Is Luis Palma A Celtic “Moneyball” Player? And What Does That Mean For Him And Us?

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Today, when Luis Palma went off, the commentator said something about his having nine assists for the season. I had known it was a good number but not as high as that.

When combined with his seven goals, that’s 16 contributions from him which have led to the ball going into the back of the net. He’s been at Celtic just a few months. He’s an exciting talent.

The guy he’s replacing in the Celtic side is, of course, Jota. We paid big money for Jota and we got big money back. But the question that intrigues me now is can Luis Palma prove to be our “Moneyball” player, doing in the team what Jota did but without the fanfare?

Jota is a better footballer than Palma. I think most of us would say that.

But does that necessarily mean that he will end up being as effective? Well, he was pretty damned effective if I’m being honest, and the numbers bear that out.

In his first season at Celtic, encompassing 40 matches, he scored 13 and set up another 14, for 27 goals in which he had a hand. In his second season, in 43 games, he scored 15 and set up another 12, for another 27 goal contributions.

It’s good, but Palma has his 16 in only 20 games … he’s ahead on the averages already, and if the second half of the season goes this well, he’s on course for more than 30 goals contributed to the team.

And that’s what the concept of Moneyball was all about.

You lose your big players and you know you can’t spend the kind of money on them that it would require to buy that same quality, so you try to “recreate them in the aggregate.”

You look for guys with big numbers and you sign them and hope that they can do for you what they’ve done elsewhere.

When Palma was being targeted by the Ibrox club, I looked at his stats and they made me very nervous for that exact reason.

Let me repeat; he is not as good as Jota, but it might well be that over the course of this campaign, he achieves Jota style numbers and perhaps even better … and that is interesting and exciting and should give pause to anyone who thinks we’ve got an inferior player here and wants to complain bitterly about it.

It might not necessarily matter whether he has Jota’s flare or ability to light up a match.

This guy might deliver where it really matters, in the hard numbers, the ones that contribute to league tables and title wins far more than natural flair does.

This is not a defence of the strategy. We all know its limitations and that it does not deliver for the needs of the manager as much as it might. But it doesn’t get everything wrong and there are times, in fact, when it gets things very, very right and this might well be one of those times.

We might not have a superior footballer, but we might have one who can deliver the goods just the same, and that over the course of a campaign is what matters.

We already know that he does.

Can he reach the magic numbers that Jota did?

I absolutely believe that he can, and that he will.

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  • goodghuy says:

    I thought todays performance was terrific, and I thought Palma had a good game. I thought Dundee were very lucky it was only 3-0, as it should have beat a lot more heavier than that, the stats were ridiculously one sided. If we were a bit it was more clinical with our decision making, that could and should have been a cricket score. I am far more positive going into next week, and I was positive anyways. The football we played today was far more like us, so I was very happy with that. HH

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    It won’t matter if we lose this critical title as they’d likely cash in just to make up the shortfall…

    But if he contrabutes to us regaining this most vital of Leagues then it’s been pure fab business indeed –

    But he wants to stop this sand dancing routine in the run up to penalties as it’s putting himself off as much as the goalies he’s facing…

    Straight down the middle on Saturday Mr Palma as Butland will dive East or West –

    Oh Fcuk – I forget it’s actually Hogmanay Day and not April Fools Day !

    • Pancho says:

      That was obviously the board’s plan since close season, let Sevco win the league and the 60 million they need to survive then the board sell all the prospects they bought in the summer, though they won’t be at a profit now.

      20 million pissed up the wall on 10 players only one of whom has come good.

      But so long as the competitive ‘Rangers’* Lawwell & Co are happy.

      After all, what’s an unchallenged 60 million a year when ye can get 10 million a year playing a tribute act?

    • Peter Cassidy says:

      It’s unfair to compare pamla with Jota he came from a small club in Cyprus Jota was coached by benfica for years one of Portugal top teams”if he can carry on how he has started since coming this season he will be a great player for celtic

  • Adam Thomas says:

    is a corner really an assist though look across the divide at tav /pen corner/free kick should they count as an assist when we where young it didn’t we called it laid it on .

  • bertie basset says:

    brilliant article , put down in words that most celtic fans will agree with , he’ll only get better , roll on his first derby , he’s wearing the shirt !! H H

  • Peterbrady says:

    There is no chance the teuchters will get a result in this corrupt charade tomorrow also when we are cheated on Saturday the corrupt board will send of a letter to corrupt hampdump as all the zombies laugh

  • Peterbrady says:

    Also a warning to every zombie out there this could break the GFA if they do the corruption do not come crying about the collaretate damage every action is justifiedthis is war to the final solution

  • cf h says:

    If we can sell him i january, do it. He is not as good as he thinks he is and the longer we keep him , the more he will be found out.

    • john mc guire says:

      am i your camp some people should take of the green tinted glasses taking shots? corners ? fades right out of games ,every good game 3 duff ones thanks but no thanks take whatever money and spend it on better .

      • Ed says:

        I agree, but want to add: give the guy some time, he isn’t that long in Glasgow yet. It’s his first season, give him time to settle in this new environment. I believe he can become more consistent and better over time.

  • Seosaimh says:

    Love him, though he’ll probably be sold on

  • Bigbaws says:

    Jota was 1 of the most gifted players we have had the pleasure of watching at parkhead. Luis is a different type of player all together. To compare that would be a folly because of how different they are. So the only reasonable way to judge them is by their stats.
    Personal I prefer Jota,that’s just because I like his flair but Parma is probably more effective

  • Ramón Edgardo Sarmiento says:

    He is a great player, he will be worth a lot, but we should not look at him as a business, on the contrary he is a player who can give Celtic a lot of satisfaction for a long time, the money is secondary, the main thing is what he can really mean for the fans of Celtic.

  • Walter Harvey says:

    Someone needs to show him how to take a corner

  • Martin says:

    Interesting but I think the numbers downplay Jota’s contributions. I recall several goals he created but because he didn’t score or play the final pass he gets no statistical record. The guy was incredibly creative. Palma has good numbers but…isn’t.

    I think Palma is a good player and I think he will get over 30 contributions this season, but he will suffer from not being Jota and playing in the Rodgers slow tempo team.

  • Captain Swing says:

    His figures may be good but he can drift in and out of games at times. I’m also not sure we’re using him in his best position because he’s a bit one-paced for a winger. Jota’s figures may not have been quite as good (pro rata) but he had a happy knack of making his best contributions in big games and tight contests, so his contributions were arguably more valuable – and this is from someone who thought Jota was a flamboyant show pony to begin with! He was flamboyant alright – but he was a flamboyant match winner.

  • 18871888 says:

    He’s a different type of winger, I would say. His game is not based on going round defenders – he hasn’t the pace for that . His way is to keep defenders off balance find a yard or two of space and knock a killer ball in, not to jink to the byeline before crossing. He’s more like e.g. John Robertson, Haksa, or even Tommy McLean, who caused us a problem or two in his day, the wee Turkish Delight!

  • Hugh says:

    Palma can play but is not the kind of winger to beat man on a dribble. He can see a pass and can score from distance as he has shown. Could he be an asset playing in attacking midfield roll, we badly need someone in there.

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