In this review series, the brilliant AbuBakar shares his data-driven observations and FPL Gameweek 7 tips to help us make decisions for the upcoming Gameweeks.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to FPL Gameweek 7 for all the key information, stats and tips you need going into the weekend’s action.

Hi everyone, welcome to the latest edition of “The Review” where I analyse the Premier League football played at the weekend:

1) Are Leeds United the real deal? What does this form hold in store for Patrick Bamford?

I think it is fair that I start with Leeds this week. Coming on the back of a massive win against Aston Villa, Leeds are now top for shots inside the box (53) over the past four Gameweeks. Bamford is in red hot form at the moment and the incredible upturn in his conversion rate can be witnessed here:

Bamford 19/20: (45 games)

Big chances = 44
Big chances missed = 34
Goals = 16

Bamford 20/21: (6 games)

Big chances = 4
Big chances missed = 2
Goals = 6

I’m not sure this conversion rate will be sustainable but given the amount of big chances Leeds have started creating of late, I think Bamford will be good value at £5.9 million. Now let’s do a deep dive and compare how Leeds and Bamford have fared in the first couple of Gameweeks compared to the last four:

Leeds (First two Gameweeks) vs Leeds (Last four Gameweeks):

Shots in the box per game: 6 v 13.25
Mins per big chance: 180 v 32.7

Bamford (First two Gameweeks) vs Bamford (Last four Gameweeks):

Shots in the box per game: 1 v 4.5
Mins per big chance: 180 v 72

fantasy premier league gw7 tips

Leeds have been a breath of fresh air in the Premier League this season

By looking at these, there’s no doubt that Bamford appears to have found his feet inside the league, and may end up on the scoresheet frequently under an agile and potent looking Bielsa team.

2) Should faith be shown in Raúl Jiménez, Romain Saïss and Max Kilman?

After the 1-1 draw with Newcastle, Wolves are now second worst for big chances and xG (1.14) over the past two Gameweeks. During this spell, Raúl Jiménez has had just the two shots inside the box and no big chances yet has scored twice. Fair to say he’s worth keeping for Palace at home but over the long term given the lack of goal threat from Wolves you will find better options in terms of value out there.

Despite doing so poorly in attack, there is some hope as far as the Wolves defence is concerned. Looking at the figures, no team has conceded fewer big chances than Wolves over the past two Gameweek’s. They seem like the ideal team to back for low scoring affairs. I will further analyse their defence by running this comparison down below to highlight the improvement they have made after starting the season poorly in terms of underlying defensive numbers:

Wolves (Gameweeks 1-3) vs Wolves (Gameweeks 4-6):

Big chances conceded: 7 v 2
Shots in the box conceded: 29 v 21

The improvement is evident and another clean sheet against Palace might be on the cards – Wolves, after Man City, are the most likely team to keep a clean sheet this week according to the bookie odds. Coming to their individual defenders, Kilman delivered yet another solid performance over the weekend and looks set to keep his place – at £4.2 million he is tremendous value. There are growing murmors amongst the Wolves fans to recall Marcal into the starting 11. Growing through their forums, I found that the vast majority of them think that Saïss might get dropped this week despite his stellar performances, because they don’t consider him to be a natural wing back and think that Marcal might be better suited to that position. What happens though remains to be seen.

3) Is Wilfried Zaha finally a reliable FPL player this season?

Crystal Palace created the second highest number of big chances this week, with Zaha being involved in every single one of them. I’m not sure whether to put this down to Palace’s potency or Fulham’s habitual generosity. I’d suspect it was the latter because before this Gameweek, Palace were second worst for non-penalty xG and shots inside the box since the season had started which highlighted their negligible goal threat.

Zaha’s numbers individually this season are far better than last season, which suggests that he might finally start being a reliable FPL asset rather than showing glimpses and blowing hot and cold:

Zaha (This season) vs Zaha (Last season):

Mins per shot in the box: 41.5 v 68.3
Mins per big chance: 90 v 656
Mins per big chance created: 270 v 820

fpl gameweek 7 tips

Is Zaha the real deal this season?

Zaha has been the most advanced player for Palace and has been involved in eight of Palace’s 11 big chances this season. This ∼72% involvement rate is exceptional and suggests that whenever Palace are to score, Zaha is highly likely to be at the end of their goals – particularly given that he’s on penalties now. It’s just whether Palace will score enough goals. The upcoming fixtures (wol LEE bur NEW wba) are decent but given Wolves’ defensive form, you can hold off on investing this week.

4) Is Jack Grealish worth the extra million over Ross Barkley and is it worth keeping Aston Villa’s assets following the loss to Leeds?

Here I run a comparison over Grealish vs Barkley over the past two Gameweeks, which is pertinent to highlight the impact of the slight deeper role Barkley has adopted since Villa have switched to a 4-3-3:

Grealish vs Barkley (last two Gameweeks):

Shots in the box: 2 v 1
Big chances: 2 v 0
Big chances created: 1 v 1
Penalty area touches: 18 v 5

As you can see Grealish is equaling or bettering Barkley in every stat, and looking at the previous two fixtures Grealish has been far more advanced than Barkley ever since Hourihane has been dropped. Both are sharing set piece duties so Barkley still has some assist potential but with better underlying numbers for goal threat and greater penalty area involvement I think Grealish is the choice to go for out of the two.

Looking at Villa’s previous fixture against Leeds, I think Leeds may have been lucky to walk away with a clean sheet. With a xG of 1.45, Villa were the team with the highest xG and most amount of big chances not to have scored this week. Watkins had a big chance right at the end while Grealish had two himself with one being heroically cleared off the line. Furthermore, Villa are amongst the top three for big chances and in the top five for xG from open play over the span of the past four Gameweeks. For me they are still worth keeping – even though Southampton may present yet another stern test at the weekend having conceded the least amount of big chances of any team over the past four Gameweeks.

5) Would Everton still look as menacing as they did at the start of the season after the loss of crucial players?

Everton failed to register a big chance in a league game for the first time this Gameweek v Southampton so the impact of the absence of star players Richarlison and Digne was there for all to see. When only Richarlison got injured against Brighton, Everton created four big chances during the course of the game despite losing him and Calvert-Lewin was on the scoresheet. Given the lack of a reasonable sample size, it’s pretty hard to predict how they fare without their two star players this week v Newcastle but I’d expect a reaction.

gameweek 7 fpl tips

Calvert-Lewin should be back in the goals soon

Calvert-Lewin at £7.7 million is still a hold for me as he’s joint top for big chances (8) in the league and with favourable fixtures to follow (new MUN ful LEE bur), he can continue to do well. It’s also worth noting that Digne and Richarlison will both be back for the Fulham fixture, so Everton will soon be at full strength.

6) Who is the best captain choice this week?

I still think that despite a blank vs Sheffield United, Mohammed Salah is the best captaincy shout this week. No team registered more big chances than Liverpool this Gameweek and no player recorded more big chances than Salah, so Salah was unlucky to register. Salah had a goal disallowed and even had two other big chances apart from that. No team has recorded more big chances than Liverpool this season, while no player has had more shots in the box than Salah during this spell. Salah also has the best odds of scoring a goal and Liverpool are most likely to score 2.5+ goals according to the bookies this Gameweek. With Salah being eligible for extra points per clean sheet and goal over a forward, I think this makes him the best choice for the armband this Gameweek.

Harry Kane and Sadio Mané are also viable alternatives this week. I speak more about them in the sections below.

7) In this section, I discuss Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane and look at their performances in detail.

Since the start of the season no duo in Europe’s top five have combined for a goal more than Son and Kane (9). Due to his immaculate form, Son sits top of the goal scoring charts in the Premier League. Kane, meanwhile, tops the chart for having the most goal involvements after five games throughout the history of the Premier League with the likes of Thierry Henry to follow while Son stands fourth in that list showing the attacking potential this duo possesses. Also, another point to note is that a third of Harry Kane’s all time PL assists have come in his last five games. No wonder that he sits top of all players in the league for big chances created this season.

Here I also run the scanner over their performances home and away this year:

Son (Home) vs Son (Away):

Mins per shots in the box: 71.7 v 31.5
Mins per big chance: 215 v 36
Mins per big chances created: 107.5 v 252
xG: 0.78 v 1.91
FPL points per game: 5.3 v 17.7

Kane (Home) vs Kane (Away):

Mins per shots in the box: 24.5 v 33
Mins per big chance: 90 v 88
Mins per big chances created: 90 v 53
xG: 2.45 v 1.95

fpl tips for gameweek 7

Son’s away form catches the eye more than at home

The stats significantly show how potent Son is when plays an away fixture, so this suggests that Kane might be a more reliable captaincy shout at home while Son being the one to captain away.

8) How does City attack compare this season to last? Is it worth keeping their attacking assets?

Let us look at some numbers to see how City have fared in the opening Gameweeks compared to last season:

Man City first 5 games 19/20 v Man City first 5 games 20/21
Shots in the box: 74 v 44
Big chances: 22 v 9
Goals: 16 v 8

Man City 19/20 v Man City 20/21
Average shot distance (m): 16.88 v 19.27
xG per shot average: 0.142 (League rank: 2nd) v 0.099 (League rank: 18th)

Huge drop in attacking underlying statistics suggests that so far Man City have been a shadow of the team they were last season.

And now with Guardiola taking Agüero off at half time on the weekend and stating it as a muscular injury which means a minimum unavailability for at least a fortnight, it is expected that Sterling will be entrusted with the striker position one more time with Jesus not returning this week. Sterling managed to have the only big chance during the previous league fixture v West Ham and was through on goal twice but fluffed his lines. There were also a couple of moments where Cancelo was in behind the West Ham line and Sterling was perfectly positioned for the opportunity but unluckily a goal never resulted.

Now that De Bruyne is back, he will be on penalty duties and even though mixed fixtures are to follow (shu LIV tot BUR FUL) expect the City duo to feature whenever Man City do get on the scoresheet. Furthermore, it would make little sense to get rid of them right now only to get them back for a favourable run of fixtures post Gameweek 10, since transfers are precious at this point of the season. Phil Foden, meanwhile scored off the bench, and is expected to keep his place. He will continue to offer great value at £6.6 million.

9) How do Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané compare this season?

Mané and Salah one week or the other have both featured heavily on the scoresheet for Liverpool. And when playing together, in their last four matches Mané has outscored Salah in FPL points by a margin of 20 points, 4G 2A vs 1G 1A, respectively. Lets take a further look how they have fared this season:

Mané v Salah:
Total Big Chances: 8 v 6
Shots in the Box: 14 v 22
xG Open Play: 4.03 v 2.08

It’s important to note that Mané missed a fixture though, so let’s work some averages for a more relevant understanding:

Mané v Salah:
Mins per shots in the box: 31.4 v 24.5
Mins per big chance: 55 v 90
Mins per big chance created: 220 v 135

fantasy football gw7 tips

Both Liverpool midfielders continue to be excellent options

Now that we have all the data, it’s fair to say that Mané in isolation has the better numbers when you look at goal threat – particularly from open play. He’s an excellent differential to captain for those who don’t own Salah. Salah, meanwhile, has the safety blanket of penalties but despite his higher volume of shots inside the box, the quality of chances hasn’t been as great as Mané’s.

10) Lucas Digne – hold or sell? If yes, then for whom?

Digne’s ban has been reduced to just a one game suspension which makes this a slightly tricky decision. I’d probably take this as an opportunity to sell, because I don’t think Digne justifies the lofty £6.2m price tag. Everton’s defensive numbers are decent but given that Digne has lost the majority of set pieces to James Rodríguez and Pickford doesn’t look assured in goal would make me lean towards selling.

I think Ben Chilwell could be a good shout if you’re looking for a replacement. Since Chilwell’s first appearance for Chelsea, he ranks second only to Robertson for touches in the final third (99 v 117). He also ranks top for creating chances (9) amongst defenders over this period. Chelsea are also best for big chances conceded over the past three Gameweeks and with the return to fitness of Edouard Mendy in goal (who has now kept four clean sheets in his previous four Chelsea appearances), Chelsea’s defence looks more assured of all a sudden. The Blues have a favourable run of fixtures (bur SHU new) over the short term and given Chilwell’s potential to deliver points at both end of the field, chances are that he will do well. It’s worth noting that he has been on corner-kick duties since his return and continued to be on corner kicks in the Champions League v Krasnodar despite the presence of Ziyech.

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Check out our Ultimate Guide to FPL Gameweek 7 for all the key information, stats and tips you need going into the weekend’s action.

 

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