Skip to main content

FPL tips: Underlying data says Manchester City and Liverpool are the real deal

Manchester City v Southampton – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
(Image credit: Zac Goodwin)

While four teams look set to battle it out for the Premier League title, the underlying data suggests two are in pole position in terms of performance.

Threat is a metric introduced by the FPL to measure the quality of the chances a player enjoys in front of goal, with a score of around 100 usually accounting for a goal’s worth of chances.

By adding up each team’s Threat scores then, we can analyse their performances according to the amount of Threat they scored as well as the amount of Threat they conceded.

Should a team accrue significantly more Threat than their opponents, that is an indicator that their performance level should have been enough to earn victory, with factors such as good goalkeeping and poor finishing standing in their way.

Add up a team’s Threat scored as well as their Threat conceded during the season, and we can see whether their league position tells the whole story.

Top dogs

A graphic showing the average Threat created and allowed by Premier League teams from gameweeks one to five

While Chelsea lead Liverpool and Manchester United lead Manchester City in the Premier League table five games in, the Threat scores suggest it is Liverpool and City who look the most impressive thus far.

Liverpool have scored in excess of 300 Threat four weeks running now, and average 354.4 Threat scored per game compared with just 137.2 conceded.

Manchester City meanwhile – with a defeat and a draw from their first five games – aren’t putting in attacking performances to match the Reds, with 291.4 Threat scored per game, but have a sensational defensive record having conceded an average of 77.6 per game.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola with Kyle Walker during the Premier League match at The Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Saturday September 18, 2021

Manchester City have been miserly in defence (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Liverpool have faced Chelsea so far, while City have played Tottenham and Arsenal, demonstrating they have not had an easy run necessarily.

While Manchester United have yet to face any of the traditional top sides this season – averaging 206.2 Threat scored v 110.6 Threat conceded – Chelsea have encountered Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.

The Blues’ more modest averages of 216.2 Threat scored per game v 158.8 Threat conceded are considerably lower than Liverpool and City, but must be taken with a pinch of salt, especially with a run of favourable fixtures on the horizon.

The Bees’ Knees

Brentford manager Thomas Frank with Bryan Mbeumo following the Premier League match at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton. Picture date: Saturday September 18, 2021

Promoted Brentford have enjoyed a decent start to the season (David Davies/PA)

If you’d have offered Brentford eight points from their first five games, they would probably have taken them – but their performances are arguably just as encouraging.

The Bees only average 112 Threat scored per match, but have the second-best defensive record according to Threat allowed, conceding an average of just 108.6 per game.

That is bettered only by Premier League champions Manchester City, while Brentford have also outscored each of their last four rivals for Threat too.

Goalkeeper David Raya (25 points) and defender Pontus Jansson (29 points) are both excellent value at £4.6m then, while striker Ivan Toney reminded managers he has goals in his locker with one against Wolves.

The Bees face Liverpool, West Ham and Chelsea next, but three favourable fixtures follow for anyone looking to invest in the hive.

Spurs spiralling

Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane reacts to a missed chance during the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday September 19, 2021

Tottenham have lost their last two Premier League games 3-0 (Tim Goode/PA)

Tottenham’s three consecutive wins at the start of the season had many touting their credentials as title contenders, but two 3-0 defeats have brought them crashing back down to earth.

Anyone looking at Spurs’ Threat totals during those 1-0 victories might have told you they were riding their luck, only outscoring Watford according to the metric in gameweeks one to three.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s team average 122.2 Threat scored per game so far, with an average of 246.8 Threat conceded – they scored just 15 Threat against Crystal Palace, and 72 against Chelsea.

Tottenham’s upcoming fixtures are far from daunting, but backing Harry Kane et al at this stage would appear a risky move.