Who would have thought combining two of our statistics tables would offer a more accurate insight into the future than a crystal ball? Ahead of Gameweek 32, I’ve revisited my mid-week strategy to reveal whether I’m onto something more than good fortune.
As a Fantasy Premier League manager who lives and breathes statistics, I was excited to finally delve into the new set of free FPL Statistics we’ve added to the website.
As some of you may know from previous articles, I’m a keen player of daily fantasy (FPL betting) and for GW31 I opted to create my teams solely using the statistics at my disposal on Fplbet. Afterall, what better way to test them other than backing them with my own cash.
Knights of the Stats Table
Using the trusty expected goals model provided by All Fantasy Tips, I set about identifying specific players who could capitalise on their opposition’s defensive weaknesses.
The statistics that I used for this were:
First of all I took the top five teams with the highest expected goals (Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Southampton and Leicester) and noted down their opposition. I then opened up the defensive weaknesses table and tried to pick up on any trends in goals conceded.
These were my findings (the brackets indicate the amount conceded followed by where that ranks them amongst other teams in the league):
Bournemouth: Headers (11, 1st) & Shots (37, 3rd).
West Ham: Shots (39, 2nd) & Penalties (5, 4th)
Swansea: Shots (45, 1st)
Palace: Shots (35, 4th), Headers (8, 3rd)
Sunderland: Headers (11, 1st), Shots (34, 5th)
I then used the Goal Types table to look at which players had been scoring the specific types of goal that their opposition was conceding. When reaching the final verdict on players, I also consulted the Home/Away Form table.
Needless to say, during this stage I factored out players who were injured, suspended & potentially not starting.
I’ve bolded the players who scored/assisted in GW31, and italicised the ones who ended up scoring a goal that matched their opposition’s weakness:
Liverpool (vs BOU): Coutinho (6S), Firmino (7S, 2H), Wijnaldum (3S, 2H),*
Arsenal (vs WHU): Sanchez (13S, 2P), Walcott (8S)
Tottenham (vs SWA): Alli (9S), Son (8S)
Southampton (vs SOT): Redmond (5S), **
Leicester (vs SUN): Slimani *** (4H), Vardy (7S, 1H)
* Origi was also on my list due to his track record of headed goals, despite not scoring one this season… before GW31 that is.
** Austin & Van Dijk have proved the biggest aerial threat for SOU, but missed out on my list due to injuries.
*** Slimani was on my list, but I didn’t opt for him in my daily fantasy teams as he isn’t nailed on.
From the above candidates, 9 of the 10 players managed a goal or assist in gameweek 31. What a surprise the player who blanked was my captain on Fantasy Premier League…
Exactly 50% of the selected players ended up exploiting their opposition’s weaknesses, with Walcott, Alli, Son, Redmond & Vardy scoring shots, and Slimani scoring a header from the bench.
I understand that the sample range is small (1 GW), that 5/6 of the weaknesses exploited were shots (the most popular goal type) and that it was a high scoring set of midweek matches. However, there’s no denying that in this instance, the tables served me well.
For a bit of fun, I’ve decided to pull up five more players that could exploit certain team’s defences in Gameweek 32.
Five Players That Could Capitalise on Defensive Weaknesses in Gameweek 32:
Sergio Aguero vs: Hull (H)
Man City Gameweek 32 Expected Goals: 2.68 (1st)
Hull Defensive Weaknesses: Penalties (10, 1st), Headers (11, 2nd)
Yawn. Does it really take trawling the statistics tables to pull out Sergio Aguero as a potential goalscorer against Hull? No, it doesn’t, but I’ve decided to add it to reinforce (or further complicate) any transfer or captaincy thoughts you might have.
Aguero has scored more penalties than any other Man City player (3) and also scored the joint highest amount of headers, albeit just 1. He’s also their highest goalscorer, a no brainer really… isn’t it?
I guess depending on your stance you could flag up Yaya Toure as another candidate here. The Ivorian midfielder, who carts his weight around the pitch with the elegance of a baby elephant, has scored 2 from the spot this year.
Some of you may argue that he’s their main penalty taker, to which I reply: “He’s also taller than Aguero, so has more chance of winning a header.”
Dele Alli vs: Watford (H)
Tottenham Gameweek 32 Expected Goals: 2.66 (2nd)
Watford Defensive Weaknesses: Headers (7, 1st)*
* Filtered to just AWAY matches.
Watford didn’t have any stand out metrics this season except from shots (33, 6th) but it’s not substantial enough for me to write about. For the record, it would have put Dele Alli (10S, 2nd behind Kane who is injured) to the front of the frame anyway, with Son (9S, 3rd) narrowly behind.
However, I decided to filter the table to just show away form, and guess what? Watford rank highest for headers conceded on the road (7, joint with Burnley).
Some of you may argue that the location of the match surely doesn’t impact a team’s aerial defensive ability, to which I reply: “Did you know, there has been 35.48% more headed goals conceded away than at home this season?”.
Diego Costa vs: Bournemouth (A)
Chelsea Gameweek 32 Expected Goals: 2.39 (3rd)
Bournemouth Defensive Weaknesses: Headers (12, 1st), Shots (38, 3rd)
I nearly didn’t include Diego Costa in this one because you lot might lose interest based on the fact I’ve only tipped somewhat obvious players so far. However, at the time of writing this, Costa is the second most transferred out player ahead of GW32 (behind Mane who has pretty much been ruled out for the season).
Therefore, I’ve decided to keep Diego “Three blanks and two yellow cards from his last three” Costa on my list, because if you’re considering transferring him out – unless it’s for Aguero – I don’t think you should.
The fact that Hazard has taken the plaudits in recent weeks makes it easy to forget that Costa has scored 17 this season, 16 with his feet and 1 with his head.
If that still doesn’t tempt you to hold on to him, just make sure you have Gary Cahill (2H, 1st) in as coverage (oooh, you used the c-word!) because if there’s one player banging one in with his head this weekend it’s Chelsea’s best forehead.
Philippe Coutinho vs: Stoke (A)
Liverpool Gameweek 32 Expected Goals: 1.78
Stoke Defensive Weaknesses: Freekicks (3, 1st)*
* Filtered to last 10 matches
Whilst it may not seem like my tips are getting any more audacious as this article progresses, I’d like to point that I’m not merely tipping Coutinho as a goalscorer this weekend, but in fact predicting that he’s going to score a freekick. If that’s not audacious then neither is Brexit.
Somehow, over their last 10 matches Stoke have managed to concede three, yes THREE, direct free kicks. Whether this is due to Lee Grant’s poor goalkeeping or the added incentive of hitting the ball extra hard because Charlie Adam is in the wall, I don’t know… Probably the latter.
Gylfi Sigurdsson vs: West Ham (A)
Swansea Gameweek 32 Expected Goals: 1.32
West Ham Defensive Weaknesses: Shots (42, 2nd), Penalties (5, 4th)
Another player who has been shown the door by a lot of fantasy managers following three successive blanks is Swansea talisman Sigurdsson. Have you all forgotten that he managed a goal or assist in the SEVEN matches before that? He plays for Swansea guys, come on.
Anyway, Gylfi faces the Hammers who have their poor defensive form, both home and away, to thank for a lacklustre performance in the league this season. They’ve conceded the second highest amount of shots (42) and 4th highest amount of penalties (5). Which Swansea player tends to score shots and penalties? I’ll leave that to you to remember.
Thanks for reading this article. If you end up deep within our statistics and find any more players that you think could capitalise on defensive weaknesses, be sure to leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you find.
Here’s to all the above players blanking in Gameweek 32.