Jan 18, 2017
Jan 18, 2017

Measuring the impact of AFCON on Premier League teams

Evaluating impact based on transfer market worth

Leicester - The team that suffers the highest impact

Measuring the impact of AFCON on Premier League teams
The 2017 African Cup of Nations that began on January 14th, with the group stages concluding on the 25th and the final taking place on February 5th, includes 16 sides with 36 players from the Premier League and Football League in their squads. Which EPL teams are most affected by Africa's biennial soccer competition and what does that mean for your betting? Read on to find out.

The majority of the African players with English league commitments (23 of the 36 previously mentioned) play in the top English tier and 12 of those represent the top three countries in Pinnacle's Africa Cup of Nations betting, namely, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Algeria.

So it seems likely that a number of Premier League sides will be without their African stars for the bulk of the three week tournament. Attempting to appraise the impact of individual players is problematic.

Game statistics with and without certain players often suffer from small sample sizes on one side of the leger. Thus randomness will often play a much bigger role in determining these outcomes than the missing influence of a single player.

Sides routinely have to cope with unexpected injuries and suspensions and will aim to substitute in players of similar quality.

Teams will also have been aware that they would be likely to lose their players to the AFCON at the beginning of the season and so will hopefully already have plans in place.

Evaluating impact based on transfer market worth

The bulk of the departing Premier League players are midfielders, with just a handful of forwards and defenders.

These players range from genuine regulars, such as Sadio Mane at Liverpool and Riyad Mahrez at Leicester, to fringe players, such as Egypt’s Ramadan Sobhi - he has played less than 200 minutes for Stoke City, mainly from the bench.

One way to attempt to quantify the worth of a player to his current side is to combine his usage this season with his likely worth in the transfer market.

Sadio Mane is currently valued at around £26 million and he has played 1695 minutes of Premier League football in 2016/17 or 92% of the available minutes. If we multiply these two figures, Mane has contributed asserts worth £23.9 million to Liverpool’s cause this season.

Sobhi, by contrast has played just 10% of the available playing time for Stoke and his current value is only around £2 million.

Therefore, Stoke will be missing just £200,000 worth of talent now Sobhi has departed for Gabon - A figure that a well-resourced Premier League squad should easily provide cover for.

How much club talent will be at the AfCON 2017

Team Missing Talent (£ Millions) Missing Talent (% of goals)
Leicester City 36.2 38
Liverpool 24.0 19
West Ham United 13.1 4
Sunderland 12.6 0
Manchester United 11.2 0
Stoke City 10.2 8
Everton 8.7 0
Crystal Palace 7.2 13
Hull City 5.4 0
Southampton 4.5 5
Watford 3.5 0
Arsenal 2.1 0
AFC Bournemouth 0.4 0

The loss of Mane to Liverpool based on his usage and value would appear to be significant.

However, Liverpool’s current squad is valued on Transfermarkt in region of £325 million, so they are also well resourced to provide adequate three week cover in his absence.

Leicester - The team that suffers the highest impact

The largest hole relative to baseline squad value occurs for Leicester who lose Amarty, Mahrez and Slimani to AFCON. All are relatively expensive squad members, who have each played at least 50% of the available minutes.

They account for nearly £40 million of used talent from a squad with a baseline value of £190 million.

So it seems reasonable to assume that Leicester will find the upcoming three weeks more difficult to negotiate than Liverpool and the remaining 11 affected clubs.

The total goals scored by the departing players is the most obvious contribution they make to a side’s conventional stats.

Leicester’s trio have scored 38% of Leicester’s goals in 2016/17, although many were from the penalty spot. While Palace will rue the loss of Zaha’s goal scoring and also his chance creation from their relatively inexpensive Premier League squad.

Player absenteeism is a highly visible factor, but this may lead to an over-reaction when assessing a game, particularly where squads are deep and lesser known replacements are of a similar level of ability.

For every defeat that was attributed to missing players, there are other occasions where depleted teams achieve perfectly respectable outcomes.

A struggling injury and illness decimated Wigan recently drew at Derby in The Championship, when they were widely expected to be trounced.

It is also worth noting that 17 Premier League games over the AFCON period sees a side affected by departures playing a side in a similar position.

So while it is worth noting who has lost which player or players over the next three weeks, particularly those who head the preceding table, it is rare that a single factor will be as large an influence on the outcome that many believe it to be.

Our Africa Cup of Nations betting preview will give you some insight into who might win the tournament.

Get into the AFCON betting action with the best Africa Cup of Nation odds at Pinancle. 

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