There’s nothing quite like the controversy that after-match player ratings cause on social media following a Sunderland game - fact is, whilst we do them for a bit of fun they’re often taken a little too seriously.
Even still, we hold our hands up - we get it wrong from time to time, and it’s actually useful seeing the feedback we get on some of our marks. It helps to understand a wider range of opinions on Sunderland’s performance and sometimes even gives us the opportunity to reflect further than just forming an opinion based on the first watch through of a game.
So, in an attempt to rationalise our player ratings we’ve came up with a set of criteria which might better explain what they actually mean - in particular, how achieving a 10/10 is almost impossible, but also how getting a 6/10 actually means you played quite well.
Without further ado, here they are - we’re big lads with broad shoulders, so feel free to barrage us with abuse on Twitter (though you should definitely single out Connor, he deserves it).
Achieving a perfect score indicates an absolutely incredible, flawless performance. If you ever look at a player after a game and think “aye, that lad might’ve just had the game of his life”, then give him a 10/10.
The fact is, though, that it should be almost impossible to achieve this mark - though don’t hold it against us if we get swept up in the emotion of a particularly enjoyable performance and just award it to Chris Maguire for the hell of it.
This indicates a brilliant performance in which a player was consistently excellent and instrumental to us either winning the match or getting a result from it.
Generally, this would be awarded to an outfield player who scores any combination of 2+ goals and assists, or makes a high number of crucial tackles to keep us in the game. For a goalkeeper, this would be awarded for a significantly high number of saves that are both crucial and demonstrative of impressive reflexes.
Think Jurgen Macho at Anfield, or Stan Varga against Arsenal - catch my drift?
If a player scores an 8, it indicates that they’ve delivered a very good performance.
For example, they’d be awarded this score having shown great skill and determination and will have been one of if not the most significant contributor to defensive or attacking duties – likely making a good number of crucial tackles or nabbing a goal and/or assist.
We’ll often award a player an 8 if they’ve managed to stand out when facing a particularly tough opposition player - this season, for example, we’ve given a fair few of these to Jack Baldwin, Jon McLaughlin and Lee Cattermole because, more often than not, they’ve been able to allow their quality to shine through in difficult fixtures away from home.
Unless Sunderland have well and truly battered someone - and, in fairness, it’s not like we do that very often - you can expect that our top performers might come out at around this mark.
Whilst it’s still a very good score, a 7 indicates an above-average performance. A player awarded this score will have looked solid and dependable for at least the majority of the game, and might have even nabbed a goal or assist without being particularly outstanding.
Josh Maja has collected a few of these this season, generally because he’s the man that has came up with the goods in the majority of games whilst not having a particularly outstanding game - and that’s no slight on him, but more an indication of his worth to the side.
Sunderland have a fair few players that float around this mark most weeks - at its core, achieving a 7 is about where you’d expect most players to average out come the end of the season if we’re going to achieve promotion. It indicates they’ve put a shift in every week, with their effort and competitive edge often seeing them emerge on top during duels with an opposition player.
Perhaps the most contentious of marks - a 6 indicates that a player has had a decent, if unremarkable performance.
You’ll often find George Honeyman picking up a 6 in our after-match ratings as, generally speaking, he goes about his business on the pitch in an efficient manner without particularly standing out.
People often mistake a 6 as being a negative score, but it isn’t. If someone achieves a 6 it usually means they’ve done okay. They won’t have done anything substantially wrong and will have looked a solid enough component of the team for the most part – however, some aspect of their game will likely have been somewhat lacking and could be improved.
Indicates a below average performance. This is the type of score generally awarded to players who never really get properly involved in the game without doing anything seriously or noticeably wrong. A player with a 5/10 score won’t have made any drastically consequential errors, but they will have seldom contributed anything substantially positive to the game.
Now we’re stepping into awkward territory.
Scoring a 4 usually indicates that a player has had a bad day at the office - generally, they will have lacked a core fundamental expected of a player in their role, and this will be to the detriment of his team, although the team may not have necessarily suffered horribly because of it.
If we’re handing out 4s, you better believe we’re expecting that player to either pull their finger out in the next game or for Jack Ross to take them out of the team in place of someone else waiting for an opportunity to play.
Urgh... a 3 indicates that a player has performed terribly.
Someone with this score will have lacked one or more of the core fundamentals expected of a player in their role, and the team will have suffered greatly because of it.
They may have made a decision or an omission of a decision which has cost their team the game - if not, they will have just looked generally and consistently poor.
Think Jake Clarke-Salter against Preston, or Robbin Ruiter at home to Millwall last season - actually, don’t... you may uncontrollably vomit all over your smartphone.
Earning the lowly mark of two indicates an absolutely horrendous performance - a player with this score will have been poor in almost every aspect and will have done at least one thing to cost their team the game.
Anything resembling Kirchhoff’s debut at Tottenham, or Jason Steele away to Ipswich.
We once gave every single player 0/10, after the 8-0 drubbing at Southampton in 2014.
I don’t really think that there’s any criteria for receiving a 0/10. Getting yourself red carded seconds after coming onto the pitch maybe? Failing to touch the ball even once?
It’s toughie. Hopefully, we’ll never be in a position where that’s even a thing.