Thursday, July 14, 2011

Looking back in numbers - goals

The sun is out, the money is flowing, players are on strike and fantasy football is on the horizon. Before the new prices come out and we scramble to attach value to the likes of Gervinho or Adel Taarabt, let's take a quick look back at some of highlights from last season, and what that might teach us for next season. Today we will start with the sexiest of the fantasy categories: goals.

Goals per Game
Taking a player's goals per 90 minutes and extrapolating over 38 games gives some interesting names to note, who quietly had exceptional seasons and would have delivered great fantasy value if you knew when to pick and choose your spots. The number of goals each player would have scored if playing every minute of every game is below:
  1. Robin van Persie - 35
  2. Dimitar Berbatov - 33
  3. Javier Hernandez - 30
  4. Carlos Tevez - 29
  5. Demba Ba - 26
  6. Steve Fletcher - 25
  7. Daniel Sturridge - 24
  8. Salomon Kalou - 22
  9. Roman Pavlyuchenko - 22
  10. Andy Carroll - 21
  11. Jermaine Beckford - 21
  12. Rafael van der Vaart - 20
  13. Peter Odenwingie - 19
  14. Mario Balotelli - 19
A couple of names to highlight here. Firstly, this shows the potential of Hernandez should he somehow secure more minutes in the United first team this year. The bad news is that everyone else seems to be savvy to this trend with the bookies installing him as a +650 favorite for the golden boot this season. A price tag in single digits would be a surprise (and a bargain) at this point.

Ba and Sturridge had tremendous finishes to the season and providing Sturridge can secure a move back to the Reebok (or somewhere else where he will play), they should both offer potential value depending on where the price makers set their mark. Ideally Sturridge would start the fantasy season on Chelsea's books, thus forcing his price down, before securing a move away from Stamford Bridge. Ba should get regular minutes at Newcastle, though further analysis is needed to see if their style will suit his play.

Fletcher was a massive shock to see on this list as he seemed to be fairly anonymous following his move from Burnley. However, he racked up 10 goals despite playing over 45 minutes just 17 times including 5 over the final 5 gameweeks (amassing 44 points in the process). As with all cheaper prospects, playing time and support are always a risk but Fletcher is worth stashing on your watch-list when the price list is released.

I am somewhat reluctant to predict midfielders enjoying the kind of goalscoring form van der Vaart showed this year so be careful before throwing Lampard/Fabregas money his way. Very few midfielders over the years have managed to sustain that kind of form. If his price can hold at 10m though, he might still give enough to justify inclusion in your opening day thoughts.

Finally, Balotelli's potential is for all to see. His first season in England seems to have been categorized as a disappointment but 6 goals in just 12 games worth of minutes shows what he could do if given a prolonged run in the side. With Tevez potentially on the move and City cautious about Uefa's new financial regulations, Super Mario could find himself thrust into a consistent starters role and if he can settle down in Manchester, his potential is elite.

No place like home
Any reader of this site knows how much emphasis I place on matchups and while we are all cognizant of   dropping players against good teams, we don't always pay much attention to home/road splits. Below are those players who performed significantly better at home or away (minimum 4 games played):

Home advantage
Goals per 90 minutes at home (H) and away (A)
  1. Berbatov - 1.4 H : 0.3 A
  2. Zamora - 1.1 H : 0.2 A
  3. Park - 0.7 H : 0.0 A
  4. Benjani - 0.6 H : 0.0 A
  5. Fuller - 0.6 H : 0.0 A
  6. Malouda - 0.7 H : 0.1 A
  7. Nolan - 0.7 H : 0.1 A
  8. Saha - 0.7 H : 0.2 A
Road advantage
  1. Kalinic - 0.2 H : 0.7 A
  2. Roberts - 0.1 H : 0.6 A
  3. Van Persie - 0.7 H : 1.1 A
  4. Ba - 0.5 H : 0.8 A
  5. Bent - 0.3 H : 0.7 A
  6. Agbonlahor - 0.0 H : 0.3 A
  7. Anelka - 0.1 H : 0.4 A
  8. Walcott - 0.4 H : 0.7 A
  9. Elmander - 0.2 H : 0.4 A
Riding hot streaks is obviously key to any fantasy success and while the below are in no way indicative of future success, they make for some interesting reading:
  • Through GW15 Tim Cahill and Johan Elmander each had 8 goals. They managed 3 more between them for the remainder of the year. 
  • Chaz Adam had 9 goals in the final 15 gameweeks to finish the season 
  • Didier Drogba failed to net more than once in a game after his hattrick in GW1. Carlos Tevez had 7 multi goal games over the course of the season.
  • Javier Hernandez had 4 goals in the first half of the season and 9 in the second. Frank Lampard's split was 1:9
  • David Hoilett managed 4 goals over his final 7 appearances of the season, despite costing only 4m.
  • Florent Malouda
  • 42 players scored 7 or more goals for the season. Maxi Rodriguez accomplished that feat in a three week period (GW34-36)
  • Three players netted in five consecutive gameweeks: Kuyt (GW32-36), Meireles (GW23-27) and Odenwingie (GW32-36).
  • Robin Van Persie played his first 90 minute game of the season in GW21. From that point on he netted 18 times in 18 GWs despite missing two games and having an off week in GW28. 
I will be back later in the week with more analysis, before the price list for next season is announced. In the mean time, post your comments/question below or @plfantasy. Anyone interested in the new SimPrem game can reach them @simprem regarding entry to their new awesome game for this season. I will be posting a full preview of the rules and potential strategies shortly.

    1 comment:

    LUHG18LUHG said...

    Great blog mate, and well summed up. But I thought Nani was one of the most valuable names during last season. He had a brilliant season and brough me lots of points. I used to have him as my team captain, and he was always up for it. Ruthless! I agree he obviously lost it in the latest stages of the season as a result of his scary injury at Anfield, but he's a good one to bet on, and I do.

    Sebastian Larsson is another good buy. He's a freekicks and, would probably be, penalties taker at Sunderland. I'd consider having him in my team as well.

    Chaz Adam was one of the most influential names during last season, but you can't really be sure he will be the same next season. I mean and no disrespect, it's apparently different playing for Liverpool than Blackpool. Many things may come into play, pressure, ambitions and featuring week in week out. He may not start every signle throughout the season, you wouldn't wagger. Or, he might not live up, which is a possibility as well. I'll wait and see how it works for him in the first 2 weeks, and I'll decide then.

    Looking forward to the next season, and the coming up blog as well. And please let us know when the game will start. Have read it would be the mid of July, but not confirmed though.