After each gameweek, Joseph Crilley is going to be writing an article reviewing all the Premier League games from a fantasy perspective. He will be providing some stats and a brief summary on the performances and prospects of a few of the players. This is the fantasy premier league GW31 review. Last year, Joseph finished with an overall rank of 13k.
FANTASY PREMIER LEAGUE GW31 REVIEW
For each game, I will be providing a stats table containing the following: Goals (G), Assists (A), Shots (S), On Target (OT), Key Passes (KP), Bonus points (BP) and fantasy points (FP). Any statistic highlighted in yellow signifies that the player leads that category for his team. Blue highlight shows the players that registered a fantasy return (goal, assist or clean sheet) and green shows any player that scored 10+ points.
The tables also include the Expected Goals and Expected Assists for each individual player. This is in addition to the expected goals for each team in brackets within the scoreline. BBC Sport provided a very useful piece to help explain this statistic. Essentially each shot is given a score between 0 and 1 as to how likely it is to go in the net. For example, suppose a shot taken from inside the box is worth 0.56; this will be added to the xG tally of the player who take the shot and added to the xA of the player who passes the ball to him. All underlying stats are from the brilliant website understat.com. References to average position come from the twitter site 11tegen11.
The stats tables are all available via the following google spreadsheet link and I will speak about a few key players during the gameweek.
The Reds had been touted as the key team for GW31 for many weeks with a number of FPL managers tripling up on their assets and they certainly delivered. As always, they were led by the irresistible Salah who somehow managed to go to even greater heights by bagging a remarkable 4 goals. An assist added in means that the Egyptian returned 29 points and provided unprecedented joy for those that captained him.
He was assisted by Mané twice to reward those that elected to go all out on the Liverpool attack, though he did fail to take a single shot on goal. Meanwhile, Firmino had a match-high 4 shots and was able to convert one of these which means he has returned in 4 of his last 5 games. It will be interesting to see if wildcard teams will still contain Liverpool attackers in spite of the lack of double gameweeks due to their wonderful form of late.
It was a comfortable clean sheet for the defence where the only scare came when a free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar. There was an added bonus for Robertson who supplied a fantastic cross for the second goal which allowed him to collect a double-figure haul. Managers who chose the left-back instead of Van Dijk will have been delighted after the former comfortably outscored the Dutchman who failed to show any attacking threat in this game.
The second most popular team in GW31 had managers sitting uneasy after 75 mins, but a late comeback meant there were some decent points available. It was Stanislas who grabbed the late winner from a free-kick which was won by King; both had seen plenty of transfers in for this week. The former had 4 shots in total and his recent returns have been strong enough that managers could be tempted to hold onto him for future weeks. The same cannot be said for Wilson who blanked again, and I expect there to be plenty of transfers out for him over the international break.
It was a rollercoaster ride for owners of Daniels which started with the news that he had been benched after some testing performances lately. However, he entered the fray after 17 minutes due to an injury to captain Francis only for West Brom to score and deny him a clean sheet. Nonetheless, he was able to bring home some points after he collected the assist for the equalising goal scored by Ibe.
An unlikely hero of the gameweek was Tomkins who returned the classic 15-point haul for a defender thanks to a goal and a clean sheet; he also saw a shot cleared off the line which helped give him the highest xG score of the gameweek. Perhaps surprisingly, Palace were the only team outside of Liverpool to keep a clean sheet so investment in their defenders would have helped to build up your total score.
Further forward, Mililojevic scored yet another penalty though the other popular asset in his side, Zaha, was unable to provide any attacking returns. Benteke had his usual good underlying stats with 3 shots and 4 chances created, but it was a rare blank for him in 2018.
The key player to own from this game was Tosun who continued his fine recent form with a brace thanks to an xG score of 1.42. The second goal was assisted by Walcott which was relief to managers who have owned him for a few weeks and been frustrated as a result. There was an unlikely bonus point for Rooney which was in part due to an impressive 5 key passes.
There had been much debate in the lead up to the blank week about whether it would be best to own Coleman or Baines; in the end, it made little difference as both returned just 2 points which was a little disappointing after playing most the game against 10 men.
The output of the Stoke players was rather limited due to the early sending off of Adam, though Choupo-Moting was able to score in a brief cameo which was cut short by an injury picked up in the process of converting the goal. The potential injury to Shaqiri failed to come to fruition as he started, but he had very quiet game with just one shot and not a single chance created.
Other GW31 teams
A poor performance from Huddersfield which is best summarised by the fact that half of their shots came from Van La Parra who emerged from the bench after 63 mins. They looked vulnerable throughout the game as they had an xG against score of 2.75 while they also had the lowest xG score of the gameweek.
Watford took an unfortunate battering at Anfield which may impact their confidence; Richarlison registered their only shot on target.
Another defeat for West Brom though they did get on the scoresheet again thanks to Rodriguez who was assisted by Rondon.
FA Cup notes
There were several teams in FA cup action, so I thought that I would provide a few thoughts on some of the standout players of the quarter finals.
A convincing win for Spurs over a poor Swansea which showed that they can continue to perform without the injured Kane. They were led by Eriksen who bagged a nice brace with two strikes from outside the box; he does seem to play deeper without Kane though and I’m not convinced of his FPL worth when he’s playing there. This theory is strengthened by the value that Son possesses now as he led the line well again despite the lack of attacking returns.
Man United were less impressive during the win over Brighton, but Lukaku continued his form with another goal which sealed the victory. United haven’t kept a clean sheet since GW26 but they collected one here and defensive cover looks crucial for those wildcarding.
The final team to join the semi-final line up was Chelsea after a hard-fought extra-time win over Leicester. The first goal was created by a lovely assist from Willian and the Brazilian is emerging as the key attacking player for his side in the last few games. Alonso got well forward on plenty of occasions and created a couple of chances while also having one shot of his own. It was a quiet game from Hazard although he seems to now be avoiding that false 9 role which hinders his FPL output.
Vardy got the goal for the hosts after a crazy goalmouth scramble which was initiated by a cross from the lively Mahrez. Leicester played well, but were ultimately undone by a goalkeeper error and will now concentrate on their remaining league games.
It was a positive result in his first game in charge at Southampton for Mark Hughes after a 2-0 win over Wigan which should provide a much-needed confidence boost. That victory means that, similar to other FA cup semi-finalists (Spurs, Chelsea and Man U), they will have a blank in GW35. In turn, they will have two double gameweeks which are likely to be in GW34 and GW37. I’m sure that FFG will provide a more detailed update later in the week once we have more information.
That concludes the GW31 review. Feel free to post any questions or feedback in the comments section or you can find me on Twitter.
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