Shots on Target ticker: Gameweek 15

Here are my Shots on Target and Shots on Target Conceded tickers for Gameweek 15.

Shots on Target ticker GW15-20 2015-16

Shots on Target Conceded ticker GW15-20 2015-16

The total number of shots on target in the Premier League in Gameweek 14 matched the combined shots on target ticker values for the week. The range of difference from the ticker values was 10.79. Six teams were within two shots on target of their ticker value.

Bournemouth’s epic match against Everton saw the South Coast side hit 10 shots on target, exceeding their ticker value for the game by 6.45. Manchester City also had a good week with nine shots on target against Southampton. The Citizens surpassed their ticker value by 3.91.

Swansea City’s ticker value was 4.32, but their declining offensive threat was demonstrated by a failure to hit the target against Liverpool. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s improving defence limited Tottenham Hotspur to four shots on target, 4.34 below the ticker value.

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Junior Stanislas

Bournemouth mounted a great fight back against Everton in thrilling Dean Court encounter on the Saturday of Gameweek 14 of the 2015-16 Premier League season. The Cherries’ star was Junior Stanislas who netted twice and grabbed 14 Fantasy Premier League points for the 0.1 per cent of FPL managers who started him.

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When I looked at Bournemouth midfielders a couple of weeks ago, I only mentioned Stanislas to reference his enticing 4.2m price tag because he had hardly played at that time. He has played 90 minutes in each of the two gameweeks since then, but his only appearances before that were 56 minutes from the start against Norwich in Gameweek 5, a 45-minute substitute appearance against Southampton in Gameweek 11 and 72 minutes from kick-off against Newcastle in Gameweek 12.

Given his limited game time this season, it’s still too early to draw any strong conclusions from his data but we can start to look for indicators of what we might expect if he continues to play.

Junior Stanislas GW1-14 2015-16

Stanislas has fired a dozen attempts at goal in his limited minutes, although eight of those came in just two matches. Until Gameweek 14, the winger hadn’t been very successful at shooting from inside the penalty area or hitting the target. Stanislas has registered two goals with his two shots on target, which is a conversion rate he won’t sustain. However, he might compensate for that if he can improve the proportion of shots that find the target and the number of attempts he takes inside the box.

When we compare Stanislas to the other Bournemouth midfielders in his price range, its interesting to see his creativity stand out.

Bournemouth cheap midfielders actions per 90 minutes

Again, it’s worth noting that limited game time might be skewing our picture of Stanislas, but he is doing well at creating opportunities for team mates based on the initial evidence. The columns showing Dan Gosling’s shot data are well proportioned so the chart also helps demonstrate how Stanislas is doing well at shooting and scoring, but not so well at shooting inside the penalty area or hitting the target.

Given their price tags, Stanislas, Gosling (4.4m)and Joshua King (4.6m) are intriguing picks for the fifth midfield spot in FPL squads. However, Bournemouth’s fixture list through December isn’t great (che, MUN, wba, CPL, ars) so for now most FPL managers would probably only be interested in them as cover in case another player fails to start, not as potential rotation options.

I should sound a final note of caution about Stanislas. While it may seem unlikely that a player who has just scored two goals for a struggling team would be benched, his place could come under threat from Marc Pugh (4.7m), who has just signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract with the Cherries. The FPL website notes Pugh, who Stanislas replaced at half time in Gameweek 11, is expected to return from his Achilles injury next week.

Troy Deeney

Troy Deeney, a popular pre-season Fantasy Premier League forward pick, has been overshadowed so far this season by his team mate Odion Ighalo. By Gameweek 9, Ighalo had scored five times while his team mate had failed to find the net. The Nigerian added a couple more in Gameweek 11 and he has risen from his pre-season price of 5.0m to 5.7m today.

Deeney, meanwhile, saw his price drop from 5.5m to 5.1m by Gameweek 9. However, since then he has scored in Gameweeks 10, 12 and 13. So could we have a bargain on our hands that is finally coming into form?

Troy Deeney GW1-13 2015-16

Given my earlier research on the penalty taker’s advantage, I have separated Deeney’s penalty kick statistics from his regular numbers and, as you can see, spot kicks do boost his appeal when they arrive.

When I looked at the Watford forwards in September, the data appeared to show that Deeney was hitting a good number of shots, but struggling for accuracy. Even with penalties excluded, Deeney seems to have improved his accuracy a little, but he’s still in the second tier for landing his shots on target and that has a knock on effect on his goal output.

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A big positive though is that no Premier League forward has played more minutes than Deeney this season so there are no worries about his game time if he’s fit. Another is that Watford have three great fixtures (avl, NOR, sun)  coming up before the schedule turns against them (LIV, che, TOT, MCI, sot).

There are plenty of forward players vying for a space in FPL teams, so I doubt many managers are looking at Deeney, but he does tick the boxes if anyone wants a dead cheap penalty-taking regular starter. Given the slight uptick in his shooting accuracy recently, coupled with the great fixtures, he could make an interesting short-term punt, but I would rather structure my team to run with a cheap fifth midfielder than a cheap third forward at present.

Over the Radar: Alexis Sánchez

This is only the second in the Over the Radar series looking at whether widely-owned Fantasy Premier League players deserve a place in our team and already I’m becoming worried it is jinxing the player concerned. First Dimitri Payet and now, within minutes of starting research on Alexis Sánchez for this post, I read the Arsenal winger is struggling to be fit for Sunday’s game at Norwich City because of a hamstring niggle. The injury may focus more attention on the Gunners’ midfielder and, therefore, this post may still be of use in assessing whether it worth keeping the Chilean who currently costs 11.5m, which is 0.5 more than he cost at the start of the season.

Alexis Sánchez GW1-13 2015-16

Looking at Sánchez’s statistics, his shooting metrics are well proportioned. Across the season so far, Sánchez has converted his shots on target (for which FourFourTwo Stats Zone has a slightly different number from Fantasy Football Scout) into goals at a sustainable rate. However, those six goals were all compressed into Gameweeks 7-9 so it is understandable if many FPL managers feel they have not received much return on their investment the rest of the time.

The next chart highlights that Sánchez is converting his shots on target at rate that is fairly consistent with the league average and not over-performing like Mahrez (although I have not adjusted these figures to remove penalty kicks) or under-performing like Sadio Mané

Alexis Sánchez GW1-13 2015-16 Shots on Target conversion trend

One area of concern for some managers might be the decline over the last six weeks in the huge shot numbers the Chilean was recording. However, Sánchez remains top of this metric in the league and well ahead of everyone other than Coutinho. The slow down just means he is shooting at a rate more closely aligned with midfielders in the chasing pack. The issue then is whether the most highly-priced midfielder in the game is worth the extra investment over one of the cheaper alternatives.

Perceptions about the points return from the Arsenal star have not been helped by team mates of the winger failing to convert the chances he is creating. I should note here however that the Fantasy Premier League credits Sánchez with a Gameweek 2 assist against Crystal Palace that FourFourTwo Stats Zone does not recognize and I haven’t included it.

Alexis Sánchez GW1-13 2015-16 Chances created conversion trend

Regardless of whether Sánchez is credited one assist or none, he is operating below the trend line for chances created being turned into assists. If regression kicks in here it could mean in this instance that his FPL points return from assists picks up. Nevertheless, he remains firmly in the pack in terms of the number of chances he is creating, unlike his team mate Mesut Özil (9.1m), who is setting up colleagues at a phenomenal pace and seeing those chances converted at a rate well above the league norm for midfielders.

We have looked at the performance of Sánchez, but the upcoming fixtures for Arsenal (nor, SUN, avl, MCI, sot and BOU) should also be considered before deciding whether or not to ditch him.

Arsenal opposition defences GW1-19 2015-16

The chart shows the performance of Arsenal’s opponents home or away this season, depending on whether the Gunners are facing them at the Emirates or not. It shows the average shots conceded (ShC), shots on target conceded (SoTC), shots in box conceded (SiBC) and goals conceded (GC) per match, plus the number of clean sheets (CS) recorded.

One stand out feature from the chart is that in the next three gameweeks Arsenal face three of the weakest defences in the league. Unless Sánchez’s injury looks like it will stop him from playing, it will take a brave soul to remove him prior to that run. The fixtures tighten sharply with the visit of Manchester City in Gameweek 17 so that looks a prime time for FPL managers to reconsider his place if he stays now. However, it is worth noting that the profitable spell Sánchez enjoyed between Gameweeks 7 and 9 also coincided with another toughing of the fixture list, including the Gameweek 8 visit of Manchester United.

Overall, Sánchez has slowed in the rate at which he shoots in recent weeks, but his shooting metrics across the season are good. Furthermore, his best FPL points performances so far have come during a trickier stretch of the fixture list. If he keeps up his current rate of chance creation, assists are also not out of the question. Given his patchy returns, and their arrival against tough opposition, some FPL managers may be wondering if they can comfortably captain Sánchez. If not, they have to grapple with deciding whether the Gunners midfielder is worth the extra outlay over one of his team mates.

Liverpool’s starting eleven

There has been quite a buzz among Fantasy Premier League managers about Liverpool players this week following the Reds’ weekend demolition of Manchester City.

Liverpool had a great game against the Citizens. They notched four times and registered 12 shots on target, including 10 inside the box. The game has placed Liverpool’s attacking players firmly on the radar. Furthermore, the team line-up has looked fairly stable since Jürgen Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers after Gameweek 9.

However, it is easy to look at players getting regular game time and forget that potential challengers to their spot could be missing with injury. Therefore, I decided to review the Liverpool midfield and forward line-up so far this season to remind myself of the state of play.

Liverpool's line-up GW1-13 2015-16

The chart shows the:

  • opposition Liverpool faced each week (Opp);
  • formation Liverpool played (Frmtn)*;
  • total minutes played by each player;
  • managerial era – Rodgers in grey and Klopp in white;
  • position of each player in each match** (dark blue for forward, blue for midfield, purple for defence and light blue if they came on as a substitute) or their status (red for injured, yellow for suspended). Players with a white or grey box beneath their name did not play that week.

I have only included players who have clocked up at least 100 minutes on the pitch. They are, from left to right: James Milner (Mil), Philippe Coutinho (Cou), Emre Can (Can), Leiva Lucas (Luc), Adam Lallana (Lal), Roberto Firmino (Fir), Jordon Ibe (Ibe), Jordan Henderson (Hen), Christian Benteke (Ben), Danny Ings (Ing), Daniel Sturridge (Stu) and Divock Origi (Ori).

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There are a few things I noted from the chart. Firstly, the five midfielders with most game time this season have looked very stable in the Klopp era, with the only change being Ibe (4.6m) coming in for Milner (6.6m) when he was briefly injured. With Henderson (6.6m) nearing a return from injury, it will be interesting to see if the club captain can get back into the team and, if so, who he displaces.

Sturridge (10.1m) is another major player for the Reds who is on the comeback trail from injury. Against Manchester City he was an unused substitute, but how long will Liverpool keep on the bench a player who over the last two seasons has scored 26 Premier League goals in 3,021 minutes? If he returns to the starting eleven that might also have a knock on effect on those midfield options.

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Finally, in his first four games, Klopp has started with an attacking midfielder (Firmino, 8.0m) upfront in away games against Chelsea and Manchester City, but a recognized striker in home games – Origi (5.6m) against Southampton and Benteke (8.3m) against Crystal Palace. Klopp might decide to stick with last week’s winning formula, or he might continue to rotate. If he does the latter, it could make things awkward for the more than 23,000 FPL managers who have bought Firmino this week.

Notes

*based on my interpretation of FourFourTwo Stat Zone‘s line-up guide – feel free to leave alternative suggestions in the comments

**also based my interpretation of FourFourTwo Stat Zone’s line-up guide.

Shots on Target ticker: Gameweek 14

Here are my Shots on Target and Shots on Target Conceded tickers for Gameweek 14. I have added an average for the next six gameweeks to help with transfer planning.

Shots on Target ticker GW14-19

Shots on Target Conceded ticker GW14-19

The ticker under-estimated the number of shots on target actually hit in Gameweek 13 by an average of 0.23. There were 11 teams that were within two shots on target of their ticker value. The overall range was 12.61 shots on target.

Liverpool delivered a great performance at both ends of the pitch against Manchester City this week. They recorded nine shots on target – beating their ticker value by 5.86 – while limiting Manchester City to three shots on target, 3.26 shots on target less than the ticker value.

Tottenham Hotspur hit a whopping 12 shots on target, 6.47 more than the ticker value, as they hammered West Ham United. Stoke City recorded a fifth clean sheet in six gameweeks as they kept Southampton to one shot on target, 6.14 below the ticker value.

Bargain hunting – part two: Bournemouth

For Fantasy Premier League managers looking for the cheapest of midfield replacements for Dimitri Payet, Bournemouth has a several budget options that might prove tempting to a few.

The Cherries players under 5m who are currently fit for action include Eunan O’Kane (4.3), Harry Arter (4.7m), Junior Stanislas (4.2m), Joshua King (4.6m), Dan Gosling (4.4m), and Andrew Surman (4.3m). O’Kane has been getting less game time recently, while Artur and Stanislas have only come back into the first team in the last two weeks. As such, it is probably too early to consider them unless that extra 0.1m Stanislas could save an FPL manager would make a huge difference to their transfer plans.

Therefore, I’m going to focus on the latter three, starting with Surman.

Andrew Surman GW1-12 2015-16

So far this season Surman has managed two FPL points every game, except Gameweek 6 when Bournemouth kept a clean sheet and he scored three points. The chart demonstrates clearly why he is allergic to attacking points – he rarely attacks. On average, Surman has shot once every other game.

On the plus side, the South African-born midfielder has played every minute of every game this season and not been booked once. Surman is a fantastic choice if all you want from a fifth midfielder is two points off the bench when one of your other front seven is unable to play, but look elsewhere if you want any attacking potential.

Which brings us to Joshua King, who is interesting because he is a potential out of position midfielder. According to FourFourTwo Stats Zone, King has lined up as a forward against Aston Villa, Liverpool, West Ham United and Newcastle United this season, while appearing as a support striker or attacking midfielder against Norwich, Watford and Tottenham Hotspur.

Joshua King GW1-12 2015-16

Despite this positive positioning, the only match when he looked a serious threat stats-wise in his 501 minutes of play this season was against Newcastle in Gameweek 12. In his seven starts he has only reached 60 minutes on four occasions, so he’s not guaranteed to deliver two points. He may be only 4.6m, but until he shows he can consistently play 60 minutes and consistently test the opposition goalkeeper I think there are better – and cheaper – ways for FPL managers to spend there money on a budget midfielder. And here is one of them:

Dan Gosling GW1-12 2015-16

At 4.4m, Dan Gosling costs 0.2m less than King but from the stats he seems a more consistent player. His shooting stats also have a reasonable balance to them. Unlike King, Gosling has played 90 minutes in each of the last seven Bournemouth games. He costs 0.1m more than Surman, but for that 0.1m an FPL manager buys some attacking points potential.

Bournemouth midfielders v Payet Actions per 90 minutes

Comparing how often per 90 minutes each of these players creates assists and chances, it’s clear none of them will replace Payet’s creativity. King and Gosling are in a similar ballpark to Payet in terms of taking shots and hitting them from inside the box, but Surman is struggling to make an impact.

I bought Surman on my Gameweek 3 wildcard as he looked a cheap, guaranteed starter, but I shipped him out again in Gameweek 7 after realizing I could not foresee a situation in which I would want to start him. If my team had become so riddled with injuries and suspensions that he had to play, I think I would have rather taken a points hit to replace one of those injured players than start him.

I know the fifth midfielder serves no purpose for some FPL managers other than saving the most amount of money possible, but I would rather spend an extra 0.1m to buy the comfort of knowing a player might have an outside chance of some attacking returns if he has to come off the bench.