Gameweek 1 in Review

After a (brief) 5 month hiatus from the ffdeepdive project, I am finally back and ready to go for the new season! I’ll be holding off on any statistical analysis until Gameweek 2 has come and gone as one week is too small a sample size to determine anything. From now on I’ll be evaluating the performances of all my players one by one every week, which hopefully will be useful as an insight into my thinking when I look back on previous decisions.

I ended the first week of the season with a reasonable 85 points, putting me around rank 600k. Not a terrible start by any means, but hopefully this will be my lowest OR of the season.

Goalkeepers

Nick Pope: 8 points

An excellent performance from the cut-price keeper! It seems like Sean Dyche’s poundland Atletico Madrid are firing on all cylinders again, beating Southampton 3-0 with ease. However, they conceded 1.09 xG over the game, and may not have gotten away with the clean sheet were it not for the heroics of Pope, leaving me somewhat skeptical about results against teams with a stronger attack. Pope is always good for at least a save point and you can’t really ask for more at 4.5.

Michael McGovern: 0 points

Didn’t play.

Defenders

Virgil van Dijk: 8 points

Another stellar performance from the big man. Grabbed a header early on and was consistently solid in defense. Liverpool worryingly failed to keep a clean sheet, and allowed more shots from promoted Norwich than they had at any home game of the 18/19 season. Let’s just hope this was a blip.

Andrew Robertson: 2 points

A blank from Mr. Reliable. As mentioned before, Liverpool failed to keep a clean and Robertson didn’t get away with any attacking returns. Liverpool have been uncharacteristically shaky, conceding twice in the Super Cup as well, and Allison’s injury doesn’t improve the outlook. One to monitor, a downgrade may be the move if things don’t improve.

Lucas Digne: 6 points

A clean sheet from Digne, nothing to complain about here. A bit disappointing that Everton were unable to score, but Digne was actually the most advanced player in their attack throughout the fixture, which bodes well for future attacking returns.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 6 points

Little babby Zinchenko has really grown into his role as the starting Left Back for City, with another solid performance. He was relatively uninvolved in the attack, with one shot and key pass (both low xG chances), but the clean sheet was never in doubt as West Ham failed to trouble city.

John Lundstram: 3 points

I am absolutely delighted with these 3 points. The three most popular 4.0 defender mugs all ended up starting, but I believe Lunny stood head and shoulders above the rest. Playing OOP as an attacking midfielder, he deliver several dangerous balls almost leading to an assist and actually managed to get a bonus point. What a gem.

Midfielders

Gylfi Sigurdsson: 3 points

Pretty disappointed with the Icelandic talisman for not finding the net, but his underlying statistics very much assured me that I had made the right choice, racking up 4 shots and 0.57 xG, I’m sure he will be hauling soon.

Mohamed Salah: 12 points

There is only one truly essential player and his name is Mohamed Salah. With his 2 shots and 3 key passes, he earned 0.44 xG and 0.31 xA, resulting in a goal and assist. As we’ve seen over the last two years, this is no purple patch and I expect to be writing similar things almost every week about the Egyptian.

Raheem Sterling: 20 points

Raheem the dream machine! Absolutely overjoyed with an opening week hatty, with an assist snatched away by VAR review. This was really a classic Sterling game, doing very little for the entirety of the first half but still finding his way into dangerous positions to score easy goals. He was this weeks xG leader with a massive 1.59, and won’t be leaving my team anytime soon.

Ross Barkley: 1 point

From Boss Rarkley to Dross Barkley in a matter of minutes. I honestly could rant about this for pages. I have no idea what fat Frank was thinking making the Barkley for Pulisic substitution at 57′, at that point he was the most creative player Chelsea had and their entire attacking rhythm died the second he walked off the pitch. Seeing him omitted from what seemed to be the strongest 11 in the Super Cup has left me even more worried, if he plays anything less than 80 minutes this Saturday I will be ejecting Barkley into the sun.

Leander Dendoncker: 3 points

A solid performance from the Belgian CDM, who would have secured a huge haul had his goal not been ruled out by VAR. With his guaranteed minutes and position on the field, he seems to be the (somewhat obvious) choice of the 4.5 enablers.

Forwards

Joshua King: 2 points

Despicable. I had the utter misfortune of watching this game and the Bournemouth attack was absolutely turgid, you could have told me King wasn’t even on the pitch and I would have believed you. He generated 0.03 xG and 0.03 xA, which leads me to believe that these great fixtures has blinded me to the fact that he is in fact rubbish. In true casual fashion, I’ve all but decided to bin him after one game, unless he starts pulling up trees against the defensively suspect Villa.

Callum Wilson: 5 points

Wow I sure am glad I chose to double up on Bournemouth attackers. If you saw the assist, you would realize that he simply should have put that away himself, but at this point I’ll take what I can get. This opportunity did generate a sizable 0.80 xG, which isn’t too shabby. One thing I can take solace in is that Bournemouth is one of the most unpredictable teams in the league, last season they followed a 4-0 thumping of Chelsea with a 2-0 loss to a woeful Cardiff side. Fingers crossed he finds the net this weekend.

Mason Greenwood: 1 point

Not much to say here, a brief cameo appearance that was largely overshadowed by the debut of Daniel James. Still, 1 point is all I expected from a cheap option like him. With a little bit of patience, I’m sure he will one day manage to get me 2 points off the bench, At a stretch.

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