A review of some key stats from last season

I thought it would be useful to pull together some key stats around last season. As a result, I’ve created a top 10 for a number of different metrics. This should help us spot some opportunities for next season. The figures include all games played – including cup and European fixtures. I lifted most of this data from the https://www.ffstuff.co.uk/ website, incredibly useful, so I’d urge people to head over and send a donation to keep that site going.

Top 10 point scorers

Sterling – 279
De Bruyne – 269
Salah – 251
Mane – 244
Maguire – 231
Aubameyang – 230
Jesus – 228
Rashford – 226
Martial – 222
Kane – 220

This one is fairly straightforward so I won’t go into detail. Obviously points scored pretty much trumps everything else – all that really matters is how many points a player can get for you over the course of a season. There are no real surprises on this list with all of the players coming from teams who finished in the top 4 with the exception of Aubameyang. It’s worth noting how many strikers are on this list as well though and only one defender. 

Top 10 goalscorers

Sterling – 29
Aubameyang – 29
Ings – 25
Kane – 24
Salah – 23
Vardy – 23
Aguero – 23
Jesus – 22
Rashford – 22
Martial – 22

The real surprise on this list for me is Danny Ings who outscored Kane, Salah and Aguero. Other than that though, we could have all probably written this list at the start of the season. I was surprised to see Jimenez not within the top 10, although he is 11th. After a good start Abraham also didn’t make the top 10. What is also fascinating, is that Aguero did despite only playing just over 2,000 minutes. He scored as many goals as Vardy and Salah who both had around 3,500 minutes to achieve this. 

Top 10 players who made assists 

De Bruyne – 24
Mahrez – 16
Alexander-Arnold – 15
Son – 13
Salah – 12
Jesus – 12
Saka – 12
Robertson – 12
Martial – 11
Firmino – 11

No shock to see De Bruyne top of the assists table. He was the second highest scorer over the course of the season so his points had to come from somewhere. Interestingly Salah, Jesus and Martial also make this list as well as being within the top 10 goalscorers. It’s also worth noting that the only defenders on this list are the two Liverpool full backs which highlights their immense attacking threat. 

Top 10 players by number of games played

Maguire – 52
Moutinho – 51
Mount – 51
Dendoncker – 51
Coady – 51
Jesus – 50
Bernardo – 50
Mahrez – 49
Traore – 49
Sterling – 49

I didn’t expect Maguire to be the highest scoring defender of the season. As a result, I was interested to uncover how this happened, given Man Utd not being particularly strong defensively at times. It’s easy to see why when Maguire comes out top of the number of games played and we consider that Man Utd had weaker opposition in the Europa league. It’s also worth pointing out that game time doesn’t always transfer into points on the board with Moutinho, Dendoncker and Coady all scoring less than 100 points. What this list also doesn’t highlight is how often these players made an appearance from the bench. The likes of Jesus, Bernardo and Mahrez made a lot of appearances but I’d imagine a significant amount of these were towards the end of games as a sub. Which leads us nicely onto the next stat to consider…

Top 10 players by minutes played

Maguire – 4662
Coady – 4590
Patricio – 4320
van Dijk – 4260
Azpilicueta – 4193
Jimenez – 4128
Moutinho – 4113
Evans – 4062
Schmeichel – 3974
Lindelof – 3969

For me, minutes played is far more important than the number of appearances. The longer a player is on the pitch the more chance they have of picking up points in my opinion. Maguire comes out top of this list as well as he rarely got subbed off. As we would suspect, only two of the players on the list are midfielders or strikers – as they are rotated more often. Again, more minutes doesn’t always mean more points, with Coady picking up less than 100 points despite being the player who played the second most amount of minutes over the season. How he kept 18 clean sheets and only scored 85 points I’ll never know but the system must not favour him.

Top 10 players who kept clean sheets

Maguire – 23
Coady – 18
Lindelof – 18
Ederson – 18
Wan-Bissaka – 17
Doherty – 17
Patricio – 16
van Dijk – 16
Alexander-Arnold – 16
Castro – 16

I think this list shows the power of teams who play in the Europa League. It’s pretty much dominated by Man Utd and Wolves players who have all had easier fixtures in Europe and a lot of games under their belts. Only Maguire and Alexander-Arnold managed to break the 200 point milestone though which goes to show that clean sheets don’t always make for huge point totals. Only Ederson makes this list from Man City despite 18 clean sheets to his name, which suggest what we all know – Man City tend to rotate their defenders with Ederson normally being the only constant. 

Top 10 players who picked up the star man award

Traore – 10
Rashford – 10
De Bruyne – 9
Mane – 8
Sterling – 7
Salah – 7
Kane – 7
Pepe – 7
Grealish – 6
Richarlison – 6

This stat helps us understand how Traore managed to pick up over 200 points – without featuring in the top 10 players who scored or assisted. He appeared to be a star man magnet and was probably the bargain of the season based on his starting price. Given the number of goals he scored, I was surprised to see Aubameyang not on this list. It was also interesting to see Grealish and Richarlison in positions 9 and 10.

Top 10 players by average rating

De Bruyne – 7.8
Fernandes – 7.6
Traore – 7.5
Knockaert – 7.5
Mane – 7.4
Sterling – 7.4
Kane – 7.4
Pereira – 7.4
Mahrez – 7.4
Salah – 7.3

Another stat that helps us to understand how Traore managed to pick up so many points. He seemed to attract a 7+ rating every time he stepped onto the pitch, even from the bench. It’s also worth highlighting Fernandes on this list – had he had a whole season in the Premier League I’d imagine he would have made some of the top 10’s highlighted above. He’s an exception to the rule when it comes to new players hitting the ground running in the Premier League. Could certainly be one to watch for next season but I’d expect his price to go up.

Top 10 players who achieved more than we expected

Traore – +127
Greenwood – +109
Ings – +103
Martial – +72
Abraham – +63
Baldock – +58
Maguire – +56
Jesus – +53
Rashford – +51
Pope – +46

This ones for the real statistics geeks. At the start of last season I set up an interesting calculation. I set a target of 2,500 points by the end of the season and to achieve this the players I selected had to score 50 points for every 1 million spent on them. It’s safe to say, this wouldn’t have been possible over the course of the season with many of the most expensive players not reaching their expectation. The 10 players above all exceeded the 50 points per million spent total and the + numbers reflect how far above the expectation they went.

If we take Traore as an example. He started the season at 1.5m so I would have expected him to score 75 points over the season to fulfill the 50 points per million spent. He ended up scoring 202 points which was 127 points over. For me, this makes him the pick of the season. It’s also worth noting that Martial, Abraham, Maguire, Jesus and Rashford all made this list – suggesting they were all under priced at the start of the season. If we apply the same logic when picking a team for next season, this should help us spot the bargains.

If you’re interested in exploring more than just the top 10. You can look all of the figures up on the https://www.ffstuff.co.uk/ website or check out the spreadsheet I’m currently working on for next season: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1etemaR9AqfgOXfHQWdKV1_X7G9P7nGcXNesQsrE7Nh4/

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19 thoughts on “A review of some key stats from last season

  1. I’ll look forward to sitting down tonight am going through that lot. Great stuff Paul! 👍🏻

    1. Cheers Chris, I always find it interesting digging around the stats as you can spot some clear trends. Will certainly help me picking my initial starting 11.

  2. Interesting stuff. Will have a quick glance but I will to continue to adopt my stat light method as it worked well for me last season and if you got a formula that works for you, it will be silly to discard it. They are many ways to play the game and get results as shown by real life managers like Pep uses W-W and Klopp uses the Pyramid formations but both are the best in their role ever. I do admit that in my first two seasons I did adapt the 50 points per million method (I don’t use a calculator or a spreadsheet just a notebook with thoughts and observations) but after my guest article on strategy, my approach has gone towards the other method (the dark side as my stat mad mini league/friends say). My fantasy football cousin/mini league rival says to me ‘You can’t win anything without stats’. I heard something similar elsewhere a long time ago.

    1. When doing the eye test – aren’t you looking for what the stats tell you to a certain extent? You’re looking for a player to see if they are having attempts at goal, creating chances, etc. For me, the stats just tell you what you see without having to gather and remember the information yourself.

      1. Well I paying a fortune having Sky Sports and BT sports so I might as well use the eye test to my advantage. I love watching football, like I watching Snooker and Tennis. Now if they had fantasy snooker or tennis (I think there might be) there are loads of stats there but I would missing the chance to see the genius of Ronnie O’Sullivan and brilliance of Roger Federer.

        Going back to football, I am not underestimating the power of stats. They are objective whereas my observations are subjective – right or wrong. I have heard stories of people winning fantasy football (namely FPL) using numbers and without watching a single minute of a game. (Is there is magic calculation in the Sun Team game where you feed the stats into a computer and it tells you the winning combination? Surely, there must be a stats mad geek out there who can program that).

        I’m afraid I can’t play like that: I need to watch the genius of KDB, the power of Traore, the finishing of Kane, the different tactics and styles of play by Pep, Klopp and Co. Imagine when I tell my friend who watches only cricket that Messi and Ronaldo score hundreds of goals, that’s good he says but he does’nt know the beauty of a Messi dribble or Ronaldo swerving free kick. Football is the beautiful game, I love the passion of it – the drama, the highs and lows, the cheers and tears. It’s theatre at its best. Watching the game really helps in my passion of playing and writing about fantasy football. You must admit I have written a lot here on your blog over the years and very little mentions stats – just my thoughts on strategy and player observations. Stats have their role as a backup in my case. I never one to keep secrets to myself and give an honest account of how I play the game, the different strategies I use. It would be easy for me to say I play the same way: I used stats and then not have this debate.

        I think watching the games helps my fantasy football game rather than hinder it. You could say I am a fantasy football dinosaur 🦖 as in the old days, stats weren’t as common as now (there is really stats for everything) and dream team winners had to rely mainly on the eye test (mainly involving watching Match of the Day – my favourite programme).

        I never claim that I am the best at fantasy football (there are times when I want to give up and do something else) or my methods are the gold standard. Maybe they only work for me. I just want to be good at a hobby I am passionate about. I would say I got a good all round game, I can defend with shields when I have to but not afraid to take risks to chase with differentials if needed. I really enjoy the differential area as it gives something interesting to write about especially doing a season long blog rather repeating the merits of Sterling, Aguero and Salah. For me, the ultimate high is when your player gets a high score and none of rivals have got him.

        I remember my TFF mini league rival said I was lucky to finish in the top 50 two seasons ago. Last season, I finished again in the top 50. Was that luck or skill? He just paid up and said nothing.

        1. Don’t get me wrong I admire your approach and your love for the game, it’s how it should be in all honesty. I do completely agree with what you’re saying – I almost booked tickets last year to see Ronnie O’Sullivan at a live event because he’s one of those players I’d like to say I’ve seen play in person. As you say a genius and I love his honesty. With regards to football though, I love a World Cup or a European Championship due to the short format. But if I’m being completely honest – I went to Old Trafford to watch the treble reunion match, where the likes of Scholes, Beckham, Schmeichel, Stam, Yorke, etc played. I’m also a big fan of the likes of Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo and Keane. But when I look at Man Utd today – I’m more of the same opinion as former players such as Keane. De Gea – what goes through his head at times, he’s hardly switched on like Schmeichel was. The mistakes he has made can only really be put down to a lack of concentration. Pogba has started to play more now but come on, that whole situation and the money involved but lack of commitment to the club doesn’t sit well with me. Don’t get me started on Sanchez. I’m afraid the glory days are gone for me – I still get behind the team but I can’t watch them like I used to. I also don’t really have the time to watch much football and as you say Sky and BT cost a fortune so I can’t justify paying for something I’m not going to use often. In a long winded way, that’s why I have to rely on the stats.

          1. That’s the beauty of the people who contribute to this website. Seeing so many different and varied ways of playing the game just gives us a wonderful spectrum of thoughts and ideas to ponder. Long may it continue…👍🏻

            1. Couldn’t agree more Chris. My approach is fairly flawed in terms of winning the whole thing as I play it fairly safe and look for statistical trends. Which doesn’t always work as we know how unpredictable football is.

  3. My goodness me, no stone is going to be left unturned, with the start of the season not to far away, & that all important starting 11, getting off to a good start essential as always, Paul, RR, you both have different formula’s, but ultimately are both excellent dreamteam players, along with Chris & many others, we can’t fail.

    1. Don’t look at me for a good start David, I am notoriously a bad starter. I slowly out the blocks and the last one in the pack. Last season my highest placed team started with 49 points in GW1 around the 500k mark. DTT team has double that so I may considering the sun of copying DTT team to get going. My saving grace is that we are involved in a marathon rather than a sprint (although they might make it shorter race due to Covid – champions league games knockout could be one legged affairs in the future, same in league cup semi final and getting rid of FA cup replays altogether). In conclusion, I have seen over the years poor starting 11’s changing to winning teams.

  4. Some interesting stats there Paul and many thanks for putting those together and sharing. 👍🏻

    With regards to defensive assets it seems that those Europa teams could be worth targeting IF you’re confident certain players will play both PL AND Europa. I never thought I’d say this but I’m starting to look at potential Spurs AND Arsenal defensive assets… 😬

    I liked the look of Saka last season too. I also wonder if Pepe offer more now he’s got a season under his belt…..HOWEVER with Arsenal bringing in Willian it seems and targeting Rodriguez AND Coutinho I worry about game time.

    Just can’t wait for the price reveals now…

    1. It’s a difficult one with Spurs and Arsenal. Neither fill me with confidence at the back and they have bigger squads for rotation. Wolves seemed to fit perfectly, with such a small squad a lot of them had a lot of game time.

  5. It also looks like United, City AND Wolves will miss GW 1 AT LEAST next season (due to European involvement) . Bear in mind that this will also effect the teams they were due to play and it’s a lot to think about! 🤯

    The choices we make at the start of this season have never been so important to try and steal an early march.

    1. That will be a real pain if it becomes reality. Could really do without that being thrown into the equation.

  6. me thinks my first to players in my 11 are William and Aubameyang .
    for sure. my next 9 are ?. not a clue.

    1. You don’t happen to be an Arsenal fan are you Don? I like Aubameyang but not sure about Willian. He certainly won’t be one of the first names on my team sheet.

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