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Player Analysis

Tactics Thursday

by Chuck Booth
Updated On: November 14, 2018, 6:19 am ET

Welcome to Tactics Tuesday (On a Thursday) where we look at the how things on the pitch can impact FPL and other forms of fantasy soccer. Today's edition is going to be a little different than normal because I want to take a second to talk about the treatment of youth in England after finding out that Ryan Sessegnon is the first player born in the 2000’s to score a goal in the Premier League.


Ryan Sessegnon and the lack of young players in the Premier League


My first thought when I heard about Sessegnon being the first player born in the 2000’s to score in the Premier League was, “this is pretty cool”. Then I thought about Jordan Sancho at Dortmund and Neal Maupay who made his Nice debut at 16 my thoughts changed to, “well crap England is lagging behind”


According to the BBC, Sessegnon, Morgan Gibbs-White, Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odi are the only players born in the year 2000 to make multiple appearances for Premier League teams in all competitions. Looking across the big five leagues, here are the numbers of appearances of players 18-years-old or younger this year.



Number of Players

Combined minutes

Average Minutes per player





La Liga




Premier League




Seri A




Liga 1





Looking at this, the Premier League may not have the numbers that the Bundesliga and Liga 1 have in terms of players born in the 2000’s but the league is getting better at handing minutes to young players. Reiss Nelson needed a loan away from Arsenal in order to get his minutes but that makes sense for a team with so many attacking options. Playing young players doesn’t always result in a team winning but it does make a difference in the performance of the national team.

Looking at Germany and Italy, their performances have been struggling as of late and one reason for that can be attributed to the lack of youth to push their senior players. It’ll be interesting to see if this means England will be able to compete with France on the international stage, but it is a good start for the Three Lions. In the future, it will be nice to see where these numbers go with teams like Derby County and Middlesbrough using a large number of young players in their current campaigns in the Championship.



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 The titanic issues with the Fulham defense


Fulham has allowed the most goals in the league by a lot with 25. That is six more goals allowed than the next closest, Cardiff City at 19. But let’s go a little deeper. Fulham has allowed three or more goals in five games. Crystal Palace has scored five goals on the season, versus Fulham, they scored two. Cardiff has scored eight on the season. Versus Fulham, they’ve scored half of their season total with four. Could we be looking at a historically bad defense here?


Looking at the numbers, yes, we could be looking at a historically bad defense here. The record for goals allowed in a 38 game season is Derby County in the 08/09 season with 109 goals allowed. That equated to 2.34 goals allowed per game. So where is Fulham on this young season? At 25 goals conceded, the Cottagers are allowing 2.78 goals per game. That's not only on record pace, but it's actually significantly ahead of record pace at this point.


Some of the defensive struggles can be attributed to the injuries to Joe Bryan, Callum Chambers, and Timothy Fosu-Mensah but something else is at play here. Mainly, fitting all of the Fulham attack-minded players on the pitch at one time hangs the defense out to dry. A 4-3-3 formation can work when wingers track back to cover for outside backs but Andre Schürrle is more interested in taking as many shots as possible in order to bag a few goals and Ryan Sessegnon is still adjusting to the pace of the premier league.


A change to a 4-2-3-1 could offer more defensive rigidity but presents another problem. Tom Cairney is the only midfielder on the roster comfortable playing as a number 10. With his injury issues, Cairney has barely featured on the season and the closest thing to a 10 outside of him is Schurrle. Looking at this situation, Fulham will need to make some changes in January or risk relegation and financial fair play hits. For fantasy managers, this makes Callum Wilson a viable captain choice this weekend as well as any attacker playing Fulham for the foreseeable future.


Switching it up, a Marco Silva story


Life under Marco Silva got off to a rough start for Everton. With one win in their first six games, it looked like Everton may be in hot water but winning three games on the bounce, belief is coming back to Merseyside. The changes can mainly be attributed to three things. The partnership of Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma in defense. Gylfi Sigurdsson blistering form and moving Richalison to the center forward position.


It took Everton seven games to keep their first clean sheet of the season and now with Keane and Zouma clearing everything, it looks like it'll take a while for Yerry Mina to get a shot in defense with two clean sheets in their last three games. That’s a partnership that will be very hard to break. Looking at Sigurdsson, he has come into new life with three goals in his last three games playing as an attacking midfielder and a shadow striker.


The freedom that Sigurdsson has enjoyed can be attributed to Silva making a change up top employing Richarlison up top. While the change has yet to directly benefit Richarlison’s goal scoring it does benefit Everton overall due to his workrate and pace opening up the game. His versatility also opens up freedom in making substitutions that can leave Silva with a plethora of options. It’s not the first time that we’ve seen a winger move into being an out-and-out striker, in fact, it’s the second year in a row that this is happening.


Marko Arnautovic made this transition last year for West Ham and while he’s more clinical of a finisher than Richarlison the move had the same effect on the rest of the team. With Richarlison on the pitch, Silva was able to sub out André Gomes and Theo Walcott together for Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman en route to Everton’s opener. Richarlison had already moved out wide to accommodate the introduction of Cenk Tosun but with his back to goal, it was Richarlison that provided the hockey assist to Lookman. While Lookman’s cross to Calvert-Lewin was beautiful and hit with deadly accuracy, it’s not possible if Everton doesn’t break the bank for the Brazilian.


Expect Richarlison to continue in this role and as he gets more comfortable playing centrally, he’ll also learn the nuances of the role to be even more valuable in FPL than he already is.


A good team goal is a thing of beauty

I'm a full-on Tottenham supporter so what I'm about to write stings a little but I'd like to leave you with a thing of beauty before we close. I love watching team goals and the Arsenal goal to go up 3-1 on Leicester city was so so sweet to watch. If they're able to play a free-flowing game like this more often, the Premier League will need to look out.