Leafy Dragon’s Half Dozen: Gameweek 1 Picks
By Matthew Milton aka @LeafyDragon_FPL
Ahoy there, shipmates! It’s me, @LeafyDragon_FPL (Matt), here again to manipulate data to my advantage better than Donald Trump during a COVID-19 press conference.
All jokes aside, thank you to all those who read my introductory article, previewing my shots in the box: player v opposition metric and I appreciate the support from this fantastic community.
Drink Up Me Hearties, Yo Ho
Let’s set sail then and begin our voyage towards the best shot merchants, who are ready to pounce on the most lily-livered defences that Gameweek 1 has to offer…
Six: Mohamed Salah (£12m) v LEE (a)
Obvious pick alert! However, the ranking of him is perhaps a surprise considering he is; a) the joint highest priced asset in the game and b) playing a newly promoted side. Mo didn’t seem to have a blistering end to the season (that miss against Chelsea 😱) but he seemed to be constantly in the box being his greedy little Mo Salah self (23 shots in the box in the last 6 games). The interesting factor here are his opponents. Leeds United finished their terrific season with six wins in a row, in which they kept 4 clean sheets. Leeds only conceded 53 shots in total in those final six games (for context, that’s one shot less than Crystal Palace allowed in their box alone). The standard of opponent can be questioned, although it’s a fact that Leeds are a well drilled, tenacious unit under Marcelo Bielsa. Salah’s aSITB:PvO score is an acceptable but uninspiring 6.33. It won’t be easy for him but Salah’s shots in the box alone sees him make it into my half dozen.
Five: Michail Antonio (£6.5m) v NEW (h)
As a Newcastle United fan, it pains me to say that they are among the worst for conceding shots in the box, conceding 64 in the last 6 games of 2019/20, and I see that issue continuing or, in fact, worsening. Antonio was an incredibly popular asset in those final stages and amassed a total of 21 shots in the box. His aSITB:PvO score is an impressive 7:08. Unfortunately, West Ham have been condemned to a difficult beginning to the new season but, in Newcastle, they have a great opportunity to get points on the board, at home, early.
Notable mentions in this fixture: Soucek (aSITB:PvO – 6.33)
Four: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£12m) v FUL (a)
Please feel free to compose yourself after the shocking news that, 22 goals a season, Aubameyang is a very good option, especially when playing, newly promoted, Fulham. Fulham managed to gain promotion back to the Premier League last season and instantly flicked a switch in all FPL managers’ minds as they recalled the comedy sketch of a defensive display in their last PL season. In the final 6 games of the Championship season, Fulham conceded 75 shots at goal in total. Aubameyang had a shot in the box 11 times in the final 6 games of his season, not bad for a midfielder (wink, wink). A aSITB:PvO score of 7.17 is enough to make the half dozen but it’s perhaps surprising that he isn’t higher up on my list.
Notable mentions in this fixture: Willian (aSTIB:PvO – 7.00), Mitrovic (aSITB:PvO – 6.83).
Three: Hakim Ziyech (£8m) v BHA (a)
(Please be fit, please be fit) This guy, based on his shot data from his final games at Ajax, coupled with Brighton’s generosity to give shots away in the box, make for a very interesting option at £8m. I will be very honest with you, I have not watched Ziyech play. However, what I have learned from stats and podcast research is that he is a very hungry, selfish and shot friendly player, who does well to get into the right positions. In his final 6 games in Eredivisie, he had a total of 17 shots. Brighton conceded the highest number of shots in the box in the final 6 games of any Premier League club with 77. When these numbers went into the “shots in the box – ometer”, it’s no surprise that it’s granted Ziyech a very promising score of 7.83. Notable mentions in the fixture: Pulisic 🚑 (aSITB:PvO – 7.50)
Two: Timo Werner (£9.5m) v BHA (a)
He’s in many, many drafts and, as is a theme of the forwards in FPL this season, I believe he’s under-priced. As of writing the article, he is THE standout signing of the summer window so far (Messi anyone?) and it will be interesting to see if he can adjust to life in the Premier League as quickly as those who have come before him from the Bundesliga such as Firmino, De Bruyne, Dzeko and Joelinton (insert laugh here). Werner left the Bundesliga in a burst of flames, contributing 4 goals and one assist in his final 6 games. In that time, he managed 18 shots in total. As stated previously, Brighton were peppered in their box more than a spicy chicken order in a Chinese takeaway. 77 shots were enjoyed in Brighton’s box in those final 6 games and apart from the departure of Shane Duffy and the (possible) emergence of Ben White, there’s nothing to suggest that theme will change. Werner has a aSITB:PvO score of 7.92. His current ownership of 43.2% (omfg) would suggest many believe he will start with a bang or at least a sizzle.
One: Jamie Vardy (£10m) v WBA (a)
Two words (just like my Wolfpack application) – criminally overlooked. With 16.6% ownership, last season’s top scorer is my star pick of the half dozen for GW1. Say what you want about the plight of Leicester’s transfer window, the sale of Ben Chilwell and their defensive injuries, if Leicester score, there’s a 34.3% chance that Vardy scored it (he scored 34.3% of Leicester’s league goals in 2019/20). Vardy finished the season well with 4 goals in his final 6 games and had 24 shots in the box, the highest of all players. He plays West Brom, another newbie, although they have been here before (boing boing). They had a little wobble near the end of the season, which saw them nearly lose their automatic promotion spot. Other than the impending signing of Diangana, there doesn’t seem much to be wowed by in terms of recruitment from The Baggies. In their final six games, they allowed a whopping 89 shots at goal. They kept 2 clean sheets. All these shots considered, means that Vardy’s aSITB:PvO score is 9.42. Captain material.
If you have made it this far then I wish you the very best for GW1. I like YOU the best. As always, I really appreciate feedback and discussion around the picks I have given out. Likewise, if you have a player in mind who you are shocked hasn’t made the half dozen then hit me up on twitter and I’ll happily have a discussion and tell you why I am right and you are wrong.
Until next time,
Matt 🌿🐲 @LeafyDragon_FPL