Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gameweek 9: Expected Points (or, a tale of one City)


I don't recall there ever being a side in the Premier League with so many viable fantasy options. The 2009-10 Chelsea side that scored 102 goals had Drogba, Lampard, Anelka and Malouda all with double digit goals but there's a non-zero chance that this City side could have four players approaching those totals by the holidays plus two of the best two creative players in the league in Silva and De Bruyne.

This week they have the top five xP players - which is simply absurd - and even Sane could be argued to be higher as he's currently still being penalised for his early season sub appearances (though with Aguero back I'd personally argue they remain a risk). The real heartbreaker is that this game against Burnley looks delicious and someone is going to be benched and disappoint a lot of managers. Everyone except Aguero played midweek against Napoli so there are no clues there, but this is in theory the third game in which Aguero was fit enough play after his broken rib so you have to feel he's in with a good chance of displacing someone. It also wouldn't be a huge surprise to see Gundogan get some minutes here or there. Of course, there's nothing that can be done other than make sure you have a deep enough bench to absorb the blow and brace yourself for disappointment somewhere around 2:30pm on Saturday.

Kane's ranking shows that to a degree he is a fixture proof, though the model is certainly tempering expectations compared to his prior month of action. Reports of his demise are absurdly premature though.

The big surprise here is Lukaku, who I was personally considering for my captain given the risk noted above for my City players. The model believes in this Huddersfield side's defense, whose 5 goals conceded at home put them solidly in the middle of the pack, with their +/- numbers being even stronger after their home record was blown up by Spurs in GW7. United meanwhile have been somewhat pedestrian away from home with +/- numbers of -43% (Liverpool), -21% (Southampton) and 5% (Stoke) following their impressive display at Swansea in GW2 (60%). With goals in three of those fixtures Lukaku has shown he can score without needing too many chances but his points hauls of 6 ,6, 7 and 2 away from Old Trafford do show that he probably lacks the consistent upside of an Aguero or Kane.

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