In this review series, the brilliant AbuBakar shares his data-driven observations and FPL Gameweek 26 tips to help us make decisions for the upcoming Gameweeks.
The Review: Gameweek 25
Greetings everyone, welcome aboard as I present the latest edition of “The Review” ahead of the biggest double Gameweek in FPL history:
Before I begin, I’d like to mention that I post about FPL on my Instagram too. Follow me there if you don’t already!
Q: Are Leeds and Burnley assets worth bench boosting this Gameweek?
Leeds assets are great options to bench boost this week. Bamford picks himself having just blanked once in his past six home matches but unfortunately one of them was in Gameweek 19 when a large number of FPL managers bench boosted so understandably, they have been scarred. At that point, I’d also like to highlight that Bamford scored a hat-trick the last time he played against Aston Villa in Gameweek 6.
Raphinha’s underlying statistics were incredible this week – he created more than double the number of chances and big chances than any other player this Gameweek. Leeds have an average xG of 1.6 in their previous six home matches, which is the 5th best in the league, while Villa have an average expected xGc of 2.01 in their previous six away matches, which is the worst in the league, so all signs are pointing to another Leeds goal fest.
I feel the opposite about Burnley. tot,LEI ARS eve followed by a blank Gameweek is a very tough run of fixtures and I’d be looking to sell their assets instead of playing them in my 11 or on bench boost – even if it is at the cost of a hit. Burnley conceded as much xGc in the West Brom game as in their previous three games combined and were lucky to come out of that match with a clean sheet – I expect that to be their last clean sheet for a while.
Q: Who is the best Danny Ings replacement?
Ings’ horror show in the double Gameweek coupled with the fact that he has a single Gameweek when 14 other teams have a double Gameweek this week makes him an easy sell for me. I’m assuming a like for like replacement given his price range, hence I run a comparison between two of the most highly sought replacements:
Calvert Lewin v Richarlison (over the season)
Mins per shots inside the box: 38.1 v 52.5
Mins per Big chance: 85.4 v 203.4
Mins per expected involvement: 140.6 v 238.6
This one is fairly straight-forward. Calvert Lewin is the focal point of every Everton attack whenever he plays, so him for me.
Q: In this section, I analyse the impact of Grealish’s injury on Aston Villa.
I want to begin by saying that I think that it is unfair to draw comparisons on the basis of one match so it would be premature of me trying to predict how Villa will perform without Grealish. Since I was receiving a lot of questions about Villa and this subject in particular, I decided to dedicate a section to address this issue.
I run a comparison where I compare Villa’s performance against Leicester without Grealish compared to Villa playing with Grealish in home games:
Villa in home games with Grealish v Villa against Leicester without Grealish
xG per game: 1.9 v 1.4
Chances created per game: 13 v 7
Big chances created per game: 2.1 v 1
As seen in the comparison, Villa’s attacking numbers dropped in the absence of Grealish. Before the Leicester game, Grealish was involved in 50% of Villa’s goals this season so his injury having a massive bearing on the numbers is not a huge surprise. I expected Barkley to take over the mantle but he didn’t create any chance in the game either.
Ollie Watkins had recorded big chances in six of his previous nine home appearances before the Leicester game but this week he failed to register a big chance which falls in line with the fact that Villa lacked attacking threat and creativity.
I admit it might be a little early to draw any conclusions, but this might be something to keep an eye on before going into the double Gameweek. At the moment, Watkins is an easy hold for me – but I wouldn’t be in any rush to buy had I not owned.
Q: In this section, I talk about Leicester and assess the impact of Maddison’s absence on Barnes and Vardy.
Vardy being the ever-dependable FPL asset that he is, is top among all players in the league for big chances in the past six matches. And then there’s the flavoir of the Gameweek, Harvey Barnes to talk about as a possible Grealish replacement. I run a comparison to analyse both of them:
Vardy v Barnes (in the last six games they have started together)
Mins per shot inside the box: 28.3 v 49
Mins per big chance: 107 v 108
Despite Vardy’s premium price tag, Barnes seems to be matching him in terms of big chances of late which suggests that he might be a better value for money pick. I now assess the impact that the loss of Maddison might have on either:
Barnes with Maddison 20/21 v Without Maddison 20/21
Mins per shot inside the box: 56 v 35.88
Mins per big chance: 184 v 305
Vardy with Maddison 20/21 v Without Maddison 20/21
Mins per shot inside the box: 29.14 v 42.27
Mins per big chance: 76.5 v 58.13
The sample used for the analysis above is of seven games so that’s a reasonable size. Without Maddison, Barnes tends to shoot more but the quality of his chances drop while the reverse is true for Vardy who witnesses a slight improvement in the frequency of his big chances but his shots inside the box drop – perhaps due to a more direct style that Leicester adopt without Maddison.
On the topic of Leicester, it’s also worth monitoring Ricardo Pereira. He is less than 1% owned at the minute and started on the right wing vs Villa – his position on the opposite wing was as high as Barnes’. “It’s been something I’ve been waiting to do for quite a long time, but this is the first period where both of those boys (Castagne and Pereira) were fit to play. Castagne will run more without the ball and penetrate, and Pereira’s the one who can be inside and manipulate the ball.” Rodgers said after Sunday’s win at Villa Park.
Q: In this section, I share my thoughts on Spurs’ assets.
It’s tough to back Spurs given the underlying numbers at the moment. Defensively, they are in the bottom four for shots in the box and xG conceded over the past six matches (even though they were unlucky to concede against Lingard this week who now has three goals despite an xG of 0.6!). Over the same sample, they are in the bottom two for big chances and xG. Son has scored just once in eight games, and seems to be going through a bit of a rut like the team in general. What is in his and Spurs’ favour though is the fixtures (BUR ful). I think owning one of Son or Kane is enough given their form. Which one to pick if picking one this week?
Kane is more of a flat track bully than Son and even this season has scored the majority of his goals against the bottom ten sides. Son meanwhile, is averaging 6.5 FPL points per game against the top ten sides and 6.7 FPL points per game against the bottom ten sides so there’s not much variance in his output. I now share their numbers in recent times when the duo have started together:
Kane v Son (last six games they have started together)
Mins per shot inside box: 32 v 60
Mins per big chance: 107 v 77
Mins per expected involvement: 151 v 176
While Kane seems to be shooting far more, Son is getting the better quality of chances. Even though this won’t have any impact on this double Gameweek, it’s also worth keeping an eye out on Mourinho’s comments as to how he might prioritise the Europa League as he sees it as a more realistic means of getting Champions League football. It might change the way we look at Spurs assets should Mourinho decide to prioritise the Europa League over domestic commitments.
Q: In this section, I cover Manchester City and weigh De Bruyne’s impact on Gündoğan FPL’s prospects.
Manchester City’s FPL assets are the gift which keep on giving. Since Stones has become a regular in Gameweek 10, Man City have conceded just six big chances in sixteen Gameweeks. Those numbers are truly phenomenal and precisely why their defence delivers FPL points week in week out. Sterling, meanwhile, has blanked just twice in his previous twelve starts but continues to fly under the radar because he hasn’t been very explosive despite being incredibly consistent. He has recorded just one bonus point in the last six matches he has scored in. What goes against him is the lack of his multiple involvements and the fact that City’s defenders inevitably record monster BPS scores whenever they keep a clean sheet. These are fine margins but result in big swings.
I now assess the impact of De Bruyne’s return on Gündoğan’s numbers:
Gündoğan with KDB v Gündoğan without KDB
Mins per shots inside the box: 38.05 v 48.88
Mins per Big chance: 114.17 v 65.17
Mins per Chance created: 52.69 v 39.1
Mins per Big chance created: 685 v 195.5
Mins per expected involvement: 168.7 v 81.1
The sample I have chosen for my analysis above is from Gameweek 13 onwards because that was the time Gündoğan really started to find attacking form. As we can see from the analysis I ran, Gündoğan seems to be more of an attacking threat without De Bruyne on the field. Both his creative threat and his direct threat to goal tend to improve. What helps Gündoğan is that he has an incredible conversion rate of almost 33% after Gameweek 13 – compare that to 5% of De Bruyne’s throughout the season and you can see why one of them has been able to translate his stats into FPL points while the other hasn’t.
Even though Gündoğan isn’t as dangerous with De Bruyne on the field, keeping his price tag in mind, I think that he is a good asset to own even if he performs at 60% of his current output. His stats are more than decent for his price. I wouldn’t be bullish on captaincy for Gündoğan this week – he has also started the Champions League game so is at even higher risk of being rotated in one of the games in the double Gameweek.
Q: In this section, I write about a few defenders who have caught my eye.
After having made just three appearances under Lampard this term, Marcos Alonso seems to have been given a new lease of life under Thomas Tuchel. Alonso has started four of Chelsea’s last five Premier League games and doesn’t seem likely to lose his spot any time soon. Sure, he might miss a game here or there due to rotation but the same is the case with someone like a João Cancelo – these are sometimes the risks you have to take for upside, particularly with premium players.
Chelsea are ranked second only to Man City for big chances conceded and xG conceded since Tuchel has taken over. What helps these numbers is the fact that Chelsea have so far, under Tuchel, kept on average ∼67% of the possession per game so that makes it difficult for the opposition to create chances. Alonso himself is top among defenders for shots in the box and penalty area touches among defenders so has the potential to deliver at both ends of the field.
Lucas Digne is another top differential to own. Digne is top for chances created and big chances created among all Everton players in the past six game weeks. Southampton are in the bottom two for xG in the last six matches whereas West Brom are bottom for both xG and big chances in all home games this season – so clean sheets might be on the menu for Everton in the double Gameweek.
Luke Shaw impressed again despite failing to deliver FPL points this Gameweek. He created five chances against Newcastle, which was the 2nd highest in terms of chance creation for all players this Gameweek. This now takes Shaw up to 6th of all players for chances created in the league this season which is remarkable given that his counterparts have played significantly more minutes than him. Newcastle with a xG of 0.3 were the second lowest for xG for all teams in the league this Gameweek which just highlights how unlucky Shaw was not to register any FPL points. He is now up against a Palace side who despite having scored twice, had the worst xG this week and a Chelsea team who seem devoid of creative ideas – only six teams have a worse xG non penalty than Chelsea since Tuchel has taken over.
Q: In this section, I discuss captaincy.
Kane v Salah v Bruno (over the season)
Mins per shot in the box: 38 v 35 v 66
Mins per big chance: 120 v 101 v 141
Mins per big chance created: 161 v 287 v 124
Mins per expected involvement: 151 v 119 v 114
I’ve already spoken about Kane and Spurs at length. Salah’s numbers, despite Liverpool’s form this season, are still extraordinary and unwavering. I can only imagine what his numbers will be like if Liverpool start creating more. They have scored just twice at Anfield in their past six home matches. During this spell, just six teams have recorded fewer big chances than them. Bruno, meanwhile, is averaging almost eight FPL points per appearance and is 59 points better off than any other asset since his debut which makes him the undisputed king in FPL right now. I have shared the facts and the stats. I will leave the decision up to you!
Q: In this section, I cover Fulham.
Fulham are definitely on an upward trajectory as far as defensive trends are concerned:
Fulham GW 1-12 v GW 13-25
Shots in the box conceded per game: 8.5 v 7
xG conceded per game: 1.7 v 1.2
Minutes per chance conceded: 7.6 v 9.3
Minutes per big chance conceded: 37 v 48
Fulham have kept three clean sheets in their previous four games which shows that these defensive improvements are producing results. Fulham now face goal shy Spurs and a Palace side who are “going back to basics” (prioritising a defence first approach) so chances are that the owners of Fulham’s defensive assets might have even more joy in the upcoming Gameweek.
Q: In this section, I talk about Liverpool’s defence.
After another dismal performance against Everton, Liverpool now hold the unwanted record of being the team to concede the highest number of big chances for three successive Gameweeks. Hence, it is no surprise that they have the worst xG conceded over the past three Gameweeks too. When I compare these underlying numbers to Man City, Liverpool have conceded more than twice as many big chances in their past three games that Manchester City have conceded in their previous 15 games combined. Henderson’s injury is another massive blow which might weaken the defence even further.
We still have three months remaining in the season yet and Liverpool have already conceded ∼83% of the big chances than they did last season. Further, Liverpool in the past three Gameweeks have made four direct errors leading to goals, which is twice as much as any other team during this spell. To put things into context, Liverpool committed just five such errors which resulted in a goal last season.
Andy Robertson was a fantasy favourite earlier on in the season, but his numbers have dropped big time. I don’t think he is worth the premium price tag anymore. Here is why:
Robertson GW 1-14 v GW 15-25 (position among defenders for relevant stat given)
Mins per chance created: 48 (1st) v 66 (5th)
Mins per big chance created: 210 (2nd) v 493 (12th)
Mins per expected involvement: 420 (3rd) v 483 (13th)
The comparisons you see are all the hard work of my friend @urboihamza (on Twitter). I would appreciate it if you could offer him some encouragement for the time he puts into my articles (follows/feedback appreciated!). He is becoming a key contributor week in week out!
This brings me to the end of the article. Do share your feedback as always. For more FPL related content, follow me down below:
YouTube Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thefplwire