Leafy Dragon’s Half Dozen: Gameweek 20 Picks

By Matthew Milton aka @LeafyDragon_FPL

Ahoy! Welcome to another addition of my half dozen picks for the next GW, based on shots in the box data for both player and upcoming opponent.

The double gameweek proved very successful for my FPL team however I had a poor outcome for my half dozen selections, except my Manchester City picks. If you missed it, here’s how it went down.

6️⃣ Sadio Mane – 5pts

5️⃣ Roberto Firmino – 3pts

4️⃣ Tomas Soucek – 4pts

3️⃣ Raheem Sterling – 11pts

2️⃣ Kevin De Bruyne – 7pts

1️⃣ Ilkay Gundogan – 18pts

So, we move on towards GW20, which is a very quick turnaround; the deadline is Tuesday.

Six: Ollie Watkins (£6.1m) v BUR (a)

Ollie Watkins has 7 goals to his name this season and is really doing well in this Aston Villa side, who play some delightful football at times. Fresh from getting a goal against Newcastle United, Watkins plays a Burnley side, who have conceded the fourth highest amount of shots in the box in the last six games (56). Although, it’s worth noting that Burnley have only conceded 4 goals from those shots and those games included Liverpool and Manchester United. Watkins has had the joint highest amount of shots in the box of all players (joint with Vardy, Benteke and Trezeguet). Will Nick Pope stop Watkins scoring in consecutive games for the second time this season?

Five: Sadio Mane (£11.8m) v TOT (a)

Liverpool have seemed really off the pace at the moment with no goal, in the league, in 4 games and are fresh from a FA Cup defeat against Man Utd. At least they scored, twice. Although Sadio has struggled to find the back of the net (2 in the last 6), he has managed to get 14 shots in the box (third highest for midfielders) and an xG of 1.89. He takes on Spurs who are having a fantastic season, thanks in no small part to Kane and Son. Spurs have allowed a total of 61 shots in the box, which is surprising as it is second only to West Brom as the most shots in the box conceded in the last 6 games. They have kept just one clean sheet in those 6 games. I’m backing Mane to fight through what could be an attempted Mourinho Masterclass.

Four: Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) v WBA (h)

Since gameweek 11, Sterling has steadily provided FPL points. He has averaged 6.5pts a game. Is that enough for a player, who costs £11.5m, in one of the best teams in the league? I’m not sure. Sterling has had 9 shots in the box in his last 6 games, the same number as Raphinha, Bertrand Traore and Harvey Barnes. Although, it’s not the number of Raheem’s shots that puts him in my half dozen. It’s the team he is playing. West Brom have been the “shots in the box bitches”, since the beginning of the season. In their last six, they’ve conceded the most shots in the box (67), the most goals (17), the most attempts outside the box (41) and have the highest xGC (12.39). Manchester City have won ten games in a row in all competitions and I can see Sterling helping City make it eleven, on Tuesday.

Three: Roberto Firmino (£9.3m) v TOT (a)

I will be brutally honest, I am not a fan of this pick. The “shots in the box – ometer” has spurted this out due to the 16 shots in the box Firmino has had in his last 6 games (second highest of all players). Firmino also has the third highest xGI for strikers in the same period (3.38). Like Mane, he plays against a Spurs team, who have shown some defensive frailty recently. Firmino has 4 goals and 1 assist in 10 appearances against Tottenham. I expect a reaction from Liverpool this week (I’ve been saying this for weeks) and there’s every chance Firmino is involved in the action.

Two: Phil Foden (£6.3m) v WBA (h)

In the last 7 games that Foden has started, across all competitions, he has scored 5 goals and assisted twice. For those good at maths, that’s 7 goals involvements in his 7 starts. With KDB sidelined, there’s a chance Foden is given the chance to play CAM. Against West Brom, who have a tendancy to allow shots on goal (see above), Foden looks like he may grasp his chance to earn a starting place, when KDB returns from injury. Foden has had 11 shots in the box in his last 6 games, which coupled with West Brom’s leaky defence, means that Foden could get on the scoresheet, on Tuesday.

One: Ilkay Gundogan (£5.5m) v CRY (h) & AVL (h)

Second GW in a row for Ilkay as my number one pick. Gundogan provided big time for his owners in the DGW, with two goals. Gundogan has now had 13 shots in the box in the last 6 games, more than any other City player. 7 of those 13 shots have been on target and he has beaten the keeper 4 times. He appears in the form of his life and what better team to play than Sam Allardyce’s West Brom, who are yet to keep a clean sheet under his tenure. Furthermore, they have conceded 2+ goals in 6 of the 7 games he has taken charge in all competitions. 

I hope this has given you some food for thought before making those GW20 transfers.

Until next time,

Matt 🌿🐲 @LeafyDragon_FPL