Dimitri Payet looked a classy playmaker from what I saw of the midfielder’s performance in West Ham United’s season-opening fixture against Arsenal.
An assist in that game and a goal the following week against Leicester City firmly put Payet on the map as a Fantasy Premier League option. He had been drafted in by 170,000 managers by Gameweek 3 before shedding a quarter of that number the following week. A brace against Newcastle United on September 14 saw many FPL managers class him once more as a “buy” and he now sits in 40,000 more teams than he did at the start of the week.
Given the regard in which Payet is held, I was shocked when I ran the numbers on him. Although he has scored three goals, he has done it off just three shots on target. Don’t expect opposing keepers not to catch any of his shots for the rest this season.
Furthermore, he only appears to have been effective as a goal threat in two of his five games so far. In terms of shots and shots in the box, the Frenchman has posted similar shooting numbers to James Milner and David Silva, although Manchester City’s playmaker has about 120 minutes less pitch time. More visual assessment might help decode why Payet only appears to be a threat in certain games.
Payet’s 16 chances created put him up with the elite midfielders in that category, though it is worth noting that nearly half of those chances created (7) came in one game against Newcastle United. However, Payet created more chances than any other player in Europe last season (135), helping his Marseille team mates with 16 assists in Ligue 1, so his average this season of just over three chances created per match does fit with his historical performance.
West Ham’s opening schedule (ars, LEI, BOU, liv, NEW) was not the most taxing and the East London side tallied three goals each against Bournemouth and Liverpool. However, Payet’s contribution in those two games combined amounted to one shot, four chances created and no assists.
Overall, it’s hard to judge Payet on his data from this season, but the picture should become clearer when we get a bigger sample and he has settled fully into the Premier League. Based on the small sample we have, Payet looks unlikely to keep scoring three goals every five games (unless he starts shooting much more frequently) but he could be a good source of assists.