without a natural goal scoring knack.

    In my humble opinion, based on season ticket holder viewing over last two seasons at the Cottage.

  3. weltmeisterclaude Says:

    I think he’d make a decent striker now we keep the ball on the floor. His instincts in the first half of the season saw him getting quite a lot of chances, and he scored all six goals before 2008 when he was our ‘target man’. That probably should’ve been 8/9 goals too, given a couple of quite bad misses. If you factor in better players around him I would suggest that he’d be as likely to do well up front as anywhere else on the pitch.

    And I disagree with the neutered thing – there was a bad stretch where he was exhausted and we kept lumping long balls at his head, which unsurprisingly he didn’t win, but the same happened to McBride and Helguson under late-era Coleman. Wasn’t Clint’s fault we played so badly.

  4. Colin Says:

    There were times last season when I really thought Clint could be our guy. He was fantastic in that role vs Spurs at the Cottage, and there were a couple other games around that same time where he did really well. He wasn’t able to keep it up, but I’m not convinced that it was really his fault.

    Clint does a lot of things well, and seems to be improving. I think he *could* be good for us pretty much anywhere.

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