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Eliteserien – The Final Countdown Part Two

OK, let’s jump right back into things…

MIDFIELDERS

I’ve decided to look at midfielders in three areas, including defensive midfielders and central midfielders (Stalwarts), creative central midfielders and attacking midfielders (Playmakers) and wingers (Bombers).

Here is a breakdown of the relevant KPIs for each category:

Stalwarts (Defensive):

• Recoveries + per 90min

• Interceptions + per 90min

• Duels Won (including Aerial Duels) + % Won

• Attempted and Successful Tackles + per 90min

• Fouls

• Times Dispossessed

• Clearances 

• Touches

• Passing Accuracy (%)

Playmakers (Creative):

• Assists + per 90

• xA + per 90

• Assists – xA (Delta)

• Accurate Passes & Accurate Passes completed in Opposition Half

• Big Chances Created + per 90

• Key Passes + per 90

• Attempted and Accurate Crosses + Accuracy (%)

• Attempted and Accurate Long Balls + Accuracy (%)

Bombers (Attacking):

• Goals + per 90

• xG + per 90

• Goals – xG (Positive/Negative Delta)

• Total Shots & On Target Shots + per 90

• Shooting Accuracy (%)

• Big Chances Missed

• Attempted and Successful Dribbles + per 90

• Times Fouled

STALWARTS

Kevin Martin Krygård (4.9m) is one of my favourite players in the Norwegian league. He’s a talented defensive midfielder and needs to move to a bigger club if he is to continue his development. After adding up all our Stalwart KPIs, the Haugesund midfielder sits in first place with a score of 13.76/19.00 (72%). 

• His stats:

o Interceptions 66 (1st), 2.33 per 90min (1st)

o 166 Duels Won (4th), 60.14% won (3rd)

o 52 Successful Tackles (2nd), 1.83 per 90min (2nd)

o 80.39% Passing Accuracy

Andreas Hopmark (4.4m) has played regularly in both defence and midfield during this campaign which has definitely had an impact on his performance in my analysis. He has had a great season, that’s hard to deny, but despite his lofty finish of 3rd, I’ve decided to remove him from the top 5 and bring in Peter Therkildsen (6.0m), as we are more interested in out and out midfield performances, meaning Ifeanyi Mathew (5.1m) and Halldor Stenevik (6.0m) move up to third and fourth place respectively.

Joe Bell (5.2m) is one of those players you can’t help but admire. He’s streets ahead of everyone else around him, showcasing both a sturdy, defensive-minded ethos as well as being a formidable creative player. He’s a brilliant example of a defensive midfielder who can protect the players behind him, but also link up play with the midfielders in front of him – a brilliant tempo-setter in any situation.

• KPI breakdown:

o 230 recoveries (1st – 44 more than 3rd place Patrick Berg (5.9m), 9.01 Recoveries per 90min (1st)

o 41 Interceptions (6th), 1.61 per 90min (6th)

o 69 Attempted Tackles (8th), 39 Successful Tackles (7th)

o 182 Duels Won (1st)

o 39 Clearances (7th), 2001 Touches (3rd)

o 78.19% Passing Accuracy

• To finish off this analysis I’m going to compare Patrick Berg (5.9m), Bell, Krygård and Mathew. The point of this exercise is to determine whether or not Berg has done more than his rivals and deserves to be seen as the best defensive midfielder of the campaign.

o 3rd for Recoveries, 3rd per 90min

o 4th for Interceptions & per 90min

o 4th for Duels Won

o 4th for Attempted Tackles

o 4th for Tackling Success Rate (60.00%)

o Conceded fewest fouls (20)

o Only Krygård was dispossessed less times (19-14)

o 2nd for Touches (1905)

o 1st for Passing Accuracy (87.80%)

TOP THREE:

• Top Performer: Kevin Martin Krygård (13.76/19 RPSS)

• Runner Up: Joe Bell (12.94)

• Third Place: Ifeanyi Mathew (12.31)

Star Stalwart: Kevin Martin Krygård

Krygård has must get frustrated playing for a team that is seemingly not matching his own ambitions yet week in week out he puts in the kind of performances every manager will dream of. The 21-year-old will no doubt be viewed as Jostein Grindhaug’s most important player going into the 21/22 season though I’m sure at this point he’s resigned to losing him in the near future.

Star Fantasy Stalwart: Joe Bell

Viking are guaranteed third place and European football next season and while Veton Berisha (11.3m) has achieved legendary status for his attacking exploits both last year and this (38 goals in 4,451 minutes – a goal every 117 minutes played) it’s the ever-reliable Kiwi linchpin who has, in my opinion, been the club’s most important performer. 

PLAYMAKERS

Gjermund Åsen (7.9m) has been a revelation, contributing the most assists in the league (10) from an xA of 6.65 (+3.35). Only Molde’s Ola Brynhildsen (8.4m) has exceeded his xA (4.55) by a greater amount (9 assists = +4.45). The ex-Rosenborg man ranks joint-fourth for key passes (50) but leads the way for big chances created (14) – a big chance created every 3.57 key passes making him the most efficient creator in the top 20 for key passes played.

Magnus Wolff Eikrem (12.4m) has played just 1,544 minutes this campaign yet he is third for assists (8), top for xA (7.25) and key passes (64), second (midfielder) for big chances created (13) – fifth overall – and with 38 accurate crosses, ranks as one of the best crossers in our selection. He may not play as much as everyone else, but does he really need to? As far as creativity goes, he’s been one of the most effective players this year and deserves far more plaudits than what he’s received. 

• Viking FK’s Joe Bell has provided his team with 7 assists from 5.84 xA, played over 1,000 accurate passes (of which 678 were completed in the opposition half – second only to Mathew’s total of 650 from midfielders with 4 or more assists), is joint top for key passes (64), first for accurate crosses (55) and is one of only six players in our ‘Playmaker’ group to produce over 100 accurate long balls.

TOP THREE:

• Top Performer: Magnus Wolff Eikrem (13.15/18 RPSS)

• Runner Up: Joe Bell (12.48)

• Third Place: Gjermund Åsen (11.37)

Statistically speaking, it’s hard to look past Eikrem’s creative prowess and what he’s managed this season despite being given fewer opportunities than his peers. The fact he’s averaged 0.47 assists and 0.42 xA per 90 minutes is astonishing. Sceptics will surely point to the fact he’s been strategically utilised by Moe, but the truth is when he’s played, he’s done exactly what’s been asked of him and better than pretty much everyone else.

Åsen has been an integral figure for Lillestrøm, level with Eikrem for DGI as well as proving to be better value for money. The former Rosenborg man has provided more assists (10-8) but having exceeded his xA by 3.35 (Eikrem – 0.75), it could be said he’s overperformed more than Eikrem has. 

Star Playmaker: Magnus Wolff Eikrem

The reason for his underwhelming Fantasy points total? A lack of goals – 4 to be precise. 15th placed SK Brann’s Bård Finne (7.3m) has the same number of goals but in 571 minutes less gametime. Eikrem is a great player – nobody is doubting that – but in terms of ESF appeal, as much as I am a fan, he’s simply too expensive. As he also takes up a valuable Molde slot and won’t also play, he becomes an expensive imposition for your team and won’t score more points than a lot of other, cheaper players. Despite all of the above, when playing Rik Onkel, he’s the first name in my team if available. 

Star Fantasy Playmaker: Sander Svendsen (7.5m)

Only Brynhildsen has more FP than him (129 – 124) and in all honesty – putting PPM and overall value to one side – Carlo Holse (8.0m), Zlatko Tripic (9.5m) Torgil Gjertsen (7.5m) and Brynhildsen have all rivalled Svendsen’s output but do play for much better sides.

BOMBERS

Kristoffer Velde (8.6m) has contributed 17 direct goal involvements for Haugesund during a season in which his team have struggled for form, consistency, and stability. In the Bomber rankings he’s 4th for shots (69), 5th for xG (6.20) top for attempted (120) and successful dribbles (48) and only Tromsø’s August Mikkelsen (5.4m) has been fouled more (79-74). Velde’s 135pts sees him in second place for midfielders and is almost the exact same score he posted last time out (137)

• Last season Sandefjord Fotball finished 11th on 35pts, scoring 31 goals and conceding 43 times (9W, 8D, 13L). Remarkably their goal difference is exactly the same as they’ve both scored and conceded another 7 times. The club has relied on both Viðar Ari Jónsson (5.9m) and Kristoffer Normann Hansen (6.1m) going forward, seeing 18 of their 38 goals scored by the pair – almost exactly 50%

• Finally, it wouldn’t be Eliteserien Fantasy without the Robert Taylor (7.4m) paradox, in which he is a great asset but he plays for a wildly erratic club who have only just scored more goals than Mjøndalen… Statistically, the Finn has actually done enough to rank higher than Jónsson, though he is almost 30pts behind the Sandefjord forward and has only 90 minutes left to close the gap 

TOP THREE:

• Top Performer: Kristoffer Velde (11.52/15 RPSS)

• Runner Up: Kristoffer Normann Hansen (10.99)

• Third Place: Robert Taylor (10.93)

Star Bomber: Kristoffer Velde

Velde has had a terrific campaign and the reason he scores much better than Brynhildsen, Ulrik Saltnes (10.5m), Jónsson, Ola Solbakken (10.2), Svendsen and Holse despite a similar Fantasy score, is his consistency and overall contribution. Whether it be dribbles, drawing fouls, scoring goals, shooting accuracy – he has it all and outscoring his xG figure by just 0.80 also shows how he’s not exactly overperformed. If he remains in the Eliteserien next year, he’ll be one of the most important players to own, I’m sure of it.

Star Fantasy Bomber: Viðar Ari Jónsson

Boasting a quite frankly silly 29 points per million (1.08 PPM/90min), it goes without saying that not only has he been the out and out best Fantasy midfield asset for points scored (no-one has more), but he’s also actually offered you a return on your investment and then some. 

MIDFIELD MAESTRO – BEST OVERALL

We’ve got our best Stalwarts, Playmakers and Bombers, but who gets the honour of being crowned Midfield Maestro 20/21? 

Drumroll please…

Beating Haugesund’s Kristoffer Velde by a mere 0.19 RPSS, it’s Rosenborg’s Carlo Holse. Holse has been deployed at left-back, on the edge of midfield and in more advanced positions, excelling in all of them. When we think of utility players, I’d hazard a guess he more than likely wouldn’t enter the mind of most people who play Fantasy football, but he’s exactly that. 

Best Overall Midfielder: Carlo Holse (28.36/52)

My XI of the Year (4-2-3-1):

GK: Marcus Sandberg 

RB: Erlend Dahl Reitan

CB: Gustav Valsvik

CB: Markus Nakkim

LB: Fredrik André Bjørkan

CDM/CM: Joe Bell

CDM/CM: Kevin Martin Krygård

RW: Carlo Holse

CAM: Magnus Wolff Eikrem

LW: Kristoffer Velde

Subs:

GK: Jacob Karlstrøm

LB: Kristoffer Haugen

RB: Christian Dahle Borchgrevink

CB: Espen Garnås

CM: Ifeanyi Mathew

CM: Mathias Rasmussen

CM: Gjermund Åsen

LW: Ola Brynhildsen

RW: Viðar Ari Jónsson

FORWARDS

Forwards will be broken up into two categories: Predators (goalscoring) and Architects (support/creative). 

I’ll be focusing on the top 10 players to have played in at least 14 games, with a minimum of 45 minutes played per game. 

Architects (Creative/Support)

• Assists, xA

• Assists – xA (Positive/Negative Delta)

• Attempted and Accurate Passes + Passing Accuracy (%)

• Key Passes + per 90 min

• Accurate Passes:Key Passes (Ratio)

• Big Chances Created

• Key Passes:Big Chances Created (Ratio)

• Touches + Per 90 min

• Dispossessed + Touches/Dispossessed (% Retention)

Predators (Goalscoring)

• Goals, xG + per 90 min (both)

• Goals – xG (Positive/Negative Delta)

• Total Shots + per 90 min

• On Target Shots + per 90 min

• Shooting Accuracy (%)

• Shots:Goals

• Times Fouled + per 90 min

ARCHITECTS

• Veton Berisha needs no introduction. He’s joint top for actual assists (4) and top for total assists in Fantasy (7) which is unsurprising seeing as he’s played 27 key passes (3rd) and made 16 big chances (3rd)

• He’s playing a key pass every 10.81 accurate passes (3rd), which translates to a big chance created every 1.69 key passes (3rd). I remember last season when I stuck with him despite a dip in Fantasy form because his actual performances were good – he is consistently putting in a shift and wants to be involved in any kind of attacking play whether he’s the scorer or not

Sondre Liseth (7.0m) has as many actual assists (4) as Berisha, with a total of 5 in Fantasy. The issue is that he’s played the vast majority (I mean bar one or two games) in either an attacking midfield role or even further back in central midfield. For that reason I’m not happy to keep him in consideration when looking at actual statistics, but for Fantasy purposes it does raise the question will he be reclassified next season as a midfielder and should we be tempted? That’s for another time

Ibrahima Koné (7.9m) is our de facto runner up now that we are ignoring Liseth and looking at his numbers make for quite the story. 25 key passes, a key pass every 10.60 accurate pass and a big chance every 1.92 key pass. Remarkably enough, there’s not much between him and Berisha. The reason the Malian forward is over 1 RPSS down on him is due to him recording 3 assists to Berisha’s 4 and losing the ball more frequently/relative to how much he has the ball. The Sarpsborg man has huge potential, but he’s only scored 11 times this season. If he can develop that side of the game then who knows, we could have another Berisha in the league

Ohikhuaeme Omoijuanfo (12.3m) is off in January and he’ll undoubtedly want to move on after being top scorer in the Eliteserien. Both he and Thomas Lehne Olsen (10.0m) have scored 26 goals. 1 assist from an xA of 2.10 is disappointing especially when he’s played 28 key passes and created more big chances (20) than any other forward. 

TOP THREE

• Top Performer: Veton Berisha (11.18/15 RPSS)

• Runner Up: Ibrahima Koné (9.96)

• Third Place: Ohikhuaeme Omoijuanfo (9.43)

Star Architect & Fantasy Architect: Veton Berisha

It’s unthinkable to look past Berisha for both distinctions. If Lehne Olsen had provided more assists, then he’d be in contention, but the fact Berisha has 7 (4+3) and has offered great value for money all year despite being ‘expensive’ means I have to back him. Actual performances have been brilliant, Fantasy returns have been explosive – he’s the best in both areas, it’s that simple.

PREDATORS

• Olsen and Ohi top the Predator ranks in 1st and 2nd place respectively. As the two highest scoring players in Fantasy, that’s some nice correlation right there. Olsen, Ohi and Berisha combined have 85 DGIs and a huge 563 Fantasy points. They’re top because they’re lethal in front of goal, simple

• Look at Olsen’s PPM. As ever we’re calculating that value based on their start value as that seems to be the fairest way, and wow, that’s insane for the highest scoring player in the game to represent so much value for money. Berisha and Ohi – even at their prices – have also been good buys on a weekly basis

• Here are some quickfire stats between the top 3 for you:

o G/90 mins: Ohi (1.03), TLO (0.96), Berisha (0.88)

o xG/90: Ohi (0.94), TLO (0.65), Berisha (0.61)

o G-xG: Ohi (2.15), TLO (8.28), Berisha (6.71)

o Total Shots: Ohi (94), TLO (107), Berisha (79)

o Shots:Goal Ratio: Ohi (3.62), TLO (4.12), Berisha (3.59)

• Other than the obvious, I’d say both Erik Botheim (10.6m) and Koné have shown promise on numerous occasions, with respectable 4th and 5th place finishes in the Predator rankings to back that up. They might not have as many DGIs as the trio ahead of them, but the potential is there for more prosperous campaigns in the future

Star Predator & Fantasy Predator: Thomas Lehne Olsen

Sorry, I’m being boring again. When we see Fantasy and reality line up that implies there’s good correlation between assumptions we make on paper as well as those players being good Fantasy assets. When there’s a lot of disparity between the two that data becomes less applicable for us in the context of Fantasy. Olsen has been remarkable in front of goal and his PPM and PPM/90min are just as incredible.

MASTER FORWARD – BEST OVERALL

Veton Berisha is hands down the best, across the board, jack of all trades, creative goal scorer we have in the Eliteserien. Berisha’s final score of 21.26/30 RPSS puts him in first place ahead of both Olsen (20.20) and Ohi (20.16). Fact of the matter is, he simply offers more than goals to his team and more so than any other forward. That, in my eyes, affirms the assumption he’s the best forward in the league.

Tobias Lauritsen (7.5m) is a player that caught my eye in the first half of last season before he suffered a horrendous injury. It’s a huge shame he’s not back to that kind of form yet but if we can get anything from this final table it’s that perhaps, maybe just maybe, next year he’s the one to watch.

Best Overall Forward: Veton Berisha (21.26/30 RPSS)

My XI of the Year (4-2-3-1):

GK: Marcus Sandberg 

RB: Erlend Dahl Reitan

CB: Gustav Valsvik

CB: Markus Nakkim

LB: Fredrik André Bjørkan

CDM/CM: Joe Bell

CDM/CM: Kevin Martin Krygård

RW: Carlo Holse

CAM: Magnus Wolff Eikrem

LW: Kristoffer Velde

FWD: Veton Berisha

Subs:

GK: Jacob Karlstrøm

LB: Kristoffer Haugen

RB: Christian Dahle Borchgrevink

CB: Espen Garnås

CM: Ifeanyi Mathew

CM: Mathias Rasmussen

CM: Gjermund Åsen

LW: Kristoffer Normann Hansen

RW: Viðar Ari Jónsson

FWD: Thomas Lehne Olsen

FWD: Ohikhuaeme Omoijuanfo

Seems weird looking at a potential bench with both Lehne Olsen AND Ohi on it, doesn’t it? I wouldn’t read too much into it though – I’ve tried to put together the starting XI I’d prefer to have on a regular basis, based on how those individual players have performed. 

PLAYER OF THE SEASON

Player of the Season is quite a hard accolade to give out because are we looking at players who have been a part of a title-winning side? Or a shock 3rd place finish? What about a midtable team who can count their lucky stars because of one player who has ensured their safety?

Yeeeeeeeeah, none of those. Player of the Season means, PLAYER OF THE SEASON. Who has been the best at what they do. They’ve been given a job and they’ve done it, better than anyone else for whatever reason. 

THIRD PLACE

Fredrik André Bjørkan

SECOND PLACE

Veton Berisha

FIRST PLACE

Carlo Holse

I said before that Holse has been used in quite a few positions this season and wow, he really has. LB, CM, AM, LM, RW/LW – wherever he’s been needed, that’s where he’s gone, and he’s shown his versatility through professional, industrious performances every week.

This is my opinion based on what I’ve found out from the stats as well as whatever highlights I’ve caught. Holse is flourishing right now and quite frankly he doesn’t get talked about anywhere near enough for my liking. 

Velde, Bjørkan, Valsvik, Bell, Berisha, Ohi, Olsen – all these guys have been good enough to be considered ‘Player of the Season’ and if you disagree me then I completely understand. Objectivity will always be a huge part of how I deal with sport and my interests outside that scope and statistical and data analytics is a big part of my life. Holse and Velde are the statisticians dream players – they offer so much going forward, going backwards, going sideways; they cover more bases than most players and, in the end, make it quite easy to identify their worth.

REINDEER HOTDOG’S PLAYER OF THE SEASON 2021:

Rosenborg BK’s Great Dane, CARL JOHAN HOLSE JUSTESEN!

Take from these articles what you will, but I do hope statistics can be utilised in the Fantasy world a bit more than we do already (I’m talking about on social media, forums etc…) and as ever, context is everything!

I’ll be back in the new year with some graphs, end of season analysis including looking at which teams have played the best football as well as looking ahead to next season!

Merry Christmas!

(I know I’m early but I won’t get another chance to say it, so do you want your season’s greetings or not?)

ReindeerHotdog ESF: https://en.fantasy.eliteserien.no/entry/12433/event/17 Follow me on Twitter: @ReindeerHotdog”

5 Comments Post a Comment
  1. TallestJohn
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 7 days ago

    Thanks for going into such depth with these articles.

    Can't argue with most of your TOTS. No keeper really stood out that much to me but glad Karlstrøm turned out to be the obvious season keeper I wanted. Think you have to judge Molde players by results, anything less than second would have been poor and although Eikrem's numbers were about as good as you'd expect they had a 100% record without him. Lehne Olsen really did as much as you could ask for, he and Åsen elevated Lillestrøm so I'd probably include them. Krygård maybe a better player but a worse fantasy option than I hoped for since his breakthrough.

    Going into the final round I was ranked just outside 1.5k. Got 76 points and my second best GW rank of the season. Wahldstedt finally delivered, Botheim (K) had a decent haul for once, Bell the type of player you just couldn't trust this much in FPL but great once again. I did Bjørkan → Haugen which thankfully didn't cost me anything meaningful, but if I'd chosen Dragsnes instead I would've sneaked both the Wales mini-league and top 1k by a single point!

    1. ReindeerHotdog
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 7 days ago

      I understand that ESF has a very limited appeal and that interest wanes from around GW18/19 onwards, so if anyone is still reading whatever I've written I certainly appreciate that, so cheers for saying that mate.

      I can definitely see your point re Molde and Eikrem. In all honesty I did have Eikrem/Asen in my original drafts but decided to come down off the fence so yeah, I can get why you'd put Asen ahead of him. It's just, I can't look past Eikrem's efficiency. The fact he has been so creative - not only relatively speaking, outright - is fantastic. He's by far the most individually talented player in the league but you are right, Asen probably has just as much right to get that CAM spot as him.

      Krygard has potential to become a better Fantasy player but even still I can't help but be impressed by how he's come on. Hoping for bigger and better things in his career that's for sure and wow, what can you say about Joe Bell? Quality, quality midfielder not only in real life, but for Fantasy, too!

      Nice to see you finish strong mate, congratulations on that! I was 499 on Runde 26, and coming into this week I had dropped down 1,054. I have NO idea how it happened but hey, what can you do. Ended up captaining Holse this week with Asen scoring 12pts, Bell (9pts) 1st sub and Vilsvik (11pts) last on my bench. I've definitely made some bad calls this season but luck does seem to elude me when I could do with a sprinkling of it...

      Looks like I've ended up 1,166. Hurts quite a bit after feeling very confident of a top 500 finish. I'm not a Fantasy player by nature - I like to change my team too much and lose interest too quickly. Statistics is more interesting to me and following the league year after year, expanding on my player knowledge and who does what and to what kind of level of ability is far more interesting. Saying that, I would like to get a decent finish just once!

      I'll be throwing up some more content in the new year so if you're interested in seeing what else I've got lined up be sure to pop back in mate.

  2. Hotdogs for Tea
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 7 days ago

    Thanks for the article … I think the interest is there but other things take over a bit

    So how did you and others do ?

    1805 OR for me but in the last few weeks I missed two deadlines and burned two transfers

    1. ReindeerHotdog
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 6 days ago

      Was in top 500 and pushing for top 10 finish in England with 4 weeks to go. Ended up dropping down to 1,166. Still not too sure how it happened but it is what it is.

      I genuinely think the interest exists early on in the season (on this website anyway) as it is seen as a build up to Fantasy Premier League.

      So that's why I find myself struggling to write much as soon as the winter leagues kick off.

  3. Firminoooo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 6 days ago

    Thanks for your work on eliteserien fantasy. Played it for my first time and finished 602 OR.