Shots on target season ticker: Gameweek 20

Here are my shots on target and shots on target conceded season tickers for Gameweek 20.

Shots on Target ticker GW20-25 2015-16

Shots on Target Conceded ticker GW20-25 2015-16

In Gameweek 19 the ticker overestimated the average number of shots on target per team by 0.53. There were 18 teams within two shots on target of the ticker value, including five within one shot on target. The range was 4.48.

Gameweek 19 was a poor week offensively for Palace as they recorded only two shots on target – 2.55 below the ticker value. Tottenham also underperformed against the ticker, registering three shots on target, which was 2.01 below the ticker.

Sunderland hit three shots on target, 1.93 above the ticker value, while Stoke recorded five, which was 1.69 more than the ticker number.


Guest post: Preparing for Double Gameweek season

We are now less than two months away from the first fixture postponements that will likely result in some Premier League teams facing two matches in one Fantasy Premier League (FPL) gameweek (GW) – the fabled Double Gameweek (DGW). Ruth_NZ has been preparing for the doubles and shares his thoughts here: 

This week I started looking in more depth at the DGW season and in particular the option of playing the bench boost chip in a DGW whilst having 15 DGW players in your squad. This is what I found.

The biggest DGW is likely to be GW34. It will be caused by the FA Cup quarter finals on 12th March and the re-scheduled Premier League games are highly likely to be played in GW34 on 19th/20th April. There are therefore two things to navigate here:

  • A blank GW for up to 16 teams in GW30 (most likely eight to 12); and
  • A DGW four weeks later in GW34 for up to 16 teams (most likely eight to 12).

The first thing to note is that a wildcard to focus your squad on eight to 12 teams should not be problematic, neither should it constitute “wrecking” your team. It should be perfectly possible to wildcard in GW32 (for GW33), select a squad that has good fixtures and prospects in GW33 and gives you 15 DGW players when you bench boost in DGW34. You can also plan ahead to the end of season (six gameweeks in total) in terms of fixtures and with so many teams to choose from that shouldn’t be difficult. So far, so good.

The problem is that some teams (probably six to eight) will then have a blank GW in GW35, caused by the FA Cup semi finals. These will include the semi-finalists themselves plus their GW35 opponents. These teams will then have a DGW in GW37. The big issue will be navigating the blanks immediately after DGW34.

It should be possible to plan for this. The GW35 blank games will be known after the quarter finals are settled (12th March, or 22nd March if replays are required) – in other words long before you play the GW32/33 wildcard. In addition, if you wildcard in GW32 for GW33 and bench boost in GW34, you will then have two free transfers in place to use for ‘blank’ GW35. But you will face the challenge of having a good GW35 team whilst keeping (benched) some players you will want for DGW37. That could be somewhat awkward, although you will have a further two free transfers to use before GW37. Injuries or suspensions at that time could be a serious wrecking ball to what will necessarily be some quite precise planning. It will be tricky to avoid hits. Some FPL managers will take lots of hits.

DGW planning

A draft DGW34 squad for Diva in the 2014-15 season

DGW Planning

Here is the route through DGW season from start to finish:

1. 27th January (GW23) – League Cup finalists are confirmed; they and their opponents will have a blank in GW27 when the final is played. On 27th January, or sometime after, the dates for games needing to be rescheduled from GW27 will be announced.

2. If the League Cup finalists (or their GW27 opponents) are still involved in the FA Cup as well it would not be at all unlikely to see one or both of these games brought forward as the available slots for re-scheduled games later on are severely limited. One possibility would be 9th/10th February (GW25). Another would be Monday 22nd February (GW26) but only if the teams concerned are neither involved in the FA Cup fifth round (20th/21st) nor in a Champions League fixture on 23rd or 24th February. So, GW25 could be the first potential DGW (two or four teams).

3. February 20th (GW26), FA Cup fifth round games are played and the FA Cup quarter finals are known (subject to any replays needed – these may themselves be hard to schedule due to lack of slots). FPL managers can begin planning for the decimated GW30 Premier League schedule which will likely involve blanks for eight to 12 teams.

4. February 28th (GW27) – League Cup final played and up to four teams have a GW27 blank. These Premier League games may have been brought forward and played early (see above).

5. March 12th (GW30) – FA Cup quarter finals played alongside the decimated GW30 schedule which could easily be as few as four games. Getting a good FPL team out in GW30 will be very tricky. The teams that will have a blank GW in GW35 and (almost certainly) a DGW in GW37 will now become clear (subject to any replays needed).

6. March 12th (GW30) – those not planning to wildcard in GW32/33 can begin to shape their squad for DGW34. They will ideally need to go into GW30 with a saved free transfer and they will ideally need to go into GW35 with a saved free transfer as well (because some DGW34 teams will have blanks in GW35). That means they will have maximum four free transfers to use to prepare for DGW34, any more transfers will be hits. That may or may not matter depending on how many players they want/need to bring in. Those planning to wildcard in GW33 to prepare for DGW34 can rest easy and continue as usual.

7. April 2nd (GW32) – wildcarders who want to bench boost in DGW34 should activate the wildcard and assemble their team for GW33 and DGW34. They should aim to be making no transfers in GW33 so they have two free transfers available coming out of the DGW.

8. April 9th (GW33) – wildcarders not planning to use their bench boost in DGW34 should activate the wildcard and set up their DGW34 teams but with a view to handling the blanks in GW35 with only one free transfer available. It would also be possible to wildcard out of DGW34 but with only the ‘short’ GW35 (including blanks for five to eight teams) and GW36 to play before DGW37 this would in effect amount to wildcarding into DGW37 instead of DGW34 and the same pattern applies.

9. April 16th and 19th/20th – the big DGW34, which could see as many as 12 teams (or even more) playing twice.

10. After that it should be fairly plain sailing, there will only be the blanks in GW35 and the smaller DGW37 to navigate and the pattern is a repeat of the one above.


DGW season is going to be the trickiest and most interesting part of the FPL calendar. It is going to take very good planning and some fine-line decision-making between maximising the DGWs and the use of the second wildcard, bench boost and triple captain chips and maintaining a successful FPL squad in ‘ordinary’ GWs and in GWs with a reduced number of games being played.

It would appear that wildcarding into DGW33 is a good strategy if you want to bench boost in DGW34. It would also be possible to do the same into DGW37 (though the constraints on team selection will be tighter then if you want 15 DGW players). But the GW36 wildcard for DGW37 (or GW35 if you want to bench boost in DGW37) does have the merit of being less disruptive – basically you will then only have GW36, DGW37 and GW38 to plan for.

As for the triple captain? A DGW when you are neither playing wildcard nor bench boost I think. There certainly will be some options to choose from.

Shots on target season ticker: Gameweek 19

Here are my shots on target and shots on target conceded season tickers for Gameweek 19.

Shots on Target ticker GW19-24 2015-16

Shots on Target Conceded ticker GW19-24 2015-16

In Gameweek 18 the ticker overestimated the average number of shots on target per team by 0.07. There were 12 teams within two shots on target of the ticker value, including eight within one shot on target. The range was 9.44.

For a second straight week Aston Villa delivered strong attacking numbers, recording eight shots on target against West Ham United – 5.40 more than the ticker value. Tottenham Hotspur fired more shots on target, 10, than any other team this week to record 5.37 more than the ticker value for their game against Norwich.

At the other extreme, Crystal Palace failed to muster a single shot on target against Bournemouth to leave them 4.04 below the ticker value. Chelsea scored with both shots on target against Watford, but they were 3.09 below the ticker value.

Shots on target season ticker: Gameweek 18

Here are my shots on target and shots on target conceded season tickers for Gameweek 18.

Shots on Target ticker GW18-23 2015-16

Shots on Target Conceded ticker GW18-23 2015-16

In Gameweek 17 the ticker underestimated the average number of shots on target per team by 0.13. There were 14 teams within two shots on target of the ticker value, including eight within one shot on target. The range was 7.01.

Aston Villa finally showed some attacking intent this week, hitting seven shots on target against Newcastle United – 3.94 more than the ticker value. The shooting boots were also on at Vicarage Road, where Watford managed five shots on target, 2.97 more than the ticker value for the game against Liverpool.

Accuracy was in short supply at the Liberty Stadium though as West Ham United and Swansea City only recorded two shots on target each, 2.17 and 1.18 below the ticker value respectively, in their 0-0 draw. Manchester United’s poor display against Norwich also saw them register just two shots on target, 3.07 less than the season ticker value.

Bamidele Alli

Against Southampton in Gameweek 17, Bamidele “Dele” Alli scored his second goal in three matches. In the process he started a small Saturday evening buying frenzy, with more than 13,000 Fantasy Premier League managers having brought him in at the time of writing – more than double the number for the next most popular midfielder.

I looked at Alli after Gameweek 12 and quite liked what I saw, but I was a cautious about the potential impact on his game time of team mates returning from injury. The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder did miss the Gameweek 14 clash against Chelsea through suspension but he has otherwise retained his place despite most of the potential rivals for his spot returning to fitness. As Alli is only 19, it’s still possible that his manager, Mauricio Pochettino, might chose to rest or rotate him at some point, but it does look as if he is beginning to make a place in the team his own.

Bamidele Alli GW1-17 2015-16

The Premier League statistics look fairly healthy for the young England international. The rate at which he converts  shots, shots in the box and shots on target into goals is a touch high, but his ratio of shots on target to shots is near the league norm. Ideally he would be taking a slightly higher proportion of his shots in the box, but it’s hard to get too picky about a young midfielder who will only set an FPL manager back 5.1m. The rate at which the chances he creates have been converted into assists is close to the league standard too.

Alli is not in the elite tier, or the second tier, of Premier League midfielders for most of his metrics, but his price isn’t either. If an FPL manager has sufficient team value that they can afford a 5.1m fifth midfielder, he looks a good option that carries a threat and could happily step in when another midfielder has a tough fixture. With Riyad Mahrez cemented into many FPL teams at a fourth midfielder price, it’s questionable whether many managers have need of another fourth midfielder but if they do Alli could also be an option. However, he should probably be weighed more carefully against other alternatives in that price bracket.

Guest post: José Mourinho – the fallout

Following the news on Thursday about the sacking of José Mourinho, I asked Chelsea regular Ruth_NZ for his thoughts on what comes next for the Blues. Here is his view:

The situation at Chelsea now is worse than most outside the club will realise. Many will assume that removing the manager, who many neutrals disliked, will go a long way to resolving what has been wrong. But they probably don’t understand the standing José Mourinho had with the Stamford Bridge faithful.

For many Chelsea regulars, this will be almost like a bereavement. And if the players suddenly start to perform like champions after Mourinho has gone they won’t be thanked for it, they will be scorned for it. In my opinion, losing Mourinho will set Chelsea back three years. There won’t be peace now until half the squad have gone (including Eden Hazard if he wasn’t really injured last weekend) and a new manager and team have made the right connection with the fans.

I have spoken to quite a few regular, match-going Chelsea fans. Not one is happy that it came to this and not one is happy that Mourinho is gone. It’s not that we don’t understand the decision or even that we disagree with it. It’s that we really regret it, as the club does too if you read the statement on the website. The only sound explanation for it is a rift with some key players. If that’s the case then the Stamford Bridge crowd will not be settled till those players have gone too.

Embed from Getty Images

So, I believe the fallout from this has only just begun. It may be that José Mourinho lost the players (or some of them). What the players will now discover is that they have lost the fans. Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo has talked about “palpable discord between manager and players”. This is not going to be put up with by the fans if they believe the some of the players wanted Mourinho sacked and downed tools.

Former England forward Alan Shearer said: “I have never known a capitulation like it. The players have just not performed and have a lot to answer for. They’ve let the club and the manager down.” That is now the feeling that many Stamford Bridge regulars have and it won’t be easily assuaged.

Personally I think you can write off Chelsea assets for the forseeable future in Fantasy Premier League terms. If I were the board I would use this as an opportunity to give youngsters like Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Patrick Bamford, who can be brought back after Christmas, a good run of games for Chelsea and see what our youngsters can actually do in a first team shirt.

Maybe outsiders think that all Chelsea fans are glory hunters. I can assure you that while those “fans” do exist (and have already stopped trying to get tickets for games), the majority are not. Chelsea is a club with a proud history and there are some things the core supporters value more than short-term success.

Shots on target season ticker: Gameweek 17

Here are my shots on target and shots on target conceded season tickers for Gameweek 17.

Shots on Target ticker GW17-22 2015-16

 Shots on Target Conceded ticker GW17-22 2015-16

In Gameweek 16 the ticker underestimated the average number of shots on target per team by 0.39. There were 15 teams within two shots on target of the ticker value, including 7 within one shot on target. The range was 7.67.

West Ham United did everything but score against Stoke City, hitting 10 shots on target – double the ticker value of 5.23. Liverpool recovered from a poor Gameweek 15 showing to hit eight shots on target against West Bromwich Albion, 3.34 more than the ticker value. Norwich only managed two shots on target against Everton, 2.90 below the ticker value.