Previously, I have written about the effect of star players on team performance in the Premier League. The piece identifies the usefulness of Collis and Montgomery’s resource-based view of the firm (RBV) in explaining the impact of ‘star’ players on team competitiveness. RBV explains how a firm’s resources drive its performance in a dynamic competitive environment. In a sporting context, team performance may be driven by a key resource e.g. star player. However, given the risk of injury, suspension, fatigue and loss of form over the course of the season, the over reliance of a team on the contribution of one ‘star’ player can significantly impact their long-term competitiveness.
Table 1 highlights the contribution of each Premier League clubs ‘star’ player during the current season. The players selected have amassed the highest number of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) points for their respective clubs. The analysis considers the percentage of team’s goals in which the player was involved in, the points lost in the absence of this contribution and the players contribution to the team’s Premier League points total.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has the highest overall contribution to his team’s outcomes, both in terms of contribution to goals scored and contribution to points accumulated. Mitrovic has been involved in over half of all Fulham’s goals (52%) and has contributed to 76% of all their points earned. Fulham’s (over)reliance on their talisman may be summed up by their failure to win any game in which Mitrovic has not scored and he has had to score two goals in three of these games to ensure victory: Burnley 4 – 2 (2 goals, 1 assist), Southampton 3 – 2 (2 goals), Huddersfield 1-0 (1 goal) and Brighton 4-2 (2 goals).
However, it appears not all goals are created equal as Glenn Murray has been involved in 35% of Brighton’s goals this season with these goals contributing to 41% of the team’s overall points. Meanwhile, Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson has been involved in a similar number of Everton’s goals (33%) but these goals have only contributed to 12% of the team’s overall points.
In the Premier League title race, Liverpool appear to be more reliant on their star man, Mo Salah, compared with rivals Man City and Tottenham. Salah has contributed to 31% of Liverpool’s points while Man City and Tottenham have been less reliant on their star players Sterling and Son (18%). Both these teams have already shown their ability to succeed with numerous injury problems e.g. Spurs winning every game since Harry Kane’s injury. Liverpool have yet to have significant injury setback and their ability to deal with potential injury or loss of form to Salah may go a long way to deciding the outcome of this season’s Premier League.