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FPL tips: Barkley’s Premier League and Seagulls fly under radar

Arsenal v Aston Villa – Premier League – Emirates Stadium
(Image credit: Andy Rain)

If you’re looking to find the next big thing in Fantasy Premier League, the game’s own metrics can help you spot a point-scorer before they’ve gone mainsteam.

Threat is the score given by the FPL according to the strength of a player’s chances in front of goal, and works as an indicator of whether or not said player has been fortunate or deserving of their goals.

With a score of around 100 historically accounting for a goal’s worth of chances, the data becomes simpler to read – a player or team that isn’t scoring on the pitch but is scoring well for Threat could be about to burst onto the scene…

A graphic showing which Premier League teams achieved the highest cumulative Threat scores in the Fantasy Premier League in gameweek eight

Brighton breezy

Brighton and Hove Albion’s Danny Welbeck during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton

(Gareth Fuller/PA)

A perfect starting example is Brighton, who this weekend played out a 0-0 draw against Burnley which in all probability nobody will ever talk about ever again.

But before we cast it into the ether, it’s worth noting that Brighton notched 284 Threat as a team (third highest this week), while the Clarets mustered just 40.

That means that Brighton could have won 3-0 and would have had the statistics to back it up as well.

Among their forwards, Neal Maupay has the best cumulative Threat score of the season at 357 (26.3% of his team’s overall score), and at £6.5m is highly affordable for a man with four goals this term.

But there may be someone even further under the radar in Danny Welbeck, who has quietly been introduced to the Seagulls XI.

Welbeck managed to score the highest for Threat in the Brighton team against Burnley – while unable to score, his price (£5.5m) could make him worth the gamble as a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

Thriller Villa

Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London

(Alastair Grant/PA)

It’s hard to believe Aston Villa came this close to being relegated to The Championship last season, isn’t it? Yet after seven games they have as many points as Chelsea (having played a game fewer) and have beaten Liverpool 7-2 and Arsenal 3-0.

That result in north London was no fluke either – Villa notched 307 Threat at The Emirates while three of their players were in gameweek eight’s top five for individual Threat scores: Jack Grealish (87) Ross Barkley (79) and Ollie Watkins (72).

But it’s Barkley who perhaps deserves a mention currently, given his relatively low ownership of 3.9% and price of £6m.

Barkley has scored two and assisted one in a bright start to his time in the midlands, and his metric scores back that up too, scoring 205 for Threat overall and 223 for Creativity.

While Grealish takes the headlines as Villa’s all-round midfielder, they actually have two right now – between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons Barkley scored 13 and assisted 20, and he’s threatening similar form in 2020.

Palace renovated

Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze (right) celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game with teammate Cheikhou Kouyate during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London

(Naomi Baker/PA)

Last but not least, Crystal Palace’s Threat scores were far from impressive a few gameweeks back, but over the past three games they have notched 607 cumulative Threat.

Wilfried Zaha leads them for the season with a total score of 346 – with five goals and two assists, that’s unsurprising, but the signs suggest they were less reliant on him in GW8.

In their impressive 4-1 win against Leeds, defender Patrick Van Aanholt actually secured the highest Threat score at 38, accounting for 24.5% of Palace’s score.

PVA has just made his way back into Roy Hodgson’s side, and registered his best return for FPL goal involvements in 2015/16 with six goals and four assists.

At £5.4m he would be good value if he achieved similar returns this season.