These blogs are quick to trumpet the successes of previous gameweek’s predictions, so it would be remiss of me to not acknowledge that there wasn’t much to crow about last week at all. Having been blown off course a little by results in GW6, my spreadsheet floundered again in GW7, being bettered by bookmakers odds for the second week running, albeit the only two times so far.
Whilst it is possible that their models are adapting faster to emerging patterns in this most unusual of seasons, the sample size of 20 matches is far too small to draw any conclusions, and their recent success could just as easily be down to variance.
One aspect of this season so far that is making things much more difficult for my model is the ridiculously high number of penalty kicks being awarded, with several last weekend being of the ‘super soft‘ variety.
Hopefully, my spreadsheets can pick up a good tail wind in GW8, and avoid being marooned during the next International Break. The weather system predicted to be our ticket out of the doldrums has been named ‘Chelsea’.
Last week saw MCI be the first team this season predicted to most likely score 3 goals, but they never got out of second gear after scoring first, and showcased a new line in game management instead. This week sees another team predicted to score 3 goals against the same opponents, but SHU will be away this time, and not supported by stormy weather conditions, so maybe CHE can succeed where MCI failed.
Over the past 6 gameweeks, the average number of teams deemed more likely than not to score at least 2 goals has been slightly above 7, but there are 3 fewer in GW8, and in descending order of expected goals they occupy the top 4 places in the table below. Fewer goals equals fewer points, so don’t be surprised if we see a low average score in FPL this week.
WBA sound the dubious prediction klaxon for a second week in a row, which is almost certainy due to them starting the season with an overly generous interpretation of their Championship form last year. Note that the prediction in the Correct Score Forecast table below has them scoring only once, which is because just like last week, there is insufficient xG difference between them and their opponents to credit them with a goal advantage.
The score forecast for MUN has also been scaled down for the exact same reason, whilst CHE superiority over SHU in terms of xG difference doesn’t quite extend to three goals, so they are downgraded to scoring twice.
The top three teams in the expected goals table provide 10 of the 14 players who made the cut for predicted points in GW8 (see table below), with 5, 3, and 2 drawn from CHE, MCI, and MUN respectively. Kane, Wilson, Aubameyang, and Trossard are the only exceptions to the monopoly those 3 teams have.
The table above shows how many points players are expected to get on average, excluding bonus points, and not factoring in yellow/red cards. The column to the right of the expected points only applies to players whose scores are inflated by the effects of penalty kicks, and show what they would have been if those are taken out of the equation.
Bruno owes his table topping position to having taken FIVE penalty kicks in his last 8 away games, whilst KDB took 2 in his last 8 home games. If we discount the distorting effect of penalty kicks, then Werner would be top, and the good news for his owners is that he established himself midweek as Chelsea’s number one penalty taker.
There are 3 defenders from CHE in the top 15 ranked players, which is to be expected given the Blues are ranked top for expected goals scored and conceded in GW8.
They are the only team deemed more likely than not to bank a clean sheet (see table below), while 4 teams (WHU, LEI, LEE, BHA) are considered more likely to concede zero goals than one.
In terms of captaincy, I backed the wrong runner in a two horse race between Salah and Kane yet again, but at least I didn’t bank another blank. For what it’s worth, I still believe both of my last 2 captain choices were correct judging from the number of chances to score squandered compared to the higher scoring alternatives.
Thankfully, there are different options to consider this week with LIV away to a defensively improving MCI. Judging from my spreadsheet’s expected goals predictions our focus should be on players from CHE, MCI and MUN, and Kane‘s prominence in the players points predictions means we should include TOT in our research.
Repeating the same process as for the last few weeks means turning to My Stats Tables in the Fantasy Football Scout Members Area to assist me in determining the best captaincy option. Once again, LIV and TOT are at the head of my Team Offence table, with neither of the Manchester clubs in the top 8 according to the Minutes Per xG metric.
In both of the last 2 weeks, my Team Defence table cautioned against Kane captaincy due to the BHA and BUR backlines being shown to be performing well according to the Minutes Per xG Conceded metric. Encouragingly for GW8, however, TOT‘s next opponents are the worst team by this metric over the last six gameweeks.
Turning to my Players Expected Goals table, it can be seen that Kane is the sole representative of the 4 teams under the microscope here, so my captaincy decision this week feels refreshingly clear for once.
Looking further ahead with player ratings, the table below shows the expected top dozen points scorers over the next 4 gameweeks. The prominence of Wilson here rubs my face in my regrets about my rushed decision to bring Bamford in as my Antonio replacement instead.
ARS were highlighted last week as being more likely to concede zero goals than one at Old Trafford, and they vindicated their recent arrival on my spreadsheet’s radar. With that clean sheet banked, however, they slip back down 3 places to 6th best in my model’s projections for the next 6 gameweeks. LEI take over their 3rd place with 2 good clean sheet prospects in their next 3 games (see table below).
As stated last week, at least one defensive assets from MCI is strongly advisable from GW10 onwards, and Cancelo, who was singled out preseason in my backline bonus magnet blog, has continued to look one of the Citizen’s best attacking outlets in all of his appearances so far. Against him is the recent return from injury of Zinchenko, and the everpresent danger of ‘Pep Roulette‘.
That’s all for now, folks. May the GW8 flop be with you.
Coley a.k.a. FPL P0ker PlAyerFollow @barCOLEYna