Simon Says: Premiums v spreading cash, Kane > Kun and can Salah/Sterling keep it up?

In this weeks series, I will be having a closer look at whether Kane to Agüero for the next 3 gameweeks really is a good idea, I’ll have my say on whether premium is best or is spreading the cash a better strategy and I’ll be exploring who’s more likely to regress in form between Salah and Sterling 

First of all, let me extend my thanks to all of the people who responded to my tweet asking for your questions, unfortunately, I will only be picking 3 from the bunch each week, unless I feel the article needs a bit more substance.

So, this week’s winners are:

  1. Who Got The Assist (Tom)
  2. Paul Roukey
  3. Dave from Burnley

Kane to Agüero for the next 3? 

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When it came to the first Kanexit, I was firmly against it and advocated to anyone asking, that it wasn’t a good idea in my opinion, but the situation is slightly different this time around.

In Kanexit 1, most were thinking of getting rid and did get rid of him ahead of 2 fairly decent fixtures before the blank, which were Saints at Wembley and then Burnley away.

To be completely honest, I actually couldn’t see big returns in those 2 games and I wasn’t expecting big returns, but at the same time, I know how devastating he can be so I held and as was proved, he netted 2 hat-tricks.

The fixtures this time around are much harder for Spurs, with United up next at Wembley, then a trip to Liverpool and then Arsenal at Wembley, whilst Agüero has WBA next at home, then Burnley away and another home game against Leicester.

Now, I think we can sometimes be guilty of allowing the colour coding to affect our thinking, for example, we see 3 red fixtures coming up next for Kane and without even actually looking at who those teams are, we’re blinded by the colour RED and we automatically think ‘BAD’ or ‘extremely difficult’ when we see the colour red in the context of FPL and fixtures.

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The problem is, FPL haven’t actually identified what ‘difficulty’ means in the context of their FDR rating system.

Is it not possible that it could have a few different connotations for people?

For example, it could mean to one person, ‘how winnable that particular fixture is to the team’ and it could mean, ‘how easy it is for said teams players to return FPL points’ to someone else.

My point is, without that absolute definition, people can become lost in it and make decisions based on essentially false information like a difficulty rating of 4/5 for Arsenal, yet we all know Kane’s incredible goal scoring record against them and not just that, but Spurs beat Liverpool 4-1 earlier in the year and Kane scored a brace in that game.

United is the one out of the 3 I’m not sure about with Mourinho’s defensive tactics in big games, but even so, United lost 2-1 to them last year and Kane scored in that game, so despite the perceived difficulty of the fixture, he still scored in the same fixture last year and there’s no reason he can’t do it again this year.

So yes, for Spurs to win those games, they are difficult, but does it also mean that it’s that difficult for Kane to return us FPL points? Well no, not really.

Agüero could well score more than him in the next 3 and I’m braced for that eventuality, but I’m not entirely convinced it will be by the huge margin people are expecting it to be and I’m not willing to lose out on £0.3m to find out, especially seeing as Agüero long-term isn’t even worth consideration at his price when Jesus comes back.

Buy premium or spread cash, which is better?  

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I’m a firm advocate of overall balance when it comes to FPL and that typically means trying to find the best blend of the cheaper value assets, middle-priced/solid performing assets and premium assets.

I think it’s strategically wise, especially with the emergence of wing backs and Alonso in particular, that you try to have at least one of the most expensive players in each of the DEF, MID and FWD categories.

I say this because when it comes to making transfers, you are much more flexible as, if you need to drop the expensive asset, you can virtually pick anyone you want in one fell swoop, rather than having to make 2/3 transfers to raise the cash – it’s much easier to buy down, than buy up, if that makes sense.

So from the start, if you set yourself up that way, you can stay flexible to the market and adjust yourself accordingly to the form of players with minimal effort.

Once the season is in full swing and you have all the information, then you need to assess what bringing in another premium-priced player like Sánchez does to YOUR team.

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For me personally, I’d be losing Alli to get Sánchez and I have Choupo-Moting (PPM = 16.3, 5th highest value player for the season in the midfield category) where Arnautovic was, so for me, I think it’s worth it, but the move is different for others.

You need to specifically look at what X, Y and Z could give you over a certain period against what Sánchez + others could over that same period and weigh up in your own mind if you think it’s worth it.

With premium-priced players, they are usually captain-able players, so it’s worth considering how often you might captain that player over the other players in your team that you’d captain if you weren’t bringing someone like Sánchez in.

So the answer really depends on what the season throws at you. You need to stay adaptable and react in accordance with how the season moves. Rather than moving too far left (premium-priced players) or right (spreading the cash all the way through your team), stay down the middle (balance of both) and move out left or right as and when you need to.

Salah or Sterling to regress? 

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I did touch on this slightly in the captain metric article for the week.

The results were quite surprising – if you watched Sterling live, you wouldn’t of thought much had changed, but the stats over the last 4 gameweeks suggest something entirely different;

When you look at his underlying stats recently, there is definitely a regression in his output, with him only managing 6 goal attempts in the last 4 gameweeks and him registering less penalty area touches (11) than Sané (32), Agüero (31), KDB (13) and even David Silva (13).

Sterling has only played 278 minutes out of a possible 360, but David Silva has only played 180 minutes in that time, so it is slightly worrying.

Not only that, but Manchester City have regressed recently in terms of their underlying attacking stats too, now ranking 5th for both the number of big chances they’ve created over the last 4 games, as well as for shots inside the box, where previously they were ranked 1st or 2nd.

Salah on the other hand, has not regressed in terms of his underlying stats in the last 4 gameweeks, with him registering more goal attempts (18) than any other player, including Agüero (17) and Harry Kane (17).

He’s also had the most big chances (6) of any player in the PL too over that time.

Adding to that, Liverpool as an attacking force, are still up there in terms of goal attempts and big chances created, seconded only to Spurs for those two stats over the last 4 gameweeks.

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Liverpool’s fixtures until the end of the season
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Manchester City’s fixtures until the end of the season

Add, that Liverpool’s fixtures are still strong all the way until the end of the season in comparison to City’s, who are tough after the WBA game until GW34 with the exception of the Stoke and Brighton games, and you start to get a picture.

So in answer to the question, with Sterling, we’re already seeing it and with those PL fixtures as well as the threat UCL could provide in terms of rotation, he could actually be dispensable.

Salah however, is a different animal and there doesn’t seem to be any regression on the horizon for him. My logical mind keeps saying, ‘there’s no way he can keep this up’, but then he goes and returns again, but the law of averages would say that at some point, he will regress, but my opinion is that the regression won’t be huge, it will just be slight.

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