Rating systems play an important part in professional sports, for example, as a source of entertainment for fans, by influencing decisions regarding tournament seedings, by acting as qualification criteria, or as decision support for bookmakers and gamblers. Creating good ratings at a team level is challenging, but even more so is the task of creating ratings for individual players of a team. This paper considers a plus–minus rating for individual players in soccer, where a mathematical model is used to distribute credit for the performance of a team as a whole onto the individual players appearing for the team. The main aim of the work is to examine whether the individual ratings obtained can be split into offensive and defensive contributions, thereby addressing the lack of defensive metrics for soccer players. As a result, insights are gained into how elements such as the effect of player age, the effect of player dismissals, and the home field advantage can be broken down into offensive and defensive consequences.
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