#FPL MATCHUPS GW7

I missed last week’s matchups article and in preparation for this article it struck me how much I missed writing this. So this week is a throwback to what started this, an analysis of defensive matchups in specific areas of the field in order to inform our captain selection. Let’s do this. 

  • SHU/MCI 
  • LIV/WHU 
  • TOT/BHA 
  • Bonus player punt 

SHU/MCI 

I feel a need to say if you are considering a MCI asset for your captain this week, it is because you believe in their potential for explosive results. Their poor recent form is hence a conversation not worth having. Let us turn to which MCI player promises to benefit most from the matchup. 

I have 3 interesting stats that I believe will play a role in this match: 

  1. SHU have conceded the 5th most BC (13), just 1 fewer than MUN and LIV who have conceded the 3rd most (14). 
  1. SHU have conceded the most headed goal attempts (24). An incredible 6 more than 2nd most LEI (18). 
  1. SHU have conceded the most chances from the right side (the opponents left). 

Sterling wins the selection in this matchup. With KDB returning, I actually like Sterling quite a bit as a differential captain that could really haul this week.  

LIV/WHU 

I have been vocal about how good WHU defense is when playing a deep 5 at the back, so this is by no means an easy matchup for LIV. WHU have only conceded 8 big chances all season. Only BUR have conceded fewer and they played 1 fewer match. WHU also have the 5th lowest xGC (6.38), again BUR is one of the lower ones with 1 fewer match. 

When looking for a weakness in WHU, all one can find is the fact that they have conceded almost twice as many chances from the right than the left. A stingy defense whose strength is their left side does not suit Salah and is the reason I will not put the armband on him this week. Mane, on the other hand, could see some production here if he gets some decent balls into whatever space opens for him on the left. Mane also has better stats than Salah. Despite missing GW4, Mane is still tied for the most BC (8), and has the 6th highest xG (4.03), higher than Salah’s. 

Mane is the standout pick for me in this matchup because Coufal isn’t really a defender per se and the stats show it. At this point, given his stats, I would possibly go Mane over Salah in a matchup where the two sides are even. 

TOT/BHA 

Son could make it a very long day for BHA if he is able to exploit the space behind Lamptey. To add, Dunk is suspended, so Kane could truly tear BHA apart in the middle as well. Many managers have both, so which do we choose? 

BHA are a deceptively good defense with an xGC Delta of +5.97. They have conceded almost 6 more goals than expected in 6 matches: 1 more per game. They are middle of the pack in most other defensive stats. Without Dunk, however, I think Kane is the way to go this week. Son will face a pacey Lamptey, while Kane will encounter Veltman who is more used to playing a right sided CB in a 4-3-3. While I like BHAs fortunes to turn defensively, I don’t think it will be this week. 

Kane in good form up against a depleted back line is a must for me. 

BONUS – The Little Prince 

This one is for fun. Sometimes FPL gives you a situation where you have 2 FT and nothing obvious to do before a plan takes effect the following week. These rare moments are to be harnessed. So the little prince pick of the week is a nod to @FPLMarinerMitrovic has an excellent matchup against a WBA team that, according to my Min/Opportunity FDR allows 2 clear goal opportunities every 80.80 minutes. The league average is 119.2 minutes. 

In the last 2 games, Mitro has the 2nd most BC (3), the 2nd most goal attempts (10), the 2nd most shots inside the box, the 4th highest xG (1.68), and the lowest xG Delta (-1.68) because he has not scored. He is due. 

Mitrovic is my pick to catch a shooting star – The Little Prince. 

Regards,

Gabriel Penaloza

FPL Poker Tables GW7

My spreadsheet predictions were blown off course a little last week by the failure of the MUN vs CHE fixture to serve up any goals, which increased its average mean absolute error (MAE) for predicted goals to 0.90. As well as giving them a rare victory over my spreadsheets, the relative shortage of goals in GW6 allowed the generally more conservative score forecasts implied by bookmaker odds to set a new benchmark for best MAE this season of 0.60.

Things might have been very different, however, if VAR had served its purpose, and overturned the referee’s approval of Maguire’s impersonation of the Boston Strangler! Seriously, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone in possession of at least one brain cell who thought his first half headlock on Azpilicueta wasn’t a blatant penalty.

For the first time this season, we have a team predicted to score 3 goals. Until now, my spreadsheets have been fairly lukewarm about MCI at both ends of the pitch, and the results so far have vindicated that take, but if the projections for the upcoming gameweeks are anything to go by, assets from the blue half of Manchester are set to become my primary transfer targets again.

I spent far too long last week justifying Burnley’s prominence in my spreadsheet’s expected goals table, so I’ll not repeat that again here, except to point out they were well on top before Spurs scored with their first shot on target, three quarters of the way through the match, and they can consider themselves unfortunate to lose having won the xG battle.

There is no doubt, however, that BUR continue to fall short of my spreadsheet’s evaluation of their attacking strength and, given that CHE proved last week that a clean sheet on the road is not beyond their capability, it is reasonable to treat the 2 – 2 correct score forecast above with suspicion.

As well as BUR and CHE, there are 4 other teams (LIV, SOU, WBA* and WHU) deemed more likely to score twice than once in GW7, and in descending order of expected goals, they occupy the 6 places beneath MCI in the table below, with TOT and WOL in close attendance. [*WBA were downgraded to a single goal in the Correct Score Forecast table above, because there is only 0.3 xG difference between them and FUL according to my spreadsheet.]

On the face of it, the table above looks very promising for owners of Ings, Werner and Jimenez, but none of that trio exceed the minimum 5 points threshold for the expected players points table below. There are a number of reasons that account for this, including the sharing of points in their respective teams, and elite level finishing skills being underestimated by a model anchored in averages.

The table below 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 penalty kicks, and show what they would have been if penalties are taken out of the equation.

Kane maintains his 100% attendance record having featured in every one of these weekly tables, and he has the highest non-penalty affected points prediction in GW7. Salah is the only player to have appeared in all but one of these tables.

I acknowledged my sheet’s overvaluation of BUR earlier, and Wood drops below Foden if we discount penalties. In the absence of penalty kicks, Foden would be the highest rated MCI player, and his score prediction is in any event only a whisker below KDB‘s average with the benefit of them.

Mitrovic and Pereira are other notable inclusions here, and face off against each other in the Championship reunion organised for FUL and WBA.

In terms of captaincy, normal service was restored and I suffered my fifth Captain blank of the season. I struggled last week to find anything to swing the decision between Salah and Kane using My Stats Tables in Fantasy Football Scout’s Membership Area, but they did lead me to express the wish that I owned Mane, and to declare I’d have had no qualms about captaining him whatsoever.

So what direction might my tables point me in this week? Once again, LIV and TOT are at the head of my Team Offence table, with MCI a surprisingly distant 11th, tilting the balance in favour of Salah, Mane, Kane and Son. Shout out here to WHU who occupy 4th place despite a very difficult fixture run.

LIV and TOT first and second for Mins Per xG

After using my Team Defence table last week, I warned Kane captainers not to expect BUR to be pushovers. The same looks to be true of BHA this week too (see table below), as they have conceded the least xG per 90 minutes of any team this season so far, despite having faced CHE, MUN and EVE in their opening half a dozen fixtures. That said, they will be without their talismanic central defender and club captain.

BHA WHU and SHU are in the top half of the table for Mins Per xG Conceded

As for Salah and Mane‘s next opponents, it is to WHU‘s immense credit that they are ranked fifth best in the table above given their last 5 fixtures were against ARS, WOL, LEI, TOT and MCI. So, there are grounds here for curbing our enthusiasm about captaining either LIV player.

MCI‘s opponents SHU meanwhile have been more generous when it comes to conceding xG, doing so on average 17 minutes quicker than WHU, so that swings things back towards the likes of Sterling, KDB and Foden a little.

Turning to my Players Expected Goals table, it can be seen that Salah continues to lag behind his team mate Mane for mins per xG despite having twice benefitted from spot kick duties. Seven of the ten players listed below owe their prominence to penalties awarded to their teams, some more than others, ranging from Vardy (4) to Kane (1), which makes the positions of Mane, Calvert-Lewin and Lacazette in the table all the more commendable. Note the almost unheard of absence of MCI attackers here though!

Sorted by Minutes Per XG

Looking at MCI midfielders in the Players Stats table it soon became apparent that KDB, Sterling and Foden are the main players of interest, and the value of the last named becomes abundantly clear when you see that his expected goals rate is better than that of his much more expensive fellow English national. For this reason, Barnes to Foden looks my most likely transfer this week.

Having wished I had Mane to captain last week, the same applies to KDB this week. Thanks to having penalty kicks in his locker, he looks the pick of MCI assets on the table above.  As I cannot easily bring him into my team this week though, I will most likely switch the armband back to Kane.

Looking further ahead with player ratings, I’ve reneged on last week’s pledge to expand my players points table to next 6 gameweeks as I had misgivings about the value of doing so given that we’re generally much more short-term in our thinking regarding the players in our teams.

The table below shows the expected top ten points scorers over the next 4 gameweeks. In my team, Werner earns himself a stay of execution based on high hopes for GW8 & 10.

Top ten expected points scorers GW7-10

My spreadsheet’s clean sheet probabilities returned to winning ways last week against those implied by bookies best odds, and were still more accurate even when the effects of the market odds overrounds were removed by FPL Review.

my spreadsheet once again better than bookies odds

In what was a nearly week for my spreadsheet, the two teams deemed more likely than not to keep a clean sheet last week (LIV & WOL) were only denied by a contentious spot kick award at Anfield, and an 89th minute free kick that exploited a poorly formed wall at Molyneux Stadium. Meanwhile, the comfort that owners of Dallas and Ayling were encouraged to take in LEE being deemed more likely to concede zero goals than one was not of the cold variety.

Hopefully, the forming of effective walls will feature in Nuno’s training plans this week, as WOL have very good prospects of redeeming themselves this week, which should come as a relief to those who have like me doubled up on their defenders.

The team that almost thwarted Jimenez last week, and frustrated Kane and Son in GW3, sit second in my spreadsheet’s Clean Sheet Probability rankings for GW7, backed up by Steve Bruce’s pledge to make NEW difficult to beat again. This is the first time this season that they’ve been assessed as more likely to concede zero goals than one, a comment that also applies to ARS and EVE who have both failed to add to the clean sheets they kept in GW1.

The informational advantage you have over my model, however, is that the EVE defence will be missing Digne and Coleman, due to suspension and injury respectively, so it seems reasonable to downgrade my sheet’s expectation accordingly.

Defenders from ARS were a popular pick before the first deadline of the season if I remember correctly, but the Gunners defence is only now beginning to register on my spreadsheet’s radar, moving rapidly up to third best for the next 6 games (see table below). I expect Tierney will become a popular target again, but Gabriel is currently a better option according to my spreadsheet.

Looking further ahead, defensive assets from MCI are strongly advised from GW10 onwards. Cancelo was singled out preseason in my backline bonus magnet blog, and the fact that he has looked one of the Citizen’s best attacking outlets in both of his league appearances so far bodes well for a big points haul soon. 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 GW7 flop be with you.

Coley a.k.a. FPL P0ker PlAyer

#IFCT Road To Indian FPL Glory Mini-League Update GW6

#IFCT Mini League Update

The highest scoring player for the GW was Bamford with 17 points, having scored a hattrick.

While the first game kicked off with a 3-0 win for Leeds the rest of the games remained low scoring which while not surprising for football fans led to lower scores for FPL teams.

Current transfer trends continue to be towards budget defensive assets with money flowing to the midfield.

We continue to advise patience due to UCL/EUL competitions starting which may lead to injuries.

Please find the league update below:

No. of participating Managers: 305

The league average (Top 5 managers) is: 419.00

Our League leader is: Ashutosh Khemka.

TOP THIRTY LEAGUE TABLE:

EFFECTIVE OWNERSHIP:

CAPTAINCY:

CHIP USE:

We wish our participants all the best!

We look forward to more managers joining. If you submit the League Google Form via the registration page we will email the details to join. This process is mandatory.

Good Luck!

#GFCT Team.

Credit: Premier Fantasy Tools & Live FPL

#GFCT Road To Global FPL Glory Mini-League Update GW6

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#GFCT MINI LEAGUE UPDATE

The highest scoring player for the GW was Bamford with 17 points, having scored a hattrick.

While the first game kicked off with a 3-0 win for Leeds the rest of the games remained low scoring which while not surprising for football fans led to lower scores for FPL teams.

Current transfer trends continue to be towards budget defensive assets with money flowing to the midfield.

We continue to advise patience due to UCL/EUL competitions starting which may lead to injuries.

Please find the league update below:

No. of participating Managers: 625

The league average (Top 5 managers) is: 411.00

Our League leader is: Pete Ehis.

TOP THIRTY LEAGUE TABLE:

EFFECTIVE OWNERSHIP:

CAPTAINCY:

CHIP USE:

We wish our participants all the best!

We look forward to more managers joining. If you submit the League Google Form via the registration page we will email the details to join. This process is mandatory.

Good Luck!

#GFCT Team.

Credit: Premier Fantasy Tools & Live FPL

FPL Poker Tables GW6

My spreadsheet’s predictions continue to trend in the right direction, and recorded this season’s lowest mean absolute error (MAE) for correct score forecasts (0.80). After no correct score predictions in the first 3 gameweeks, and breaking our duck with one in GW4, my spreadsheet’s steady improvement was confirmed with two correct score forecasts last week. Once again, they were more accurate than those predicted by FiveThirtyEight (a highly rated forecasting model), implied by bookies best odds, and anticipated by “the world’s most powerful predictive algorithm”.

Moving on to scoreline predictions for GW6 then, I feel I ought to urge readers to make sure they are not eating or drinking whilst looking at the score forecast for the final fixture of the next round of matches.

Please sign the following disclaimer before proceeding: I _________________ understand the following table contains a choke hazard, and agree that FPL P0ker PlAyer cannot be held liable in the event of my demise.

I’m probably going to spend a disproportionately long time here on Burnley (and Chris Wood) now, but this blog was delayed by my feeling the need to check for gremlins in the works. Surely, there was some easy to spot mistake that would account for this outlier of a prediction? Well, here’s the thing: I did identify the single data point most responsible for producing the 2-1 score forecast, and coincidentally, it was the 1-1 draw BUR achieved 6 home games ago against…

TOT! Now, before you Kane and Son captainers come at me, it has to be acknowledged that neither of those red hot properties featured in that game as they were both injured. So you will be more interested in the result from the previous season when both teams fielded line-ups similar to what we can expect this weekend, right?

23 Feb 2019 line-ups

Um, yeah, about that…

So, you see, not quite as outlandish a prediction after all, perhaps? It relates back to something I touched on in my 2019-20 Season Review blog which highlighted Burnley’s strong home attacking form in the second half of the year (see below).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying BUR will beat TOT on Monday night. The Clarets have looked anaemic in their last 3 games, and I’ve already had my fingers burned backing them to score goals vs SOU in their only previous home game this season. I’m just accounting for the prediction is all.

So, who else apart from BUR are going to be banging them in this weekend? There are 6 other teams in GW6 deemed more likely to score twice than once, and in descending order of expected goals, they occupy the top 7 places in the table below:

So, we now know which teams are expected to score well, but which players from those teams are expected to be amongst the points? The table below shows how many points players are expected to get on average, excluding bonus points, and not factoring in yellow/red cards. Players whose rating is based on a small sample size are indicated with ‘$$$’, and players returning from injury with ‘!’. The column to the right of the expected points only applies to players whose scores are inflated by penalty kicks, and shows what they would have been if those are removed from the equation.

Vardy and Salah owe their prominence here in large part to penalty kick duties, and Mane is the highest placed player without them.

Hang on, Chris Wood is a bit high there isn’t he? Well, the eagle-eyed of you will have noticed that the Kiwi scored in both of those last 2 matches vs TOT at Turf Moor, so cut my spreadsheet some slack here, okay?

I finally ended my captaincy losing streak with Kane, and following the method that served me so well last week I have returned to Fantasy Football Scout’s Membership Area, and to My Stats Tables to look for any pointers to hopefully make my Kane vs Salah decision easier.

First off, there’s very little to separate the teams they play for at the head of my Team Offence table:

1st & 2nd for mins per expected goal this season

So, I turned to my Team Defence table in the hope that either of BUR or SHU look ripe for a kicking:

SHU & BUR 5th & 7th best for mins per expected goal conceded

No such luck. Both are in the top 7 this season so far, and not likely to be pushovers despite having mustered only one point apiece so far.

Given there’s not much to separate any of the teams then, I turned to my Players Expected Goals table, and was surprised to find Salah languishing so far down it despite being gifted 2 pens by Leeds in his first game.

Kane and Salah 3rd and 12th best for mins per expected goal

Despite having taken one penalty fewer, Kane has averaged his expected goals this season nearly 40 minutes faster than Salah so far. Offsetting that surprising finding a little, only the Egyptian appears in my Expected Assists table:

Salah 2nd only to Hamez for expected assists

So, there you go, I’m none the wiser as to who to choose, and my decision will probably go down to the wire. I actually wish I owned Mane as I’d have no such dilemma now. You will have spotted that he was behind only Vardy (4 pens) in my Players Expected Goals table. I would have no qualms about captaining him whatsoever.

For what it’s worth, Scout is the only fantasy football service I’ve ever paid for over the past seven seasons, and I’ve always believed their membership subscriptions offer great value for money. Anyone considering joining can find out more here.

As promised in the tweet I posted 4 days ago, my sortable players table has expanded from next 2 gameweeks to next 4, and hopefully next 6 before GW7.

The table below shows the expected top dozen points scorers over the next 4 gameweeks:

Top twelve expected points scorers GW6-9

My spreadsheet’s clean sheet probabilities didn’t fare quite so well against those implied by bookies best odds last week, proving to be 0.05% less accurate on average in GW5, after being 4% more accurate on average in GW4. I lay the blame for this slip up squarely at the feet of one Kepa Arrizabalaga, as my model assigned CHE the highest probability of a clean sheet, 15% higher than implied by bookies best odds.

MCI and WBA were deservingly assigned the 2nd and 3rd highest probabilities last week, however, and 4th ranked MUN only missed out because of Shaw’s clinical strike into his own net from 12 yards out.

I was particularly pleased by the clean sheet kept by WBA though, as it was tipped up by my betting spin-off account @ColeysPotOdds, and I expect most people thought the Baggies defence useless. It will be interesting to see if the introduction of the Ivanovic and Hegazi centre-back pairing can change our minds about that, especially as my spreadsheet’s 6GW Clean Sheet Probability table below shows they have good prospects in GW10 & 11 (with a trip to shot-shy NEW following in GW12).

Alas, the double up on WOL defence touted last week as viable from GW6 onwards comes a week late as they successfully rode their luck vs LEE in GW5. WOL and LIV are the only teams deemed more likely to keep a clean sheet than not in GW6 (see table below), which is good news for owners of popular assets like Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, and Saiss. Owners of Dallas and Ayling, meanwhile, can take some comfort in the fact that LEE are deemed more likely to concede zero goals than one. As I’ve explained many times before, this is not the same as saying a clean sheet is more likely than not.

Only 3 strong candidates for clean sheets

May the GW6 flop be with you!

Coley a.k.a. FPL P0ker PlAyer

#GW6 FPL GFCT Q&A SESSION

These are biweekly Q&A videos that the GFCT Core Research Team will be making to answer the questions we get every alternate Monday from the Global and the Indian Telegram Chat from FPL managers.

This will alternate with the research note sent out to the chat by the Core Research Team every alternate Wednesday as well. (Pragmatic Strategy Report).

This week we have our own Shom Biwas, Chase Blocker and Ajit Dhillon answer the FPL Questions.

Shom has spent time explaining his principles while using his wildcard and the process used for him to reach his Wildcard team. He shares the long term team he sees himself having explaining the different dimensions a seasoned manager has.

Then the three of us take the questions from the group and try our best to help them in the right direction. A few things are very clear – Rank does not matter yet and we do not encourage looking at ownership stats yet. Try and get the framework of your team right and be patient as we still believe we have not yet seen what the teams are fully capable of.

Please do enjoy the video and share it with your fellow FPL managers!

All our videos will be on BloccFPL’s youtube channel so please click the link below and subscribe to the youtube channel so you never miss our research going forward.

Members involved in the video:

Shom Biswas

Chase Blocker

Ajit Dhillon

Regards,

Ajit Dhillon.

#GFCT Road To Global FPL Glory Mini-League Update GW5

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#GFCT MINI LEAGUE UPDATE

West Ham have continued to impress and despite an excellent first half by Spurs they did not give up to claw back a draw. We saw a lot of high scoring draws this GW but we also saw our first 0-0 draw. We also saw Wolves give us a back to back clean sheet against a very encouraging Leeds performance.

VVD being injured has further dented the prospects for Liverpool defence at first thought but we feel it is difficult to write them off defensively just yet especially as FPL assets. Fabinho can step in and help stabilise an already leaky defense.

Money has clearly flown into FPL managers midfields and we have already seen some more early price rises this GW. We continue to advise patience due to UCL/EUL competitions starting which may lead to injuries.

Please find the league update below.

No. of participating Managers: 624

The league average (Top 5 managers) is: 364.00

Our League leader is: Max Favuzza.

TOP THIRTY LEAGUE TABLE:

EFFECTIVE OWNERSHIP:

CAPTAINCY:

CHIP USE:

We wish our participants all the best!

We look forward to more managers joining. If you submit the League Google Form via the registration page we will email the details to join. This process is mandatory.

Good Luck!

#GFCT Team.

Credit: Premier Fantasy Tools & Live FPL

#IFCT Road To Indian FPL Glory Mini-League Update GW5

#IFCT Mini League Update

West Ham have continued to impress and despite an excellent first half by Spurs they did not give up to claw back a draw. We saw a lot of high scoring draws this GW but we also saw our first 0-0 draw. We also saw Wolves give us a back to back clean sheet against a very encouraging Leeds performance.

VVD being injured has further dented the prospects for Liverpool defence at first thought but we feel it is difficult to write them off defensively just yet especially as FPL assets. Fabinho can step in and help stabilise an already leaky defense.

Money has clearly flown into FPL managers midfields and we have already seen some more early price rises this GW. We continue to advise patience due to UCL/EUL competitions starting which may lead to injuries.

Please find the league update below.

No. of participating Managers: 302

The league average (Top 5 managers) is: 369.00

Our League leader is: Ashutosh Khemka.

TOP THIRTY LEAGUE TABLE:

EFFECTIVE OWNERSHIP:

CAPTAINCY:

CHIP USE:

We wish our participants all the best!

We look forward to more managers joining. If you submit the League Google Form via the registration page we will email the details to join. This process is mandatory.

Good Luck!

#GFCT Team.

Credit: Premier Fantasy Tools & Live FPL

#FPLMATCHUPS GW 5

Minutes per 2 Goal Opportunities FDR

This week I am going to do something a little different with this article. Rather than break down individual matchups with a tactical lens, I will be introducing a new Fixture Difficulty Rating (FDR) that I have been working on during the IB. This is completely unfamiliar territory for me, and I therefore could not have completed any of this without some very patient people helping me along the way. Please allow me to begin with thanking those people.

The Thanks:
I must begin by thanking @rogue_wee and the @uncertainty_pod. This fascinating new podcast planted the seed for this project in my mind, and I have subsequently DM’d Wee_Rogue at all hours to get his feedback on my model, without which I would have given up.

I’d also like to thank @FantasianFPL, @FPLMariner, and @barCOLEYna for their guidance and cross-referencing with their work. Lastly, I benefitted greatly from feedback from the entire core research team of @GFCT.

Ok, the models.

The Models:

Expected Goals = xG, Expected Goals Conceded = xGC, Big Chances = BC, Big Chances Conceded = BCC.

I created 2 models using similar data. One is an FDR that measures defenses for attacking players, the other measures attacking output for defensive matchups. I have always thought using one metric was insufficient, so I am experimenting with combining xG and BC. The hope here is for each stat to complement the other and fill in gaps inherent in each.

I learned that 1xG = approx. 3BC. So, to avoid over-emphasizing any one stat, the numeric values you will see in the charts below represent minutes per xG(C) AND 3B(C):

  • Defense FDR for Attackers measures the number of minutes per 2 goal opportunities conceded. So, the greater the minutes, the more DIFFICULT the fixture because it takes more time for the opponent to concede goal-scoring opportunities.
  • Attack FDR for Defenders measures the number of minutes per 2 goal opportunities created. So, the greater the minutes, the EASIER the fixture because it takes more time for the opponent to create goals-scoring opportunities.

You will notice the colored bars indicate this week’s matchup (GW5); the grey bars indicate the average matchups for the next 6 GWs.

6 GW Average:
My 6-game average projection is calculated using data from 3 different sets:

  1. 2020/21 – weighted x3,
    1. 2020 post-restart – weighted x2,
    1. 2019/20 pre-lockdown – no weight.

The Examples:
To illustrate, we will take the first two teams in each graph as examples.

  1. Southampton attackers:
    1. SOU will face CHE in GW5. CHE allow 1xG AND 3BCC (approximately 2 goals) every 138.78 minutes according to the model.
      1. No model is designed to replace critical thought. One must consider how creative the attacking team is, how clinical a player is in converting BC, and xG(C) Delta.
        1. In GWs 5 – 10 SOU will face defenses that average 1xGC + 3BCC every 132.51 minutes.
  2. Sheffield United defenders:
    1. SHU defenders have quite an easy GW5 matchup from a defensive perspective. Their opponents, Fulham, create 2 goal opportunities every 195.3 min. So less than 1 goal per game.
    1. From GW5 to GW10, their defensive fixtures get significantly more difficult as their opponents will create 1xG and 3 BC an average of every 130.43 minutes.
    1. The Case of WBA attack:
      1. Burnley is missing in the DEF FDR for Attack. I made a call to omit WBA attacking data from model because their stats are so outrageously bad that they skew the data. For reference, Burnley has the worst attack listed with 1xG and 3BC every 196.61 minutes. WBA create 1xG and 3BC every 691.35 minutes! With a  bit of a deeper look, we notice that they have an xG Delta of +3.48, which is notable after only 4 GWs. These stats for WBA are unsustainably bad, and I will therefore wait until they regress before including them.
    1. Burnley’s outlook over the next six matches is nowhere near as good for this week. They will face attacks that create an xG and 3 BC every 108.86 minutes on average. A tough ask for any defense.

I will update my model weekly and share the charts in this article. I just want to remind everyone that I am by no means a statistician. I am sure this model is rife with mistakes, and I intend to use those mistakes to learn. With this in mind, I welcome all sorts of feedback and perspectives. I look forward to our discussions. Thank you again for taking the time to read FPL Matchups for GW5. Good luck, and may you pack the greens this GW!

Regards,

Gabriel Penaloza

“One person’s data is another person’s noise.”

So after the most unpredictable start to any season that I can remember and despite my love of data I find myself writing an article about being careful not to trust data implicitly or equally form a narrative from it that simply suits your own purpose and I’m then trying to sell it.

Let’s look at this analytically to pick our way around the problem

What have we learned so far?

Well for one the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR) that have been championed by many leading FPL experts have not stood up to the challenges so far. I say so far, as I expect that this will in time normalize, the cream will eventually come to the top and normal service, barring the luck (or unlucky) factor in my case will level out.

Armed with this quandary, I took a deep dive into FDR with me looking at 2019/20 data and also the first five games and calculated my own on the basis of xG 90 + Big chances created 90 (for attack) and xGC 90 and Big chances conceded 90 for defence and then compared the two sets for variance

It obviously does not cover promoted teams but it does show a number of teams with massive differences from 2019/20 to GW1-4 data when trying to fit into a similar model as Ben Crellin’s FDR rating from 1 to 7 with one best and 7 worst.

Attack wise Man City are currently rated a 4, when previously a 1, a delta of 3, Conversely at the opposite end of the scale Spurs are now off the scale at a zero!.

Defensively, Manchester United are performing 6 ranking points out of 7 worse than last year!. West ham however are only performing 2 ranking points better, which suggests this is more sustainable.

Source Understat & Opta (via FF Hub)

Finally if you look in the middle of the tables you will see defensive Delta’s of zero such as Chelsea, Brighton, Leicester and Palace, this suggests their performance is more on par but its simply too early to say and it is inconceivable that Managers with underperforming teams dont work on improvements too.

Turning our attention to Points Returns after GW4 and extrapolating out to 38 matches with rotation as per GW1 to GW4, 33 (Thirty Three!) players are due to break the magic 200 points. This is unattainable of course as all these players will undoubtedly regress somewhat and this can be shown nicely by the red bar in the table which tracks returns against expected involvement (xG + xA).

I am not for a minute saying don’t pick these players BUT I am saying that players such as Bamford will regress to a return every third game which takes him closer to 140 points approximately.

And just as a parting shot, lets take a look at the top 10 points scorers across FPL in the last 5 seasons to make sure you (& I ) take data with a pinch of salt at this time of the season

Enjoy the break FPL Managers!

Regards,

Chris Turner

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