When making transfers have you ever thought that there were not enough slots, for all the midfielders you want in your team? Also, at times, has it felt there is not enough choice among the forwards, to the point where it feels like there is only one forward in the game, in the shape of Kane? Have formations involving three forwards become redundant?

Well, there is a reason for this, and that is that there is an imbalance between the number of midfielders and forwards in the game.  This article will show why I think this is true, propose what could be done about it for next season and what #FPL managers should do this season.

 

Investigation

We all know our squads are made up of 15 players. Table 1 shows the breakdown between the positions. The two goalkeeper slots makeup 13.3% of the squad, the defender & midfielder slots 33.3% each and finally the forward slots 20% of the squad.

 

Table 1

 

At the end of GW24 I downloaded the Official List of players in the game. In this list, there were 547 players. Table 2 shows the allocation of these players to their positions and the player ratio expressed as a percentage.

Table 2

 

There were 61 goalkeepers which was 11.2% of the total players. This was similar to the 13.3% ratio of the two goalkeeper slots. As there were so few goalkeepers it would be difficult for the goalkeeper player ratio to exactly match the goalkeeper slot ratio.

For the defenders, there were 187 of them, which equated to 34.2% of the total players. Again, this was similar to the defender slot ratio of 33.3%.

Now, for the midfielders this is where it got interesting. The 225 midfielders equated to 41.1% of the total players. This is a much higher ratio than the 33.3% of the 5 midfielder slots.

The increase in midfielders is counter by a reduction in the forwards. The 74 forwards only made up 13.5% of total players whilst the 3 forward slots equated to 20% of the 15 slots.

These are the numbers which show there is an imbalance between the number of midfielders and forwards.

 

Next Season

The obvious solution is to reclassify more midfielders as forwards. But how many? Using the current pool of 547 players a reclassification of 38 midfielders as forwards would change the player ratio as shown in the Table 3.

Table 3

 

There would be 187 midfielders or 34.2% and 112 forwards or 20.5%. This would be a much better distribution of players and a better fit to the available slots. It would also better reflect how Premier League teams position their players. For example, the Man City ‘midfielders’, Sterling and Sane tend to be positioned in the forward line. They are not strikers like Jesus and Aguero but neither are they midfielders like KDB or Silva.

A reclassification of 38 midfielders may seem a lot however, on average, it is less than two players per club. Other Fantasy Football games have more forwards than the Official game, so I used these, plus Whoscored as guidance, to review the classification of the current midfielders and reclassified 38 of them as forwards.  Table 4 shows these players.

Table 4

 

You may disagree with some of the players in the list, but it covers all Premier League teams and all price points in the FPL game. Plus, in principle it is the correct thing to do.

My worry when making the reclassification was that it would decimate the midfielders and just leave ones that could be considered poor FPL assets. I don’t think this is the case as Table 5 shows, the remaining top 38 midfielders, in points scored order. There would still be choice.

Table 5

 

Table 6 is a list of all forwards existing and reclassified.

Table 6

The main point of the table is that it shows there would be a greater choice among the forwards. Instead of seeing FPL teams made up of Kane/Aguero & Firmino/Vardy plus a cheap 3rd forward, there would be greater diversity and formation 343 again would become a genuine option for FPL managers.

 

This Season

Any reclassification will not happen this season, if it ever does! It may not be in the interests of those in FPL towers to do so, as the game may be less exciting. Reclassified midfielders would score fewer points than they do now, as they would not receive clean sheet points or the extra point midfielders get for scoring a goal. Therefore, the overall points in the game would be lower and so the game could be perceived as less exciting.

We must deal with the situation as it stands. For me, it means playing formation 352 with only one premium forward in the shape of Harry Kane. Currently, the other two forwards are sub £5.5m and this allows me to spend my budget on a combination of genuine midfielders (1) and ones playing as forwards (4).

This week, I’m looking to replace Arnautovic and will look to do it with another out of position midfielder from the list above.