Saturday, October 25, 2014

Adopt a Team: Burnley Stats

The above chart doesn't show Burnley in a great light, with a few too many games drifting into that bottom left quadrant, but hey, at least they're (probably) better than QPR! The underlying data suggests their defense has actually been pretty useful with above average performances in every game other than this week's defeat to West Ham and for the most part they've been reasonable value for their three clean sheets. They have conceded 70 SiB which isn't great but given the fact they've already got one meeting with Chelsea and Man Utd out of the way and already travelled to Swansea and West Brom, there's hope that some success might come in the future against fellow bottom dwellers.

Going forward, the team really struggled out of the gates with just a single goal in the first six games, but they have at least come back with two at Leicester and a consolation against West Ham suggesting there might yet be light at the end of the tunnel. The team have created 68 chances to date which puts them 15th in the league, but they compare favourably to the likes of Swansea (57), West Brom (66) and even Tottenham (73) so that number should certainly spark enough interest to not write this whole unit off, despite the fact that Sergio Aguero scored as many goals in just over an hour's work this past week as this team have all season. Let's take a look at who has contributed the most to the team's attacking success (however limited it is) so far this season:

Kieran Trippier The chart looks quite promising for Trippier's credentials as a dual threat defender with Burnley's reasonable defensive record discussed above combined with what appears to be a very good attacking threat (at least when it comes to assist potential). As if often the way in these pages though, we need to pour a bit of water of those flames. If we quickly glance back at the defender chart posted in the Everton stats piece we see that while Trippier has enjoyed some solid statistical games to date, we're unlikely to confuse him for Baines, Ivanovic or even Cresswell anytime soon. Of course, he's also cheaper than the elite class but my concern is that for reasons that aren't clear to me, the market makers priced him at 1.0m more than some his teammates and while that gap has now narrowed to 0.7m, that's still a hefty premium to pay over Michael Duff, who's been ever present for Burnley this season. If we were talking about a mid-upper team who offered a great clean sheet potential every week then you might argue that the increased attacking threat is worth this investment but for a team like Burnley, it's likely you're looking for at best a fourth defender and thus 4.9m is just a bit too steep to bench three of every four weeks. I'm keen to see Trippier play this week against a good side like Everton and see if he can still make a mark in the attacking third but it's going to take something special to suggest he's worth that premium.

Scott Arfield Coming into the season Arfield, along with Danny Ings, was one of the few Burnley players I had real expectations of, and someone I am looking forward to watching this week. So far so good for the young Scot, who has followed up his opening gameweek goal against Chelsea with some impressive stats. Consider the below comparisons (these are not a suggestion that Arfield is necessarily in their overall class, just that he's shown flashes of promise to date, at least in terms of his underlying data):

Arfield 17 shots, 10 SiB, 9 created chances, 0.5% ownership
Nacer Chadli 15 shots, 14 SiB, 10 created chances, 12% ownership
Oscar 16 shots, 10 SiB, 9 created chances, 3% ownership
Schneiderlein 10 shots, 8 SiB, 5 created chances, 18% ownership

This is interesting company for a 5.0m player and his lack of "big" games has surpressed his ownership numbers making his a perfect 5th midfielder candidate. I look forward to seeing him in action tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Adopt a Team: Everton stats

Given their tough fixture list to date - Everton have already faced Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd - and having not seen too many of their games myself, I figured a deeper look at the stats would reveal a team who had either been particularly unlucky with their results or were simply victim to those tough teams. To a degree that's true, as they picked up just two points from the three games in which the data falls into the top right quadrant yet their defense has been below average in the other five contests as they've struggled along with just a couple of clean sheets. This week's 3-0 win over Villa will have many assuming the team have turned the corner but those three goals came on just eight SiB (six SoT) suggesting there is still some way to go until we see this attacking unit hit the heights of last season.

It's not surprising to see that Everton have tended to favour the left side of the pitch when going forward with 49% of their created chances and 61% of their crosses come from the left flank. To put those numbers in context, both are the highest in the league with the second highest totals being 44% and 57% respectively (both Crystal Palace). How to capitalise on that trend in the midfield isn't immediately obvious though no such questions remain at the back, with Leighton Baines enjoying an unbelievable start to the season in terms of attacking data (more on that below).

At the back, the 16 goals conceded put them 19th in the league, ahead of only QPR but a couple of factors point towards a brighter future. First, they've surrendered 58 SiB which ranks 12th in the league: not spectacular, but far better than their goal total suggests. Further, the defense have made a league leading 10 errors, five of which have led to goals (which is also a league high). Of course, this kind of error is an issue and will hurt a team's chances at a clean sheet every week but there isn't much evidence that this stat is stable from year to year and there's reason to think they've just been unluckily punished for their slips, compared to, say, Man Utd whose eight errors have led to just a single goal. Everton were a bit error prone last season, ranking 15th with 24 errors, but even so, that pace is a far cry from 10 in just eight games and those 24 errors last year gave rise to just six goals. In short we'd expect a combination of skill and regressing luck to help this team on the error front, which together with a lower conversion rate of shots into goals should help this defense get back to a level (or close to) the one they played at last season.

Player Focus

Let's take a look at the Everton squad to date, plotting their goal and assist threats:

Leighton Baines
It's not hard to conclude on who stands out here with Baines enjoying what could be the biggest lead in the assists department over his team-mates as anyone else in the league. Indeed, the lead looks just as ridiculous when we expand the chart to include all defensive players (it should be noted that part of his advantage in the goal threat department is due to how penalties are treated in the model rather than purely his shot totals, but then that seems fair as penalties are obviously much more valuable than your typical shot):

I wrote a few megabytes of blog posts on why Coleman was a better bet than Baines last season and was ultimately rewarded by an incredible campaign from the Irishman where he not only outscored Baines but did so at a significantly lower price tag. So far this season, this trend has very much been reversed. Coleman's success led to a price tag equal to his teammate (which seemed odd given Baines' penalty duties) but to date Baines has been light years ahead when it comes to attacking play with an absurd 22 created chances to Coleman's four. Indeed, Baines has 10 created chances in his last two games; more than all defenders on the season other than Ivanovic and Cresswell. Given the nature of his passes (crosses rather than through balls and short passes) it isn't fair to conclude that his 22 created chances are better than,say, David Silva's 21, but it is without question that when it comes to assist threat, Baines is without peers among his defensive rivals. Whether or not that is worth 7.1m really depends on your view of Everton's defense as while Baines is clearly offering great potential going forward, without clean sheets he simply cannot justify a 2.0m premium over players from Southampton, West Brom or even Burnley who are offering cheap access to clean sheets so far this year. As noted above, I do think there's reason to predict an improvement in Everton's defensive results and that has me considering Baines for my own team for pretty much the first time ever.

Romelo Lukaku
Fantasy managers and Everton fans alike haven't been overly impressed with Lukaku's play to date, despite having notched three goals and an assist already this season. His underlying data is more solid than spectacular and the availability of players like Pelle and Berahino makes a 9.0m price tag suddenly look steep unless you're playing at an Aguero/Diego Costa level. To date, that's a fair assessment of the situation but if we look at the threat levels of all forwards, we see that Lukaku is just about the next best option after that pair of bargains and the all conquering Diego Costa and Aguero, yet the way people are talking suggests he's been a major flop:

The data accrued to date does not support a 9.0m price tag nor inclusion over the likes of Pelle and Berahino, but as we've seen countless times before, eight games is not a conclusive sample and you need to at least place some reliance on your preseason rankings which would surely have had the Belgian ahead of the new group of upstart challengers. If you think Lukaku has underperformed yet still ranks 8th in fantasy points among all forwards (with two of those ahead of him costing significantly more) then he makes for an interesting option to keep in mind and a reasonable gamble given their upcoming fixtures (@BRN, SWA, @SUN, WHU). If nothing else, he might be a nice three week rental for those spooked by Mourinho's cryptic comments about Diego Costa's injury, especially with Chelsea facing trips to Man Utd and Liverpool in the next three gameweeks.

Ross Barkley
I would love to put a chart here to support buying into Barkley, whose potential seems to be legitimately outstanding. Lukaku recently declared the youngster the best player in the team and the man to lead England in the near future yet with just 65 minutes played this year, we only have these soundbites to go on. I only bring him up here because with his injury he's likely flying a bit under the radar now (presumably his 3% ownership is based on people not monitoring their teams) and is a good candidate to quickly explode should he enjoy a breakout game over the next couple of weeks. With Mirallas sidelined for at least another month, this Everton midfield is very much one of function rather than flair and so Barkley should have every opportunity to not only quickly win back a starting job but also secure his place as the the go to option at the attacking end of the pitch.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Adopt a Team: Everton and Burnley Lineups

Everton

Everton have always been one of the sides I enjoy writing about as over the past couple of seasons they've had a pleasing blend of both ability and predictability, all while often flying under the radar of the masses.1 For the most part those trends have continued this year with a solid back line and talented front man, although there isn't really a target player in midfield as we've had in the past with the likes of Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar and Fellaini.

Starting at the back, we have Howard, Baines, Jagielka and Coleman absolutely locked into their respective positions, with at least threee of those options offering about as much security and low upside as you're going to find among premier league starters. We'll get to a comparison of the defenders potential weighed against their price in the next stats post but for now we can conclude that they are all essentially as safe as each other. The last man in when healthy is probably Stones but with the youngster sidelined for a couple of months, Distin probably has the inside track on that final spot. At 5.4m he doesn't offer enough of a discount to be interested in, but one name to watch is Alcaraz who made his first start this week. At 4.3m he does offer an interesting discount to his team-mates and might be worth bearing some risk for if you believe he has a good shot at holding onto that job. For now, all indications seem to be that Distin will return when healthy but it's a situation worth monitoring.

This midfield isn't without talent but with Mirallas and Barkley sidelined it really lacks star power, especially with Pienaar regressing as the miles start to take their toll. Barkley returned this week but has a sizeable price tag (6.7m) to live up to, which is possible but by no means guaranteed based on his somewhat up and down play to date.2 Still, Lukaku reckons he's the best player in the team which is quite high praise considering his teammates and with his season slowed by injury, he's under everybody's radar right now and thus has the makings of an differentiator when he returns to fitness. Again, we'll look at attacking potential in the next post, but in terms of job security we see that Barry and McCarthy has essentially been ever present in the middle with Osman, Naismith, Barkley, Pienaar and McGeady vying to provide the attacking options to support Lukaku. Aside from the potential of the aforementioned Barkley I'm not sure any of this midfield group have the reliability and underlying data to warrant serious interest, as reflected by their generally minuscule ownership numbers. One exception to that latter point is Naismith whose 5.2 price tag has caught the eye of many an owner, and based on playing time alone that appears to be a fair move.3 This lineup is perhaps a touch less reliable than in past years, mainly due to injuries to Barkley and Mirallas, yet with the replacement group not really standing out, it doesn't appear there is too much to be overly concerned about until that duo return. At the back they remain one of the best options around and Lukaku is still one of the remaining, genuine every week starters with enough upside to justify a lofty price tag.


Burnley
A few people might be wondering why you're reading about Burnley and Everton rather than Man Utd and Chelsea or even Tottenham and Newcastle. One factor is that this is the only televised game these two teams are in for the next couple of months but the more pressing factor is that I simply haven't seen Burnley play this season - other than oft-abbreviated highlights - and really need to get a handle on them as I've found decent value in the less heralded promoted sides in the past. Luckily for me, and potentially fantasy owners, Sean Dyche seems to have a first team in mind and to date hasn't shuffled his deck too often.

At the back we have a perfect record with five players each starting every game to date. Off the bat this would suggest that Michael Duff (4.2m) is going to be the pick here but I'll reserve judgement until I've seen the attacking threat in detail

The midfield has a few interesting options but could present some selection questions when everyone is healthy. Arfield has been ever present to date while the likes of Boyd, Marney and Jones have generally played when available. Kightly came into the side when Marney went down and has since played reasonably well by all accounts and provides from natural width that teams crave, and is important in the formation Burnley appear to favour. Boyd's playing time, position and price tag look promising and Marney - someone who had caught my eye in the opening games - is set to return soon after being sidelined for the last three gameweeks. Arfield meanwhile leads the team in fantasy point giving us plenty to look at in the data and this week's game.

Up top we have a team who look to be committed to playing two front men with highly rated Danny Ings and new arrival Jutkiewicz looking generally locked into the first team. My concern would be that after a good defensive start to the year (at least in terms of goals conceded if not underlying process), the team has started to ship more goals of late and one response would be to lose one of their front men and try and play tighter. Such a move could render both players too risky to own, although at least their price tags remain attractive. Gun to your head you'd expect Ings to play more often than not, but with talk of him wanting out of the club, it wouldn't be amazing to see Jutkiewicz preferred which makes it tough to really commit to anyone here.

Next up we take a look at these two teams' data to date and what we might expect from the weekend's action


1. With the exception of Leighton Baines, of course, who remains a favourite of the public and a constant point of contention for me
2. That's not meant to be a knock of Barkley - still just 20 - but you don't get a discount for youthful inconsistency in fantasy football
3. I have a feeling that the conclusion once we look at the underlying data will be less kind

Monday, October 20, 2014

Adopt a Team: Arsenal vs Hull review

Despite the suggestions in some section of old media, the so-called "stats" versus "scouting" debate is essentially over. I would imagine most, if not all, teams pay at least some attention to advanced stats with player performance tracked and assessed on an increasingly granular level. The same should be true in fantasy football. The suggestion that you can't scout players purely based on a spreadsheet is completely fair, but is likely something of a straw man argument as I don't know if anyone really believes that to be true. Equally, you are probably missing out if you think you can glean all the information you need by watching games (or more precisely highlights as the majority of games aren't televised in many regions). This game served a nice reminder that both those one sided views are foolish.

The highlights package would give you much of what you need to know in that Arsenal largely dominated the game but were picked off by a couple of Hull attacks and lacked the clinical edge to convert their own chances into goals. The data does a better job at highlighting that dominance:
  • Arsenal: 25 shots, 16 SiB, 9 SoT, 65% possession
  • Hull: 4 shots, 3 SiB, 4 SoT, 35% possession
However, it would also be dangerous to simply open up the box score, see that Hull scored twice on just four shots on target and conclude that this was simply an anomalous result and if you played it 100 times over, Arsenal would win (with a clean sheet), 99 times. Again, the spirit of that argument is true but seeing the game, you really see that the quality of Arsenal's chances was not good and a large portion of that possession was in areas that Hull effectively conceded.

The familiar cliché of Arsenal trying to "walk the ball into the goal" might seem applicable based on the data but from my viewing I might suggest they would have been better advised taking less shots, with several efforts - particularly in the first half after the equaliser - falling into the "hopeful" rather than "expectant" buckets. We'll get to player specifics in a minute but Cazorla and Chamberlain seemed to be the main offenders here.

It's generally dangerous to place too much stock in tired narratives about goals breeding confidence but in this case, the timing of Hull's equaliser did really seem key as the 10 minutes before and the immediate period after the Arsenal opener saw the home team camped in the final third with a second (and third) goal seeming a mere formality. Once they settled down, Hull did an okay job holding possession when they needed to, with Huddlestone and Diame controlling things quite well in the middle.

I won't go through every player in these wrap ups, but a couple of points stood out as being worthy of comment:

Danny Welbeck
The consensus among fans still seems to be that Welbeck simply isn't good enough but he equipped himself well here and impressed both in terms of effort and ability. Welback made dangerous runs all day and of all the Arsenal players it was he - the newest arrival - who seemed most in tune with his teammates, linking up nicely on several occasions. That ability to bring others into play suggests he should be able to contribute both goals and assists this year, something that cannot be said for some of his comparatively priced peers. He finished the day with five shots (all SiB) and a couple of created chances and was overall good value for his goal and single bonus point. Other good options exist in his price range of course but I'd still be more than happy sticking with the England man during Arsenal's upcoming run of games.

Alexis Sanchez 
This might have been the best Sanchez has played for his new team and he was the best player on the pitch for large portions of the game. Five shots (four in the box) and three created chances underline his attacking threat while his nine penalty box touches and eight dribbles highlight his overall involvement. His goal was great but his assist may have been even better and there's really not too much to say about his production or potential, both of which are predictably excellent. The question is whether his price tag is worth (a) the 0.4-0.7 premium over the two Chelsea options and (b) the 1.5m premium over Ramsey - who returned as a late sub here. With Fabregas' ownership up over 50% and a trickier fixture list on deck, the argument is certainly there to be made, but as always it depends on too many factors to try and sum up in a quick blurb, so we'll leave that for another day.

Santi Cazorla
I don't really know what Cazorla is anymore. Ostensibly a creator, he seems to spend long stretches of games with players running past him and thus not contributing a great deal at either end of the pitch. He ended the game with a lot of touches of the ball (138) and perhaps that's his designed role but then I don't know what that mean for Jack Whilshere who seemed to spend a good amount of this game stepping on Cazorla's toes and gesturing where he thought the Spaniard should be. For the first goal, Wilshere was caught upfield and seemed to expect Cazorla to cover but by the time he did he was stuck behind the powerful Diame and never recovered enough to influence the play. On the second goal Wilshere just simply didn't track Huddlestone - Cazorla was along way away so this must have been miscommunication with someone else - who ran free to chip the ball to Hernandez.

It's perhaps unfair to hold anyone to this standard, but, if you if look at Fabregas and Yaya Toure, it feels like they basically do the job that both WIlshere and Cazorla did here, which frees their teams up to have Oscar/Silva etc play with essentially no responsibility. I don't know if this has any huge impact on fantasy results but it does feel like this Arsenal side are sometimes lacking an extra body going forward and then at the back, often due to the middle men not seeming to commit to either role.

Mohamed Diame
Four goals in five games could well open the floodgates on Diame who has so far apparently gone unnoticed by the masses (2% ownership and a 0.1m decrease in value since his arrival at Hull). As an actual performance I thought he looked great, offering Hull a strong outlet to try and connect the midfield to Hernandez on the rare occasions they were able to hold onto the ball and, of course, he took his goal very nicely indeed. In fantasy terms though he's the classic regression candidate with nine total shots, four SiB and four SoT barely being enough production to support scoring once every eight games nevermind four times. Considering he seems to be fairly secure in the first team and at least offers something going forward he doesn't look like a terrible investment and wouldn't be a player to target selling but there's not enough here to warrant a transfer either unless you're solely look to capitalise on the likely price rise.

Tom Huddlestone
I've been an admirer of Huddlestone for some time but without wanting to sound like a broken record, while the assist was nice it came on literally his only successful pass in the final third and his average position on the pitch was deeper than Per Mertesacker's. His 13 shots for the season suggest he might get the odd goal but with just one from within the box, they're going to be few and far between (SoB are converted at a rate of about 4% across the league). Again, at 5.4m it's hard to be too critical but I'd suggest either going significantly cheaper or trying to sneak into the next price bracket as there just isn't much potential here other than consistent two-pointers.

Summary
This was a fairly entertaining game from a neutral perspective but with a fantasy football hat on, I'm not sure we learned a great deal more than we already knew. Arsenal are a good but not great side and without Ozil and Giroud the team really looks like it will pick itself for the next couple of months. That is perhaps unfair on Cazorla who isn't without quality but you have to think that Walcott, Ramsey and Sanchez will provide the ammunition for Welbeck more often that not with Wilshere pushed deeper and Chamberlain and Cazorla sliding to the bench (we might even see Chamberlain getting more time in the deeper middle role, where he has impressed in short spells). All four of those attacking options - along with the budget Chambers - look ownable and picking between the midfield trio needs a deeper dive than we're performing here.

As for Hull, this probably isn't the best game to judge them on as they were pinned deep for long stretches of the contest, but in their defense, they showed the moments of quality needed to score against a reasonably good backline and should enjoy success against weaker opponents in the future. Individually, while we see snippets of that quality, no one has the underlying data to really support anything more than a speculative pick, especially without too many promising fixtures in the next couple of weeks. Diame, Ben Arfa and Hernandez showed they have enough talent to offer hope though and so this remains a team worth keeping in mind when filling out the bottom end of your fantasy squad.

This week we're going to look at another of my favourite teams to watch (Everton) face off against newly promoted Burnley.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Adopt a Team: Arsenal stats

Even though we're still just seven weeks into the new season, we've already observed a number of interesting and somewhat strange happenings at the Emirates:
  • in terms of underlying data, the defense has been more impressive than the usually explosive attack
  • in terms of actual results though, the defense has struggled with just a single clean sheet to date
  • Wenger did bring in a relatively big name forward - who's looked great so far - yet there still seems to be a feeling that they need more - probably in part due to the success of Diego Costa on the other side of London
  • the team has quietly assembled the best depth they've enjoyed in recent memory yet they've suffered through so many injuries that the average bench has tended to be more Campbell and Coquelin than Giroud and Cazorla
  • Arsenal out shot Chelsea 10 to five and enjoyed more possesion at Stamford Bridge last time out, yet lost the game (their first of the season) and now find themselves nine points behind the league leaders after just seven games

The below chart attempts to quickly summarise the individual games played to date, using SiB +/- as a proxy for success (or failure).1

The good news is that, at least in terms of giving up shots inside the box, Arsenal's defense have performed very well this year with above average performances in every game except one (at Villa in GW5). Indeed, through seven gameweeks, their dSiB% rate of -33% leads the league, as does their suppression of chances created (-36% dCC%). As we saw in the lineup review, this success has come despite not being able to field their first choice back five once this season. With all but Debuchy now healthy (and Chambers filling in admirably for the Frenchman), it's not impossible that much of this defensive success continues and that would surely give rise to increased fantasy returns in the future. Perhaps their goals per shot on target rate will regress a touch - although at 38% it isn't vastly higher than the surprisingly high league rate of 36%. They will almost certainly benefit from a softer fixture list which sees them face Sunderland, Hull and Burnley in the next three gameweeks and no real marguee opponents until a GW17 trip to Liverpool.2

Player targets: Defense
As suggested in the lineup post, defensively it seems Chambers is the obvious play here, based on nothing more than his bargain price tag (he is unfortunately suspended for this week after picking up an incredible five yellow cards in six starts). Before we commit to that though, let's take a quick look at the attacking potential of the Arsenal players to date:

The chart shows absolute threat rather than that on a per game basis, so playing time needs to be kept in mind, but in short, no one here is really standing out and in fact, it's the bargain Chambers who's offered the best threat to date, thanks to his solid number of created chances.

Player targets: midfield and forwards
Despite professing an admiration for Arsenal and especially the work of Wenger, I haven't had the chance to see too many of their games this season so as I began this deeper dive into their season to date, I had some expectations that Ramsey would be a player I might need to highlight as not having the supporting stats to support his production. It's not that he isn't a good player, of course, but that centrally deployed role for a midfielder who doesn't take set pieces or penalties can sometimes lead to a lot of touches of the ball but ultimately not a great deal of production. That's not the case for Ramsey though, who has offered the best goal scoring threat in this team - by a distance - while giving as good as anyone in terms of generating assists. Sanchez and Ozil obviously get into those dangerous wide positions more often, racking up 28 and 27 crosses to date to Ramsey's nine, but considering the Welshman has matched them in terms of created chances suggests his potential may even be higher with his passes being more likely to be converted. With Ozil out for several months and Sanchez coming in at a 1.5m premium, Ramsey looks like a perfect candidate to buy back into when he's healthy, especially now that his injury has deflated his once sky high ownership.

Though he's further down the threat ratings to date, the reviews of Welbeck have been complimentary so far and at least per the highlights he seems to have hit the ground running. 13 shots, 10 SiB and five SoT is a reasonable return for four starts and a couple of brief cameos, making Welbeck and intriguing option at just 7.3m. He isn't likely to compete with the Aguero or Diego Costa class of forward, but in his price range he just needs beat out the likes of Pelle, Ulloa, Cisse and Sakho in order to be a relevant fantasy starter. Let's take a look at where he ranks compared to some of his peers to date:

This time we've gone with per game data to allow for better comparability and we see that Welbeck is fairly well placed among both his comparably priced peers and is at least competitive among the more expensive options (scroll the price slider to the right to see Diego Costa, Sergio Aguero et al). Starting this week with Hull, Arsenal have a nice run of games, making Welbeck an intriguing option, although a slight ankle injury makes him something of a risk for this week. With Giroud sidelined, he seems to offer an appealing combination of job security, excellent supporting cast and high upside, which for 7.3m is a package hard to ignore.

Summary
In summary, this Arsenal side hasn't been vintage to date and their shot production is only upper-mid table rather than elite. However, they are creating chances and have looked relatively sharp with Welbeck in the side and there's still reason to think there's more to come. Based on the stats to date, Chambers, Ramsey and Welbeck jump out as the best options at each position but there are plenty of other options to consider, none more so than Sanchez who has looked very good in spells so far this season. I look forward to matching some of the stats with the actual on field performance tomorrow.


1. As a quick reminder, SiB +/- quantifies the percentage of shots inside the box generated or surrendered by a team above or below the opponents' average. So if Chelsea normally concede six SiB and Arsenal manage eight against them, their aSiB +/- would be 33%, representing a 33% premium over the average. Defensively, the idea is the same but a minus number is the sign of a good team as they suppress shot totals compared to the average result.
2. I am half kidding about the exclusion of Man Utd in GW12 there. There's a perception that the team is terrible defensively but can score at will if they want but with an aSiB +/- of -23% on the road, I'll need to see more before I buy into that particular narrative