Wednesday 12 December 2012

Using the Football - Fulham's Forwards

I'm having my own personal debate about whether Dimitar Berbatov is worth keeping on my team, and indeed if he is ever a valid captain options other other elite options.  He's obviously highly rated by my projection model.  There's been a few topics on this subject, here on Premier League Fantasy Blog and over here at Fantasy Football Scout.  A lot of the discussion is about Ruiz and whether Berbatov's individual form has suffered without him.  I must admit I had formed my own opinion on the matter (which was yes, he has) and begun the analysis below before reading either of these posts.  I've decided to post this anyway to add my own thoughts to the mix.

I decided to take a slightly different and new approach to this by examining how each of Fulham's four forwards use the football in their opponent's half - how well do they keep possession and do they tend to shoot or create?  They key measures are:
  • Shots on Target - this is the only thing (stat-wise) a player can do to score a goal.
  • Key Pass (aka Chances Created) - a pass to another player from which they have an attempt at scoring
  • Successful Pass - erm, a successful pass
  • Shot off target - not a bad thing necessarily but ultimately this is lost possession
  • Lost Possession - either a unsuccessful pass or dribble.
For each of these and for each player I have normalised the above five values by the number of passes received.  So, if Petric received 10 passes, how often did he pass to another player, compared to having a shot himself or lose possession?


This chart tells me a couple of important things about Ruiz and Berbatov.  Ruiz is the player on Fulham's front line most likely to create something for his team mates.  His Key Pass % is the highest of the four.  He is also the most likely Fulham player to retain possession.  Petric and Rodallega have the opposite playstyle of Ruiz. Both shoot more often than they create a chance, and both lose more ball possession , Rodallega especially.  

Berbatov is in the middle of the four, and to me, what this means is that without Ruiz in the team Berbatov has to create more chances for the others, and gets less chance created for himself, plus the team overall will not retain posession up front without Ruiz.

Conclusion:  Berbatov misses Ruiz. I thought he would have been due back for the last weekend from Martin Jol's comments but have out worringly for a further 4 weeks.  On FPL he has an unknown return date.   This does not mean to say Berbatov is a bad option at his price and with his upcomign fixtures but he is certainly should not be expected to flourish as much as I had projected.

1 comment:

  1. Like the visual and the green / red contrast makes it easy to see who is producing what. Berbatov is definitely having to fill Ruiz's as the creative attacking midfielder. Since Ruiz has been hurt, Berb has seen more of the ball in the opponent's half (his touch and pass received numbers have gone up) but less of the ball in the penalty area. He's had far fewer shots but equivalent chances created. He's become more of a false 9 rather than a true striker.

    With that said, he remains a viable option especially at his price. This week, he was all over the attacking third against Newcastle, with 4 chances created, 5 penalty box touches, 4 shots (2 on target) and 3 shots in the box. Those are fine numbers for a 7 million forward and compare favorably to others in his range like Lambert, Kone, and Giroud.

    I was actually a bit heartened by the Newcastle game this week and will be giving Berbatov at least one more week to prove himself.