Hive FPL - Game Week 17 Match Analysis & Key Stats
The Premier League is back and back with a bang! 34 goals were scored this round suggesting that most sides aren't currently feeling any hang over from the 6 week winter World Cup break.
We will of course have to wait and see how player fitness and match sharpness pans out over a hectic next couple of weeks not to mention an extended season in general but for now at least, most of the big names are back in the starting XI and delivering points again.
The other medium term consideration to make is the re-opening of the transfer market. We've already seen Liverpool bring in Cody Gakpo early on and with so many sides in the hunt for Champions League football, at the very least, then it feels like the Dutchman won't be the only piece of business that is undertaken in January to help bolster squads towards the top of the table. That then could have an impact on playing time of a few of the current FPL favourite picks.
Spurs have now conceded the first goal in their last 9 matches! While the fact that they've managed to comeback and win 3 of those games can't be ignored, it is noticeable that in games against the more elite clubs i.e. Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester United, giving them a 2 goal lead has been too much of a mountain to climb in trying to engineer a comeback regardless of how much their performance usually improves in the 2nd half.
From an FPL perspective, it means that Spurs defenders are dropping in value pretty quickly but that their forward line continues to look like a good option. In fact, Spurs have only failed to score in 1 Premier League fixture this season and in Harry Kane (FWD) they have a forward who has only blanked in 3 out of 17 Game Weeks. If FPL managers might have been keen to see what effect Kane's WC penalty miss might have on him prior to selecting the England captain in their side, then the striker quickly put pay to the idea that he'd be suffering psychologically, scoring 1 and coming within inches of winning it with a glancing header against the bar.
Brentford meanwhile will be disappointed not to have made their dominance count in a match that they controlled for most of the first hour. Ivan Toney (FWD) has had his own off-field problems during the World Cup break but looked very dangerous once again in this match with his 11th goal of the season taking him 3rd in the scoring charts. Toney has until 4 January to respond to to over 200 charges of betting on football matches and if found guilty of betting on games that he was involved in, could face a ban of at least 6 months - good thing that there are plenty of forward options in this year's FPL!
The 4 x 3pm kick offs this GW all ended in victories for the away team. Fulham dominated this match and were helped in no small part by Crystal Palace being reduced to 10 men after 34 mins and then 9 men within the hour!
Aleksandar Mitrovic (FWD) was traded out by a good number of FPL managers due to some ongoing fitness concerns but continued his impressive returns this season. With the aforementioned Toney potentially facing a ban and Jesus and Firmino out injured you'd imagine the big Serb will continue to be a popular pick. He was the only player in this round to maintain a goal threat of over 100 on the ICT ranking and in that regard he was joined Andreas Pereira (MID) who was the top ranked in regards creativity while providing 6 key passes. A lot of managers picked the former United midfielder as much as anything for squad depth but he's now pushing for inclusion in starting XI's, especially with an upcoming double GW for Fulham.
It's difficult to draw too many conclusions for either side in a match so imbalanced as this but perhaps we shouldn't be surprised to see Palace players getting sent off on Boxing Day. Wilf Zaha (MID) was shown red last year on 26 Dec as Palace lost 3-0 at Spurs and the Ivorian failed to register a shot at goal in this game, the first time that's happened since that match 12 months ago!
The clock is surely ticking on Frank Lampard's time in charge at Everton. Defeat at home against bottom placed Wolves lead to his side being booed off the pitch and if the powers that be do want to make a change, you'd imagine that during or pre-January transfer window would be the time to do it. To make matters worse, Everton have a New Year's trip to the Ethiad next up, good luck...
To be fair, they probably didn't deserve to lose this game with expected goals showing how close the contest was (1.23 v 1.22). The main threat for the Toffees continues to be Antony Gordon (MID). His expected goals per 90mins (0.28) is already double what it was last season. He's attracted attention from some of the big 6 and if he were to move to one of those clubs and get game time, then he'd be worth serious consideration.
For Wolves, it's probably too early to draw too many conclusions from their first game under Julen Lopetegui. They lacked any real cutting edge up front and will surely be busy in the transfer market in January with reinforcements in the form of Matheus Cunha already on their way.
The Newcastle juggernaut rolls on! 5 league wins on the bounce for a side that's only been beaten once this season. Key players Kieran Trippier (DEF) and Miguel Almiron (MID) both passed the 100 point mark this season, the first players in their respective positions to do so in 2022/23.
Almiron took his total to the season to 9 goals which equals his returns in the Premier League for the 3 and a half seasons prior to this. Can he continue this form? In regards expected goals v actual goals, only Phil Foden and James Maddison have been more efficient from a midfield position and the Paraguayan has certainly scored a few worldies this season. There are better options in regards expected goals but while he remains on this hot streak, you'd be a brave man to leave him out.
Leicester will be very disappointed not to have maintained the form they showed pre-World Cup. Had the league have started in October then only the current top 2 of Newcastle and Arsenal would have had better records than the Foxes going into this game. However, they never recovered from giving away an early penalty and rarely looked a threat to a well organised Newcastle defence.
Southampton's defeat and Wolves win, left the Saints bottom of the league as we head into 2023. You'd have to say that the Saints policy of buying exciting, yet unproven youth looks set to backfire and it seems with the appointment of Nathan Jones, they are already preparing for life in the Championship.
Interestingly, Southampton's expected points this season of 18 would put them firmly in mid-table but it's been a tail of conceding soft goals + not having a clinical striker to put the chances away at the other end. The 3rd goal that Brigthon scored in this game to effectively end it as a contest was the 9th that Southampton have conceeded in the 15 mins after half-time confirming the lack of match experience that so many of this squad suffer from.
For Brighton, it was the performance of Kaoru Mitoma (MID) that really stood out. The Japan international has largely been used as an impact sub during the first part of the season but got a start in this fixture an delivered 4 shots at goal, expected goals of 0.81 and was the most threatening midfielder of the round accordingly to the ICT rankings. If he can continue to get starts then Mitoma looks a good value option at just £4.9 million.
Liverpool completed a fairly routine victory at Villa Park and further underlined their attacking threat. Their expected goals of 3.51 was only bettered by City this GW and took them to expected goals of 33.09 for the season which again, is only marginally behind Man City. That being said, creating chances vs taking them is still proving a problem and not least of all for Darwin Nunez (FWD) who is fast becoming a bit of a joke. Only Haaland has a better expected goals per 90 mins (min 700 mins played) than Darwin but the Uruguayan has hit the back of the net just 5 times vs Haaland's 20.
Meanwhile, one in three managers own Mo Salah (MID) which means that he is just the 9th most popular pick at present. While he hasn't hit the very high notes of previous seasons, he is approaching the 100 point mark and perhaps most importantly, since the beginning of October only Ivan Toney has delivered more expected goals than last years top scorer.With Liverpool looking likely to continue to play expansive football, he feels like a must pick to me.
While Liverpool continue to look good going forward, they are still vulnerable at the back and Villa exposed that in this game, playing with a front 2 of Ollie Watkins (FWD) and Leon Bailey (MID). Watkins just lacks that little bit of quality in front of goal to make him a genuine option but Bailey could be worth looking at if he continues in an advanced position. He had 5 touches in the penalty area and expected goals of 0.56.
Arsenal overcame an early scare and a fairly insipid first half performance to maintain their position at the top of the table. At half time, Arsenal's expected goals were just 0.3 but they turned it around in the 2nd half by moving the ball faster and maintaining better width in their attack. That allowed Martin Odegaard (MID) space in the middle of the park and he continued to look very effective with 6 shots, 5 key passes and 2 assists.
That kind of all around performance also means that Odegaard is scoring well on the bonus points system. His total score this season of 330 is the 6th highest of any outfield player and 2nd only to KDB as far as midfielders are concerned, however, that has translated into 14 bonus points for the Arsenal, 1 point more than the Belgian who has Haaland to compete with on that front.
Bukayo Saka (MID) continued to look like Arsenal's most likely goal scorer. The midfielder had a record high 7 touches within the penalty area and took his goal very nicely. Having failed to score in the first 5 matches of the season, Saka has registered 9 goal involvements since the start of September, only Kane and Haaland have more in that period of time.
West Ham defended manfully but lacked any real cutting edge as demonstrated by their non-penalty expected goals of 0.27 over the 90mins. They do have an easier run of games coming up now and will be hoping to put some daylight between them and the relegation zone.
Chelsea completed a fairly routine victory over Bournemouth with 2 early goals in this fixture. It was noticeable that Graeme Potter abandoned the 3-4-3 formation that didn't work offensively or defensively prior to the World Cup and instead reverted to a 4-3-3 shape that utilised attacking assets like Raheem Sterling (MID) and Mason Mount (MID) far more effectively.
Sterling's assist was his first goal involvement in the league since August while his 3 key passes also equalled his best return this season leading to expected assists of 0.88. Mount also delivered 3 key passes and was able to play a freer role with Jorginho and Zakaria providing a defensive platform.
The only slight concern in this game was Chelsea's inability to finish off their opponents with a 3rd goal. Bournemouth hung in and in the last 15mins or so, looked the more likely to score. Chelsea will undoubtedly bring in further reinforcements this January but it remains to be seen whether a striker of genuine quality is something they can secure in this transfer window.
This was a dominant performance from United who looked dangerous attacking down the flanks as well as through the middle not to mention at set-pieces. Despite fielding a makeshift back 4 that included Luke Shaw (DEF) at centre-back, Nottingham Forest were never able to threaten them.
Since being hammered 6-3 by City, United have recorded 17 points in the league (only Newcastle and Arsenal have more) and a major reason behind that is the form of Marcus Rashford (MID). His expected goal involvement of 0.61 per 90mins is bettered only by the Arsenal duo of Saka and Odegaard and Leeds United's Rodrigo as far as midfielders over that time period are concerned.
The return to fitness of Antony Martial (FWD) is also a major bonus to United. He's only managed 264 minutes of Premier League football this season but has delivered 3 goals and 2 assists in that time. If he can stay on the pitch then his price of £6.7 million is a real bargin. He was owned by just shy of 3% of teams at the beginning of this GW and that's up to 5.5% now.
A fairly typical Leeds performance saw lots of endevour and hard work but they were ultimately unable to cope with the quality that Man City possessed especially as the game went on. City did offer their hosts a glimmer of hope by conceeding late on and costing a few managers a clean sheet bonus but otherwise this was a comfortable victory for the reigning champions who delivered expected goals of 4.16, their highest of the season.
Managers will also be frustrated about the fact that Phil Foden (MID) and Joao Cancelo (DEF) only played as substitutes. Foden has now been named as a sub in 4 out the last 5 league games City have played. Meanwhile Cancelo has delivered just 8 fantasy points in his last 6 appearances in contrast to the 62 points he scored in his first 10 games this season. He's still owned by over half the teams out there but managers will be keen to see some returns from the most expensive defender in the game.
I'm not going to bother writing much about Erling Haaland (FWD). Almost everyone owns him and those that do captain him so it's really becoming a zero sum game. The real skill will be knowing when to go against the grain but with Everton at home next up, I can't see many taking that option just yet!
Quality write ups as always 👍
Despite Foden and Reece James' injury, it was a great week for me with the 50/50 decisions going my way. I'm one of the brave souls going without Miggy Almiron as I feel there are better picks with better fixtures if you've got a little bit more to spend - don't quote me on this in a couple of weeks though (unless I'm right)!
I wonder how long people (including Klopp) will keep faith with Darwin Nunez, given his price and the recent addition of (the yet to be priced) Cody Gakpo.
Whilst I'm disappointed Reece James couldn't struggle on to the 60 minute mark, as least his injury forces people away from the template of Kepa, Cancelo-James-Trippier so things should become a little more varied and interesting.
Yeah, I have Almiron but left him on the bench. In terms of expected goals there are better options but his ICT threat index places him 3rd for midfielders behind only Salah and Trossard who I’ve had in and out of my side this year too.
The Reece James injury fucks up my plans for the double game week.
Ouch! Surely you'll start him against Leeds?
I've never been a fan of ICT. I like the "C" and the "T" but I find the "I" to be misleading and unhelpful. David Raya (for example) is 3rd in the entire game for "I" with Jordan Pickford in 4th. CT would be a more helpful metric.
It makes things a lot harder, that's for sure. I like it when things are made harder 🙂
Yeah will be starting him for this gw. I brought in Zaha for the first time this season because he’d been scoring in the friendly games and Palace had a couple of easier fixtures but that back fired!
I generally ignore the influence and overall scores on ICT and just stick to creativity and threat. It’s why I picked Almiron to begin with because he’s ranked well on threat all season
I've owned Zaha a few times in the past and I don't think he's ever done well for me. He's probably the only penalty taker in the Premier League where you dread them getting one!
I prefer the Creativity and Threat and I'd also look at xG and xA rather than them. The guy who created ICT (Mark Sutherns) uses xG and xA in all of his videos so presumably he doesn't use it any more either 🙂 You might quite like this site though - you can filter FPL's ICT metrics for different periods which can give you an idea of player form rather than the entire season.
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