Southampton midfielders

It may seem weird to be thinking about buying a Southampton midfielder prior to a game against Chelsea – or maybe not given Chelsea’s form this season. But the idea is circulating in my head as I think about options should I need to replace Yaya Touré.



There has been some buzz around Dusan Tadic (6.9m) this week after his performance against Swansea City took him to 39 Fantasy Premier League points, joint fourth best among midfielders alongside Touré and Barkley. He has been drafted in by more than 22,000 managers, making him the sixth most popular buy this week. When I started researching this article on Tuesday I thought I would be writing about him alone, but the more I delved into the data the more I was drawn towards two other Southampton midfielders instead.

None of the Southampton midfielders has played every minute this season, but Victor Wanyama (4.3m, 540 minutes) might have done so if he hadn’t missed one complete game because of transfer speculation. Next come Sadio Mané (7.8m, 483 minutes), Tadic (478 minutes), Steven Davis (4.8m, 471 minutes), James Ward-Prowse (5.7m, 376 minutes) and Oriol Romeu Vidal (4.4m, 308 minutes).

Romeu’s game time is too uncertain for my taste so I’m going to skip past him. Davis has offered zero goal threat. The Northern Ireland international is something of a chances created machine – he ranks joint seventh in the Premier League by that measure – but he hasn’t bagged an assist yet. Ward-Prowse is one to monitor having missed only 15 minutes of the last four matches. Twice in those games he has been fielded as the central man in the three lined up behind striker Graziano Pellè, according to FourFourTwo StatsZone. The young Englishman has created nine chances and delivered one assist. He has also taken six shots, though all but one was from outside the box.

The three players I am most interested in however are Wanyama, Mané and Tadic.

Southampton midfielders GW1-7 2015/16

Before I dive into what the radar chart shows, I need to mention that there are two discrepancies in the stats here from what you will find on the Fantasy Premier League website and Fantasy Football Scout.

Firstly, Tadic’s goal against Swansea (pictured above), is not counted here. Some data sources credit him with the deflected goal, others mark it down as a Ki own goal. FourFourTwo StatsZone does the latter. If you want to make your own mental adjustment, you can add one each to his shots, shots in box, shots on target and goals scored numbers. Given that “goal” may be a big driver behind why people are buying him this week, it is quite an important distinction and shows why we should be cautious about using the statistics, particularly when the sample size isn’t huge. Secondly, Mané is credited in some places with an extra shot on target in Gameweek 1 than is captured by the radar chart.

What the chart does demonstrate is that Tadic is an elite creator of chances this season and should be a good source of assists if Pellè can knock them in (and that’s a debate for a different day). However, with or without his goal against Swansea, Tadic has a totally unsustainable shots on target conversion rate of 100 per cent (or 150 per cent if you credit him with the goal against Swansea but don’t believe the Serbian’s attempted pass to Mané was heading towards the goal).

Looking at Wanyama’s data, we see that while he has yet to record a goal or an assist, his other shooting stats are not very different from those of Tadic. Wanyama is a lot cheaper though. Having been dropped by nearly 325,000 FPL managers so far this season, including more than 13,000 this week, the Kenyan international is the joint cheapest midfielder in the game but has the most secure playing time of those around him. Given he has some goal-scoring threat – he netted three times last season – he is definitely on my shortlist for a cheap fifth-midfielder if I revert back to a 3-4-3 formation.




Finally, we have Mané. Looking at his underlying data, I would suggest trying to find an extra 0.9m to buy the Senegalese winger rather than Tadic if you want a Southampton midfielder for their upcoming run of fixtures (che, LEI, liv, BOU, sun, STO). He may have only scored once, but his goal threat has been nearly double that of his team mate in the first seven gameweeks.

Note

There has been some speculation circulating about whether Mané will play in Gameweek 9, after the international break, because of his commitments to his country. I have not researched the validity of the claims yet but I am flagging it as something to check out if you are considering Mané.

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8 thoughts on “Southampton midfielders

  1. The trouble is, my midfield is full of goals, but since the demise of Cazorla, less full of assists. Therefore Tadic suits perfectly. And when his form is good, as it is now, he does often score the odd goal … as he did last year.

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  2. Albertini says:

    Nice post Diva, I’m also considering one of Tadic or Mane if Yaya is ruled out for tomorrow and I agree if you can find those extra 0.9 Mane is the better pick, much higher goal threat.

    I’ve checked Senegal’s schedule and they have two friendlies against Egypt (7.Oct) and Algeria (12.Oct) and one African Nations Championship qualifier against Guinea (15.Oct) in which only players from the national championships are allowed to play, so Mane can’t be involved in this one and therefore should be enough rested to play in GW9 (17.Oct).

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  3. Ruth_NZ says:

    Hi Diva

    I wouldn’t do it before the Chelsea game but I’m biased. 😕

    Ward-Prowse and Wanyama are the ones that interest me most.

    Ward-Prowse could be a good replacement for Mahrez when he (and Leicester) run out of steam. Last season he had good creativity and fair shooting stats and that seems to be continuing. He also has a good share of set-pieces. An injury to Tadic and he would be on pens too. 5.7 is a bit pricey but better than the 6.0 where he began. He’s very much on my watchlist.

    As for Wanyama, you have summarised his value very well. If I went to 4-3-3 he’d be straight in and if I had a spare FT going to waste I’d bring him in over Westwood and save 0.2. An absolute bargain at his current price.

    @ Albertini – it’s not whether Mané plays on 15th October, it’s when he is allowed to return to the UK. It’s around 12 hours’ (tiring) travel time, that’s the issue. Assuming he leaves Senegal on the 13th and arrives back on the 14th that gives him 1 or 2 training sessions only with the squad before GW9. In the past Koeman has preferred not to start him under those circumstances.

    Personally I wouldn’t be bringing him in before GW11 when Southampton commence a good fixture run.

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  4. Thanks for the thoughts Doosra, Albertini and Ruth. Doos, I agree that if you want a midfielder who is creating chances Tadic is the best mid-priced option after Payet, who costs 1m more.

    Albertini and Ruth, your discussion about Mané’s Gameweek 9 playing time captures the debate well.

    Ruth, even though Chelsea have been poor this season, it still feels weird looking to bring someone in before a game against them. I have two reasons:
    1. My defence is getting stale, so if my move this week helps me avoid another transfer in the next couple of weeks that would be useful.
    2. I have a hunch the Chelsea game could be profitable for Mané. He scored against them last season and the Blues’ backline is less solid this year.

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    • Ruth_NZ says:

      Weird isn’t it? We try to plan for fewer defender transfers but it always seems to be the defence where we get problems. Maybe it’s because of the tendency to look for bargains there that are more subject to losing their place.

      Chelsea are a bit of a mess at the back right now. Mané is exactly the kind of player that can cause them problems. It wouldn’t be a bad move at all. But I’d be prepared for him being benched the following week, that’s the risk.

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  5. Ruth_NZ says:

    Hi Diva

    I was at the Chelsea-Southampton game yesterday and thought you might like some “by eye” feedback.

    Tadic was the Southampton midfielder that impressed me most. Tricky, great vision, good passing and in very good form. It was also interesting that his name was sung by the travelling Southampton fans more than any other player which is often a good guideline about who has been playing well.

    Mané did cause problems as we both suggested above but he was more the recipient of other players’ work. Playing #10 means that will happen of course and he is a good finisher. But by eye it was Tadic that impressed me most.

    The other thing was that Fonte and Van Dijk are a big pair of centre halves and looked very good together. I think Southampton will be an excellent place to look for clean sheets (as I suggested in my recent article) because Koeman is happy playing 2 solid players in CM and letting his front 4 (plus the raiding fullbacks) do the attacking. Bertrand looks the value in that defence to me.

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    • Thanks Ruth. Useful info! I never made the West Brom defender in switch that I was threatening, but I do need to improve my defence and the Saints backline was looking prime investment territory to me. So it’s good to have another perspective saying the same thing.

      I haven’t looked at the underlying data but your call on Eriksen is looking a sound one based on the one that matters most – goals!

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  6. Ruth_NZ says:

    Bit early for me unfortunately. Spurs have a nice fixture run starting GW15 and that was my tentative idea. City’s fixtures get harder then plus Spurs will be over the Europa games. I’ll keep Aguero but my other City players could become Spurs players around that time.

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