Looking at the past 7 years, the EPL has averaged ~93 penalties per season (via MyFootballFacts) with the average success rate in converting penalties at ~84%. Last season, we saw a massive 106 awarded penalties in the EPL! However, this current season has only seen a meager 11 penos awarded. That’s 44% less than the past 7 year trend.
Why is this happening?
I’m a big advocate of the simplest answer is probably the correct answer. Sure, there’s probably more penalties awarded towards the end of the season as the stakes get higher and the players get more leggy. And sure, 44% could be made up in a weekend of bad defending and more direct, pacy players. But, it’s a pretty simple answer to why this is happening IMO…
… The 2017-18 EPL season is the first season players can be retroactively punished for simulation / diving. We haven’t seen any of these suspensions yet, but we are seeing a big decline in penalties awarded. I’m hypothesizing that players don’t want to risk a two game suspension, thus less penos are awarded. Good for the game.
We are seeing a little more cleansheets and more points diverted away from midfield players and into defenders. As we discussed in our last pod - the Four Point Hit podders are investing a little more into premium defenders compared to other seasons.
As for peno takers - how much weight should you put into the primary penalty-taker in FPL? It’s a tough question. If you do the math, just hypothesize that the main peno takers will earn 10-20 less points from last season, and ask yourself, “Does that matter?”
For some players, it’s not a big deal - Kane gives you 200 points instead of 215. Who gives a shit? But, Josh King earning 160 instead of 175 points - That could be a huge issue for non-captain prospects. Take a look and evaluate...
- We're trending less penos than previous seasons
- Invest a little more in premium defenders
- Don’t freak out with peno takers, but take a quick eye test
Let me know what you think. KThx