With Everton’s kind fixture list through the remainder of 2015, the Toffees’ midfield is receiving some attention from Fantasy Premier League managers looking for a Dimitri Payet replacement. Unless they want a really cheap bench filler who hasn’t even managed to average two points per game this season (Gareth Barry, 4.3m), the two options most people land on are Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu.
Both midfielders started the season priced at 6.5m. Ross Barkley had a great start to the season scoring twice and grabbing an assist in the first two weeks and he now costs 0.3m more. Deulofeu, however, now costs just 6.2m after a disrupted start to the season in which he played just 14 minutes in the first five Gameweeks. Indeed, in the following chart all the shot data is from Gameweek 10 on as the Spaniard failed to register a shot before the match against Arsenal.
I don’t like the look of Deulofeu’s statistics for long-term sustainability. He has converted 50 per cent of his shots on target, but worse than that he has converted 50 per cent of his shots too. He’s also had 45 per cent of his chances created turn into assists. Even the Mesut Özil, the league’s leading source of chances created and assists, is only seeing 18.5 per cent of his chances created turn into assists.
The statistics are better for Barkley, as the next chart shows.
However, the same problem remains that was there when I reviewed Barkley’s performance two months ago. While Barkley is in among the top five midfielders in the league for getting shots away and getting them on target, he is hitting very few of those shots from inside the box, where conversion rates are higher. As a result, while Barkley could be converting a great portion of his shots on target into goals, I am not confident that will always be the outcome. His shots to shots on target ratio is good, but his shots to shots in box ratio is bad. He may be accurate, but he’s unlikely to score with as many of those long range shots as he would if hitting them from closer range.
Deulofeu hasn’t shown a significant goal threat so far. He has been good at getting assists, but I’m not confident he will continue at that rate. Barkley is a more frequent shooter than two of the others I have looked at this past week (Deulofeu and Willian) and the man he would replace, Dimitri Payet. With the positive fixture list through November and December (AVL, bou, CPL, nor, LEI, new, STO), I can see the attraction of Barkley to some FPL managers. But I would be hesitant about bringing him in until he starts shooting inside the box more frequently.
The numbers given in the first two charts are pulled together from FourFourTwo Stat Zone. The Fantasy Premier League credits Deulofeu with an extra assist and Fantasy Football Scout has a slightly different figure for Ross Barkley’s chances created.
For those who have just discovered this blog, please note that I am only providing you with one more view on the players. I do so primarily from a statistical perspective because I am not in a position to watch a huge amount of Premier League action. I am not a statistician and I am not drilling deep into every aspects of these players’ performance because I simply don’t have enough spare time. All I am doing is sharing my take on these players using the same basic guides to interpreting the data that have served me well in the last two FPL seasons. Please take or leave the information as you see fit.