Welcome to a new post series from AbuBakar. He’ll be taking you though the key takeaways from the previous Gameweek

Greetings everyone! Here I pen my thoughts on the climate of the FPL stratosphere as I once again run the scanner over the happenings of the Premier League weekend:

1) Over the previous seven Premier League seasons, after 27 GW’s, the average number of shots conceded inside the box and big chances conceded by the worst defensive team in the league have been ≈267.86 and ≈64.14 respectively. After going through the data, I can confidently say that this season to date has witnessed some of the worst defending in the league’s history. To put things into context, at this stage, Villa have conceded 330 shots inside the box while West Ham have conceded 86 big chances. The FPL repercussion is that the findings cannot be more obvious, target attackers who play against these teams!

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2) Trent Alexander Arnold and Andy Robertson against West Ham accumulated the highest number of chances created by full backs in a single Premier League game this season. Together they created thrice the amount of chances created by West Ham in the entire game. It’s only February and Trent has already approximately created as many chances as the sum of the best defensive chance creators of 17/18, 16/17 and 15/16 over the three seasons combined. That is scary, scary stuff.

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3) 19 shots for Wolves this weekend with 13 in the box, five big chances and an xG of over three. I fear Norwich might be beginning to collapse like Fulham last season now that there’s little chance of safety with each passing week. Translation: Keep Vardy. I know that Leicester are out of sorts and Vardy having missed 4/4 of his previous big chances is woefully out of form. However, Vardy is too clinical a striker for that to continue forever. Vardy averages ≈9 points per game in the reverse fixtures against his four upcoming opponents. I fancy Vardy and Leicester to pick up form and go bang bang at the weekend.

4) Chelsea‘s defensive numbers at home against the better Premier League attacks this season have been elite. Against Spurs, Arsenal, Leicester, Liverpool and United this season they have conceded 8 times despite having a combined xGc of just 2.62 hence their defensive performances have been masked. The disparity in their defensive data home and away is huge – at home they have been conceding ≈4.64 shots inside the box per game (vs ≈7.15 away) and ≈1.28 big chances per game (vs ≈1.92 away).

5) Ever since returning from a hamstring injury, Patrick Van Aanholt has taken 13 corners for Palace in three games and has been sharing free kicks as well. For a team as dependent on set pieces as Palace, that adds huge appeal to Van Aanholt’s value as a fantasy asset. Van Aanholt created six chances, including two big chances, this week which further meant that he accumulated baseline bonus faster than any other defender (keeper included) in his team.

6) Just four chances created for Spurs this week further highlights their struggles without Son. Since GW20, no team has conceded fewer big chances than Wolves while Spurs have been conceding over two a game which indicates another tough test and possibly more points for Jimenez and co at the weekend.

7) The dissimilarity in the defensive numbers between Jose Mourinho’s first eight weeks at the helm at Spurs and what followed later couldn’t be more apparent. From GW 13-20, Spurs were conceding shots inside the box at ≈6.875 per game which soon leapt up alarmingly to ≈10.43 per game between GW 21-27. Correspondingly, big chances conceded per game also rose precariously from ≈0.75 to ≈2.43.

8) Another manager whose honeymoon period appears to be coming to an end is Watford’s Nigel Pearson. Over the past five weeks, Watford have conceded ≈11 shots in the box per game (vs ≈8.50 under him previously) and ≈2 big chances per game (vs ≈1.33 under him previously). Liverpool’s impressive attacking stats, Watford’s slump in form and the fact that Salah has more goals against Watford than against any opponent in his PL career means that I’ll have a hard time looking past Salah as my captain this week.

If you’re looking to follow more of my content, you can follow me @bigmanbakar on Twitter and on Instagram. Computations and analysis my own. Thank you for supporting my work!


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