Aaron Lennon scored his third goal in his last four Premier League games against Aston Villa in Gameweek 28. After being behind Gerard Deulofeu in the pecking order for the right wing berth at Everton for much of the season, Lennon (5.6m) has now started seven of the Toffees’ last 10 matches and found the net on four occasions.
On the surface it would appear more regular starts are paying dividends for a player who clocked up 21 caps for England between 2006 and 2013. However, his underlying statistics raise some concerns.
Before looking at the data, I should mention that these figures do not credit Lennon with an assist against Newcastle United in Gameweek 24 that the Fantasy Premier League game gives him. However, it is Lennon’s recent goal scoring, rather than his assist potential, that might be most tempting to FPL managers and that is where the warning flags need to be raised.
While three goals in four games is a good return for a midfielder, scoring them off just five shots on target – a 60 per cent conversion rate – is unlikely to be sustainable for long. Given Lennon only achieved two shots on target in the first 429 of his 772 minutes of play this season, it is unsurprising that his shots on target conversion rate for the season as a whole is little better at 57 per cent.
Over his last four games, Lennon has been firing shots on target at a fairly respectable rate of 1.3 per 90 minutes, so some might be tempted to argue that he could still deliver a relatively good number of goals even if his shots on target conversion rate dropped towards to the league average.
However, Lennon has also managed to direct a whopping 83 per cent of his shots at the goal in his last four matches – or 78 per cent over the season as a whole. That is more than twice the average rate at which Premier League midfielders have been hitting the target with shots this season. In 2012/13, when Lennon clocked more Premier League minutes and FPL points than in any of his other seasons recorded in the game, he needed roughly four attempts to land one shot on target – though, to be fair, he did manage a 57 per cent shots on target to goal conversion rate that year.
Lennon’s last four Premier League games were against relatively easy opposition (NEW, wba, STK, avl), but with a blank fixture in Gameweek 30 and matches against Arsenal and Manchester United afterwards I doubt many managers will be rushing out to buy the winger. That may save them from purchasing a player who has been delivering returns recently that he is unlikely to sustain.