It’s official! Crystal Palace are no longer the “go-to” team when making goalkeeper decisions! For the first time this season, we have a new team in the number 1 position. That is (for those unfamiliar with this article) statistically, goalkeepers facing Crystal Palace no longer earn the most points on average; that award now belongs to Newcastle United. This is largely due to the Roy Hodgson effect, who has managed to turn the club around points-wise, and defensively. Over the last 8 game-weeks, goalkeepers facing Crystal Palace have earned on average just 3.81 points – that would place them between Manchester City and Leicester City if it had been the case since day 1! This raises the question; is it better to take the data from the season as a whole, or from a more recent period (say, 6-8 games)? Maybe that is something I’ll investigate next week. But until then, who’s in goal for weeks 25 and 26?

Last Time Out

Before showing you the data, I’ll quickly recap on the predictions from last time out (game weeks 23 and 24):

3 to Target:

  • Adrian (West Ham United) – Matchups against Huddersfield and Bournemouth should have yielded over 15.5 points. Instead, the West Ham man got 2.25. Well, at least he didn’t get minus points. Prediction Verdict: 2/10.

 

  • Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) – In the perfect 11 after his 18.75 point performance against Liverpool, Fabianski more than made up for his slightly below average score against Newcastle United in week 23 (4.25 points). A 2-week PPM of 11.5 is a very nice return. Prediction Verdict: 9/10.

 

  • Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace) – Similar to Fabianski, Hennessey has had a great 2 weeks based on one top, top performance (15.00 vs Burnley) and one slightly below average performance (4.00 vs Arsenal). However, to concede four away at Arsenal and still end up with some points is a good bit of damage limitation in my books. Prediction Verdict: 8/10.

 

3 to Avoid:

  • Fraser Forster (Southampton) – I put Forster here, not thinking that he would lose his place permanently to Alex McCarthy. But for the purpose of this, let’s just say “The Southampton Goalkeeper” (as that is what the data is based on anyway). As expected, the man between the sticks for the Saints struggled in matches against Watford and Tottenham, with a 2-week PPM of 0.25. Prediction Verdict: 9/10.

 

  • Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester) – Shocking. I picked Schmeichel even though playing away at Chelsea is far better than playing Chelsea at home (from a Togga/goalkeeper perspective anyway). He responded with a 24.75 – the joint 3rd most points in a single-week by a goalkeeper this season. He then followed this up with 14.25 points against Watford. If you took my advice with this one…I’m sorry! Prediction Verdict: 0/10.

 

  • Huerelho Gomes (Watford) – Again, with Gomes’ injury ruling him out of week 24, let’s just call this one “The Watford Goalkeeper”. 0 against Southampton and -2 versus Leicester, the Hornets goalkeepers’ Togga scoring has matched the team’s on-field performances. Prediction Verdict: 10/10.

 

No middle ground this week. 4 top, top predictions and 2 ugly predictions. On to weeks 25 and 26…

Opponents

 

 Three to Target

  • Karl Darlow; Newcastle United (owned by 1%) – Who? I hear you ask. Darlow has been in good form since returning to the Newcastle team, and faces Burnley at home and Crystal Palace away; the most favourable 2-game stretch in the league. Owned in just 1% of leagues (Newcastle’s number 2 Rob Elliott is owned in more!), he should be easy to pick up.

 

  • Adrian (owned by 26%) – More love for Adrian; hopefully this time it will be justified. Moyes has turned the Hammers ship around, and matches at home to Crystal Palace and then away to Brighton should continue the club’s good form. Let’s hope the goalkeepers performances do likewise.

 

  • The Southampton Goalkeeper; Southampton (McCarthy owned by 2%, Forster owned by 44%) – A few goalkeepers have slightly more favourable 2-game schedules, but I like the Southampton goalkeepers here. Both games are against teams that concede more points to goalkeepers than average (Brighton & West Brom), which may be preferable to the more conservative Togga managers out there.

Three to Avoid

  • Jordan Pickford; Everton (owned by 92%) – The 3rd highest owned and 4th best PPM amongst goalkeepers, but Everton are on a bad run of form, and Pickford faces Leicester City and Arsenal. It could be a tough couple of games for the Englishman.

 

  • Hugo Lloris; Tottenham Hotspur (owned by 90%) – Lloris could do very well over the next two games, as matchups against Manchester United and Liverpool are sure to keep him busy. However, being busy may also equate to picking the ball out of his net a few times. The data would suggest this is one to avoid.

 

  • Ben Foster; West Bromwich Albion (owned by 35%) – Tough to pick a third one. Statistically, it looks like Courtois and Butland could struggle with their upcoming games, but I never like to back against a Conte-led defence, and I have a feeling Lambert will get Stoke going defensively – especially with Shawcross back to help. Thus, we’ll go with Foster. Away at Manchester City is always a daunting task, and the home fixture against Southampton may be tougher than expected if their new forward Carillo hits the ground running.

 

If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy the book “The Inner Geek of Football” available from Amazon.co.uk for £3.99 (or Amazon.com for $5.24). All of Luke’s Togga articles can also be found here.

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