Last season's top 8 clubs in the Premier League was some what predictable, in what order they finished in was a surprise to many, but which players at those clubs were the most influential at that club, I take a look at their stats here.
The top 8 clubs, United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle, Liverpool & Everton, all had at least one top quality striker, Arsenal has Robin van Persie (left) and were all able to score at consistent times, and made them able to win enough games to contend for the European places. But how influential were these players in their respective teams? Below is a table displaying key stats for two players at the top 8 clubs.
There is a key, Green = 1st, Yellow = 2nd & Blue = 3rd. Stats are accumulative throughout the season taken from the Premier League alone and are all sourced from the EPLIndex Stats Centre (Subscribe now for access to four years of Opta Stats plus author privileges).
As is well known now Robin van Persie has obviously scored the most goals, with Rooney 2nd, and Aguero 3rd. David Silva tops the assist chart with 15, Juan Mata 2nd with 13, and this would surprise many but Emmanuel Adebayor is 3rd with 11 assists. All players already mentioned, excluding Mata, have been involved in the most goals for their respective clubs, Robin van Persie leads with involvement in 39 goals for Arsenal, Wayne Rooney & Sergio Aguero have been involved in 31 goals for United & City respectively, and Adebayor was involved in 28 goals for Tottenham last season.
Moving away from goals, which player has created chances at the most frequent intervals? Juan Mata of Chelsea averages a great 25 minutes per chance that's 3.6 chances created per game (How did we get this value? Total minutes divided by 90 to give a games played value - total number of chances divided by games played), David Silva is a close 2nd, with 27 minutes per chance created, which equates to 3.3 chances per game, and Manchester United winger Nani averages 31 minutes per chance created, which is 2.9 chances created per game.
Dribbles are a different Stat altogether, pacey wide players normally average more dribbles per game, this is proven here, with Liverpool forward Luis Suarez averaging 2.45 successful dribbles per game, Newcastle’ Hatem Ben Arfa is 2nd with an average of 2 successful dribbles per game, and Manchester United winger Nani is 3rd with an average of 1.83 successful dribbles per match.
Using the same stats, I will look at what percentage of the teams goals have these players been a part of. Because of the graph shape, its divided into 'Player 1' & 'Player 2'. Player 1 for each clubs are: Aguero, Rooney, van Persie, Adebayor, Ba, Drogba, Jelavic, Suarez. Player 2 for each clubs are: Silva, Nani, Walcott, Bale, Ben Arfa, Mata, Drenthe, Gerrard. ROT (Rest of Team).
The player from the 'Player 1' list, which is the strikers, who was involved in the highest percentage of their teams goals, was Robin van Persie, he was involved in 52.7% of Arsenals goals last season, 2nd is Adebayor for Tottenham, who was involved in 42.42% of Tottenham's goals, and in 3rd was Aguero for City, was took part in 34.83% of their goals. The lowest percentage was Didier Drogba, who took part in only 9.23% of Chelsea's goals.
From the 'Player 2' list, It was Juan Mata who was a part of the most goals for his club, he was involved in 29.23% of Chelsea's goals last season. Gareth Bale was 2nd, who was involved in 28.78% of Tottenham's goals last season, and 3rd is David Silva, who was involved in 22.58% of Man City's goals last season.
As for my original question, who is the most influential player? According to the stats, Arsenal's Robin van Persie is the most influential player for their side last season, being involved in over half of Arsenal's goals last season, and if he leave's the Gunners, he will be a hard person to replace, needing to find someone to be involved in 39 goals next season? That's a tough ask.