As a financial market participant I have seen various types of participants who have been successful. Each had their own method to the madness. Some were Technical Analysts, some were Fundamental Analysts and some simply read the screen for price action. Everyone thought that their method was the best, not realising that it was not the method itself but the process of sticking to that method in the face of adversity and over long periods of time which helped them gets the odds in their favour.
A lot like our own FPL managers, some who look only at data such as xG & xA, some that trust their eye test and some who like to form over fixtures, some who like fixtures over form etc.
In each case the participants/risk takers have been humbled several times and despite that have been able to be consistent winners by embracing a process which they stick to no matter what because they know that outcomes cannot be accurately predicted but we can make the odds favourable by doing the right things over and over again.
This my friends is my first post on this blog sharing with you the process I am looking to imbibe and hopefully I will stick with this season. While I think I understand the sport well, I can make good decisions and see value picks ahead of time, it was the lack of process that saw my rank tank from 80K to 250K in the restart last season. That was a humbling process but I learnt a lot in that failure and I cannot wait for the new season to start so that I can have another go at achieving a fantastic rank!
Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth – Mike TysonBasically stating that no matter the context, what they’re all saying is that your first plan is probably wrong. While it is the best starting point you have right now, you must revise it often based on real life feedback.
So let’s get straight into it! I recently read the book “The Expected Goals Philosophy” by James Tippet. I can’t recommend the book highly enough and I feel it has helped build my confidence significantly while looking at the stats. It has also helped me understand that how one looks at the Team statistics is different from how one should look at the Player statistics. While Players can continue to outperform their stats from the short to medium term it is extremely rare for a Team as a whole to do so. The Team will eventually revert to the underlying statistics while a player who outperforms his data is considered to be an elite finisher.
So what did I learn from the Team statistics of last season?
The table shows that City is miles ahead of any other team when it comes to their attack. Liverpool outperformed their attacking stats and while we could see a reversion they are still expected to score a lot of goals as they continued to create a lot of Big Chances.
If you look at the difference between the expected data and the actual conversion then its clear to see that Everton, Brighton, Burnley & Sheffield are very wasteful and could easily have had a lot more goals considering the Big Chances Created.
On the other hand Spurs & Arsenal significantly outscored their BCC and their expected goals and assist data showing that they could see a sharp reversion if they do not improve their attacking game play.
We can also see that most teams scored between 40 to 60 goals in this season. Its the teams that crossed the 60 barrier which are the teams that we would like to be involved with while choosing our attacking assets.
The defensive data (sorted by big chances conceded) shows that Wolves are a very difficult team to score easily against. In fact Liverpool, Burnley, Sheffield all who’s assets seemed like excellent FPL assets actually gave a lot more Big Chances to their opponents.
Chelsea massively underperformed their defensive data and conceded a lot more goals than they should have. On the other hand Arsenal & Sheffield massively outperformed their defensive data and could have conceded a lot more goals than they actually did. Spurs gave very few Big Chances but also managed to keep just 7 clean sheets.
We can also see that even the worse defensive teams get around 7 to 9 Clean sheets a season. So the real advantage only comes in when our defensive assets start to accumulate more than 10 CS’s plus attacking returns.
Now that we have an idea about how teams performed with regards to their underlying statistics we can have a look at the upcoming fixtures:
The first Wildcard is expected to be used by GW16 latest hence after looking at the FDR’s I’ve only looked up till GW16. Further when we break the FDR in batches of 8 GW’s then we can see a very large swing in FDR rating changes for teams as well from GW9. For example City, Leeds, SHU all have much better fixtures from GW9 to 16 as against Spurs, Fulham and SOU who’s fixtures deteriorate significantly as compared to the starting 8 GW’s.
I have used a couple of FDR’s and added my own tweaks to come up with these ratings. (Please use your own for your analysis)
I have further shortlisted the teams from which I would want to build my opening GW team from using the article – “Season Review by FPL Poker Player” that was released yesterday on our blog. If you haven’t already read it please do so after finishing this article. It’s a must read!
I have kept FPL Poker’s conclusions in mind regarding the last 8 GW’s and the positive xG difference for teams both home & away. To that I have added my own observations from the above table for teams throughout the seasons. This has helped me shortlist the following teams to choose players from minus the GK & place holders for now. These are MCI, LIV, WOL, MUN, EVE & CHE.
The reason I will initially stay away from EVE & CHE assets are that Chelsea have too many new assets and I feel it warrants merit for my conservative start of play to watch them in action, understand Lampard’s rotation process and then bring in a few assets as their fixtures improve dramatically from GW9. With 5 subs expected again this season we should get to see all the assets get decent minutes for us to make a much more informed decision. Everton have simply been poor. Very wasteful in attack and underperformed in defence as well. And while I am very optimistic with them getting reinforcements in their midfield, them being well priced assets and Ancelotti at the helm, I’m going to see how they gel in the first 8 GW’s before making a decision.
I am currently looking to build a squad that will play till GW 8 atleast. I am not looking to use my WC early currently.
Formation & Price points:
I will be making sure that I have as many price points covered so that I can easily switch players in case of injury or covid postponements.
I have chosen to go with a 4-4-2 formation which I can change to a 3-5-2 formation when a few value picks evolve. At the moment keeping in mind the team and player stats I am only happy with a 4-4-2 structure that will evolve and finally be where I want it to be by GW4.
With the premium picks all very expensive this year I have decided to go with a 4.5 mln Keeper. There is not much between them as far as the data goes as one can see:
McCarthy has less saves than Ryan per 90 but faces less shots even in the box. Ramsdale is now at 5 mln but its tough to decide looking at his CS’s per 90 whether SHU will be able to be the defensive mammoth it was with Henderson.
Keeping this decision simple I’ve decided to go with Ryan & Button because if there is an injury Button can come on without me having to waste a transfer. With Ryan having consistently averaged around 3.55 points over the years I would expect a target of around 135/140 points for the season. I will have a relook on my WC.
While Doherty and Robertson are right up there with Trent and Van Dijk, I’ve decided to see how Doherty settles in with Spurs first. If he continues to be as offensive as he was with Wolves, there is no doubt that come GW9 he will be in my team. The fact that Spurs has not been good defensively is also putting me off for the moment. Robertson is as good as TAA as far as I am concerned but I’ve gone with TAA because he is the more expensive option. In case he gets injured it will be easy for me to move to Robbo rather than the other way around.
Saiss & Vinagre are my way into the Wolves defense and it helps me maintain my price points. They have fantastic fixtures till GW8 which will give me time to scout the other teams. I do not expect the departure of Doherty to affect their defense and till Boly remains healthy I continue to believe that they will remain rock solid in defense.
Mitchell is a place holder for Ferguson of CRY. I expect Ferguson to play regularly once fit.
The above table is sorted by Goals per 90 but by expected attacking returns Salah is clearly far ahead of the others. While my eye test states that Mane is the type of player I will enjoy watching due to his finishing but Salah is the consistent point scorer for three years in a row and with him being the leader in the Big Chances per 90 he should do well. Aubameyang as a midfielder now should do really well and with his great first two fixtures he is the place holder for KDB to join the team in GW3. KDB’s Assist per 90 and chances created is so far ahead of anyone else in the league its impossible to ignore him. He is also one of the only players that does consistently well no matter who the opponent is. Unlike other premium assets who rack up the big scores mostly against the weaker teams.
Greenwood can make a stats person scratch their head due to his lack of big chances and xG levels but his xGI Delta (G+A – Goal Involvement) is the highest amongst the midfielders. He passes the eye test with ease but unlike other players that I like he has not returned both on the goal and the assist front. This is something I will have to remain watchful off. However, at his price and his points per match return of 8+ it’s impossible for me to ignore him. JWP is a place holder with 5 goals and 3 assists last season. He is on set pieces and penalties & I am comfortable holding him till GW4 when Foden will be taking his place. Foden is my punt at the start of the season. He really impressed me during the restart and with 5 subs allowed again I expect him to get game time. I might have to suffer a few sub points but at his price point if he does settle in well he should be great value in a team that scores for fun.
In the above table you can see the 4 strikers I have zeroed down to for consideration. The list is sorted by Assists. Its a surprising factor which most managers might not look at but knowing myself I would like to have a striker that can get some kind of attacking return even if he doesn’t score a goal himself. It keep the returns ticking and its easier for me to remain patient.
Jimenez takes an aweful lots of shots but has a poorer strike rate than the others but with his expected attacking returns topping the table he is the first one that will be in my team. Martial and Ings both pass the the eye test very well but Ings will only be the place holder till my first transfer for Martial in GW2. Martial gets nod for the second spot as he is a part of a team that scores a lot of goals and I do not see that changing any time soon. He also contributes via assists which Ings does not do much of.
THE FINAL LINEUPS:
Greenwood will be on the bench for GW1 and in his place we will have Bissouma (BHA) facing Chelsea.
GW2 Transfer will be Ings to Martial
GW3 Transfer will be Aubameyang to KDB
GW4 Transfer will be JWP to Foden
GW1 TEAM WITH GREENWOOD ON THE BENCH
GW4 TEAM INTENDED TO BE KEPT FORWARD
I recently read an article by lukejerdy on FFHUB titled – “Picking my FPL team the Maths approach.” Its a fascinating read & I highly recommend it!
Anyway long story short he stated that the winner last year won with a whopping average point score of 67.76 points!
Yes, you read that correctly and just for the fun of it I have taken the average scores for various players from the same article to see where I stand if I were to use those averages and set and forget my team which I intend on having in GW4 onwards. Here’s the result:
Thats a whopping 71.18 points on average per week!
Not bad haha…
Thank you for reading till here and as a manager dedicated to improving and learning I look forward to your constructive feedback on my team.
I intend on keeping this team minus any injury or covid postponement.
I wish all of you all the best this season and I will look to publish my next season review in the break between GW8 & GW9 where we can together study the updated stats for teams and players alike.
Ajit Dhillon.Follow @DhillonAjit
Credit: Data has been used from FFScout & FFHub