FPL Penalty Takers
The focus after FPL GW03 is on penalties. We look at what is happening and how to adapt to that in FPL.
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What has changed?
A few very contentious penalties have already been awarded in the Premier League so far this season and the penalty conversion rate has thus far been exceptional.
Two major rule changes have contributed to this:
A new interpretation of the handball law was introduced at the beginning of this season. Under these new rules, a player will be penalised for handball if:
- The hand/arm is clearly away from the body and outside the “body line” .
- The player clearly leans into the path of the ball.
- The ball travels some distance.
- The ball touches a hand/arm that is clearly raised above the shoulder.
- The player falls and the hand/arm is extended laterally or vertically away from the body.
- A deflection clearly makes no difference to the ball touching a hand/arm that is clearly extended away from the body and/or above the shoulder
To put in layman terms, the “intention” of the player is no longer relevant. So long as the ball strikes the the offending player’s hand/arm, a foul is committed, as clearly illustrated by Eric Dier’s injury-time transgression against Newcastle on GW03:
#2: Penalty kick (Goalkeeper)
Another stricter enforcement is the below section of FIFA law 14 on penalty kicks”
When the ball is kicked, the defending goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot touching, or in line with, the goal line.
This season, this is enforced by VAR, which leaves very little room for error for goalkeepers. David de Gea has already fallen foul to this:
Basically, this makes it difficult for goalkeepers to get a jumping start to reach spot kicks which are placed well into corners.
How much has changed?
Statistically, it increased the number of penalties awarded. By GW03, 20 penalties have been awarded to 13 different teams. Leicester City have been the biggest beneficiary with 5 and Jamie Vardy has netted 4.
To put this into perspective, a total of 471 penalties have been awarded in the Premier League over the last 5 seasons about 95 per season. The season is barely 10% through and the number of penalties awarded is around 20% of the average.
In terms of conversion rate, this season’s success rate is 95%. Historically, the conversion rate in the Premier League is ~75% – a marked 20% increase.
What should I do?
Unless we see a mid-season rule interpretation change, FPL managers can expect 2 things:
- There would be a lot more penalties awarded, up to an average of 7-8 per GW
- The success rate will remain high for penalty takers
Both points translate to this – penalty takers for their respective clubs will add more to their goal tally.
Who takes penalty kicks?
(correct as at 6th OCT)
|Penalty Takers this season||Penalties Taken||Penalties Scored||Expected Penalty Taker|
|Brighton and Hove Albion||Maupay||2||2||Maupay, Gross|
|Burnley||0||0||Barnes, Wood, Rodriguez|
|Crystal Palace||Zaha, Ayew*||1||1||Zaha, Milivojevic|
|Leicester City||Vardy, Tielemans||5||5||Vardy, Tielemans|
|Manchester City||De Bruyne||1||1||De Bruyne|
|Manchester United||Bruno Fernandes||2||2||Bruno Fernandes, Rashford|
|Newcastle United||Wilson||2||2||Ritchie, Wilson|
|Sheffield United||Lundstram||1||0||Norwood, Lundstram|
|West Bromwich Albion||0||0||Pereira|
|West Ham United||0||0||Noble, Antonio|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||0||Raul Jimenez|
*Ayew’s kick was re-taken
Who are the top picks?
It appears that Vardy is a clear choice. Leicester will continue to earn penalties they way they play and Vardy has a high chance to convert them. He scored 23 goals last season and he is already on 5 goals now after 3 games.
On a broader scale of things, we expect that more attacking teams are likely to get more penalties as the season progresses. The logic is simple – the more attacking teams are more likely to spend more time in the opposition box and hence ever more likely to have penalty calls in their favour.
With that, you should definitely pick penalty takers over others, especially if they are of the same price.
A clearer picture emerges between the below choices in the exact price range:
- Mo Salah VS Sadio Mane
- Kevin de Bruyne VS Raheem Sterling
If this is a straight race for goals, expect Salah and KDB to have the clear advantage.
Elsewhere, things also get clearer when it comes to budget picks. Aleksander Mitrovic, Mateusz Kilch and Neal Maupay stands out.
Jorginho and John Lundstram have taken spot kicks but there may be complications. Jorginho may not continue to be a regular starter given Chelsea’s erratic start to the season and Norwood appears to be Sheff Utd’s first choice when he is on the pitch.
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