Towards the end of last season my attention was drawn to a website (https://www.ffstuff.co.uk/) which somehow pulls together all sorts of stats around Dream Team. It’s not something I’ve been personally involved in but as the information is available, I thought it might be worth looking at. The tool allows us to dissect the overall winner’s choices throughout the season to see what we can learn from it. Here are some of the key facts I’ve taken from it:
Total points: 2,568
This works out at an average of 73 points per game week.
To achieve this total each position needs to score roughly 233 points across the season.
If we break this down further, it works out at 6.7 points per player per game week.
These stats really put into perspective how much you need to achieve on a player by player basis or per game week to win the whole thing. It’s a huge amount really and in my opinion can only be achieved with a mixture of strategy and luck.
Player selection trends
View the tables below to track player selection across the whole season. Or follow this link to see the raw data:
I would add that I compiled it manually so it’s not 100% accurate but it’s pretty much there.
Here’s a breakdown of each position:
Goalkeeper: A cheaper goalkeeper was used for most of the season in Patricio. When more funds were available the winner moved to Ederson.
Points generated by this position: 110
Defender 1: Alexander-Arnold was the first choice and then the winner bought in Laporte. Presumably due to Liverpool being out of Europe.
Point generated by this position: 226
Defender 2: Robertson was the first choice and then the winner bought in Wan-Bissaka. Again, presumably due to Liverpool being out of Europe.
Points generated by this position: 174
Defender 3: The third defensive position was initially occupied by Maitland-Niles (a player I also chose to start with), he was then swapped briefly to Otamendi and then to Maguire for the rest of the season.
Points generated by this position: 232
Defender 4/ / Midfielder 1: The winner started 4-3-3 with Azpilicueta as his fourth defender. He quickly changed this to a 3-4-3 with Mount coming in and then eventually put De Bruyne in until the end of the season.
Points generated by this position: 203
Midfielder 2: De Bruyne started in this position. The winner then swapped between Mane, Traore and settled on Bruno Fernandes.
Points generated by this position: 278
Midfielder 3: This position was generally filled by Sterling. Although Mane came in briefly and Pulisic had the FA Cup final game.
Points generated by this position: 314
Midfielder 4: The final midfielder was Pepe with Mahrez then finishing the season here.
Points generated by this position: 167
Striker 1: Strikers were very much rotated within this position. In the following order: Kane, Aguero, Jesus, Abraham, Salah, Rashford and Lacazette.
Points generated by this position: 239
Striker 2: Again strikers were very much rotated within this position. In the following order: Martial, Abraham, Rashford, Firmino, Jesus and Giroud.
Points generated by this position: 256
Striker 3: Again more rotation in this position, in the following order: Salah, Kane, Salah, Kane, Aguero and Aubameyang.
Points generated by this position: 319
Some key trends regarding player selection:
The winner used the 3-4-3 formation for the majority of the season. As did the winner last season. This gives us a big clue about the ideal formation to use ourselves.
At no point did the winner have the template front three of Kane, Aguero and Salah. This illustrates that we can’t class too many players as absolutely essential.
The winner only had Kane for 10 game weeks and Salah for 15 game weeks. Granted Kane was injured but owning Salah for less than half the season was a risk that certainly paid off. It certainly proves that previous stats don’t mean everything.
Another key takeaway is that the player never selected a player outside of the top 7-8 teams in the league. The majority of his team was made up of players from Man City, Liverpool and Man Utd. He rarely used players from Arsenal and Spurs and didn’t pick a single Leicester player for the whole season.
Other than Patricio the team wasn’t set up to target Wolves additional Europa League fixtures at the start of the season. Either the player chose to ignore these games or wasn’t aware that they counted. Regardless it made little difference to his overall performance, which suggests targeting these games may be a little overrated.
The player used very few transfers on his back line. This suggests going strong at the back from the start might be a good strategy with a pick and stick approach working well.
The goalkeeper position was the lowest scoring position in his team. This suggests to me that we shouldn’t invest too much in it.
The winner appeared to use the majority of his transfers to swap around his strikers.
The winner generally had a well balanced team. At no point did he put all his eggs in one basket with a full defensive block from a single club.
I thought Van Dijk was overpriced at the start of last season and the winner must have thought the same as he didn’t feature in his team at all across the season.
The highest point scoring position for the winner was his strikers. These positions scored on average 271 points. For me, it’s worth investing in strikers who are likely to score the most points regardless of their value.
It wouldn’t have been possible to pick a team within budget at the start of the season that would have beat this team in terms of points. This proves that getting the right players at the right time is absolutely essential.
A more detailed look at the statistics
The average points scored for each position was as follows:
The percentage of total points scored by each position:
This does suggest to me that the attacking positions still pull in the most points. However there’s a big but… The gap between the positions is definitely shrinking and the big advantage of the defensive positions is that they tend to be much cheaper. Traditionally it’s fairly easy to pick up a premium defender for 4.5m or less. We would never be near a premium striker or even a midfielder for this value. This could make them a wise investment. For me the big takeaway from the analysis of last year’s winner is getting a balanced team with players from the big clubs. I think it’s rare to find a bargain player – for me it looks more important than ever to have a well balanced team and potentially leaving out a couple of the big names for cheaper alternatives. I think what the analysis also drills home is that we will all need an awful lot of luck to get anywhere near the top 100 teams. We can do our best to have a strategy and look at upcoming fixtures but the rest is out of our hands. Football can be very hard to predict at the best of times.
I’m not sure this really tells us anything we didn’t already know or what we can really take from it to apply to our own game. However, I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts in the comments below as I’m sure I’ve missed some key trends.