Fantasy Premier League Team of the Year

Every football writer and their granny seems to be doing an alternative to the PFA’s Team of the Year for the 2014/15 season, so it felt like a good time to do a fantasy football one, albeit with a month still to go in the league.

PFA Premier League Team of the Year 2014-2015.

PFA Premier League Team of the Year 2014-2015.

Now before putting it together we have to decide whether we along with the FPL’s Dream Team or pick a 4-4-2 formation with the players with the most points. We might as well look at both, but I think the 4-4-2, which is the format the PFA use, is the best way to compare the two.

Looking at the Dream Team thus far, there is some crossover. John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Alexis Sanchez and Harry Kane all make both teams. Interestingly, Eden Hazard is cream of the crop in both categories. Having picked up Player of the Year at the weekend, he also has the highest number of fantasy points, with no one looking like catching him.

FPL Dream Team 2014/15 (GW34)

FPL Dream Team 2014/15 (GW34)

Biggest difference has got to be in goals where Simon Mignolet has supplanted David De Gea between the sticks. Who would have guessed that a few months back?

No place either for Ryan Bertrand, who is replaced by team-mate Nathaniel Clyne, while Diego Costa also misses out. Sergio Aguero and Charlie Austin are up front instead, demonstrating the kind of superb individual performances they have been dishing out on a regular basis.

Coutinho, funnily enough, is way, way off making the TotY by fantasy standards. In fact, the Brazillian is 18th in the list of midfielders in terms of FPL points gained this season. That makes him not even the best midfielder in Liverpool, never mind one of the best in the league. His spot is taken by Christian Eriksen/David Silva. If I were picking an actual team, I’d have Cesc Fabregas in over all of them based on his performances earlier on in the season. In any case, he’s not far off the pace: the Chelsea creator is one point behind Eriksen and Silva in the FPL charts.

When change the formation to 4-4-2 using FPL data this is what we come up with:

toty

Not a major difference from the Dream Team, granted, but interesting enough to see Leighton Baines come in. The Everton defender is not someone who would have been on many people’s TotY, but I think it shows how useful full backs are for FPL managers.

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Hazard vs Fabregas

Chelsea, currently five points clear at the top of the Premier League table, have been pretty awesome for large stretches this season, dispatching opponents with ease for the most part. The London side have had their difficulties, like conceding five goals against Tottenham Hotspur. But then they come back and score five of their own against an otherwise good Swansea team.

This has inevitably led fantasy football managers to using the ‘Chelsea Spine’: three Blues players in each outfield position. Diego Costa has been Mr. Consistent since signing in the summer, John Terry has been a very popular pick of late, but midfield is a real conundrum: do you go with Eden Hazard or Cesc Fabregas?

Price and Total Score of Hazard and Fabregas.

Price and Total Score of Hazard and Fabregas.

‘Hazregas’ have been phenomenal thus far: the two midfielders have been involved in thirty goals between them in the league. It’s a tempting but dangerous tactic to include them both in your team. You’re needing both to do something in the same game, which is far from guaranteed, while you could put that extra money towards another good player. So how do you decide who to pick?

Each player has their own unique qualities that set them apart. Fabregas completes a hell of a lot of passes in a game, especially longer range efforts, while Hazard tends to have brilliant dribbling and take-on ratings, winning on average 63% of duels. If the Spaniard is the brains of the side, then the Belgian is the legs. This also forms part of the reason why Costa rarely gets any bonus points (BP) when he has a one-goal game.

As I mentioned, both men have been instrumental in Chelsea’s 51 league goals, but for slightly different reasons. Fabregas has scored just two goals so far, but has a whopping 15 assists. He looks set to smash not only Frank Lampard’s club record of 18 assists in a season, but also the Premier League record of 20 held by Thierry Henry.

BPL Assists Records (via premierleague.com)

Hazard, meanwhile, has been involved in 13 league goals, scoring eight and assisting five.

We can immediately see from these stats that, in FPL terms anyway, Fabregas picks up a relatively smaller number of points — his most common match score is six — over a larger spread of games, while Hazard makes bursts of points in a more concentrated set of games (he recently went on a run of five consecutive matches of goals and assists). Cesc is the slow scented candle to Eden’s explosive firework.

I find that Fabregas is a safe captain’s choice. He won’t obliterate an opposing team with goals like Costa, but he is more than likely to pop up with an assist, piggy back on a clean sheet point and maybe pick up some BP along the way. He likes a free kick too.

Hazard has been a great choice for captain at times, gaining nine or more points in a single match seven times. In terms of consistency, he’s doing superbly well at 55% (four or more points in a single game), but trails Fab’s fab 61% consistency rating.

Fabregas vs Hazard stats

Fabregas vs Hazard stats

The Belgian star does come out on top when it comes to discipline, however. Hazard has received one yellow card this season, while Fabregas has picked up seven bookings.The minus point from these bookings has spoiled several a perfectly good score for me. Only one point is taken away, but it almost always rules the player out of maximum BP. On top of that is the potential for suspensions, with Fab having already missed the Hull game at home.

Hazard also seems to perform more often in the bigger games, having scored or assisted goals against Arsenal, Man City and Spurs (twice). Fabregas isn’t exactly missing during these games, having assisted goals against Arsenal, a Man United team in the middle of a poor run, and Spurs, but the general consensus seems to be that he does not operate on the same level in matches against the big sides as he does against the likes of Burnley and Stoke.

Price tends to be the all important figure, of course, and that does come out in Fabregas’s favour. The former Barca player costs £9.7, while Hazard will set you back £10.7.

It’s seriously hard to choose between these two, I know, so I made a chart to help.

Fabregas vs Hazard Attributes

Fabregas vs Hazard Attributes

Oh screw this… I’m picking Oscar.

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