Shots on target form ticker: Gameweek 27

Here are my shots on target and shots on target conceded form tickers for Gameweek 27.

Shots on Target form ticker GW27-32 2015-16

Shots on Target Conceded form ticker GW27-32 2015-16

The form tickers only use data from the last eight games. They end with the 6GW Δ column, which shows the difference between the six-gameweek average (6GW ave.) on the form ticker and the season ticker.

The form ticker is suggesting a brighter attacking future for Newcastle United than the season ticker, but mostly on the basis of home games. The ticker sees a similar improvement in Manchester United’s attacking prospects over the next six weeks, but that is spread a touch more evenly across the fixtures. The picture doesn’t look as rosy for Crystal Palace and Norwich City. The Eagles’ downturn is driven by less favourable predictions about their away performance, while defensive improvement by upcoming rivals is a factor for the Canaries.

Defensively, Leicester City continue to shine in comparison to the season ticker and there’s a more postive outlook for Newcastle and West Ham too. The prospects for Bournemouth look a little more grim than in the season ticker – though mostly because of Newcastle’s recent output at home.


Shots on target season ticker: Gameweek 27

Here are my shots on target and shots on target conceded tickers for Gameweek 27.

Shots on Target ticker GW27-32 2015-16

Shots on Target Conceded ticker GW27-32 2015-16

The tickers list the Gameweek 30 match between Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion, but that might be postponed if the Gunners win their FA Cup fifth round replay against Hull City. The six-gameweek average is a four or five-gameweek average for the teams with blank fixtures.

In Gameweek 26 the ticker underestimated the average number of shots on target per team by 0.04. There were 13 teams within two shots on target of the ticker value, including nine within one shot on target. The range was 8.03.

Liverpool hit nine shots on target against Aston Villa and scored with six of them as they exceeded their ticker value by 4.45. Stoke City beat their ticker value by 3.25 as they fired six shots on target against Bournemouth.

The Potters also did well defensively, limiting Bournemouth to two attempts on goal, 3.58 below the ticker value. Manchester City succeeded in limiting Tottenham Hotspur to three shots on target, which was 2.93 below the ticker value, but it was not enough to avoid defeat.

Double Gameweek planning: Part eight

The FA Cup fifth round matches have helped clear up a lot of uncertainty around potential fixture rearrangements later this season – and all but killed Gameweek 30 as an opportunity for the well prepared.

FA Cup defeat for Bournemouth, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur means fielding 11 players in Gameweek 30 is unlikely to pose a significant challenge to most Fantasy Premier League managers. Spurs, in particular, are rich in popular FPL players and their Premier League match against Aston Villa will proceed as planned. In total, five Premier League fixtures will go ahead in Gameweek 30, four have been postponed and one more will be off if Arsenal beat Hull City in the cup replay.

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Furthermore, the draw for the quarter-finals has thrown up the first postponement in Gameweek 35. West Ham United’s league game against Manchester United will be rearranged because they face each other in the cup quarter-finals and were scheduled to face each other in Gameweek 35. Whichever one of the two teams wins the cup game will have to play in the semi-final while the other side will miss out as a result of their opponent being unavailable.

One interesting wrinkle, however, could turn up if Manchester United lose to West Ham, Crystal Palace lose to Reading and Everton beat Chelsea in the quarter-finals. If that happens, Manchester United and Crystal Palace would both have a space for a match in Gameweek 35 and a mutual fixture from Gameweek 30 to rearrange.

As that would require quite a specialised set of results and a later declaration of the new date, I’ve updated my Double Gameweek (DGW) planning chart from earlier in this series without including that possibility for now.Double Gameweek planning part 8

The chart shows the known blanks (dark purple) and possible slots for DGWs created by the Capital One Cup final (lilac). In the DGW boxes the large tile shows a team who could have a DGW and the smaller tiles show their likely opposition (opponents the DGW team will have to travel to are indicated by lower case letters). Four games (dark grey) could potentially join the existing Gameweek 35 blank, but three of the four home teams are already out of the FA Cup and their league matches will go ahead if their opponents exit in the quarter-finals (GW35, light grey, wait to see). Arsenal’s home match against West Bromwich Albion in Gameweek 30 (light grey, wait to see) will be off if the Gunners beat Hull City in the fifth round replay – and that would create a DGW for Arsenal and West Brom (orange).

For now, the chart shows DGW options created by the FA Cup quarter-finals (yellow) in Gameweek 34 because that is the week intended to pick up those games. They could potentially be rearranged for Gameweek 37, but that is intended to provide a slot for league matches rearranged by the FA Cup semi-finals in Gameweek 35. One of the only exceptions I have made for charting FA Cup-inspired DGW options in Gameweek 37 is for teams whose the rearranged Gameweek 30 tie involves Liverpool or Everton. The Merseyside teams have a Gameweek 27 match to rearrange too and we don’t know for sure which postponed fixture will grab the first available slot. Given West Ham and Manchester United will likely need both available DGW slots, I have also charted both of their likely DGWs and made them a different colour (light blue). The Premier League games we know are going ahead in Gameweeks 30 and 35 are also shown (light green).

Christian Eriksen

In the last five gameweeks Christian Eriksen has delivered handsomely for Fantasy Premier League managers who have him in their team. He has scored 46 FPL points in that time, an average of 9.2 points per game. According to the FPL form guide (which is different), only Roberto Firmino has delivered more points per game for managers in the last month.

Despite being in 185,000 more FPL teams than he was five weeks ago, Eriksen has remained somewhat under the radar. He is now the fourth highest scoring midfielder for FPL points, but he sits in less than 10 per cent of squads.

Christian Eriksen GW1-26 2015-16

One of the first things to stands out in Eriksen’s statistics is his creativity. The Tottenham Hotspur player has created more chances for his colleagues than any other Premier League midfielder except Mesut Özil. The FPL credit Eriksen with three more assists than the FourFourTwo Stats Zone numbers collated to create this chart, but even with the lower number his assists roughly match the league average conversion rate for chances created becoming assists.

Of more interest to many FPL managers, however, will be Eriksen’s recent uptick in goal scoring. He has scored three goals in his last five Premier League games, including a brace against Sunderland and the winner against Manchester City. The Dane has scored roughly as many goals as we might expect given the number of shots he has taken this season, but his shots on target conversion rate is low at 19 per cent. The frequency with which Eriksen shoots from long range doesn’t help in that regard – less than a quarter of his shots are from inside the penalty area. His shots on target conversion rate has been closer to the league average over the last five gameweeks, but he may need to shoot more often from close range if he wants to sustain that in the long run.

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One problem with Eriksen is how to fit him in. More than 40 per cent of FPL teams have Toby Alderweireld in defence and a similar proportion have Harry Kane up front. On top of that, 30 per cent have Bamidele Alli in midfield so there will be plenty of FPL teams already at the maximum number of players permitted from Spurs.

Alli, whose shooting statistics have taken a big leap forward since I reviewed him in December, may have risen 1m in price this season, but he is still 2.5m cheaper than Eriksen (8.5m). The two midfielders are shooting with similar frequency, though Eriksen is a little more accurate and Alli shoots from close range more often. Unless an FPL manager is awash with spare cash and looking for a differential, it’s understandable if they prefer the cheaper player.

Guest post: Gameweek 30 blanks estimator

Here is a treat for Fantasy Premier League managers trying to calculate what impact the FA Cup will have on Gameweek 30 Premier League fixtures and their FPL teams. In this guest post, Balders estimates the percentage chance of the games going ahead and provides you with exclusive access to an incredible Gameweek 30 planning tool. Over to Balders:

This weekend sees 11 Premier League sides line up across eight FA Cup matches and if the threat of injuries in these games isn’t enough to make you hold your transfers, the games will also generate a raft of blank fixtures in Gameweek 30.

FA Cup fifth round fixtures

As covered in detail by Diva’s blank and double Gameweek planning series, the winners of these matches will have their FA Cup quarter finals on the weekend of Gameweek 30 and their Premier League matches for that week will be postponed.

Using bookies’ opening lines for the the fifth round matches, I’ve taken a look at the likelihood of each Gameweek 30 match going ahead. The early good news is that Stoke City vs Southampton and Leicester City vs Newcastle United are going ahead, but after that it gets decidedly murky.

Five games in Norwich City vs Manchester City, Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth vs Swansea City, Sunderland vs Everton and Liverpool vs Chelsea fall into a broad grouping of ‘maybe happening’.

Meanwhile, the teams involved in three games – Manchester United vs Crystal Palace, West Ham United vs Watford, and Arsenal vs West Brom Albion – all face the double jeopardy of either side winning their FA Cup tie, leading to the postponement of their Premier League match.

Gameweek 30 Premier League fixture probability

Due to three FA Cup ties involving two Premier League sides, there will be at least three matches postponed – i.e. six teams facing a blank. Conversely two of these ties should guarantee a Premier League fixture goes ahead and adding that to the Stoke vs Southampton and Leicester vs Newcastle games, we will have at least four matches going ahead. At least eight teams will definitely have a game, but we currently know only four of them.

Gameweek 30 postponement likelihood

Table 1: GW30 postponement likelihoods

Simulating every win/loss situation for these eight FA Cup games, we can build a picture of how many Premier League games are likely to be postponed and the results are show in Table 1.

As we can see, there’s likely to be five or six games cancelled unless there are lots of upsets from lower league sides. Also notable is how many big FPL players are in the most endangered sides and you start to realise how much of a massacre this week could be.

Furthermore, these ‘likelihoods’ discount draws which may force replays in Gameweek 30, thereby postponing two Premier League games if that is when the FA decides to stage replays. If that is the case and there are multiple draws we could see up to eight matches postponed.

As we do not know for certain how the replays will pan out (if there are any), I have ignored them for the above modelling and for a Team Diagnostic Tool that I have created especially for readers here. In my Team Diagnostic Tool you can enter your players into it and it will tell you how good or how your team is shaping up for Gameweek 30 across each position and as a whole.

For example, below is the current outlook for my badly prepared team, showing I most likely won’t have a goalkeeper and I am likely to have between just four and eight outfielders in my current state – though I could have as low as three or as high as 10 outfielders.

Gameweek 30 diagnostic tool

Looking ahead to this weekend, I can see Tottenham and Arsenal’s results are crucial to my squad and if both their FA Cup games go as expected then I’ll be looking at four or five Gameweek 30 players rather than nine or ten.

As we are already within the gameweek of the FA Cup games, there’s not much more we can do than sit and wait it out. However, if you want to see how your team will fare, feel free to open one of the three copies of the tool below and input your team.

If there is visibly somebody else with the tool open and inputting their team, please open another version of the tool so you are not overwriting their team. Each version is designed to only be used by one person at a time.

To input your team, type in your players in cells C3:C17 corresponding to their playing positions in your squad, then next to them input their teams’ FPL abbreviation codes in cells D3:D17. After about five seconds the spreadsheet should then produce a diagnosis for your team.

Tool 1 | Tool 2Tool 3 

During the weekend of FA Cup games I will update the likelihoods to either zero per cent or 100 per cent when we know whether games will be going ahead.

Diego Costa

Gameweek 26 saw Diego Costa score his seventh goal in the eight Premier League matches he has played since Guus Hiddink returned to the Chelsea dugout. That is quite a turnaround in fortune for a striker who scored just three times in the first 14 games he played this season.

The following chart demonstrates why Costa has seen this sudden surge in scoring.

Diego Costa GW1-26 2015-16

Quite simply, Costa is shooting more frequently. Before Hiddink began to work with the Chelsea players, Costa had fired more than two shots in a game on just two occasions: against West Bromwich Albion in Gameweek 3 and against Norwich in Gameweek 13 (both games in which he scored). Since Gameweek 18 he has achieved that in six games. Costa’s shots and shots on target per 90 numbers have nearly doubled since Guus Hiddink took over and his shots in the box per 90 is twice what it was before.

One note of caution is that Costa’s shots on target conversion rate in the Hiddink era is 64 per cent, which is too high to sustain for long. However, even if that conversion rate regresses, it may not drop far. Last season, when Costa was firing shots on target at a rate very similar to that achieved recently, his conversion rate was 55 per cent. That is at the very top end of what we might expect over the course of the season, but the chart above indicates how he can achieve it.

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The conversion rate for shots inside the box is higher than those hit outside the penalty area and the former Atlético Madrid player hits nearly all his shots inside the box. In fact, since Hiddink entered the dugout, Costa hasn’t fired one shot from outside the box. This is a hallmark of Costa’s game in the Premier League. Last season he hit 88 per cent of his shots inside the penalty area and so far this season he has hit 94 per cent of his shots from there.

Costa is undoubtedly a good player when he is on form, the question though is whether there is space in a Fantasy Premier League manager’s three-man front line for him. The Spanish international is among the top three forwards for goals scored and shots inside the box since Gameweek 18, and in the top six for shots and shots on target. With Harry Kane (10.1m) and Sergio Agüero (13.6m) posting similar figures and already in 37.9 and 31.4 per cent of teams respectively, many FPL managers would have to pull a lot of cash from elsewhere in their squad to fit Costa (10.6m) in too.

However, the upcoming blanks and double gameweeks could see the popular forward lines disrupted. Agüero has no Premier League match in Gameweek 27, and both he and Kane would have a blank in Gameweek 30 if their teams progress in the FA Cup. If Manchester City win their FA Cup fifth round game next weekend it would give Chelsea a Gameweek 30 match, but if the Citizens lose it is Chelsea that will have the Premier League blank. Therefore, I would suggest FPL managers thinking of buying Costa should wait for the result of that cup game.

Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino, Liverpool’s £29m summer signing from Hoffenheim, had a slow start to his Premier League career. He was in and out of the first eleven and never started more than three consecutive games until his current run of nine starts began on December 20.

In the first half of the season, Firmino scored just one goal. Now he has scored five more – all in the last five matches. Since his brace against Arsenal a month ago, more than 550,000 Fantasy Premier League managers have added Firmino to their teams and his price has risen by 0.5m.

Roberto Firmino GW1-25 2015-16

The consistency of starts appears to have benefited the Brazilian international. Firmino only failed to register a shot in the first game of his current run. Furthermore, his shooting statistics over the course of the season show a nice balance and are consistent with a midfielder who has been playing up front a lot of the time.

Over those last nine gameweeks, Firmino has been in the top five among midfielders in all the shooting metrics shown in the chart, apart from shots inside the box (where he is seventh). However, during that same period, his shots on target conversion rate has been 56 per cent, which is right at the top end of what is sustainable for a season. If we look back at just the last five gameweeks, when he scored all but one of this goals, Firmino’s shots on target conversion rate has been running at 83 per cent.

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As noted before, Firmino’s statistics for the season are now fairly well balanced so the recent goals could be viewed as regression to the mean. While I doubt that Firmino will continue for long to convert shots on target at the rate we have seen recently, he may also steer clear of the barren spells he experienced early in his Liverpool career. The Brazilian is also a balanced player in that he creates a good number of chances for his team mates and they have been taking those opportunities at a rate that exceeds the league average.

Jürgen Klopp does appear to favour Firmino as a forward ahead of Christian Benteke at present, but if Daniel Sturridge is truly back from injury and available for selection that could pose a conundrum for the Reds’ boss.

Liverpool have a nice fixture against Aston Villa, then a blank Gameweek 27 followed by games against Manchester City and Crystal Palace. They could face another blank in Gameweek 30 if Chelsea beat Manchester City in the FA Cup fifth round. FPL managers who own Firmino and can field 11 players in Gameweek 27 may want to hold on to him through the blank, but those without the Brazilian might prefer to wait until after Gameweek 27 before deciding whether to buy.