After 7 gameweeks so far we are getting a better idea of who is a must have this season and who to avoid. One factor in a players appeal is their ability to accrue bonus points, so who is topping the EA Sports PPI (player performance index) so far? The result will shock you. The bonus point system can be very confusing and is a hard topic to summarise but I will do my best, let’s get going!
There are many factors that decide a players PPI score, to summarise:
- Shots on target – Obviously the more shots on target a player has the better their PPI score will be. However an important point to note is that shots off target can be a negative thing. Just look at Defoe if you want an example.
- Crosses – These will be mostly related to wingers, obviously a player with a target man in the box has more chance of gaining extra completed crosses, increasing their PPI score. Once Adebayor returns hopefully more of Bale‘s crosses can be converted.
- Clean sheets – Obviously defenders will pick up extra PPI if they keep a clean sheet, which mostly explains why defenders sweep up the bonus points in 0-0 draws, get around Stoke!
- Completed dribbles – Another factor helping mostly wingers, a player’s ability to beat a player in a one on one situation can help their chances for bonus points. Guys like Sterling and Ben Arfa will benefit most from this. However on the flip side flair players such as Sterling or Ben Arfa could easily lose points for unsuccessful driblles, perhaps explaining why they are not the most favoured to the system.
- Completed passes – This is one for the central players, guys like Cazorla and Toure can have their PPI scores hugely boosted by completed passes, while their ability to not make many mistakes will also help their chances for bonus points. Not surprisingly both have scored really well in the PPI and have picked up plenty of bonus points along the way, attacking returns almost guarantee bonus points.
- Defensive efforts! While most of the attention is on the attacking side of the game players can greatly boost their scores thanks to defensive efforts. While these alone are not enough to guarantee players bonus points (Don’t go jumping on CDM’s) attacking players who can also get back and defend will score really well, prime example being Pienaar. He has the equal highest PPI score for any midfielders, with his ability both going forward and back helping out. Baines is another good example, a good balance of both attack and defence can be really helpful for a player’s likelihood for bonus points. Tackles, interceptions, and blocks are the key efforts measured.
- The big points obviously go to goals and assists without saying. It almost seems that unless the game ends in a 0-0 draw, the players who will most likely receive the high bonus points are those producing either goals or assists. Nothing special here!
- One thing that we can be certain of is that players who are inconsistent during games and accrue misplaced passes or shots off target will struggle. Players can lose PPI points for shots off target, misplaced passes, fouls or incomplete dribbles. As I mentioned with shots, guys like Defoe provide us with the perfect example of what can happen. Despite notching 4 goals and 2 assists this season he has only gained 2 bonus points! In one game he even scored a brace, yet received no bonus points and earned 8 less PPI points than when he scored his only bonus points in the 2-1 win over QPR, scoring just a single goal. Against Reading Defoe had 6 shots off target! Nolan is another prime example, while he creates many chances a lot are not taken reducing his chances of receiving bonus points. I will continue this further below.
Who’s most favoured to the system? Let’s take a look at which lines and which players are picking up not only the most bonus points, but the highest PPI scores.
When we look at which line of players is most suited to bonus points a clear trend occurs. Of the top 15 players PPI scores, only two of these are defenders. Yet they have the second and third highest totals between them. They are Baines and Ivanovic, defenders who can not only return clean sheets but attacking returns as well. They have 154 and 159 points respectively, bettered by only one other. This tells me the bonus points system is heavily weighted towards attacking players and returns, so unless there are a lot of 0-0 draws don’t look towards defenders for bonus points, look for attacking threat from defenders instead.
The top scorer so far this season is none other than… Fernando Torres. By a fair margin as well, with a PPI total of 170 11 points ahead of Ivanovic and 28 points ahead of the next forward. What does this tell us? Obviously winning games is a key point, players from top sides are going to be more likely to achieve high PPI scores and bp’s when winning a lot as Chelsea have done. But it also identifies that it might be players who go missing in games, if and when they produce the goods are most likely to accrue bonus points. Take Steven Fletcher for example, only has one shot on target per game yet he seems to score it every time. Every game he has scored in he has won the 3 bp’s. Then look at Jermain Defoe, scored in just as many games but only has 2 bp’s in total! This is due to him having the most shots off target this season, so a lot of chances can sometimes be a bad thing. Clinical finishers such as Fletcher and Torres are more likely to register bonus points when they score, same as guys like Crouch and Ba.
In midfield Hazard, Pienaar and Yaya Toure lead the way on 146. It would seem that more central players, especially those that score and assist are more likely to score bonus points than wingers. That is based on PPI scores. However when I looked at the bonus point winners Bale lead the way. This is because playing out wide, when spurs go bad he goes bad. Missed crosses and passes all start to add up and he tends to score low, even negative PPI scores. However when he is on song he smashes it. This is where PPI scores can be a bit misleading, however I can summarise that guys who complete a lot of passes and control the park will be more likely to score bonus points, especially if they work hard in defence (Pienaar). Inconsistency is also a major factor in players bonus point likelihood, guys like Gervinho and Nolan who tend to have a lot of shots off target, similar to Defoe will be negatively affected. While they may create more chances of scoring their PPI scores take a hit.
It is a very hard topic to get a handle of with so many factors coming into play. I can tell you clinical finishers like Torres and Fletcher will likely correlate goals with bonus points while more inconsistent players such as Nolan, Gervinho and Defoe won’t always grab bonus points for scoring simply because they have so many shots off target. Defenders who bring attacking returns gain HUGE boosts in the PPI system and thus tend to always gain bonus points with attacking returns, step up Ivanovic and Baines. This is backed up with Clark scoring the third most bonus points of any defender, whilst being far away from the third best defender. Finally it would seem with the exception of Bale, forwards are the most likely to score maximum bonus points when scoring goals. This is why guys like Ba, Fletcher and Crouch are so effective , they are the top 3 bonus point scorers with 12, 12 and 11 respectively. If nominating a captain take all this into account, Bale aside your forwards may provide the best options if likely to score.
That’s all from me today, a very hard topic to summarise but I hope it all helped. I will have a point of difference article for you shortly, as well as some of the best value players going around. Until then!