I don’t like to talk about my own team too much because I know full well that for every good week in Fantasy Premier League there can be a bad week… or three. I scored the same amount this week as I did in the first three gameweeks of this season combined (once hits are taken into account).

Having said that, what’s the point of running an FPL blog if I can’t record for posterity the best single gameweek score I can recall in eight seasons of playing the game? So I am going to post this here:

Diva's team GW8

The thing I am most pleased about is not the overall score, but that my hit (I had already swapped Callum Wilson with Jamie Vardy) to replace Yaya Touré with Sadio Mané worked out so well. It was a tough call to make ahead of an away game against Chelsea, but the decision was a beautiful blend of liking the underlying statistics, long-term planning and using my football nous, with a sprinkling of gut feeling thrown in too.

Despite my great score this week, it’s clear there is an area of my team that needs some serious attention. I haven’t made a defensive transfer for four weeks and it shows. I secured nothing but appearance points from my back line this week. Thankfully I had buried Matteo Darmian at the deepest point on my bench so I didn’t have his -1 stinking up my team. The first problem though is Joe Gomez, who has lost his place at Liverpool. The sacking of Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager might change that, but it will be a few weeks before we know so I still think he has to go.

I’m reviewing the way in which I assess the potential of defensive assets and I would love your help. If you have any underlying statistics you favour for judging clean sheet performance, please leave a comment saying which ones and why. (If you haven’t posted before please note that there might be a delay the first time you post before the comment goes live.)

A few weeks ago I did some work on correlations of various underlying statistics to clean sheets and the best I could come up with was goals conceded. Ideally, I’d like to bring together a small basket of underlying statistics to assess the defensive potential of various backs.

I might post tomorrow, but after that I’ll probably take a few days off from blogging, in part to work on those defensive statistics and one or two other projects. Thank you to everyone who has read what I have had to say so far and I’d be delighted to hear from you, particularly your thoughts on selecting defenders.


27 thoughts on “Reflection

  1. the cromument one says:

    Congrats. Superb week. The bragging is well deserved.
    Funny, I had never seen your team. It is quite similar to mine. (KdB & Diouf instead of Mane & Vardy are the only differences among the attackers).
    Hopefully the green arrows continue!


    • Thanks Doos. We can predict clean sheets no more than we can predict goals, but I wanted to look at whether the underlying stats can suggest a team has been fortunate or unfortunate in the number of clean sheets it has kept so far. My interest was piqued by seeing West Brom return a slew of clean sheets earlier this season despite some very average underlying data.

      Thanks for the tables, I look forward to seeing what they reveal. And I’ll send you an email about the ticker. Cheers!


  2. Ruth_NZ says:

    I think Doosra is both right and wrong when he says “you can’t predict clean sheets”.

    I agree that it is very hard to do it with statistics. It only takes one event to blow a clean sheet. No other scoring possibility in the FPL game can be removed entirely by one event (other than a red card). A player can have an abysmal game and score in minute 89. But a defence can have a sovereign game and lose a clean sheet through a one-off unstoppable freekick totally against the run of play.

    That is why I focused in my recent article on “which teams are actually prioritising defensive soundness?”. It seems fashionable in the PL right now to be very attacking. Few teams set out with defensive resilience as a top priority.

    At the moment I see only three – WBA, Watford and Southampton. It will also be interesting to see whether Chelsea’s woes lead to a retrenchment to a more defensive “hard to score against” outlook as well. Those are the teams I’d be looking at.

    The percentage of clean sheets this season is more or less on track despite the last 2 gameweeks. The standard is 30% clean sheets (average 6 per GW) and it is currently running at 28% (5.6 per GW). In the first 6 GWs it was running at 32.5% (6.5 per GW).

    The big difference so far is that the typical (statistical) breakdown is 3 home clean sheets to 2 away clean sheets. But this season so far there have been more away clean sheets than home ones (23 against 21). My tendency is to consider this a temporary variation which will re-balance itself and I would be looking to solid teams with good home fixtures to fashion my defence around in the next time.

    Southampton, WBA, Watford, probably Chelsea, probably Everton (from GW11), probably United (from GW12) probably Spurs (from GW15) – those are the building blocks I’d be looking at. Though Arsenal and Swansea might be worth considering too. Apart from Watford, those are not super-cheap options (though Evans, Gabriel and Davies are all under 5.0). However I think that a little more invested in defence could well pay off between now and Xmas. Most managers are dazzled by recent attacking points. A solid defence could be a great differential.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ruth_NZ says:

      You can’t Doos. At least I can’t anyway. Any Palace CS is a surprise to me. 😉

      I guess what I’m saying is about playing probabilities. Best we can do really.


      • Indeed. I can’t either. I take a slightly different angle from yours – which I like, btw, and look for teams who let in, or who are the most likely to let in, the LEAST goals. So WBA are therefore a no-no for me, being organisationally a shambles. Also, they are once again producing cleanies away from home, so a complete no-no from my perspective.


  3. Ruth_NZ says:

    Additional comment – congrats on the great GW, your front 7 gave you a stellar return. Did you have Mahrez benched or was it an auto-sub?


      • Ruth_NZ says:

        No, I was asking Diva! But I agree about Mahrez, he has maybe 3 or 4 more weeks left in my team I think. Then I’ll take the money and run.


      • Dear Diva,

        Here is my updated Season Ticker – the DRG is below.

        Created on Numbers, which does multiple headers, so there are one or two oddities …

        Anyway, have fun with it, if you have the time!

        Best Wishes, Michael



      • Ruth_NZ says:

        Bah. That’s not foresight, that’s poor squad structure. 😉

        Actually I don’t really mean that, Ighalo is just about cheap enough to be a bench attacker and offers more off the bench than someone like Westwood. I have done the same thing though I have Westwood as well and will mainly be playing 4-4-2 going forward (with the option for 3-4-3 if I like Ighalo’s fixture).


        • If it wasn’t for Ighalo, I would agree with you. I want an eighth attacking player with some real points-scoring bite, I think that will be important this year, and I can’t see much better for cheaper than Ighalo. If I do need someone much cheaper at a later date then the only realistic option I have found so far is Wanyama (admittedly I haven’t search far and wide), but his attacking threat is nowhere near being of the same magnitude as Ighalo. However, if lots of FPL forwards start firing, Ighalo will have to keep pace with them to justify his place.


  4. Nice blog Diva. Much easier to follow than others I’ve seen…:wink:

    So clever people, there seems to be a fixture swing around the corner(GW 11)…how to fit Everton/Southampton/ManU(?) assets in…while still hanging on to Alexis/Kun/Kdb…and possibly Payet(Doos….I’m looking at you here!)

    Anyone brave enough to chop Mahrez/Kolarov considering the TV tied up?


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