While I was working as a Trader I used to always write a proprietary report for trade ideas called, “Where are we placed?”. The idea was to first analyse where we stand currently and based on that and our forward assumptions (based on historical evidence and future event risks) try and envision the best possible outcomes in the various asset classes.
I have now decided to the do the same here in FPL and I will be publishing this report every 4 GW’s keeping the above process in mind.
What a cracking start it has been to this season. Whether you are doing well or not in FPL, you have to be enjoying the football and the amount of goals that we have seen. Teams that thrashed the top 6 in a particular GW are the same teams to lose the following GW. The seeming lack of home advantage is there for all to see and with the more attacking style of play by most teams, clean sheets almost seem a thing of the past. I am personally really enjoying the football and I’m looking forward to a lot more!
In my last report I had shared the bottom two paragraphs:
I had written that in FPL and other spheres of life – “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“.
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.
This is exactly what happened. Most of our assumptions were tested over the last 4 GW’s and will continued to be tested if the start of the season is anything to go by.
However, despite the current randomness we must make smart decisions and stick to our process that has worked for us taking into consideration our style of play.
I recently read the book – “Thinking in Bets” by Annie Duke which I highly recommend to all of you!
In this book she states –
What makes a decision great is not that it has a great outcome. A great decision is the result of a good process, and that process must include an attempt to accurately represent our own state of knowledge. That state of knowledge, in turn, is some variation of “I’m not sure.”
What if we shifted our definition of “I don’t know” from the negative frame (“I have no idea” or “I know nothing about that,” which feels like we lack competence or confidence) to a more neutral frame? What if we thought about it as recognizing that, although we might know something about the chances of some event occurring, we are still not sure how things will turn out in any given instance? That is just the truth. If we accept that, “I’m not sure” might not feel so bad.
What good poker players and good decision-makers have in common is their comfort with the world being an uncertain and unpredictable place. They understand that they can almost never know exactly how something will turn out. They embrace that uncertainty and, instead of focusing on being sure, they try to figure out how unsure they are, making their best guess at the chances that different outcomes will occur. The accuracy of those guesses will depend on how much information they have and how experienced they are at making such guesses. This is part of the basis of all bets.
If we imbibe what is written above our ability to make decisions might improve but our ability to deal with the outcomes of our decisions will definitely improve. We have a long season ahead and we need to continue to make good decisions.
Most of us ignored Spurs assets because of the congestion of fixtures and the fact that they had significantly over performed their stats last season. While their defensive assets still have a lot to prove their offensive assets have benefitted with more games if anything!
We all ignored Kane as he was being laughed at as a CDM as opposed to a striker which is known as Motivated Reasoning – the stubbornness of beliefs.
We came in thinking Aston Villa were definitely a relegation team but they just defeated the current Champions more than convincingly.
Now just because our initial assumptions were wrong does not mean we cannot course correct! We intend to continue to do well and make better FPL decision, so lets get right to it!
Let’s start with the TEAM DATA:
The above table is sorted by Expected Goals.
We have seen a total of 144 goals from an xG of 118. This is not sustainable at the current rate. Either the xG will have to rise or the no. of goals will have to reduce.
In the last report we had stated that we want attacking assets from teams that score in excess of 60 goals (1.5 goals PG) and currently most teams barring Burnley, Sheffield, Wolves, Fulham and Southampton are doing so. We will have to wait for another few weeks to see who are the more consistent teams to bet on.
With the data at hand both Spurs and Liverpool look very good. Everton, Leicester and Chelsea are performing above their xG while the latter two are significantly outperforming their Big Chances Created. We need to keep an eye on this as we might see a reversion lower.
The above table is sorted by Big Chances conceded.
With the amount of goals conceded its not surprising that most teams haven’t looked good defensively. However; with the amount of shots in the box being very low along with a low xGC we see that Brighton, Burnley and Liverpool have really been unlucky here. The data suggests that they should concede fewer goals going forward if their xGC remains at a constant pace.
Southampton have been very good. Despite one very poor game they have decent stats to back them.
Fulham, West Brom, MNU have all allowed for a lot of big chances and shots in the box. While it is still early days before we start targeting teams but these three need to get their act together if they want any points on the board.
Last time we had analysed the seasonal data and seen that even the worst teams give us around 7 to 9 CS’s a season. So anything above 10 CS’s is good and anything above 12/13 was fantastic!
13GW’s out of 38GW’s is 34%.
So before jumping the ship on decent defending FPL assets please realise that most of the time (66% in this case) you will not have a CS even with the best. We are relying on their attacking threat for returns and attacking defenders in good teams cost top dollar!
Fixture Difficulty Rating – FDR
As I will be publishing this report every 4 GW’s, I have taken the liberty to divide the FDR below into two halves. The first one is for the next 4 GW’s and the second one is for the next 8 GW’s.
I have used my own metrics along with other FDR’s to reach this. So please be advised to check your own too.
Spurs have fantastic fixtures along with Wolves, Leicester, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Brighton.
City & Liverpool remain fixture proof for me and should continue to do well and provide Captaincy assets week in and week out.
Arsenal, West Ham, Sheffield United, Burnley have mixed fixtures while Everton if they maintain their current form will actually be expected to be much higher on the FDR.
Sorted by NPxG we can see that DCL and Kane are doing really well. Kane more so as he is also creating several Big Chances.
While looking at the difference between actual points and expected it shows that DCL, Kane, Watkins, Bamford, Maupay and Wilson have been extremely clinical.
Adams, Jiminez and Antonio have actually performed below expectations.
Sorted by NPxG we can see that Son and Mane are doing really well. Son more so as he is also creating several Big Chances.
While looking at the difference between actual points and expected it shows that Son, Salah, Bowen, Rodriguez and Grealish have been extremely clinical.
Soucek, Tossard and Barnes have actually performed below expectations.
The above table is sorted by Expected Attacking returns. We can see that players like Dallas, Ayling, The Liverpool Trio are under performing their expected points.
Saiss, Mings, and Castagne are outperforming the statistics.
All ten defenders above are likely to do well going forward even if we see a slight reversion to the mean for the defenders under performing. The Leeds boys have already played City and Liverpool please keep in mind and the Liverpool Trio have been the top ten to fifteen point returners for the last two seasons.
We have already discussed CS’s above so please stay patient with your players especially if they are listed above. They will get you attacking returns if not CS’s.
The above table is sorted by expected CS’s. McCarthy is the only 4.5 mln Keeper in the top 5. Ryan has been very unlucky and with the upcoming fixtures should look to improve is his xGC remains stable.
Darlow, Patricio, Leno and Schmeichel have averaged more than 2 saves a game.
Like the rest of the defensive data I still feel its early days and we should have a much better understanding come GW8 or GW9 about which teams have a higher probability of keeping clean sheets.
Finally, an update on my team and future plans:
Going into GW4 I was genuinely excited about my team. I thought that for the next few weeks I would be happy with these assets and that Werner and Martial would return points in GW4 too.
However, Chelsea scored 4 goals and Werner looked clueless again and Martial got a Red Card and will be sidelined till the 7th of November. While I am definitely taking the more disciplined and patient approach this season, I am not willing to wait any longer with these two assets.
I have been quite satisfied with my team otherwise and please find the stats for my team below:
I am sticking with the simple decisions I had made at the start of the season for now which were – to maintain a balanced team, preferably Captain the premium options, take risks despite Covid etc while I still have my Wildcard.
I do not plan to use my Wildcard until later or unless my team gets hit by injuries and Covid cases. I have a playing bench currently that is expected to get 2/3 points when needed.
I have gone early with my two transfers for GW5. I know its a big risk and I only have myself to blame if I get caught out. But keeping the funds in mind for future transfers I have done:
-> Werner to Kane & Martial to Watkins
I still believe that Chelsea will score a lot of goals an I need exposure to one of their attacking assets. I will be bringing in either Pulisic, Havertz or Ziyech in GW6 or later. Foden is most likely to make way for them.
This is how I will look for GW5 but going forward I will revert to a 4-3-3 formation.
As always, my decisions will be dependent on other research being shared by our GFCT Core team as well – 1. Pragmatic Strategy which is spearheaded by Shom Biswas aka BaganboyFPL, 2. FPL Matchups which is written by Gabriel Penaloza aka FPLLens, 3. The Poker Player Spreadsheets which is written by Martin Coleman aka FPL Poker Player and 4. GFCT Q&A videos which is spearheaded by Chase Blocker aka BloccFPL.
If you are on your Wildcard or are still deciding on how to attack the upcoming GW’s then please do use these research publications ahead of GW5 next week as well on our blog!
Thank you so much for reading and I look forward to your constructive feedback as always. I look forward to learning every gameweek and I wish you all the very best for your FPL teams!
Ajit Dhillon.Follow @DhillonAjit
I would also like to thanks FFHUB, FFScout and FPL Tools for the data above used in this publication.