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Andersen, Guehi and Johnstone: Why Crystal Palace Assets Should be on Your FPL Radar

Andersen, Guehi and Johnstone: Why Crystal Palace Assets Should be on Your FPL Radar

Even the most prolific long timers in the Fantasy Premier League can often fall under the illusions of dazzle. The high-value players of the big teams are always enticing options, particularly with the rise in the number of players partaking in the game. These players from top clubs often form the core template and straying away from notions of popularity takes guts if things start going south.

At the same time playing with the same tactics and players as everyone else will only go so far. Similar to the happenings of life popular notions are safe but a conservative approach won’t necessarily push the barriers to excellence. It is then the primary task to understand when to go with the herd and when to separate. The injuries to Reece James along with insecurity of minutes over players like Gabriel might be the heralding of such an opportunity. Alternative options other than Rico Henry, like the likes of Gusto, fail to inspire much confidence.

Fantasy managers starting the season with Salah will be scratching their heads if keeping the Egyptian is worth his value for a few more game weeks, given with further drop in ownership. The best midfielder in the game is now a serious differential. They will be scrapping the barrel for a few million to upgrade other fires in the team. Pickford owners at the same time will be in likely search of a new man between the sticks. If not now surely in the weeks to come if the England international’s performances and FPL points don’t improve.

Data at the start of the season is often viewed with a grain of salt. The small sample size as is often the case at the beginning can skew narratives to form biased opinions. Roy Hodgson arrived at Crystal Palace for his second season in charge twelve games in the Premier League ago. This period is enough to provide substantial data. Eight games are usually the considered threshold for forming opinions based on data.

While on eye test Palace may have looked more rejuvenated as a side from an attacking perspective under Hodgson. As a defensive unit, the Eagles sit above the likes of Manchester City in the data table. This was a consistent highlight while judging Sam Johnstone’s number ever since he got the starting shirt of Palace. These numbers were often seen with a possibility of fear, they won’t be continued in the new season. Two games in, Crystal Palace has continued to play with a solid shape at the back.

In twelve games, they have only conceded twelve goals, with 8.83 shots conceded per ninety, the lowest in the division, with an xG conceded of 0.95 and an xG non-penalty conceded of 0.75. All these numbers are the best in the division. They are both in terms of actual performance and data the best defensive unit in the league currently. For context, Manchester City sits fourth in this table having conceded twelve goals as well, with a higher xG conceded of 1.26 and xG non-penalty conceded of 1.19. Arsenal are seventh, just below Liverpool who are in turn below Manchester United in the fifth spot. The much popular Chelsea have been the source of all our discussions going into the week sitting eleventh on this table having conceded twenty-three goals in the twelve-game periods. They have conceded 12.54 shots per ninety, an xG conceded of 1.64, and a non-penalty xG conceded of 1.52. Rico Henry’s Brentford is ninth in this table.

The caveat to this table, with Palace being sound defensively, Sam Johnstone as a keeper does not have many saves to make. The lowest shots conceded per ninety in the division indicate Johnstone will largely be depending on clean sheets to provide points. In that regard, the twelve goals conceded in twelve games provide evidence depending on clean sheets outside of save points for returns is a viable option.

If Johnstone does provide ten to twelve clean sheets over the season, he will be the best budget option keeper for this campaign. Clean sheets, after all, are the main source of points for defenders. The simple rule FPL managers often tend to forget with a tendency to chase scoring defenders. Wingbacks outside of Chilwell seem to be less attacking compared to their performances about a couple of seasons back. Reece James for now should have to ideally play three games in a row without getting injured to become an option again in FPL.

Joachim Andersen, outside of the Palace keeper remains the best defender of the Eagles with little attacking threat. Emphasis should be on the word little. There is a dependency he provides that is perhaps more an accurate barometer for his value for money. Saliba has little to no attacking threat historically barring the assist he got at the opening game this season. At half a million less in price than him or a million less than the likes of Shaw, or James, Anderson can be the perfect fourth defender for any team. Playing when required, providing six points, and that’s it.

Brentford plays Crystal Palace next at home. While on paper it might seem an obvious fixture for Mbeumo to haul. It might not be that easy of a game. Mbeumo had a tap-in and two goals from the spot, arguably both soft penalties. There is every chance this game could be decided by a single goal. For managers not currently on either can wait for a week or put in other fires before breaking up the team sheet to bring either of them in.