Premier League games come around thick and fast in December, accelerating the league towards its midpoint and beyond. It’s an exciting time for fans but also for statisticians, throwing up events that rarely happen at other times during the season, such as clubs playing 2 fixtures inside 3 days. It also rapidly expands the volume of data they have to work with, and this is something which is starting to be reflected in the gaps between the highest and lowest Plus Minus performers at each club.

ClubHighest Plus Minus Rating (mins)Lowest Plus Minus Rating (mins)Team Average (mins)
LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk, 26 (1572)Curtis Jones, 0
Leicester CityKasper Schmeichel, 29 (1574)Nampalys Mendy, 0
Manchester CityEderson, 27
Claudio Bravo, -2
ChelseaMarcos Alonso, 13
Olivier Giroud, -4
Manchester UnitedAnthony Martial, 9
Axel Tuanzebe, -2
Wolverhampton WanderersMatt Doherty, 5
Jesus Vallejo, -3
Tottenham HotspurSerge Aurier, 10
Juan Foyth, -2
Sheffield UnitedLys Mousset, 8
Oli McBurnie, -3
ArsenalCalum Chambers, 3
Hector Bellerin, -4
Crystal PalaceMartin Kelly, 5
Gary Cahill, -6
Newcastle UnitedAllan Saint-Maximin, 4
Jamaal Lascelles, -9
Brighton and Hove AlbionSteven Alzate, 3
Davy Propper, -5
BurnleyCharlie Taylor, 7
Jay Rodriguez, -12
EvertonJean-Philippe Gbamin, 1
Yerry Mina, -10
A.F.C. BournemouthJack Stacey, 2
Chris Mepham, -8
West Ham UnitedCarlos Sanchez, 2
Fabian Balbuena, -12
Aston VillaFrederic Guilbert, 4
Ahmed Elmohamady, -10 (487)-5
SouthamptonMoussa Djenepo, 3
Nathan Redmond, -18
Norwich CityDennis Srbeny, 0
Teemu Pukki, -19
WatfordChristian Kabasele, 1
Ben Foster, -21

At the extremities of the league, the results are largely predictable, with those who have played most topping the rankings at Liverpool and Leicester, and those who have played the least recording the lowest ratings. At the bottom, the reverse is mostly true, though one particularly notable exception is Christian Kabasele at Watford. Kabasele has played almost half of the possible minutes for the Hornets this season, far higher than some of his team mates, yet remarkably he tops their rankings with a +1 rating. When you consider that Watford’s goal difference when he has not been on the pitch is -22 from a similar amount of time, it is clear that he is being sorely missed whenever he is not in the side.

If you delve into the mid-table however, the identities of both the highest and lowest rating players at each club becomes rather more interesting. At Burnley for example, there is a huge gap between Charlie Taylor, whose rating of +7 from 330 minutes puts him just outside of the top 10 in terms of Plus Minus rating per 90 minutes, and Jay Rodriguez, whose rating of -12 is 4 goals worse than the team average. The gap between the team average and the lowest ranking is also 4 goals at Arsenal with Hector Bellerin bringing up the rear for the Gunners. We also see a stark contrast between Bellerin and one of his rivals for the right back position, with Calum Chambers, a standout performer at Fulham last season, leading the rankings having returned to Arsenal at the end of his loan.

Perhaps the most intriguing case though is Sheffield United. As discussed during previous blogs, Chris Wilder has generally been able to pick the same goalkeeper, defence and midfield each week, each of whom was a regular throughout their Championship promotion campaign last season. Where the Blades invested their Summer transfer budget was in forward positions, and this has also been where Wilder has looked to rotate his options. Whilst their recruitment of Oli McBurnie grabbed the most attention in the Summer, he has only managed 2 goals so far and has a Plus Minus rating of -3. The signing of Lys Mousset was far less heralded, largely due to the fact that he failed to ever establish himself at Bournemouth, only registering 3 goals across 3 campaigns on the South Coast. The move North has proven to be a revelation however, already recording 5 goals and 3 assists, as well as a highly impressive +8 rating. Given that last season, Mousset found himself leading the league for the majority of the season in terms of most games played without recording any positive ratings, the turnaround in his fortunes is nice to see.

Finally, a quick notice regarding the regularity of the blog posts over the coming weeks. Unfortunately given the time it takes to record and update all of the statistics on this site, whenever there are midweek fixtures it is extremely difficult to also find the time to write a blog post. Therefore there will be a few weeks during December and January when there is no weekly blog, though all statistics will still be updated as quickly as possible after each match.