In this review series, the brilliant AbuBakar shares his data-driven observations and FPL Gameweek 28 tips to help us make decisions for the upcoming Gameweeks.
The Review: Gameweek 27
Greetings everyone, welcome aboard as I present “The Review” where I reflect on the happenings of Gameweek 27 with a look ahead to Gameweek 28:
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 to show your support!
Q: In this section, I discuss the Manchester City midfielders.
Firstly, I assess the impact of De Bruyne’s return on Gündoğan’s underlying numbers.
Gündoğan with KDB v Gündoğan without KDB (since GW13)
Mins per shots inside the box: 45.8 v 48.9
Mins per big chance: 137.4 v 65.2
Mins per chance created: 50.6 v 39.1
Mins per big chance created: 962 v 195.5
Mins per expected involvement: 183.6 v 81.1
Since De Bruyne has returned from injury, Gündoğan has just one goal and an assist in five games. He played in a noticeably deeper position against Southampton and even though his nine pointer is really good value for money for someone of his price, it must be noted that the goal was Gündoğan’s only touch in the penalty area all game. In the previous four games, De Bruyne has at least double the number of shots inside the box, chances created and penalty area touches than Gündoğan.
Riyad Mahrez has gone under the radar despite the fact that he has started eight of Man City’s last nine matches and is now averaging 8.83 points per game over his last six league starts. During this spell, he is top among all Man City players for shots in the box but he has had just the two big involvements with an expected goal involvement (xGi) of 2.79 – the fact that he has gotten six attacking returns despite such numbers suggests a degree of overperformance but nonetheless he’s a Man City attacker in form, so one worth keeping an eye on.
Q: In this section, I cover Manchester City’s defence.
Man City defence GW 10-25 v Man City defence last four matches
Big chances conceded per game: 4 v 2
Shots in the box conceded per game: 0.38 v 6.25
xG conceded per game: 0.52 v 1.44
It’s been stressful times if you’ve been a Man City defence owner over the past few Gameweeks. Cancelo is averaging just 2.4 points per game over Man City’s previous ten league matches, while due to rotation kicking in the Dias-Stones partnership has been disrupted. The effect of that on the numbers is noticeable – City’s defence is not the same force it once used to be. Their defensive numbers have plummeted and it’s perhaps because Dias-Laporte haven’t really clicked as a defensive partnership all season. In the seven league games that Dias and Laporte have started together as centre backs, Man City have accumulated just the two clean sheets.
Q: In this section, I discuss everything Spurs related.
Son v Bale v Kane
(in the last 3 matches they have started together)
Mins per chance created: 27 v 42 v 43
Mins per big chance created: 45 v 208 v 130
Mins per shot in the box: 90 v 42 v 37
Mins per big chance: 270 v 69 v 65
Mins per expected involvement: 122 v 90 v 72
As is evident from the numbers above, Son is taking more of a creative role while Kane and Bale are carrying the majority of the goal threat. During these three games where Son, Bale and Kane have all started together, Son has recorded just the one big chance while Kane is top in the league for big chances during this spell and Bale is top for shots inside the six-yard box. I further look at how Kane, in particular, has benefitted from the Welshman’s inclusion:
Kane (in the last 3 matches they have started together):
Shots inside the box: 7 (Forward Rank: 2nd)
Big chances: 4 (Forward Rank: 1st)
Chances created: 6 (Forward Rank: 1st)
Big chances created: 2 (Forward Rank: 2nd)
It’s also worth mentioning that Spurs are best in the league for xG non-penalty per game since the three have started playing together – even though it must be kept in mind that they faced two very obliging defences in Burnley and Palace. Mourinho mentioned that in every game, after every 55 or 60 minutes he has an eye contact with Bale to assess the level of his fatigue. Mourinho was quoted saying that: “We take care of him, because we need him” which suggests that Bale is likely to play most games but equally likely to be taken off earlier as well. Given his performances and importance to the team, I don’t see him being dropped anytime soon.
Spurs now have a fixture run which reads ars avl new MUN eve and many managers are considering even tripling up on the Spurs attack. I don’t think the next few games will be easy for Spurs though, simply because of the way Mourinho sets his team up away from home – Spurs have accumulated the second highest number of big chances at home this season (averaging 2.7 big chances per game) but they are ranked twelfth for big chances away from home (averaging 2 big chances per game).
Q: In this section, I analyse whether it is worth keeping Mohamed Salah.
Salah’s goal against Leipzig last night meant that he now has more goals than anyone else (in the Premier League) in all competitions this season so it’s bizarre that so many managers are contemplating to sell. But yet, it makes perfect sense given that somehow despite being the league’s top scorer, Salah has recorded 11 blanks in his previous 14 league appearances.
Personally, I’m giving Salah one more week. I just think Liverpool are more suited playing away from home at the moment. While Liverpool are in the bottom five teams for xG non-penalty over their last six home matches, they are second for xG non-penalty over their last six away matches recording the most big chances during this period. This coupled with the fact that Wolves are top for most shots inside the box and big chances conceded over the past four matches means that this may not be the best of weeks to get rid of Salah.
Salah’s own statistics away from home recently have been much better too. While Salah has accumulated eight shots inside the box and three big chances from open play in the previous six home appearances, he has recorded at least double the number of shots inside the box (16) and big chances (7) away from home in his previous six away appearances.
Q: Is it worth buying Bruno Fernandes back for those who have sold?
Bruno Fernandes season averages 20/21 v Bruno last five matches
Mins per chance created: 28 v 50
Mins per big chance created: 121 v 449
Mins per shot in the box: 64 v 150
Mins per big chance: 138 v 225
Mins per expected involvement: 111 v 190
It is evident that Bruno’s numbers have dropped of late. We’re used to seeing Bruno’s numbers being elite over consistent periods hence this is a bit of a surprise. However, this coincides with the drop in Man United’s numbers as well:
Man United season averages 20/21 v Man United last five matches
Big chances per game: 2.83 v 1.06
Average xG per game: 1.72 v 1
This is why I’m not as bullish as I usually am on a Bruno Fernandes captaincy haul this week. He’s still a safe choice given his pedigree and his magnetic pull towards bonus points – he has scored 16 league goals this season and only once has he failed to accumulate less than two bonus points on these occasions. However, I don’t see him going too big this week. Hence, I wouldn’t be in a huge rush to buy him either.
Q: I dedicate this section to Luke Shaw.
Luke Shaw is hitting new heights this season. Over the past six Gameweeks, he is top among defenders for chances created and second only to Raphinha for chance creation among all players in the league which highlights the level he is playing at. What I like about Shaw is the amount of time he spends playing in the final third – only Trent has more touches in the final third among defenders in the past six matches. Given his attacking numbers and the fact that Man United’s clean sheets have been unpredictable to call this season (six of their 10 clean sheets have come against the traditional big six this season), I don’t think it is worth benching him anytime in the foreseeable future. They look more assured with an in-form Dean Henderson in goal too.
Q: In this section, I analyse Chelsea and their upcoming game against Leeds.
Chelsea’s clean sheet against Everton meant that Thomas Tuchel became the first manager in Premier League history to have secured five clean sheets in his first five home games in charge. Under Tuchel, they have kept the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Everton and Spurs at bay. I now run a comparison to highlight the improvement in Chelsea’s defensive performances under Tuchel with their performances under Lampard:
Chelsea defence 20/21 under Lampard v Chelsea defence under Tuchel
Big chances conceded per game: 1.47 v 0.56
Shots in the box conceded per game: 6.37 v 3.33
xG conceded per game: 0.97 v 0.46
What helps Chelsea is that they keep a huge amount of possession – their average possession of 64.6% under Tuchel is the second highest after Man City. Azpilicueta has started every game under Tuchel, averaging 6.7 points under him so he looks to be the most nailed option in that defence. Christensen is in form but given the presence of Thiago Silva and Zouma, he is slightly more at risk than Rüdiger. WBA cry BHA whu FUL is a great fixture run for Chelsea from Gameweek 30 onwards so doubling up on defence could be a profitable option.
Bamford and Raphinha have had nine big chance involvements between them over the past four matches but have been unlucky to record just two FPL returns between them. Another tough test awaits Bamphinha given how stellar Chelsea have been defensively. If I had to play one over the other, I’d play Raphinha – he has six big chance involvements compared to Bamford’s three over the past four matches.
Q: How has Ancelotti’s new two striker formation impacted Richarlison and Calvert Lewin statistically?
I run some comparisons to assess the impact of Ancelotti’s recent tactical tweak:
Calvert Lewin pre formation change v Calvert Lewin post formation change
Mins per shot in the box: 38 v 68
Mins per big chance: 85 v 270
Mins per expected involvement: 140 v 443
Richarlison post formation change v Calvert Lewin post formation change
Mins per shot in the box: 38 v 68
Mins per big chance: 90 v 270
Mins per expected involvement: 181 v 443
What these tell me is that Calvert Lewin’s numbers have dipped of late, as he is not being the focal point of Everton’s attacks as he once was. Instead, the chances are now falling to Richarlison. However, I’d still give Calvert Lewin one more week if you owned him given how poor Burnley have been of late – they are in the bottom three for xG conceded and big chances in their previous two games. Surely too early for them to enter beach mode already?
Q: In this section, I talk about Wolves.
WHU ful SHU BUR wba BHA is the run that Wolves face from Gameweek 30 onwards so I’d like to take the opportunity to speak a bit more about them. Conor Coady has caught my eye recently. Over the past three matches, Coady has recorded three shots in the box (as opposed to just the one all season) and two big chances (as opposed to none all season). 30% of his penalty area touches all season have come in the previous three matches – so there is a conscious effort to get him involved in the opposition’s penalty area box more often. Nuno himself has said that “We are finding solutions for him to score.” Pedro Neto has recently shifted to a new role where he is now playing as an inverted winger on the right and that has led to an increase in his creativity numbers – he’s one definitely worth monitoring.
Q: In this section, I cover Arsenal.
Despite Arteta employing heavy rotation in recent times, Arsenal are topping the charts for xG over their past two matches and seem to be hitting form at exactly the right time before FPL managers invest ahead of the blank Gameweek. I now run a comparison to compare their two in-demand midfielders:
Aubameyang v Saka (Last four GWs):
Mins per shot inside the box: 30.7 v 38.6
Mins per big chance: 69 v 270
Mins per expected involvement: 91 v 205
Saka is still a good option for his price but clearly Aubameyang is the main man if you can afford with six goals now in his previous four league starts. Saka was particularly unlucky this Gameweek – he had an xGi of 1.02 against Burnley but failed to get any returns which made him second only to Mbaye Diagne v Newcastle in terms of underperformance this Gameweek.
I’d like to thank @urboihamza (on Twitter) for filling in for me this week. I woke up to the news that my grandfather passed away last morning, but I chose to release the Review as I continue to model myself on his work ethic and professionalism. I’m sure it would only make him happy.
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