A Statistical Overview GW1-12: Midfielders

Opinions, Stats

The final international break of the year is almost over so I thought I’d take a look back at the  basic statistics and key performance indicators from GW1-12 that I tend to use when creating the watchlist and making transfers. Yesterday was the defenders, so today it’s on to the midfielders.

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The Basic Stats

Goals:

  1. Hazard (7)
  2. Richarlison, Mane, Salah, Sterling, Martial (6)
  3. Sigurdsson, Pereyra (5)

Assists:

  1. Fraser (6)
  2. Gudmundsson, Sterling, Sane (5)
  3. Ramsey, Hazard, Salah, Shaqiri, Doucoure (4)

Bonus Points System:

  1. Hazard (291)
  2. Fraser (276)
  3. David Silva (264)

Bonus Points:

  1. Hazard (13)
  2. Mane, Martial (11)
  3. Fraser (10)

Sky MoM Awards:

  1. Hazard, David Silva, Fraser, Pereyra, Richarlison, Maddison (3)
  2. Milner, Sigurdsson, Sterling, Barkley, Hojbjerg, Doucoure, Salah* (2)

*Salah is classified as a forward in Sky FF

The Underlying Stats

Goal Attempts:

  1. Salah (48)
  2. Schurrle (37)
  3. Pogba (36)
  4. Neves (32)
  5. Hazard (30)

Shots In the Box:

  1. Salah (33)
  2. Mane (21)
  3. Hazard, Sterling (20)
  4. Mahrez, David Silva, Pereyra (18)
  5. Richarlison, Paterson (16)

Shots on Target:

  1. Salah, Pogba (19)
  2. Mane (14)
  3. Hazard, Sterling, Schurrle (13)
  4. Mahrez (11)
  5. David Silva, Richarlison, Walcott, Sigurdsson (10)

Chances Created:

  1. David Silva, Willian (34)
  2. Fraser (32)
  3. Hazard (31)
  4. Sigurdsson (30)
  5. Seri (27)

Big Chances Created*:

  1. Fraser (13)
  2. Hazard (10)
  3. David Silva (7)
  4. Willian, Bernardo Silva, Maddison (6)
  5. Salah, Sigurdsson (5)

*defined as providing an opportunity where the receiving player would reasonably be expected to score and manages to get a shot away.

Touches in the Opposition’s Penalty Area:

  1. Sterling (104)
  2. Salah (98)
  3. David Silva (77)
  4. Hazard (64)
  5. Sane (61)

Successful Tackles:

  1. Gueye (34)
  2. Milivojevic (28)
  3. Ndidi (27)
  4. Billing (25)
  5. Mooy (23)

Successful Passes:

  1. Jorginho (1,082)
  2. Xhaka (817)
  3. Fernandinho (747)
  4. Seri (622)
  5. David Silva, Kante (615)

Opinion

I guess the main takeaway from the stats above is just how dominant the premium midfielders are. And, let’s face it, that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. We all know the qualities possessed by the likes of Salah, Hazard & Sterling; they are world-class and have the previous history to back up current performances. If you’ve managed to fit all three into your team, you’ll likely be a happy manager about now.

Therein lies the problem though. Unlike with the supposedly ‘Premium’ defenders, FPL towers have realised the importance of these midfielders and priced them accordingly. Salah & Sterling in particular have seen significant price rises from last season, and thus provided one of the major talking points of the season……..can we go without Mo Salah?

I visited this issue earlier in the season & looking the stats, my opinion still hasn’t changed. That £13.0m may be a big chunk of your budget, and his strike partner Mane may have managed to match him closely thus far, but we are talking about forgoing a player who is close to matching his stats from last years record-breaking season. Say what you like about Liverpool’s seemingly stuttering attack, but Salah is far and away the leader in terms of the chances he is getting and everything seems to point to a huge score being just around the corner.

There will always be the argument for what you could do with the extra funds, but given the value available in other positions, I just don’t see where you would spend it. Beyond the top three, there is very little to separate the rest in terms of points, and the mid-price midfielders are easily being matched by the ‘premium’ defenders who actually cost less. However, if you do feel the need to look past them, then the stats do throw up a few standout performers.

At only £6.2m, Ryan Fraser is currently providing the best value in the game, topping the charts for the most big chances created and assists. I have no doubt that his output will regress given Bournemouth’s toughening fixtures, but I’m happy to go on record and predict that he’ll still exceed expectations for a player of that price. After all, Bournemouth are never afraid to attack and are 5th in terms of goals scored this season, sitting above the likes of Man Utd, Spurs and Everton.

The other standout comes in the form of David Silva. If anyone is looking for an alternative to Sterling in the City midfield, then he is definitely your man. Much has been said about his age, the need to manage his minutes, and the infamous Pep rotation. But the stats show that the little Magician has proved more influential than ever, missing only 2 games from 12. And at the ripe old age of 32, he seems to have added a greater level of goal threat to his game to help his cause. Sterling may still have the edge on the goal scoring front, having notched 6 to Silva’s 4, but the difference in the underlying numbers is minimal due to the Spaniard’s exceptional creativity. If you don’t need Sterling’s explosiveness for the captaincy, then Silva could more than fill the void.

The final considerations for me are the Everton duo of Richarlison and Sigurdsson. Completely different players in terms of style and influence, yet they can hardly be separated.  6 goals and 1 assist for Rich, compared to 5 goals and 2 assists for Siggy, amounts to a difference of only 2 points. Those of you following the watchlist will know that I’ve flip-flopped between the two for the last few weeks, but I think the predicted shift to the striker position, and better numbers in front of goal, has finally sealed the deal for the cheaper Brazilian.

As for the rest of the options, I’m sure at some point they will all have their merits. However, if you haven’t noticed already, I’ve been swayed by the consistency of those ‘premium’ defenders and won’t be moving away from that anytime soon….if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!!!

All stats are per the Official FPL and Sky FF websites
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