The Bong Index 2013/14

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With the last ball of a phenomenal season  now kicked its time to reflect on some of the unbelievable moments which have defined our incredible season. And we’ll try to keep the Martinezm’s to a unique minimum.

The executive summary will show that we pulled in 72 points from 38 games which is the best ever by any toffees manager in their 1st full season in office (1.89 puts per game) plus its been our best points haul since winning the league in 87. Factoring in goal difference it was also a record haul for a team to  not finish in a Champions League slot ….Everton that.

At the sharp end we scored more goals than we did in any season under Moyes and only on one occasion in the Scot’s reign did we accrue more clean sheets than we did this season. 

Thems is the facts.

But what about the players who have delivered these outcomes, who contributed the most, who improved the most and who could have done better? This ramble will chew through each player’s individual contribution and judge their importance to the season in order of importance.

How does the Bong Index work?

Each player has been reviewed against five key criteria (mins on pitch, win rate, direct involvement in goals* performance rating**& clean sheets***each of which carries a maximum of 20 points… 20 for the top scoring player and 1 for the lowest in each category. Their score out of 100 will then determine where they finish with #1 at the top and #18 at bottom.

* direct goal involvement counts as either a goal or assist
** performance rating according to opta data via whoscored.com
***clean sheets can be accrued by goalkeeper, defenders and defensive mids (Barry/McCarthy) only

The Index is by no way definitive, its merely colossal nerding and there are a few selections in there that I’d completely disagree with, so don’t get too cross if the order doesn’t match up with your own thoughts….

New Picture (87)#1 Seamus Coleman - Bong Index Rating : 78.6%

Performance Rating:  7.32 (Last Season 7.09)

Win % with 56% / Win % without 50%

The season’s stand out performer at both ends of the pitch, Seamus has truly been in an unbelievable moment since Day 1 of the campaign at Norwich when he scored one and created another. As well as being directly involved in 8 goals, Coleman’s relentless surges from deep have given a sharper edge to our sometimes slow build up play. On the ball he has improved so much in the last 3 seasons; his pass completion figure is up for the third season on the spin from 78% in 2012 to 88% this campaign. He’s also been pretty ace at his day job as part of a defensive unit that has picked up 15 clean sheets – appearing in every one and only missing two games all season. Ace.

#2 Gareth Barry- Bong Index Rating: 72.6%New Picture (91)

Performance Rating 7.31 (Last Season 6.95)

Win % with 63% /  Win % without 17%

A fine season from arguably our most consistent performer, Barry is someone who possesses a ‘unique set of footballing skills’. Passes wise  only Yaya Toure,  Arteta and Stevie G la made more passes than our dependable anchorman this campaign. Barry combines a great range of passing and good cover for Baines’ attacking forays with being able to do the dirty side of things – something he isn’t scared to do as his bookings haul will testify. The only worry is his age and in some games at the end of the campaign  - particularly against Southampton –  he carried the look of a post-session Jan Molby as quicker, more nimble customers buzzed in and around him. Still well worth a 1 year deal.

#3 Leighton Baines – Bong Index Rating: 70.5%New Picture (80)

Performance Rating:  7.26 (Last Season 7.39)

Win % with 53% / Win % without 67%

Baines has had another consistent and productive season despite missing a chunk of games pre xmas. Going forward he has directly contributed to 9 goals; scoring 5 and assisting a further 4. He has adjusted to a different role in the side with our more patient build up play meaning crossing are no longer his raison d’être, and this has been reflected in the volumes of chances he has created, falling from 116 last season to just 49 this season. That’s a drop in his creation of our overall % of chances from 25% to 8%. His involvement also drops considerably when Pienaar – and to a lesser extent Osman – is not in the side, with players like McGeady and Deulofeu more interested in going for goal than with combination play. Also weighed in with 13 clean sheets and whilst he can sometimes be at fault in failing to cut out crosses he continues to be a huge player for us.

# 4 Tim Howard – Bong Index Rating: 69.7%New Picture (94)

Performance Rating 6.89 (Last Season 6.68)

Win % with 54%/ Win % without 100%

Howard registered another decent campaign particularly in adjusting admirably to the Martinez ‘philosophy’ of playing out from the back. His long kicks have been reduced by  shorter passes (length of distribution last season 40km / this season 33 km).

His pass accuracy has gone up for the 3rd season on the run (47%-60%) and overall he  is ranked #5 in the division for distribution. Has accrued 15 clean sheets – his second best return at L4 since the 17 in 08/09. In relation to his fellow keepers, Howard ranks #3 for saves and less impressively at #21 for claiming crosses. In terms of costly gaffes, he made 2 errors which led to goals which is down on the 4 last season.

#5 Romelu Lukaku – Bong Index Rating: 66.5%New Picture (90)

Minutes Played: 2468 Performance Rating: 7.29 (Last Season 6.94)

Win % with 62% / Win % without 33%

Scorer of the most goals (15)  in a season by an Everton forward since Yakubu’s 2008 haul although there is a feeling that he didn’t quite fulfil his early promise with his strike rate dwindling after he initially bagged 7 goals in his first 8 games.

He was particularly important against the top sides, scoring home and away against both Man City and Arsenal as well as plundering 2 vs the RS. His absence in the Spurs, Chelsea and RS away games all ended in high possession for the Blues but no cutting edge  in front of goal.

He has bags of ability particularly in beating his man with searing pace and due to his size he can win his fair share of headers. However, he doesn’t move his feet very quickly for aerial runs on goal and his link play can often be a tad Anichebe. Also, for someone so big he can be way too easy to mark and hasn’t improved his ability to do the hard stuff such as buying fouls and unsettling rubbish defenders etc.

Lukaku  is still young, though, and whilst he’s nowhere near as good as he thinks he is he’s still as good a forward that we’ve had for a few years.

# 6 Sylvain Distin – Bong Index Rating: 66.5%New Picture (85)

Performance Rating: 7.25 (Last Season 7.16)

Win % with 61% / Win % without 20%

Senior statesman of the back line and arguably had his most consistent season since joining the club, making the most appearances and committing the fewest errors of any of our centre backs .  The narrative pre season was that he would struggle with the increased emphasis on playing out from the back, but he has embraced it and has rarely been caught out with his passes per game up from 33 last season to 47 per game this season. Still as good a covering defender as you will find in the top flight and his ‘phenomenal physicality’ shows no sign of relenting.

#7 James McCarthy-  Bong Index Rating: 64.2%New Picture (96)

Performance Rating:  7.14 (Last Season 6.91)

Win % With 58% / Win % Without 43%

A key cog in the defensive midfield clamp with Gareth Barry. His capacity to get up and down the pitch has been vital as has been his ability to regain possession high up the pitch, crucially missed in the first half v Palace at Goodison. Provides excellent cover for Coleman and despite not being a great tackler has the engine to wear opponents down with his relentless pressing and has  blocked more shots than any of his teammates.

Also very efficient in retaining possession albeit he could be more forward thinking at times with his passing. Despite only showing flashes of dynamism in the final third so far he has the tools to get a lot better in this area, and perhaps just  needs to believe in himself a tad more. A great first season.

#8 Phil Jagielka –  Bong Index Rating: 56.5%New Picture (81)

 Performance Rating: 7.25 (Last Season 7.17)

Win % with 46%  / Win % without 75%

Club skipper missed the best run of results in the season due to injury. In the 11 games missed after Christmas  we conceded slightly more with him in the side (1.11 per game v 0.81 per game). Despite this he would still be one of the first names on the teamsheet and whilst Stones has been very good he is still quite raw and makes mistakes so expect Jagielka and Distin to remain ‘first picks’ next season.

# 9 Kevin Mirallas – Bong Index Rating: 54.0%New Picture (83)

 Performance Rating 7.06 (Last Season 6.98)

Win % 46 %with /  Win % without 70%

Mirallas had a hugely productive season, being directly involved in 16 goals from 28 starts (an improvement on last season;s figures of 9 from 23) due largely to his outputs from set plays. In comparison to his peers he has created the fifth most goals from an attacking midfielder in the league, and has directly assisted a third of Lukaku’s goals.

After being subbed in nearly every game last season his fitness levels have improved and many of his key contributions have come in the latter stage of games. His best performance in a blue shirt  was in the demolition of Arsenal at Goodison and this should be his benchmark for next season.

#10 John Stones – Bong Index Rating: 53.6%New Picture (97)

 Performance Rating:  6.83 (Last Season N/A)

Win % with 67 %  / Win % without 48%

One of the stand out young performers despite only getting a regular run in the second half of the season. Against his defensive peers in the league he is ranked 7th for pass completion and beats his man more than any other centre back in the division. His tackling ability is particularly good, very rarely going to ground and making just 3 fouls all season – the lowest of any defender in the league. It’s also worth noting that he had the best aerial success of anyone in the squad. There are still plenty of areas to work on in terms of positional play, and his 4 errors was the most per game   but overall in terms of his  ‘footballing maturity’ he  is well ahead of schedule.

# 11 Ross Barkley – Bong Index Rating: 47.9%New Picture (93)

Performance Rating: 6.97 (Last Season 6.45)

Win % with 56%/ Win % without 54%

Barkley has emerged as a key performer for the Toffees with some virtuoso displays mixed with some crud ones, often showing the inconsistency you’d expect of someone so young. The stats don’t really do young Barkley justice as his key skills, namely his touch to receive in tight areas and drive into space, isn’t really quantifiable by the data, nor is his ‘genuine footballing arrogance’ .

He is the 5th most fouled player in the division which gives an indication of how opponents look to deal with him –  3 of these fouls led to us scoring a set piece goal. Has also weighed in with some truly magnificent goals of his own and individual moments of brilliance on the ball with both feet. If there is a criticism other than his youthful impulsiveness it’s that he sometimes holds onto the ball too long and can make the wrong decision – perhaps a development area for next season –   but that’s being really picky on the young scamp.

#12 Leon Osman – Bong Index Rating: 47.6%New Picture (88)

Performance Rating: (Last Season 7.20)

Win % with 59 % / Win % without 45%

Long serving Osman has had to adapt to a different and less significant role in the squad this campaign (his minutes played is well down on last season) although he has played a part in every single game. Has adapted brilliantly and is still one of the most useful players in the squad at finding space in the final third particularly late in games when opponents tire. He has played a more attacking midfield role as second fiddle to Barkley and his chance created per min rate has duly gone up to a chance created every 80 minutes from last season’s 127 minutes.

#13 Steven Naismith – Bong Index Rating: 47.1%New Picture (89)

Performance Rating 6.58 (Last Season 6.40)

 Win % with 62% / Win % without 52%

Martinez has said Naismith was too concerned with the defensive side of the games last season and since the turn of the year he has been a different proposition to what we had  seen under Moyes when he was predominantly asked to ‘do a job’ at right midfield. Has been positionally and tactically flexible, playing in all 4 of the forward berths and has been directly involved in seven goals (including 4 as an impact sub)and bagged the winner vs Chelsea as well as a vital goal in the win over Arsenal and a  pivotal display in the home win vs Man Utd.

Has the second best goals per minute ratio behind Lukaku and his display in the second half at Fulham was as good as you will ever get from a substitute. Decent in the air with good vision and (when playing as the out-and-out forward)  puts in a great shift in respect to the donkey work, always working defenders and winning free kicks – Lukaku take note. Unquestionably the most improved player this season.

#14 Bryan Oviedo – Bong Index Rating: 44.7%New Picture

Performance Rating: 7.38  (Last Season 6.15)

Win % with 63% / Win % without 53%

Came into the side during Baines injury and did himself proud during arguably our most fluid period of the season and was directly involved in 4 goals including the winner at Old Trafford. His tackling win rate (68%) has been the best at the club this season.

#15 Gerard Deulofeu – Bong Index Rating: 43.2%New Picture (82)

Performance Rating 6.60 (Last Season N/A)

Win % with 67% / Win % without 52%

Deulofeu has been brilliant and awful in equal measure,  often in the same game. Generally afforded the luxury of playing as a wide forward with no defensive responsibilities, he has been very ‘head down’ in his forward play and due to his age is impulsive with poor judgement and composure.

His link up play with other forwards has been pretty much non-existent, posting the 8th fewest passes per game of any player in the league although his output in the final third has been good, directly involved in 6 goals making him the joint most prolific assister per min with Mirallas. Can often slow down attacks and despite his superior pace he  struggles physically against fullbacks; he is the most prolific dribbler in the squad but has the worst dribble completion rate in the squad at 46%.  Likely to be back at L4 next season.

# 16 Aiden McGeady- Bong Index Rating: 37.0%New Picture (84)

Performance Rating 6.50 (Last Season 6.80)

Win % with 75% / Win % without 53%

Introduced at the mid way point of the season and has shown some promising flashes in the games he has appeared in, notably in creating crucial goals against West Ham and Fulham. Very good in 1 v 1′s – he’s attempted the  second most dribbles per 90 mins (4.25) – and looks like a decent option from the bench and for the Europa League next season.

#17 Steven Pienaar –  Bong Index Rating: 33.5%New Picture (92)

Performance Rating 6.80 (Last Season 7.13)

Win % with 37% / Win % without 74%

Has been less involved this campaign due to injury and a shift in our attacking approach, creating a chance every 61 minutes to last season’s 42. Is perhaps a victim of our slower build up play and the reduced emphasis of his left sided axis with Baines. Still a crucial cog to us sustaining pressure in the opposition half and in bringing the best out of Baines in dangerous areas. His age is against him but hopefully he can contribute a significant chunk next season and Everton are still a much better team with him in the first eleven.

#18 Antolin Alcaraz – Bong Index Rating: 18.0%New Picture (86)

Performance Rating 7.04 (Last Season 6.97 )

Win % with 20% /  Win % without 61%

Struggled in the few occasions he got onto the pitch, notably in the derby hammering and in the crucial Southampton game when he put through his own net. Decent cameo’s against Man Utd at Goodison and is a semi-competent ressie. On the negative side he has  only started 13 games in last 76  due to his various  injury problems and like an ageing  horse it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was taken out to the back yard and shot in the head during the summer. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

The rest….

Work shy strikers Lacina Traore and Arouna Kone managed no league starts between them although it would appear both are in Martinez plans for next season. Whilst Traore’s injury is relatively minor it is Kone’s second major op and you wonder what kind of state he will be in when he comes back. Joel Robles made 1 sub and 1 full appearance in the league, being pretty much redundant in one and letting in a clanger in the other, although it’s his flap-attack in the cup at Arsenal he will be most remembered for. Darren Gibson managed just 27 minutes of league action all season and whilst he was initially ace for us it remains to be seen if he has the correct mentality to push himself back into first pick territory with the bar well and truly raised since Martinez took control. Ressie-ressie full backs Tony Hibbert and Luke Garbutt each made one substitute appearance.

Thats all for now.

Enjoy the summer!

 EB

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3 thoughts on “The Bong Index 2013/14

  1. A tremendous season in so many ways and one that I did not see coming. I had my doubts about Martinez (and aired some of them in comments on here) but I guess I will have to serve myself a large piece of humble pie after I have finished posting here. Your ‘Bong Index’ is interesting and as you have said, is open to scrutiny. However, what is not in doubt, are your comments about the players – perceptive and ‘right on the money.’ Coleman has been ace and Distin has amazed me with his consistency. The Barry and McCarthy axis has been superb, and I for one cannot wait to see McCarthy go from strength to strength in a blue shirt. Ross Barkley needs to find that better level of consistency but also chip in with a few more goals. Barry is worth a one year punt but Martinez would do well to see if there is a better long term option out there to partner McCarthy. I hope Gibson will be able to return and slot in but I wonder if the injury he has sustained will impede his future impact. Defensively, Alcaraz needs to go. I know injuries have curtailed large sections of the campaign but this was an area that should not have come as a surprise given his propensity to prop up the physio table at Wigan. When he has played, he has looked vulnerable at best. Another centre – half (preferably in the age bracket of 25 – 27) would be a shrewd move as this would work well with the experience of Jags and Distin, and help the youthful promise of Stones. The central striking position remains an issue. Whilst Naisy has got up to some nuisance in the ‘false 9′ role, we need two new strikers. I would like to see Lukaku at Goodison but I suspect that his transfer fee will be too prohibitive. I know some of his contributions have been fitful and the hold play up suspect, but the lad seems to know where the net is. However, I suspect we will go elsewhere. Kone’s signing has been the only blot on the Martinez copybook; another major injury (he’d had previous in this area) and a look of a man who couldn’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo was topped off by the best part of £6 million to purchase him. We’ll be lucky to offload him for free in the summer. McGeady also needs to step up and try and shake off the look of someone who would fit in well in your local PowerLeague 5 – a – side but not in your starting 11.

    Anyway, that’s me done but just like to go on record by thanking EB for some brilliant writing throughout the season. Sunday nights have become a constant check to see whether the blog has the new update on what went before on the Saturday. A personal highlight (of which there were many) was the transfer wipe article; the vitriol was on a different level. I showed a Gooooner at work the site and he said that he could only wish there was a blog that gave the same level of analysis to Wenger’s mob. Nice one.

  2. Here, here. As ever an excellent post on the premier Everton/football blog. Looking forward to reading your reports next year as much as watching our slick passing games. Has being an Everton fan become a pleasure? This is new ground indeed.

    My only criticism is taking a frickin’ Russia jolly during the Season! Not on Bongy lad. (Apologies for the “light” twitter stalking. I was desperate for the Arsenal match write up.)

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