Ross Barkley has got off to a flying start this season, notching two goals and three assists in his first five Premier League games. With 34 points, his total score is now second among midfielders in the game.
The Everton player’s success saw his price increase to 6.8m on September 14 and he could be a potential “double riser” this week.
Looking at Barkley’s shooting data, it’s clear he likes to have a go. The frequency with which he shoots is consistent and he is averaging three shots per game, making him the joint sixth most prolific midfielder in this category.
Barkley is also accurate, sitting joint third for shots on target. On the surface, two goals is a reasonable return for seven shots on target. However, the one shooting metric that does raise a flag is the number of shots the England international takes inside the box. In this regard, he barely scrapes inside the midfield top 20. Two-thirds of Barkley’s shots have come from outside the penalty area and historically, in the long run, the conversion rate for shots hit outside the box is far lower than for those hit inside.Barkley has provided three assists from seven chances created, which far exceeds the average rate at which most midfielders’ chances created turn into assists. We know certain players, like Cesc Fàbregas last season, can prove exceptional at beating the averages, but even he only managed about half Barkley’s current assist rate per chance created over the course of last season.
Barkley is not currently in the top tier, or even second tier, of midfielders when it comes to teeing up team mates, and his performance last week stands in stark contrast to the first four gameweeks. FPL managers might want to wait longer to assess whether last week marked a step change for Barkley or just a blip when it comes to creating chances.
Normally Everton’s five tough upcoming fixtures (swa, wba, LIV, MUN, ars) would dissuade many managers from investing, but Barkley’s current form has been achieved despite five tricky opening games (WAT, sot, MCI, tot, CHE).
It’s still early in the season and we must be careful not to draw too many conclusions from Barkley’s data. There are positive points in his performances so far that suggest he could be a decent midfield option. There are also factors that might sway some FPL managers away from bringing him in now.
- I have tried a new format in this post for presenting player data by gameweek and I would welcome any feedback you might have on this approach. Thanks!