By 90Min
December 18, 2018

Now sacked Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho should perhaps have been using maligned forward Alexis Sanchez more during the first half of the season as the struggling Red Devils have picked up twice as many points per game when the Chilean has started compared to when he hasn't.

The same goes for Chelsea pair Ross Barkley and Pedro, while Wolves attacker Diogo Jota has also been crucial for his team so far this season.

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The information comes from the latest study from the CIES Football Observatory, with United recording an average of 2.6 points per game in the Premier League on the occasions when Sanchez has started games and played until at least half-time.

When the former Arsenal hero, who will be sidelined with a hamstring injury until New Year, has been limited to a substitute's role or missed out completely, United have managed 1.18 points per game, making Mourinho's side 1.42 points per game better off each time Sanchez starts.

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It is a similar story, albeit not as dramatic, with Juan Mata at Old Trafford. With the popular Spaniard in the team, United have taken 2.33 per game, compared to 1.20 without.

Chelsea have a 100% record when Pedro has started games this season, winning all seven times the World Cup winner has been in the team. The Blues have taken 1.56 points per game less without him. They have also won every game with Ross Barkley in the team and have only managed an average of 1.73 points per game without him.

Cardiff have picked up more points per game with duo Josh Murphy and Aron Gunnarsson than without them so far this season, while Daryl Janmaat, Adam Smith and Steve Mounie appear to have had positive impact on Watford, Bournemouth and Huddersfield respectively.

The most clear example has been Diogo Jota at Wolves. The Championship winners have had little trouble in the Premier League with the Portuguese playmaker helping the team achieve an impressive 2.10 points per game. Without him as a starter, that has dropped to 0.17.

Player Present Absent Difference
Diogo Jota (Wolves) 2.10 (10) 0.17 (6) +1.93
Pedro (Chelsea) 3.00 (7) 1.44 (9) +1.56
Alexis Sanchez (Man Utd) 2.60 (5) 1.18 (11) +1.42
Josh Murphy (Cardiff) 1.40 (10) 0.00 (6) +1.40
Daryl Janmaat (Watford) 2.17 (6) 0.80 (10) +1.37
Ross Barkley (Chelsea) 3.00 (5) 1.73 (11) +1.27
Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff) 1.50 (8) 0.25 (8) +1.25
Adam Smith (Bournemouth) 1.82 (11) 0.60 (5) +1.22
Juan Mata (Man Utd) 2.33 (6) 1.20 (10) +1.13
Steve Mounie (Huddersfield) 1.13 (8) 0.13 (8) +1.00

There is also an opposite end to the spectrum and Anthony Knockaert appears not have been a good luck charm for Brighton this season. The Seagulls have been 1.58 points per game better off without him, while Tottenham have done similarly without Mousa Dembele.

Arsenal have averaged more points per game without Matteo Guendouzi than with him, while Manchester United have statistically been more successful without Ander Herrera.

Southampton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Player Present Absent Difference
Anthony Knockaert (Brighton) 0.82 (11) 2.40 (5) -1.58
Mousa Dembele (Tottenham) 1.20 (5) 2.73 (11) -1.53
Jeff Hendrick (Burnley) 0.13 (8) 1.38 (8) -1.25
Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle) 0.40 (10) 1.50 (6) -1.10
Michail Antonio (West Ham) 0.67 (6) 1.70 (10) -1.03
Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal) 1.57 (7) 2.56 (9) -0.99
Junior Hoilett (Cardiff) 0.44 (9) 1.43 (7) -0.99
Kiko Femenia (Watford) 0.89 (9) 1.86 (7) -0.97
Steven Defour (Burnley) 0.17 (6) 1.10 (10) -0.93
Ander Herrera (Man Utd) 1.00 (5) 1.91 (11) -0.91

Data covers Premier League games up to 10/12/18 and players are considered 'present' for a game if they were in the starting lineup and played at least until half-time.

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