Everything but the Goal: GW16

Neither the Everything but the Goal pick nor the control selection for Gameweek 16 had the highest shot tallies last week, but they did fire their efforts from more dangerous areas. The Everything but the Goal pick is Leicester City’s Islam Slimani, who failed beat Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo with four shots. Three of those efforts were off target but taken close to the six yard box, while the fourth was hit from just outside the box and was on target.
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The control pick is Swansea City striker Fernando Llorente, who also fired four shots. He netted twice past Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford with his two shots on target. His other two shots, which were also taken well inside the area, both missed the target.

For both players the objective is to score, which is what the Everything but the Goal selection for Gameweek 15, Victor Anichebe, and the control pick, Harry Kane, failed to achieve.

Sorry for the lack of an Everything but the Goal post last week. Emre Can, the Everything but the Goal pick for Gameweek 14, found the target in Gameweek 15, but Sergio Agüero, the control selection, did not.

Season EBTG score: Found 3 – 11 Missing

Season control score: Found 4 – 10 Missing


Everything but the Goal: GW14

We turn to the Liverpool midfield for the Everything but the Goal pick for Gameweek 14. Emre Can fired five attempts against Sunderland, all but one of them from inside the box. However, he is not the strongest pick this season because failed to find the target with any of the shots.

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Once again I turn to Sergio Agüero for the control selection. The Manchester City forward unleashed seven shots against Burnley, including four in the box and four on target. Of those on target shots, two beat the goalkeeper.

For both players the objective is to score, which Everton’s Yannick Bolasie and Sunderland’s Victor Anichebe failed to achieve as the Gameweek 13 picks.

Season EBTG score: Found 2 – 10 Missing

Season control score: Found 4 – 8 Missing

Everything but the Goal: GW13

The Everything but the Goal pick for Gameweek 13 is Yannick Bolasie. The Everton midfielder hit four shots against Swansea City in Gameweek 12. Three of those attempts were in the box and two found the target, but none hit the back of the net.
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The control selection is Victor Anichebe. The Sunderland striker fired five shots against Hull City, including four from inside the box. He scored with his two shots on target.

For both players the objective is to score, which Gameweek 12 picks Daniel Sturridge and Sergio Agüero failed to do.

Season EBTG score: Found 2 – 9 Missing

Season control score: Found 4 – 7 Missing


Taking stock after Gameweek 12

The 2016-17 season is roughly one-third complete, which seems like a good moment to take stock.

For me personally and, I suspect, some other statistics-driven managers, this has been a somewhat frustrating season. Some players showing good underlying numbers have not posted returns as well as expected (for example, Zlatan Ibrahimovic), while others have delivered points but nagging doubts have kept some Fantasy Premier League managers away (Diego Costa and his yellow cards, Theo Walcott and perceived threats to his game time).

There’s been another group of players who have over-performed their underlying statistics for a while, keeping it going just long enough to provide returns for early adopters before frustrating those who started them later when their ownership made them difficult to avoid (for example, Étienne Capoue). And then there are the players who show signs of delivering sustainable returns at a reasonable price, but only at the whim of where their manager plays them (for example, Joe Allen) or their muscles (Adam Lallana).

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These elements exist to some degree in every season of course, but they seem particularly pronounced this year when the performance of a good number of premium and upper mid-priced fantasy assets has pressed for their inclusion in our FPL squads while few consistent budget options have emerged to free up the funds to pay for them.

On top of that, the transfer market has seemed to move quicker than ever this season. By that, I mean fewer people seem to be waiting until the end of the week to make their moves and there seems to be less diversity in the choices being made. That’s only a perception though, I’ve not done any analysis to see if it really is moving more quickly.

Differentials seem to be problematic this season. I’m not sure whether:

  • they are just harder to find, or
  • if they are more frequently announcing their arrival with goals rather than good underlying numbers, or
  • if there are too many options performing well, particularly in midfield, to risk hunting for them, or
  • they are no longer hidden because more FPL managers are better informed than ever before, or
  • some combination of the above.

Life has been very busy for me this autumn and I have not been able to dig into the statistics as much as I would like, either for my own FPL team or for this blog, so maybe the answers are out there and I haven’t found them yet.

I have some more random thoughts to add, but I’ll save them for a later post or posts if I get time.

Everything but the Goal: GW12

The Everything but the Goal pick for GW12 is Daniel Sturridge. The Liverpool striker racked up six shots in Gameweek 11 against Watford, including four in the box and four on target, despite not even getting on the pitch until the 71st minute. With doubts over the fitness of team mates Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana, he stands a good chance of starting this week.

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The control selection for a second week running is Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero, who clocked up eight shots, including seven in the area and three on target, against Middlesborough in Gameweek 12.

For both forwards the objective is to score, which is what both control pick Agüero and Everything but the Goal choice Zlatan Ibrahimovic achieved last week.

Season EBTG score: Found 2 – 8 Missing

Season control score: Found 4 – 6 Missing

Picking a Gameweek 30 captain

Gameweek 30 throws up an interesting captaincy selection. Three of the top four teams in the Premier League face the three bottom teams. Furthermore, those top teams have three of the top four Premier League goalscorers spread between them.

My gut is telling me to put the armband on Harry Kane but my head is telling me to put it on Agüero as he is likely to be the most popular option among the players I am competing against.

I thought I would dive into the statistics to see if they can help me make a decision. I’ve added Jamie Vardy into the mix because he also looks a great option this week. I stopped short of including Riyad Mahrez as I liked the idea of a straight comparison between strikers who are also their club’s current designated penalty takers.

Captain choice GW30

The chart shows 11 types of data. The first seven are shown by the bars charted against the left axis and they show actions per 90 minutes played (P90): goals (G), shots on target (SoT), shots in box (SiB), shots (Sh), chances created (CC), assists (A) and penalties taken (PenT). The remaining data shows percentages against the right axis: the proportion of penalties converted (PenConv%), the proportion of games with no goal (Blank%), the proportion of games with two or more goals (2G+%) and the proportion of their team’s goals the player has been involved in by scoring or assisting (TGI%).

It is important to note here that the percentage stats for Kane and Vardy are based on all their performances in the Premier League this season, but the data for Agüero, who has played fewer minutes this season, is based on Premier League games in which he has played at least 60 minutes. This may not be ideal, but seemed fair. His proportions might be a little different if you include the two Premier League games in which he played less than 30 minutes.

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The chart shows why Agüero is great, even when being compared to two other strikers having good seasons. In all the P90 shooting metrics he comes out ahead. He is more explosive than the other two and more involved in his team’s goals.

As you would expect from a player who broke a Premier League record by scoring in 11 consecutive games this season, Vardy has notched more consistently than Agüero or Kane. Agüero’s penalty miss last week leaves him lagging behind the other two in terms of penalty conversion.

The second part of this analysis focuses on the fixtures. The Team Goals Involvement percentage (TGI%) showed what proportion of a team’s scoring pie a player has a hand in, but it helps to know how big the pie is.

Captain choice GW30 player's team dashboard

In this case, Agüero’s team, Manchester City (MCI), have a slightly larger pie but there is not much in it. Tottenham Hotspur (TOT) test the opposition more frequently than the other two teams, but tend do so from long range more often – a pattern shared by their striker Kane. The most interesting data here comes from Leicester City (LEI). They blank less frequently than the other two sides and have punished their opponents heavily more often.

Remember, though, that this is data from all games this season and there can be variations within that. Leicester, for example, haven’t been punishing teams as frequently in the second half of the season so far as they were in the first half. While every team has played each other at least once, this data has not been adjusted for strength of schedule, nor have I broken it down by home and away performance.

Finally, let’s look at the opposition, the teams we hope will be scored upon multiple times by our captain.

Captain choice GW30 opposition team dashboard

All three teams like to concede goals (GC), though Aston Villa (AVL) and Norwich City (NOR) tend to do so off fewer shots conceded (ShC). Despite their reputation, Villa and Newcastle United (NEW) have been better at keeping clean sheets (CS) than Norwich. But Villa have conceded two or more goals (2GC+) more often.

All in all, this run through has made me excited for the gameweek, but not made the captaincy choice much more obvious. All three look good for different reasons, but the differences between them are not huge. Anything can happen in one game, so it could be luck of the draw.

I have to put the armband on someone though and I think it will be Agüero. His shooting metrics are ahead of the rest, he is more involved in his team’s goals and Norwich rarely keep a clean sheet.

Sergio Agüero

I can’t write about anyone other than Sergio Agüero today after the Manchester City forward netted the fastest five-goal haul in Premier League history – he achieved it in just 20 minutes. The Argentinian became only the fifth member of a select group of strikers to net five times in a Premier League match.

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The 20 per cent of FPL managers who, like me, put the captain’s armband on Agüero netted 50 points and set themselves up for a high scoring gameweek. Furthermore, according to FPL Discovery, he was captain of only 6.6 per cent of the top 10,000 teams so there will be a significant shake-up in the rankings this weekend.

Agüero repaid the faith many FPL managers had shown in him despite only scoring one goal in the first seven gameweeks. His underlying data said he was doing better than his goal tally suggested and he finally proved it, as Alexis Sánchez did last week.

Sergio Agüero GW1-8 2015-16

Following today’s heroics, Agüero’s totals in each of the metrics for the season shown in the chart are now exactly as we would expect them to be for a forward of his calibre. He stuttered a little between Gameweek 3, when he recorded just two shots (all in the box and on target) and Gameweek 5, when he failed to register a single shot, but otherwise his stats this season are now almost identical to last year.

In 2014/15, Agüero rattled off a shot every 18 minutes, unleash a strike in the box every 23 minutes, hit the target every 43 minutes and scored every 102 minutes. The same figures for this year are 17, 22, 40 and 93 minutes respectively.Sergio Aguero SoT conversion rate

Some might suggest Agüero’s Shots on Target (SoT) conversion rate is a touch high, but that isn’t case. With the exception of one season where he was closer to the norm for FPL forwards, the Argentinian has consistently converted Shots on Target at or close to his current rate.

Agüero may not score five goals again this season, but those who missed out on his FPL points haul this week should not despair. As long as he stays fit, it looks like he will continue to be a great source of points this season.