Fantasy Football Scout is delighted to add a host of new statistics to our Members Area.
Numbers are a staple part of our diets as Fantasy Premier League managers and while some fall into the marmite category, I think we can all agree that the game would not be the same without them.
Over the last couple of weeks, a number of new stats have appeared for Fantasy Football Scout members to feast on. When creating a table in the My Stats Tables section of the Members Area, subscribers now have the following additional options:
- Goals Non-Penalty
- Penalties Taken
- Total Shots On Target
- Fantasy Assist Potential (Shots)*
- Expected Goals On Target (xGOT)
- Shooting Goals Added
- xGOT Delta
- xG Prevented
Both new stats are fairly self-explanatory: ‘Goals Non-Penalty’ is simply goals scored excluding goals from penalties, and ‘Penalties Taken’ is, you guessed it, the number of penalties taken. It means you can now create tables like this one:
New Shot Stats
‘Total Shots On Target’ combines two metrics – ‘Shots on Target’ and ‘Blocked Shots’. The reason for creating the new stat is that, according to Opta, blocked shots must be on target and:
Shots blocked by another player, who is not the last man, are not counted as shots on target.– Opta
‘Total Shots On Target’ covers all shots on target.
‘Fantasy Assist Potential (Shots)’ goes one step further and includes all three shot types that can lead to a rebound assist: Shot on Target, Shot Blocked, Shot Hit Woodwork. Combined with ‘Fouls Won’, managers now have a quick and easy way to assess Fantasy assist potential. Fantasy assists make up 22% of total assists.
Post-Shot Expected Goals
Marmite lovers: get ready for a new taste sensation. ‘Expected Goals On Target’ (xGOT) goes one step further than Expected Goals (xG).
xG factors in everything up to the moment of the shot – it measures the quality of the chance. What it doesn’t do is tell you how well the player takes his chance: does he fluff it completely or does he stick it in the top corner?
xGOT is different. Not only does it take into account the quality of the chance, it also measures the quality of the shot.
It assigns a value to where the shot ends up within the frame of the goal. Shots in the corners are given a higher value than shots down the middle. The thinking behind this is fairly intuitive – shots in the corner of the goal are generally harder to save than shots in the middle of the goal.
xGOT only includes shots on target because if a shot is off target, there’s a 0% chance that it will result in a goal.
xGOT is termed a post-shot expected goal model, whereas xG is pre-shot.
How can xGOT help us?
One thing it can do is to give us a better understanding of finishing skill.
For instance, let’s compare Jamie Vardy and Raheem Sterling this season.
The table above shows the xG and xGOT totals excluding penalties.
What’s noticeable is that Vardy has done very well with the chances he’s been presented with – his shooting prowess means that he’s turned his xG of 9.69 into an xGOT of 11.97.
Sterling, on the other hand, has done the opposite – his shooting ability has let him down, from an xG of 12.08 he’s produced an xGOT of 10.16.
So this confirms that Vardy is an excellent finisher and Sterling, well, isn’t.
Now I can hear all the eye-test fans immediately shout, “I could tell you that from watching them play, it’s obvious!”. But that, frankly, is the point. If a stat is going to be useful it should mirror reality.
Not all FPL managers are able to watch a lot of games, like Simon March when he won FPL. And you want stats that can be relied upon to paint an accurate picture of what happened in a football match.
Is it Skill or Luck?
By measuring the quality of the shot, xGOT tells us more than xG alone.
The next stat compares the two. Shooting Goals Added (SGA) uses both xGOT and xG to quantify finishing ability.
This is essentially what we’ve just done. Looking at Vardy, we can see above that this season he has an SGA of +2.28. His xGOT is exceeding his xG. In other words, he is executing better quality shots, given the quality of his chances.
If SGA is a useful indicator of finishing skill, xGOT Delta is a guide to luck. It compares goals scored with xGOT.
Interestingly, Vardy has not been as lucky as you might have imagined. Earlier in the season, there was a lot of talk about how Vardy’s goalscoring run was unsustainable, how it wasn’t possible for him to keep exceeding his expected goals.
Well, as we’ve seen, expected goals doesn’t take into account finishing skill. Compare his goals tally to his xGOT and Vardy hasn’t overperformed to the same extent. In 2019/20, he’s scored two more non-penalty goals than we would have expected.
The luckiest player is arguably Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Arsenal forward has scored four more goals than we would have expected given the quality of his shooting and the chances he’s been presented with. Perhaps he’s faced some poor goalkeeping this year.
Sorting the table in the opposite direction reveals the unluckiest players.
With only eight goals from an xGOT of 10.84, Roberto Firmino is arguably the unluckiest of all. Unlike Aubameyang, maybe he’s come up against some goalkeepers in outstanding form, or had a few attempts cleared off the line. He’s scored nearly three goals less than expected.
Also making the list is Liverpool team-mate, Mohamed Salah, along with two players each from Newcastle and Wolves. Could Matt Doherty’s luck change as we enter the final third of the season?
The Irishman has been unfortunate not to score two more goals.
Guardians of the Net
The final use of xGOT helps us to evaluate goalkeepers.
By looking at the quality of shots they’ve faced and comparing it to the number of goals they’ve conceded, we get an idea of how well our custodians are performing.
Courtesy of Opta (now part of Stats Perform) we can see just how well Alisson has done this season.
He’s let in six goals from an xGOT Conceded of 7.3, meaning he has an xG Prevented of 1.3.
However, the best-performing stoppers this campaign have been Martin Dubravka and Dean Henderson, who have an xG Prevented of 7.1 and 6.2 respectively.
Both, however, have faced a much greater xGOT and conceded more goals than Alisson.
Sorting the table in the opposite direction reveals the worst performing ‘keepers this season. And it will come as no surprise to Chelsea fans to discover who is top.
It’s also easy to understand why Alex McCarthy replaced Angus Gunn in goal for Southampton considering the latter’s -7.4 xG Prevented.
Our very own Pro Pundit Simon March, aiming for his fourth top 10,000 finish this year, won FPL in 2014/15 watching just four live matches over the entire season and in his winner’s interview, explained how much studying the data helped him:
If there is any advantage to this, then it’s that good performances in the real world don’t always translate into FPL points. I’ve often watched matches in the past and thought that a certain player looked good and transferred them in on that basis, only for them to do nothing except waste another transfer when I had to get them back out. Meanwhile, players that seem to barely touch the ball are somehow racking up the points. There obviously are advantages to watching matches, though, but not being able to can force you to think about players differently and, perhaps, in terms closer to how FPL is scored. And adopting that mindset can definitely work to your favour.– Pro Pundit Simon March, FPL winner 2014/15
Please, sir, I want some more. And you shall have some more, young Oliver.
We will continue to develop and improve the metrics available to Fantasy Football Scout Members and will keep you informed of progress. Thank you to Matzi11a for implementing the new stats. Hopefully, you find them useful and they give you an edge over your rivals.
Become a Member and access our data
Memberships for the rest of the 2019/20 campaign are now available for the discounted price of £9.99 or the monthly price of £2.99.
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