27 Feb 2013

LFC legend insists: 'Outstanding' £35m star is 'world class'. Better than Suarez...?

Tottenham winger Gareth Bale is having a outstanding season for Spurs, and with 19 goals/7 assists so far, the Wales International's importance to the London club is clear to see. Bale grabbed another two goals in Spurs' 3-2 win over West Ham the other night, and after the game, Liverpool legend Dietmar Hamann called for the 23-year old to be handed the player of the year award.

After witnessing Bale score another stunning goal in the 90th minute at Upton park, Hamann labelled Bale 'world class', and enthused:

"The way Bale walks past players is a joy to watch. What a player he has become. It's outstanding the way he hits them [shots]. If Bale doesn't win player of the year im done with it [the award]"

Hamann is not the only ex-Red who's part of the Bale fan club. In his column for The Mirror last week, Lawro hailed £35m-rated Bale as 'brilliant' and praised him for 'winning games on his own' and 'inspiring players around him to raise their game'. He enthused:

"He [Bale] is to Tottenham what Messi and Ronaldo are to Real Madrid and Barcelona. People scoff at the comparison but Bale is on an upward curve towards that kind of greatness. He is just as important to Spurs as they are to their clubs"

Most Liverpool fans will probably argue that Luis Suarez deserves the 'player of the year' award. Hamann seems to disagree, as do I (surprise, eh?) The Uruguayan should definitely be in the running, but given Liverpool's situation - out of all cup competitions and way off the pace in the Premier League - it's hard to see how Suarez's individual contribution has made a palpable difference to Liverpool.

As for Bale being 'world class'. Using my own personal definition of world class ability, Bale have a long way to go before he reaches that level.

The Three Levels of Football

In Europe, there are clearly three levels of top-class professional football:

* DOMESTIC: Top National Leagues.

* EUROPEAN: Elite European Competitions (Champions League, or equivalent)

* WORLD: International Tournaments (Qualifying and finals)

World Class: My Definition

A player cannot be considered World Class unless and until:

* He excels for his team - i.e. has a specific, measurable impact (SMI) - at all three levels of football.

* He dominates games in his position and pushes his team to relative success at all three levels.

Relative Success

Context is everything, and the following should be considered when assessing players:

* The team's relative strength in comparison to other teams in the league/group.
* The team's Optimum Achievement Level (OAL)
* Causation: The player's causal contribution to his team's OAL.

Key questions:

* What is the OAL of this team in a given competition? In other words, considering the overall quality of players available, what is the absolute best this team can realistically expect to achieve?

* To what extend did the player in question help the team to meet its OAL?

* But for the player under consideration, would the team still have achieved its OAL?

Issues to Consider

* SMI at all three levels is required; high achievement in two out of three levels is not good enough.

* I consider International tournament football to be the highest level of football; it is arguably the most mentally demanding, and only the very best can consistently perform under that level of pressure. The hopes of a nation on a player's shoulders, and this is massive pressure.

* A variety of objective, position-specific criteria should be used when assessing the SMI of players. For example, for attacking players: Goals; assists; conversion rate; key passes; shot-assists; passing accuracy etc. For defenders: goals conceded; blocks; aerial duels won; tackle success rate etc.

* A player's individual SMI is all important. How far did the player contribute to the team achieving its OAL? If you remove the player's SMI from the equation, would the team still achieve its OAL? If so, then that player is probably not world class. Truly world class players are absolutely integral to their team's success, to the extent that, without that player, the team would not achieve its OAL.

In Bale's case, he's clearly excelled at domestic level, and with 8 goals in qualifying competitions for Wales (so far), he's on his way to proving his worth for Wales (in relative terms), but overall, he has not yet achieved a consistent SMI at the European or International level football.

Is Bale better than Suarez though? If you had a straight choice, which of the two would you take? Objectively speaking, the OPTA stats show:

* Suarez is ahead of Bale when it comes to attacking, and his stats for goals/assists/chances created/passing accuracy in the opposition half etc, are all superior.

* Bale is no slouch in the attacking department (!), but he's head and shoulders above Suarez when it comes to the defensive side of his game.

Some may find this surprising, but if I had to choose, I'd rather have Suarez. Bale is an even worse diver than the Uruguayan, and five bookings for diving this season proves that. Plus, Suarez's main job is to score and create goals, and he does that fantastically well.

Read more: World Class Football Performance: A New Definition (Includes exceptions)

NOTE: Please stick to the Comment Policy (Click to read)


  1. He is good and he keeps improving. Unfortunately for him, like Giggs, he'll probably never get a chance to showcase his talents on the world stage.

    Now, the question is, would I have him at Liverpool? Absolutely!

    If I won Euromillions, I'd pay for his transfer and contract myself!

  2. who would i rather Bale or Suarez? i cant decide! my mouth keeps watering thinking of the two of them in the same team!!!
    Liverpool would dominate! We'd get to see lots of goals! Jaimie could right about more dives! EVERYONE WINS!! (except Tottenham)

  3. You will most likely have neither next season.

  4. both class players but for me its suarez he has played sides on is own at times this season but i would not begrudge bale winning

  5. Lads I dont think he's suggesting Bale would want to come to us. I think thats a bit above our station.

    He's euro class going on the above. Same as Luis. Both could be world class one day but, alas, not at their present clubs. Need a bigger stage.

  6. well m8 we will definitley not be bidding for bale and as for suarez you may well be right

  7. A little unfair to use international football as criteria to judge some players as world class, george best, ian rush etc all played for minnows at international level, bale has still managed to do ok in a poor wales team, i think he will definitely test himself abroad at some time & id still expect him to be a rare british success. Great player but yes, a terrible diver.

  8. hate to say it but bales got more chance at spurs

  9. They both dive. The difference is that Suarez elbows, gouges, stamps, spits and bites too.

  10. So Bale has no chance of becoming World Class because he's Welsh because they are never going to make it to big Tournaments? They could have Messi playing for them and still not do anything because of the level of the rest of their players. You're expelling players from your ranking system due to where they are born.

  11. Guess I'm the only one, but I actually find Bale slightly overrated. Every shot he takes goes in. Take away that and he's much more ordinary, a rich man's Riise, if you like.

  12. As a Spurs fan, while I love Bale as a player, he is at times way too greedy, and showed against Lyon, that his defending needs a lot of work. My vote for player of the season would go to RVP, as he is the reason United are where they are, though Suarez does the same sort of thing for Liverpool, and if it wasn't for him, Liverpool may well be struggling to be in the top half of the league, as him and Gerrard drive Liverpool on.

  13. Who cares about Bale we have suarez but this sesion then all past if the owners dont go sign 5 top line player suarez will be our next torres . Then we will cry again . Every single EPL fan out there who talk shit about Suarez would have him in there team anyday anyday . suarez never walk alone FSG team looking good need few great players not muchwe have to look at future and stevie gerrard not getting younger we need world class for him . allen shelvey not it.

  14. Same as you then.

  15.  25 goals by Suarez says it all. There's a video of all 25 goals I just watched. Suarez is like poetry in motion at times. Unfortunately Spurs have a better team and will most likely finish 3rd or 4th but Bale hasn't done as much as Suarez, and Suarez doesn't take penalties which makes his 25 goals more impressive, also been playing with a bunch of kids most of the season.

  16. Istanbul 5 times bitch1:27 pm, February 27, 2013

     Who did Suarez spit on you lying knob..

  17. Both great players, but bale's goals look class :)

  18. "every shot he takes goes in" !! You numpty that means he IS world class LOL.

  19. No, JD, you just haven't understood the criteria. Relative success is the key here, plus Optimum Achievement Level (OAL)

  20. I think Michu is player of the year.
    But there are some pretty good contenders for it.

  21. This makes absolutley no sense....

  22. Bale and Suarez may need to move to different clubs to fully reach that potential but with the massive price tags that come with these players who can buy them? In this country maybe only City and Chelsea could afford the £50m plus it will cost to sign just one of these players. Abroad maybe only PSG, Bayern and Real Madrid. After watching Bayern last week I don't really see where Suarez would fit into that team. Bale obviously would fit in on the left or right but they already have Ribery, Muller and Robben. All very good players in there own right. Do they need him? For Real Madrid in Suarez's position they have Benzema and Higuain. Even if they played him deeper they have Ozil who plays there. Is Suarez better than those three? In Bales position they have a certain Ronaldo and in my opinion an excellent Di Maria so they are pretty much set. I can't really see either Bale or Suarez moving to France because I believe the league isn't strong enough there and in my opinion a step back. So that brings us back to Chelsea or City, I'm discounting United because I don't believe the American owners would sanction such a massive deal. City already have Tevez and Aguero, two very similar players to Suarez. City do however lack width and the addition of Bale would improve them massively. Finally Chelsea, we all know they need a striker but probably need an out and out striker rather than somebody who comes deep like Suarez. Probably somebody like Falcoa would suit them. They too have good options wide in Hazard, Moses and Mata. What I'm trying to say is that while Bale and Suarez may need and want to move on to truly become world class I think they both might find the options limited come the summer..

  23. Nice rent a quote Didi a few bob for Cheltenham - but right for once.

  24. If we could find a player who sat on the side of the pitch smoking Benson & Hedges for 80 minutes but, for that last 10 (or whenever) he had 3 or 4 shots at goal which all went it, I'd be over the moon. 

    Were you being sarcastic by any chance there?

    (please tell me you were, because if you were serious, then that's one of the dumbest things ever said in the history of the spoken word!)

  25. Why so sensible?

  26. Mmmm, it's a hard call for player of the year. I think a good question to ask is what is expected of a team, where are they most likley to finish in the league and what cups should they win. Manu are expected to win the league or come second, so has rvp really done anything above expectation??? anything exceptional.    So if a team finishes above expectation because of one player.... Might be better candidate for player of the year.

    As for world class players. George best never achieved international acclaim, peter schmichael there are plenty of players who are good enough to be world class but dont fit in to certain peoples criteria.

    A rigid system always falls short as a guide for decision making.

  27. My take on 'world class', is whether they would compete to get in a world 11, and i'd say 'yes'. As for who's better etc, i think they're both totally different but i'd rather have Luis all day long.

  28. I would say based on your criteria, he isnt far off world class.
    Bale has pretty much got Spurs the where they are now, by himself, and he has helped Wales achieve a bit more than before. I think its going to be pretty tough for him to make much of an impact with Wales, because you can only carry a team so far.
    The most success Wales would get is probably qualification for a major Tournament, and I think if they do, it would be down to Bale (mostly).

  29. Thats a good way of looking at it. But I think there would be a few people ahead of him in his position, as he would be contending with the likes of Ronaldo, Messi etc, as they play similar roles.

  30. Totally agree, Will. Wales' OAL is (arguably) qualification for a major tournament, and if Bale drives them to that at some point, he'll fulfill the international part of the definition.

  31. Correct. But it's not like Bale's important to us or anything....

  32. ChampsWinnerTraore2:29 pm, February 27, 2013

    World Class to most people is either getting into a world 11 team or based on a players success at club or international level

    The term world class is applied to vaguely these days yh bale is the man on form right now but would he make my world 11 over Ronaldo No is he achieving anything at club level No so why is he world class ? Because he scoring goals like every other winger should be doing and getting the same points i dont think so.

    Great talent though and will get better but until he starts winning things i will not give him that kind of credit i mean after all form is tempoary

    My PFA choice if the season ended today

    1.RVP for practically winning the league for utd
    2.Suarez tremendous impact on the team liken it to RVP at arsenal last season
    3.Bale dno realy lool

    And thers is no way if we had bale in our team instead of Suarez we would be where we are in the league atm

  33. Bale is certainly a good talented match winner.

    World class?

    Not yet. He still has load to prove. But if he carries on then he will become one. How many wingers in the PL get more than 15 goals a season? Bale is a wonderful player.

    Now let's see if he can pull them performances for Wales too.

    Spurs to win the Europa League and to finish 3rd.

  34. Love the username mate :)

  35. ChampsWinnerTraore2:58 pm, February 27, 2013

    Thanks M8 it still makes me laugh he got a medal in 2005 looool

  36. I think we are all missing the real main question here.  It's not a question of whether Christian Bale is player of the year.  

    The real question is:

    If Joe Allen is the Welsh Xavi, what does that make Christian Bale?

  37. I'm not sure its a tough one to choose,as for player of the year I dont think RVP should get it because if you look around on that team the quality players that surround him is top drawer,Bale,Suarez and Michu dont have that same quality of players in their respective teams,I'l be surprised if RVP doesn't get it but I think someone else deserves it

  38. ChampsWinnerTraore3:31 pm, February 27, 2013

    In a perfect world it would be Michu but he's not won the league and thats why i think RVP will win i mean Michu has a strong case bargain at 2.5mil moving into a new league and winning the league cup scoring X amount of goals

    I remember in 2009 when they gave it to giggs ahead of alonso because they won the league and alonso was much the best player in the country form wise that year

  39. Lol, you make him sound like hannibal lecter mate

  40. Yeah that's a fair point,If RVP does get it I wont be too bothered because he sort of has wont he league for united but if he was in our team or spurs or any other team for that matter Im not sure he would have been a prolific,Suarez and Bale can make their own goals RVP need chances created for him

  41. ChampsWinnerTraore4:31 pm, February 27, 2013



  42. A world class player could simply mean a player able to get into any team in the world, always likely to feature in "World XI's"/dream teams. You simply cannot deny that Bale is one of the best left wingers in the world. This is not just my opinion, it is generally agreed upon. Since Gareth Bale plays for Wales, it is extremely unlikely he will ever have much of an impact on the international stages of the Word Cup and the European Championship, but he has single-handedly rescued his country and his club on occasion. He has proved his class in the EPL, one of the strongest leagues in the world and also in the Champions League. I don't understand how you can argue he is not world class given his performances over the last couple of seasons. Never mind historical context; in the here and now, Bale is world class.

  43. It's a shame laurel and hardy didn't back Benitez when he wanted Bale....

  44. No. Bale is a good player, but, nowhere near as good as Suarez.

  45. Good post. Interesting to read your definition of world class. However I do find it flawed. What Liverpool players past and present would you consider world class Jamie?

  46. Think I'm trying to convince myself that Suarez won't leave. I'd be gutted....

  47. The Welsh Ronaldo.

    You clearly have managed to avoid the lazy tabloid journalism the rest of us are subjected to.

    Nice job.

  48. I wouldn't go for Bale. He is shit hot right now, but so was Mata earlier in the season. Suarez and RVP are the only two to consistently perform over the whole season. Some of Bale's best performances have been in Europe too, which shouldn't count for a league award.

    I think RVP should probably win, since he is the most consistent but I'm reluctant to give it to him because he lacks the fantasy element that Bale and Suarez bring to a game. RVP just does things well, which is obviously much harder than it looks, but he doesn't get you off your seat like Bale or Suarez.

    If Suarez outscores RVP, I think he is the only fair choice for POTY, but I don't see that happening.

    Too early to talk about this anyway.

  49. Bale has been briiliant of late. Really impressed, considering once he was demoted to the reserves as he struggled to perform at left back (I think) and close to being loaned out. Has improved in the last two seasons. Patience and giving him time to learn about his own game has been key in his development. I guess the same can go for another player that was young at Spurs, Boateng, who has been a productive player for Milan. Taarabt, to a lesser extent too. Mavericks some might say. Want to see more from Bale, in terms of expansiveness, especially in slow tempo games against compact teams. Can't keep relying on the counter attack and long shot weapons all the time, unless you are devastatingly reliable like Ronaldo. Was very quiet for most of the game against Lyon in the second leg (yep, he still , even though they didn't make a big effort to single him out, instead they defended compactly and denied space. Definitely heading in the right direction though, his development. Gets a bit over the top, the media hype on him but he is now justifying quite a bit of it. Still take Suarez over him, for now anyway. What I love about Suarez is his movement and the way it creates space for everyone else. Not the nutmegs, not the solo goals, not the one-twos but the off-the-ball movement is just so useful and not all that common in players. In a better side in terms of player quality, he could be so much more useful. I guess the same could be said of Bale, to be fair. Though doesn't always work out that way, that old notion that better the team, the better the player does.

  50. Mate what are you talking about ..? Mata is stiil 'shit hot' and has consistently been one of the best player's in the PL this season.. full stop.

    I agree with some of the other points in your post but pointing out some of Bales best performances were in Europe surely only strenghtens the argument that he's world class .. which he is .. which is the thrust of this post ..

    Bale has improved season on season.. He has undoubtedly reached 'world class level',anybody claiming he's not has a very poor grasp of football.. or are being jealously argumentitive because of the Suarez comparison question..

  51. gareth bale is vey good. should not be put on the same class level as suarez though. stats mean nothing, everyone knows luis suarez from world cup, copa america, premier league and champions league. bale is good, better than suarez, i dont doubt it, i know for a FACT he aint. any liverpool fan who says bale is better has clearly lost their mind

  52. I never questioned his quality, I just said that performances in one competition shouldn't influence the award for another competition.

    Mata is not still 'shit hot'. He is playing well, but he isn't winning games on his own like RVP, Suarez and Bale consistently are. At the start of the season he was. This is reflected in the fact that no one is mentioning him for POTY whereas they were at the start of the season. The fact that Bale has only seriously been considered this month shows that he has reached a new level of form that he wasn't achieving at the start of the season. Mata is the same but in reverse.

    He has still been one of my top 5 players this season though (with RVP, Suarez, Bale and Michu).

    If this doesn't convince you, I'm willing to hijack JK's site and post an exhaustive article defining what really constitutes 'shit hot', with acronyms and indices and matrices.

    I'm that nice of a guy.

  53. Peter Schmicel won Euro 92 with Denmark.. Proved for well over a decade that he was the best keeper in the PL and Champions league.. His status as world clas never has been or will be in doubt.. Personally the greatest keeper I've seen in my lifetime..

    Your right about Bestie though.. never had the oppurtunity to do it at International level at a major tournament.. Doesn't make him any less world class though does it

  54. You make a good point about fitting in to different teams. I think one of RVP's qualities, is that he can fit into any side and make them better. I also think that Suarez might do a better job of that than Bale (consider how well Sturridge and in the last game Coutinho managed to link up with him).

    To be fair to Bale though, the fact he has played, left back and all across the midfield in advanced roles, suggest he would be able to adapt too. Other than United (where I think he'd fit in very well), I can't think of a side that would be better for him than Tottenham.

  55. So you judge a player by what he wins...

    By that logic Jimmy Traore with his CL medal is better than Matt le Tisser !!!

    Think you need to change your criteria a bit mate..

  56. If he was playing for LFC you think anybody on here would be arguing he wasn't world class ??

  57. i know what you mean by that, mostly all his shots he gets goes in and he doesnt get many oppurtunities like maybe suarez would. if bale played for real madrid he wouldnt be the star he is like he is for tottenham. 1. he wont take free kicks as that is ronaldos job. 2. he will find it very hard to bench di maria with his natural role played by the best player in the world, ronaldo. 3.in real madrid, most of the players will either be ahead of him in ability or on a similar level, meaning he wont shine as much as he does for spurs.

    bale is very good and very talented and if he was to be given regular games at real madrid he will undoubtably make an impact. whether that impact is the same as at spurs im not sure but maybe over time. 

    bale is not overrated as he performs week in week out but he is slightly. since the performance against inter everyone has really hyped this lad up. and hes taken on the pressure to perform even better, he took the pressure as confidence. but he is not on suarez level. if suarez joined real madrid, his starting position is guarenteed. with bale this is definately not the case

  58. Your missing the point...

    This article isn't about who deserves player of the year..

    It's about whether Bale should or should not be conssidered world class and if he's better than Suarez.

    And Mata is still shit hot.. Prior to the city game, scored 3 in 3 .. Doesn't suggest a guy who's gone off the boil to me

  59. Only £35 million rated?

    Should be £50 million at least.

    There are very few players like him around that can take absolute advantage of a physical gap in opponent's defence and burst through it.

    Ronaldo, perhaps Zaha will show it for Man Utd.

    In the modern game where everyone is a supreme athlete there are very few who can peak above the rest like Bale does.

    Bale is approaching World Class, if not there already.

    Remember his hat trick in San Ciro?

  60. Nope, you're missing the point.

    The article may have a larger point about what constitutes world class but it also features a quote from Hamann saying Bale should be given the award. That is what I've commented on. I can comment on whatever I please, regardless of relevance, and furthermore, the thing I have commented on is in the opening paragraph of the article, so I'm hardly missing the point.

    Jaimie has posted his theory of what equals world class several times before. I have disagreed with it. There is no point in focussing on that since I've already dealt with it. The new information was Hamann talking about POTY. I've chosen to address that. I could write about whether I think he is better than Suarez or not, but I haven't. I've said Suarez has been more consistent this season.

    Also, since I've introduced the term 'shit hot' into the conversation, I'll also define it as I please. I never said Mata has gone off the boil. If you read my post, I write that he is playing well. I said Bale was 'shit hot' because he is the form player in the country and everyone is talking about him. He has gone from a dark horse for POTY to a favourite in some people's mind in the space of just over a month. No one is doing that about Mata. When was the last time someone said 'I think Mata's recent form will put him in with a big shout for POTY'? I read somewhere that Bale is now odds on favourite (I don't know if this is the general trend with the bookies, or whether it is one company) for the award thanks to his recent form.

    In the Mirror today, they did a thing saying who will win POTY and gave 3 options- Bale, Suarez and RVP. In the Mail the other day(I tried to find the article, but I couldn't, sorry), they asked their journos to write who they thought was Player of the Season and I don't remember a single person picking Mata. Before you say 'who cares what the papers say' there is a vote (for internet folk like us, it has had a few thousand votes) on the Telegraph site about who should win and Mata is in 5th with less than 3%. Bale is top with just over 50%.

    Now, I said Bale was shit hot and you argued that Mata also was. If Mata was in comparable form to Bale, do you think he'd be ignored by journalists and 48% less popular (with regards to POTY) with the public than Bale?

  61. I have no knowledge of your previous conversations with JK , therefore I'm not in a position to comment.

    What I did comment on, whilst also agreeing with some of your points I might add, was your assertion that Mata is no longer in shit hot form .

    This is simply not true.. He is .. Just because he's being overlooked in the same manner Silva was last year and Fabregas the year before for the award does not stand as any evidence or proof that he is not in shit hot form.

    You seem to think that because Bale has the popular vote at the moment Mata must be gone off form.. ?? simply no logic to this argument.

    Juan Mata IS shit hot .. has been since he arrived at Chelsea and continues to be right up to now..

    Present some evidence of your assertion that he is no longer in shit hot form and get back to me..

    Whilst I'm not saying he's player of the year,haven't made up my mind up yet, he's certainly in the running.. because he is and continues to be shit hot!! The man is Class with  capital C .

    Other people seem to think so too..
    http://www.sabotagetimes.com/reportage/forget-suarez-and-van-persie-chelseas-juan-mata-is-the-player-of-the-year/ ..

  62. Difficult to chose between Suarez and Bale. Would have been easier to chose who is the better diver actually.

  63. Between LFC and Spurs,LFC is more shining than spurs.They have Bale but still cannot winning the tittle.Just only winning the game.Only playing 2 seasen at UCL spurs want be proud many thing???hehehehe...... what a day dream it.

  64. I am delighted we have Suarez, a big fan in spite of his laps in judgement. But Bale obviously deserves that award. To score that many goals as a midfielder makes the difference for me. They both dive occasionally and they both are the most influential players in their team. But Bale is a midfielder so it's less obvious that he would have such a goal haul. It's an utter disgrace that our then owner(s) allowed Spurs to sign him ahead of us. Under the current owners, he'd be wearing red right now.

  65. Was Ryan Giggs world class at his peak? As he didn't not forfil your Criteria?

  66. I agree but its not just the first 11, i would say the top 5 in each position are world class as they could get to 1 on current form etc.

  67. Thought :: Bale as Long Term Replacement to Gerrard in Attacking Central Role.


  69. Bale is a awesome player, and it seems there is a trend, just Suarez he dives all the time, just like ronaldo and Messi, it seems for whatever reason in becoming one of the best players in the world, cheating goes hand in hand. I wonder why this is? Is it that extra passion you need to become the best which means cheating becomes apart of your game?

    Bale is on a par with Suarez imo. They play different positions, so I don`t think you can compare certain things, like goals scored, but for me, its all about if you were to pick a world 11, would Bale be in it, more than likely, same for Suarez, although Suarez maybe on the bench, due to the extra quality in competion in his position. 

  70. and thats y hes world class

  71. You seem to be reacting like I've said Mata is playing crap. I've already said that I think he has been one of the top 5 players in the league this season. My only assertion is that he is not currently in the same quality of form as Bale, nor has he been as consistently influential as RVP or Suarez.
    As for Silva last year, he was the front runner until the second half of the season.
    I don't know what you want: I've showed public opinion on who is in better form with the online vote. I've showed expert opinion (how it pains me to call them experts) with the journos. I've noted a mixture of the two with bookies odds.
    Here's some stats. I wrote that earlier in the season, Mata was shit hot. Here is his best 5 league game stretch from back then.
    Played: 5
    Scored: 4
    Assists: 5
    Here is his last 5 games:
    Played: 5
    Scored: 3
    Assists: 1
    So he went from 9 goals/assists in 5 games to 4 goals/assists in 5 games, meaning his productivity is less than half of when he was 'shit hot'. I haven't included cup competitions since this is the judgement for a league award but if you include any that were in the middle of those 5 game stretches, you get a fuller picture of form. So...:
    Shit-hot period:
    Played: 5
    Scored: 3
    Assists: 3
    Recent period:
    Played: 5
    Scored: 1
    Assists: 1
    So he has gone from 6 goals/assists in 5 games (or 15 in 10 if you want to include the league games) to 2 goals/assists in 5 games (or 6 goals/assists in 10 games).
    An argument that you might make is that since this is later in the season, the cup games have gotten more difficult, since the better teams would have progressed, but that isn't true in this case. The teams he played in his more fruitful period were: Shakhtar (twice- I don't know if you remember but they should have beaten Chelsea both times, but won once), FC Nordsjaelland, Wolves and Man United. In his other period, he played Swansea, then Sparta twice and Brentford twice, which I'd argue are easier games.

    Now Bale;

    In his 'shit hot' period:

    Played: 5
    Scored: 6
    Assists: 0

    If you include the cup games:

    Played: 3
    Scored: 2
    Assists: 1

    So in his 'shit hot period' he has 6 goals/assists in 5 games (or 9 in 8). If you contrast this with what I've deemed Mata's shit hot period and his recent period, you notice that the shit hot periods all result in a goals/assists ratio that is greater than the number of games played. 6 in 5 (or 9 in 8) for Bale and 9 in 5 (15 in 10) for Mata. Bale's past 5 games (6 in 5) compares favourably to Mata's (4 in 5) and moreso (though unnecessary) if you wish to consider the cup games (Bale's 9 in 8 to Mata's 6 in 10).

    So I've proven the following:
    That Mata's form earlier in the season has eclipsed his current form.

    That Bale's current form is more productive than Mata's current form.

    The second point is the difference between Mata's good form and Bale's shit hot form.

    I hope someone stumbles across this and wonders why two people are debating who is 'shit hot', haha!

  72. Indeed.. lol

    Just might add that one of those recent games you quote in those Mata stats he was brought on as sub with 10 mins to go.. Dog .. bone.. grrr LOL

    I'm not going to use the stats don't proove shit argument ..lol.. and certainly conceed Bale is in better form than Mata at this moment.

    He's prob my favourite player in the PL.. Just a personal taste for players like him.. which is why I prob got a bit defensive on the Mata !!! lol

  73. Fair enough.

    We can both agree that Mata is a great player and think about how spent more or less the same money on Stewart Downing.