According to a new model, which uses plus-minus rating to determine the Premier League’s most influential players, Liverpool have just forked out £40m for Arsenal’s second-worst player.
The model, devised by stats experts at the University of Liverpool (ironic), University of Salford, and University College London, has been adapted for football as plus-minus rating has been used in hockey and basketball for half-a-century.
The concept basically works out how teams do without specific players and can help predict how they’d fare without certain individuals.
The adapted football model obviously takes into account expected goals, red cards, the performances of teammates, the opposition, home advantage and substitutions.
It’s therefore pretty amusing that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has emerged as Arsenal’s second-worst player with a plus-minus rating of just 0.04.
Aaron Ramsey has a rating of 0.28 while Theo Walcott was the least influential last season at 0.48.
Of course, the model isn’t perfect. Although it has been adapted, the uncertainty of elements such as expected goals make these things hard to work out, but it can help understand that it’s not the end of the world when certain players leave.
The Ox only scored nine Premier League goals for Arsenal over six years and had under a season left on his current deal.
Therefore, £40m for the 24-year-old from Liverpool is seeming like a great bit of business.
For all we know, he might excel under Jurgen Klopp, but he certainly didn’t at Arsenal.