The following article will analyze the ‘Goal threat’, ‘Accuracy’ and ‘Efficiency’ levels of the top 10 point scoring midfielders from this season’s fantasy football game. The chart given below highlights the total points amassed by these players in descending order.
It is quite evident that the trio of Bale, Dempsey and Silva are battling it to become this season’s highest scoring midfielder. Moreover, a difference of only a handful of points between each player in the list displays the furious competition in middle of the park this season. That being said, it is now time to delve into the statistical world in order to truly understand how threatening, accurate and efficient these midfielders have been in front of goal.
Goal threat is an excellent way to measure a player’s attacking prowess. The variables chosen to reflect this are SOT 90 (Shots on target / 90 minutes) and G 90 (Goals scored / 90 minutes).
TOP 5 (SOT 90)
Surprisingly, Van Der Vaart leads the SOT 90 category with 1.64 shots on target for every 90 minutes of game time. This seems like quite an achievement for someone who has managed to complete a full game only 6 times this season.
The Dutchman is closely followed by Dempsey who has been Fulham’s most dangerous player by far with a SOT 90 of 1.56. Another surprise inclusion is Walcott, who for all his technical limitations as a winger still manages to get into threatening positions and strike the target by averaging 1.23 on the SOT 90 scale, which is marginally better than Bale and Silva who are in 4th and 5th place respectively.
Surprise exclusions from the top 5 are Mata, Lampard and Nani, who are all attacking midfielders/wingers for the 5th and 2nd highest goal scoring clubs in the league respectively (Chelsea = 47, Manchester United = 66).
TOP 5 (G 90)
There is a small shuffle in the pack when it comes to actually putting the ball in the back of the net. Frank Lampard who is 6th in terms of SOT 90 (0.96) has the best G 90 (0.53). This equates to 1 goal for approximately every 180 minutes of game time, which is quite impressive for a player who has found himself in and out of the Chelsea squad either due to injury or being seemingly incompatible with the formation adopted by AVB. Although, it must be noted that (2/10) goals scored by Lampard were from the spot, leading to a slight inflation in his G 90.
Dempsey overtakes Van Der Vaart in 2nd place with a G 90 of 0.45, which is slightly better than the Dutchman’s figure of 0.41. In other words, both these players are quite threatening in front of goal, scoring approximately once every 21/2 games. Bale retains the 4th spot and is followed by Nani.
Nani’s case is quite unique because his average of less than 1 shot on target per 90 minutes (SOT 90 = 0.77) is lower than everyone’s except Sessegnon. However, the Portuguese has showcased his quality by netting once every 31/2 games, resulting in a G 90 figure of 0.29.
The exclusion of Silva and Mata can be explained from their assist numbers (Silva = 14, Mata = 9) which prove that they carry the creative burden for their respective clubs. This is also highlighted by their indirect free kick and corner kick duties. On the other hand, Walcott misses out predominantly due to his inconsistent finishing.
Accuracy is measured by PSOT (% of Shots on Target).
Van Der Vaart’s shooting accuracy is highlighted yet again as he leads the PSOT list with a remarkable 63.64%. Put differently, nearly two-third of the Dutchman’s efforts find their way to the target. He is followed by Lampard who’s PSOT of 60% is marginally lower. Walcott, Silva and Dempsey follow close behind with a respectable PSOT of 56%, 55.56% and 51.22% respectively.
Bale who has the 4th highest SOT 90 is omitted from the list as his PSOT of 46.88% is nearly 5% below Dempsey’s. This demonstrates that a player who constantly threatens the goal can have a lower shooting accuracy than what many would expect. Another absentee is Nani, who believe it or not, has the worst shooting accuracy among this group of players with a PSOT of 38.10%.
Efficiency is a tool that helps to differentiate players who make the most of goal scoring opportunities from those who either struggle or are inconsistent in front of goal. The variable to describe it is PSOT = G (% of Shots on Target resulting in Goals).
Once again, Lampard reminds everyone of his quality by registering the highest PSOT = G (55.56%) among this group of midfielders. Furthermore, he is the only player to score > 50% in both PSOT and PSOT = G categories. It must be noted that Lampard’s successful conversion of 2 penalties has slightly inflated this figure. Having said that, it would be unfair to penalize him because scoring penalties isn’t as easy as it looks on the telly (just ask Charlie Adam and Steven Gerrard).
In second place there is a surprise package in the form of Nani who has a PSOT = G of 37.50%. This figure illustrates that even though Nani’s shooting accuracy is disappointing to say the least, he makes up for it through his finishing with just under 40% of his shots on target resulting in goals.
Sinclair with a PSOT = G of 36.84% makes his first appearance in the top 5 courtesy of the 4 goals he has scored from the spot this season. Similarly, Sessegnon’s clinical finishing for a Sunderland side that struggled during the first half of the season has largely resulted in a PSOT = G of 33.33% which is sufficient to secure 4th place. Finally, Bale wraps things up with a PSOT = G of 30%, which illustrates that approximately one-third of the Welshman’s efforts on target have beaten the keeper.
Dempsey, Mata and Van Der Vaart have a very similar PSOT = G in the range of 25-29%. Moreover, low PSOT = G figures of 20% and 17.86% for Silva and Walcott respectively, are an indication of fairly low goal scoring efficiency levels.
To conclude, the analysis above is by no means complete because it utilizes a handful of easily understandable variables to compare and contrast player performances. I hope this study provides fantasy managers with an insight into the usefulness of simple statistics and allows them to appreciate the story a few numbers and percentages can tell us.
If all goes well, I’ll be back next week with a similar article on Strikers.
This article was written by Archivist