In a new model devised by data experts from the University of Liverpool,University of Salford, and University College London, we can see who Arsenal’s most influential player was last season and, guess what? It’s not actually Alexis Sanchez.

According to this new model, which is a version of plus-minus rating that’s been adapted for football, Petr Cech was Arsenal’s most influential player last season (2.52), followed by Hector Bellerin (2.29).

Mesut Ozil was third (2.11) and Alexis was all the way down in seventh despite scoring 24 Premier League goals last term (1.41).

The plus-minus rating is basically how well a team does with or without a certain player.

The system has been used in hockey and basketball for years and has now obviously been adapted for football, as it allows for expected goals, red cards, home advantage, team-mates’ impact, opposing players and substitutions.

Petr Cech
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 18: Petr Cech of Arsenal in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Although there are a few who aren’t convinced by the findings considering ‘expected goal’ predictions don’t feel reliable, it’s interesting to see that Cech, who most people didn’t think made a real impact last season, was Arsenal’s most influential player.

Overall, the goalkeeper kept 12 clean sheets in the Premier League.

On average, Arsenal conceded 1.06 goals when he was between the sticks and he made 2.71 saves per game.

Squawka rated the fourth best goalkeeper in the league.

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