Do players get a FPL assist for winning a penalty? Short answer: Yes if subsequent kick was scored, but not always.
For FPL managers close to the finer points of the game, it has always been noted that the FPL assists column do not always tally with official assists as tabulated by the official Premier League.
The difference has typically been this – FPL has always been more generous in awarding assists to players. Here we analyze a question which may have actively surfaced on after GW07-GW08 – when do my player get a FPL assist for winning a penalty?
Definition of an Assist
This has how FPL have officially defined an assist:
From Open Play
Assists are awarded to the player from the goal scoring team, who makes the final pass before a goal is scored. An assist is awarded whether the pass was intentional (that it actually creates the chance) or unintentional (that the player had to dribble the ball or an inadvertent touch or shot created the chance).
If an opposing player touches the ball after the final pass before a goal is scored, significantly altering the intended destination of the ball, then no assist is awarded. Should a touch by an opposing player be followed by a defensive error by another opposing outfield player then no assist will be awarded. If the goal scorer loses and then regains possession, then no assist is awarded.
From Penalties and Free-kicks
In the event of a penalty or free-kick, the player earning the penalty or free-kick is awarded an assist if a goal is directly scored, but not if he takes it himself, in which case no assist is given.
Earning the penalty can come in two forms, via a foul or forcing a handball from an opponent.
Also, the latter part of the statement makes logical sense – no player can ever “assist” himself if he scores.
Plays from GW07 and GW08
Some passages of plays from the last two gameweeks have provided clear case studies on how the assist rule has been applied for FPL.
Harry Kane vs Brighton (GW07)
Harry Kane was fouled by Adam Lallana over a clumsy challenge inside the box. Kane stepped up and converted the spot-kick.
As Kane had taken the penalty himself, he is a awarded FPL points for the goal but not the assist.
Jamie Vardy (1) vs Wolves (GW08)
Dennis Praet crossed the ball into the box and it hit Max Kilman on the arm. Referee awards the penalty after VAR consultation. Jamie Vardy took the penalty and scores.
Vardy is awarded FPL points for the goal and Praet was awarded the FPL assist as he earned the penalty.
Jamie Vardy (2) vs Wolves (GW08)
James Justin was fouled inside the box by Wolves defender Rayan Ait-Nouri, referee awards the penalty. Vardy took the penalty and it was saved by Rui Patricio.
In this scenario, as no goal was scored, Vardy received -2 for a penalty miss and Justin receives nothing. Patricio is of course rewarded the penalty save.
Mo Salah vs Man City (GW08)
Sadio Mane was tripped in the box by Kyle Walker. Mo Salah scores the resulting penalty.
Salah gets the FPL points for the goal, Mane gets the FPL assist.
Kevin de Bruyne vs Liverpool (GW08)
Kevin de Bruyne’s cross hits Joe Gomez’s hand in the box, but his resulting penalty was off target.
De Bruyne takes a -2 for a penalty miss. He would not have gotten the assist even if he had scored. Alisson gets nothing additional.
What does this mean for your player selection?
Quite simply, not much. Winning of penalties are naturally skewed towards players who are attacking the the opponents’ box, something which FPL managers would naturally have considered in selection.
We note that the current FPL scoring system presents some inconsistencies.
Firstly, by giving assists to players earning converted penalties and free kicks, it creates a discrepancies between official assists statistics and FPL statistics, which can be baffling to statistics assessed by FPL managers.
Next, the foul and the penalty are essentially two entirely phases of plays. It is hard to argue that it is a genuine “assist” if a player wins a penalty for his team mate to score, there is a reset of play. Furthermore, as shown in the case of Justin’s involvement in Vardy’s penalty miss against Wolves, it is rather unfair for the defender’s FPL fate to be entirely on some other player.
The solution to this is actually simple – FPL should create a new category of FPL points scoring for “penalties won”. Perhaps 2 FPL points can be awarded here, regardless of whether the kick was converted and if it was the same player who had won and scored the penalty. The rationale is that any player who had won the penalty should be rewarded points as his shot or cross would possibly generated attacking returns had the foul not been committed.
With this, players’ assists statistics will no longer differ from the one officially kept by the Premier League as well.
In fact, for FPL’s equivalent game for the UEFA Champions League, this is already implemented – players are awarded 2 fantasy points for any penalty won, regardless of the outcome of the kick.
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