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Tips: Why Midfielders Hold the Key to Maximizing FPL Points

Tips: Why Midfielders Hold the Key to Maximizing FPL Points

The start of another season of the Premier League is nearby. Teams are playing their last rounds of pre-season matches with nearly almost every player back in the squads after a long summer break. For FPL managers this is a crucial time to gain information in making their final drafts. This article will aim to cover Fantasy Premier League tips to maximize points at the start of the campaign highlighting midfield assets.

What do the stats indicate over the past five seasons? 

There was the prevalence last season for many Fantasy managers for going big at the back, which means spending heavily on defense. The plan seemed justified at the time with many managers opting to play with wingbacks. The defender pool consisted of players like Alexander-Arnold and James and Cancelo, Robertson bombing forward, and Doherty along with the new arrivals of Trippier and Perisic. How did the plan then fare in the course of the campaign?

The Defense:  

The big at-the-back policy was followed largely in part due to the explosive campaign defenders had in general in the 21/22 season. Statistically, 156 goals were scored from the defense that year accompanied by 232 assists. The most in the previous five seasons, for context in the 20/21 campaign the number was 137 goals and 193 assists, and in the 19/20 season goals from defense were 120 along with 209 assists. The season of 18/19 saw the assists numbers closest to the 21/22 season from defense, 226, with 132 goals.

Last season, therefore, was precisely set up for defenders and FPL managers alike to benefit from attacking outputs. There were 1242 shots in the box, only 2nd in number to 21/22 campaign in the last five years. That year the number was 1346. However, the goals and assists number fell massively to be the lowest registered in the five campaigns being discussed here.

Only 109 goals along with 180 assists, the number was of course the result of what became a general theme of the campaign. Liverpool struggled along with Alexander-Arnold, Robertson playing in a back three, followed by the injury of Reece James with Chilwell being ever present in the opposition half but Chelsea failed to capitalize on the chances he was creating. Cancelo left midway for Bayern Munich. The defensive numbers were given some usual parity by Tripper. He was in everyone’s team hardly creating much of a difference.

In the 21/22 campaign, three players registered double assist numbers, Alexander-Arnold (12) the most, followed by Robertson (11), and Cancelo, (11). James finished fourth with 9 assists. Last season only Alexander-Arnold registered assist numbers in double figures (11). Trippier had 9 assists. The big at-the-back policy was then a somewhat messy disaster.

It would be wrong to assume however to completely ditch any premium defenders and go for five 4.5m assets. The 18/19, 19/20, and 22/23 seasons saw the final clean sheet numbers at the end of game week 38 was 207. The likes of Alexander-Arnold and Chilwell and Stones and Gabriel, the popular defenders so far will be expected to do well.

The way to build the defense perhaps going into game week 1 is not to invest the major portion of the budget there. Rather be somewhere in moderation. 

The men at the front:

Strikers had a continued sorry trend last season, perhaps a trend not only ongoing in Fantasy Premier League but at large in world football in general. Minutes played by strikers upfront in 22/23 were 69,333. The lowest in the last five campaigns, this number has only seen a decline each season. It was 77,569 in the year 21/22 and 79,800 in the season before that.

There were a cumulative 4,010 points scored by the strikers less than half of what the defenders had acquired in a disappointing outing last time. The defenders scored 9,937 points. There were only 314 goals scored across the campaign, the second-lowest number in the past five years. The lowest was the season before that, a meager 276 goals in an entire season. 

Kane is likely Bayern bound and Toney has been slapped with an eight-month suspension. A possibility of the same tale continuing in the days to come seems quite realistic unless someone most likely the likes of Watkins and Wilson puts their hand up. Oh, by the way, Calvert Lewin is already struggling for fitness.

Finally, yes the midfielders:

This long thorough observation till now brings the midfielders into the spotlight. Perhaps again continuing the discussion from what is discussed under the strikers’ segment. These numbers might highlight a trend in world football and not only FPL with managers opting more and more towards approaches without a proper number 9 forward in general. 

Compared to the 69,333 minutes played throughout the season by the forwards, midfielders accumulated a total of 334,926 minutes in the season gone by. The most minutes in the previous five campaigns. The 21/22 season saw the men in the middle rack up playing time of 314,542 minutes and in the season before that, 320,996 minutes. The 19/20 campaign saw playing time season numbers of 310,344 and in 18/19 309,984 minutes. Midfielders had the most playing minutes in comparison to certainly the forwards and also the defense.

Fantasy points accumulated last season were 14,952, again the most in the five previous years. 13,999 points were scored in the 21/22 season while 14,008 points in 20/21 and 13,544 and 13,378 in 19/20 and 18/19 seasons respectively.

Minutes per shot in the shot dipped under 100 minutes, 97.5 minutes for the first time in the last five campaigns. The closest was the season before that, 100.6 minutes per chance created. Goals scored were 614, almost double the number managed by forwards, and yes, no prizes in guessing the most in the past five campaigns. This number has seen a steady rise in the last four years. The 19/20 campaign had a total of 478 goals followed by 527 in 20/21 and 600 in 21/22. The assist chart is also a showcase of similarities. 596 assists over the campaign last time out. The season of 20/21 registered the closest before that with 537 assists. 21/22 saw the total final numbers end at 533 assists.

Other relevant details like shots in the box and shots again register similarly. There were 3436 shots in the box last season and 5767 shots, the most in the past five. Both the numbers have increased steadily with each season bettering the previous one. The 21/22 season registered 3127 shots in the box along with 5582 shots. There were 5182 shots in the season 20/21, before that with 2840 shots in the box.

The picture is now probably getting very clear. Chances created 4740 and big chances created were 770, again the most. Again with a steady rise in comparison to each season before, 4414 chances were created in the 21/22 campaign along with 609 big chances created.

The numbers indicate such an enormous slanting favor towards the midfielders that it might prompt the people working at the FPL towers with some much-necessary thoughts if indeed players like Mo Salah must be listed as forwards in the game to make things more balanced. Surely if he is listed as a forward in the game, the Egyptian will have disgruntlement about the fact. He is a midfielder as he says and not a forward.

The numbers, therefore, are not only indicative of where FPL points will most likely maximize. It is a clear indication of world football at the moment. Any formation outside 3-5-2 or 4-5-1 for game week 1 will probably fall into the category of naivety. It also results in the problem of flexibility with surely a soon enough need to go five midfielders as the season rolls if gone otherwise for FPL managers. While outside Haaland every forward in the game is a cause for debate, there are so many midfield options that a certain Mo Salah has almost become a differential.