This is our “prospecting the prospects” series, where we run the rule over lots of FPL prospects who will enter the game next season– read these here. This series analyses a selection of significant newcomers to the FPL game by simulating how they would have performed using last season’s stats (wherever they played) in FPL, then provide our evaluation of the player as an asset ahead of the new season.
Burnley’s first signing of the summer is Charlie Taylor, a highly rated young left back who signs on a freebie from Leeds:
SIGNING: Charlie Taylor Joins The Clarets, signing a four-year deal.
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) July 6, 2017
A big reason for having a look at a Burnley player – as well as to show we aren’t all about the big clubs! – is the prospect of triple rotations that plenty have been theorising about. One of our most liked posts ever so far on Twitter was covering a triple rotation containing Burnley on the day the fixtures came out:
Potential 3 way rotation: CPL/BUR/WHU:
— Who Got The Assist? (@WGTA_FPL) June 14, 2017
Interestingly, this isn’t the one I’d favour, with BUR/WBA/SWA also looking very nice indeed, at least until early wildcards:
BOU WBA CPL NEW WHU WAT HUD LEI sot BHA SWA BOU NEW CPL WAT
When we’re theorising about how we’ll put our teams together, we do tend to think about rotations (either in some sort of vague sense or with a real idea in mind) before the season starts, though it might be said that they go out of the window quickly. Even so, I felt like there was a bit of extra justification to look at Taylor as he (spoiler alert) could come in as a 4.5m rated asset in a team involved in such decent passages of fixtures. From that perspective, doing the research seemed worthwhile too to check out if the left back is an attacking threat to wedge into our 4th defender slot, as well as using some comparators to get an indication of how the young man could do for his new side.
Prospecting the prospect (using last season’s data)
So how good would Burnley’s new boy have been if he had played at this level last season in the Premier League? Well using WhoScored and our knowledge of the FPL bonus point system we can attempt to analyse him.
Appearances: 26 appearances (23x played over 60 mins, 3x subbed on/off) = 49 points ((23×2)+3)
Goals: 0 goals
Assists: 3 assists (3×3) = 9 points
Not conceding: 7 clean sheets (4×7) = 28 points
Conceding: Conceded more than 2 goals on 6 occasions (-1×6) = -6 points
Bonus: Let’s analyse the games he contributed in. This (of course) covers goals, assists and clean sheets for defenders.
(Occasional random bonus points (bps) are sometimes awarded in FPL where a player has bossed it but not actually got on the score card. We’re not estimating these as we’re using pure data rather than contextual data (e.g. watching the games he played in) to make perform this analysis. Plus it’ll only be an extra one or two points either way, which won’t change the story.)
For goals: No goals for Taylor this year: he got one last season and two the season before. More later.
For assists: The Leeds left back combined very well with New Zealand striker Chris Wood, assisting him on three occasions last season. Taylor assisted the only, and therefore winning, goal (as deemed by the bonus system) in setting up Wood in the 35th minute in the 1-0 victory over Ipswich on 24th September. As WhoScored award Wood motm in this match, as well as being the key man in the game by scoring the winner, it might mean he would’ve pocketed the 3bps. Taylor’s clean sheet and assist, though, would surely see him looked at favourably and awarded 2bps. The same combination (Taylor a to Wood g) came together for Leeds’ first in the 2-1 win over Rotherham on 26th November; though he conceded, the assist plus WhoScored’s man of the match being awarded to him, which infers a big contribution in the game, could see him sneak another 1bp. Finally, he played in that man Wood once more for the winning goal – as in, Leeds’ first in the 2-0 win over Brighton on 18th March – which would’ve netted him 2bps (even bearing in mind the clean sheet too) as Wood went on to score another from the penalty spot to secure all three bonus points. I checked if the “FPL assist” for the penalty would make a difference, and it was midfielder Souleymane Doukara, on as a 75th min sub, that drew the foul so it wouldn’t have changed things. 5bps for assists.
For clean sheets: On top of the two clean sheet occasions we’ve described, Taylor was on the field for an additional 5 occasions as they kept a clean sheet. At no point in the season was his substituted at a time where he had been awarded the clean sheet, only for Leeds to concede but he keep the points whereas those still on lose theirs.
Taylor played the full 90 of the 2-0 away win over Cardiff on 17th September. On 22nd October, he kept a clean sheet, but received a yellow card to jeopardise his bonus, in the 1-0 defeat of Wolves away. He also played in the 2-0 victory for Leeds over Burton the next weekend – featuring yet another Doukara “FPL assist” for drawing the pen for Chris Wood to score. Leeds beat Villa 2-0 on 3rd December – with Taylor completing the most passes of any player on the field according to WhoScored. He also scored the 4 points for a clean sheet in the 2-0 victory over Reading on 13th December.
Horribly, if you’d been a Taylor owner, he was withdrawn at 58 minutes in the 1-0 victory over Brentford on 17th December.
He would have been a candidate for 1-2bps in the 1-0, which usually favours the defence somewhat in terms of bonus, but his booking denied him that. In the 2-0 games, it’s unlikely he would’ve gotten anything there either. I’d say let’s give him 1bp here – maybe for the Villa game – which he might’ve snuck through good all round play.
Total guesstimated bonus: 6 bps
Disciplinary: 4 yellow cards = –4 points / 0 red cards
Scores on the doors
94 points in 26 appearances: top 40 defenders, but a good seven points out of the top 100. Let’s gross this up to 38 using his points per game (ppg), given he only appeared 26 times; it’s 3.62ppg (94/26) which is a total of 138 points (3.62×38) for a whole season, which looks OK on first glance.
Overall that’s top 40 just below Adam Lallana and ahead of David De Gea and Christian Benteke. But, surprisingly that’s actually 5th for defenders, three ahead of Leighton Baines and four ahead of Charlie Daniels. Needs more analysis I think.
Evaluation and conclusion
Now, Leeds finished 7th in the Championship under Garry Monk (who has subsequently left the club to join Middlesbrough), which puts them just outside the play-offs. They won just shy of 50% of their games (48%: 22/46), in contrast to new club Burnley, who won just over a quarter of their matches in the Premier League (29%: 11/38).
However, what Burnley can do is keep clean sheets – I was surprised to learn they’d kept an 10 clean sheets in 38 games (26% of their matches, almost as high a percentage as %won overall (29%: 11/38)), which is all the more impressive in what was the second highest goals scored total in a Premier League season (just two shy (1066v1064) of the all time modern record, set in the Aguerooooo season of 2011-12). So, at the very least, if Taylor begins to start for Burnley, he’ll have that under his belt (as indeed do all Burnley defenders) – the question is, obviously, how much was that down to Michael Keane, who has now left for Everton? Can they be as solid without him?
One guy who made the step from Leeds to the Premier League is right back Sam Byram at West Ham, who scored 3 goals and got an assist for Leeds in 2015/16. He looked like he’d be the right back at the beginning of the season, and was cropping up in some RMTs on FFS as potential 4th defender. In a total of 12 appearances over 60 minutes, 6 times coming off the bench or being subbed early, Byram garnered 1 assist and 3 clean sheets, a measly 29 points. Poor Sammy was usurped at right back over the course of the season, being dropped after Gameweek 4 and only appearing sporadically ever after. This period even saw, frustratingly for me as an owner, Michail Antonio played at right back. Byram did come back: he earned 5 starts in a row (between 29-33) at one point. But I think it’s too much of a stretch to look at him as a serious comparator given his lack of appearances last season, despite their similar route to the Premier League.
Looking at Taylor’s stats on WhoScored for further comparators, one thing to note is that he does not strike for goal himself; he averaged 0.2 shots per game (spg) according to WhoScored – for contrast, Marcos Alonso managed 1.5spg, which is obviously not in any way a valid comparator but just to show the difference here. This is more at the level of Stoke’s Erik Pieters – my 4th defender (and therefore second sub) for a lot of last season – who managed 0.3 spg. In the Premier League, he managed 2 assists and 10 shut outs too and a total of 103 points (and a star of the DGW in 27). Pieters’ 103 points landed him in the top 30 for defenders, 1 behind the likes of Phil Jagielka and Christian Fuchs. Taylor does make marginally more key passes than Pieters, and also supplied 0.7 crosses per game, to Pieters’ 0.6. So quite similar players: given that Burnley kept 10 clean sheets, as Stoke did, we could say that around that kind of level of output – should Taylor get in the xi – could be what we expect from Taylor if he nails a starting berth.
This puts me in mind of a possible comparator Hull’s Andrew Robertson, who also produced 0.2 spg for his side last season. Robertson, then, appeared 33 times for Hull last season, scoring 1 goal, two assists, 5 clean sheets in 33 appearances. and therefore 73 points overall (just outside the top 70 defenders, which isn’t great). Robertson’s stats are fairly similar to Taylor’s, with the spg and also 0.6 crosses per game: maybe his goals and assists output, plus maybe a couple more clean sheets to embellish the score (i.e. about the low eighties) might be also be Taylor could perform; I think it’s probably between these two.
Taylor won’t be guaranteed to walk into the side, with new squad rival Stephen Ward playing 37 for Burnley last year, keeping 8 clean sheets plus a solitary goal and assist each, putting him at 91 points: in the top 50 defenders. Ward only received bonus on one occasion (in the goalless draw with Boro in gameweek 32 – the most predictable 0-0 ever). A big downfall for Ward – and a reason why perhaps he missed out on the bonus (mostly to ‘keeper Tom Heaton behind him) was his poor ball retention. He averaged 31 passes per game, with a 69%: in contrast. In contrast, Taylor averaged 37 passes per game for Leeds with a 77% success rate. The style of play Dyche wanted from his left back is plain to see in the long balls per game too: Taylor averaged 2.2 per game, but Ward managed 3, perhaps indicating how their “no nonsense” defensive approach yielded so many cleanies. Ward also does not embark on many dribbles – averaging 0.4 dribbles per game versus 1.1 for Taylor. It could be that Taylor, then, has been brought in as a different option to help Burnley build from the back. If he does play, it seems that around the 90s to Pieter’s 100 mark might be viable, which would be too bad as part of a defensive rotation or as a backup option throughout the sesason.
In terms of fixtures, Burnley have an start which very much promotes their rotation potential once more: che WBA tot CPL liv. This sees them rotate fairly well with WBA, who we’ve done an article on as a team already, who could offer WHU and WAT in Gameweeks 1 and 3, plus sou in 5 which is better than Arsenal away. There’s also three way rotation if we have add a Newcastle player into the mix in the first 5, as they host STK on gameweek 5, as well as an OK 1-4 should they have to come off the bench, apart from perhaps against a Spurs seeking revenge for the 5-1 defeat in 2015/16 on the opening weekend (TOT hud WHU swa).
Given that Byram, Robertson, Pieters and Ward all started at 4.5, I think that’s what Taylor will receive. A 4.0 could potentially make him an FPL darling if he started playing over Ward, which seems an unlikely scenario at this point. With main Burnley target Heaton likely to receive 5.0 given his heroics last season in finishing top keeper, it’s likely that those favouring cheaper GK combos will look to Burnley defenders if they want a representative.
EDIT: FPL have announced Tom Heaton at 5.0
— FPL (@OfficialFPL) July 7, 2017
Because we aren’t sure about who starts, and we’re not going to be certain of that ahead of GW1 barring injury or transfer, Taylor constitutes a risk which means he can’t seriously be on our minds for FPL from the beginning. Should he start, though, especially towards the end of the season, he may be worth considering, with Burnley’s run-in (32-38: wba wat LEI stk BHA ars BOU) looking good. That might be the time to look at him if he’s in the side – he may even have suffered some price drops by then, becoming very cost effective – but it all depends on whether he start to get in the team. But he could have potential as a solid backup (i.e. 4th defender) asset as soon as he is certain of starts, which isn’t the case at the moment.
Overall rating: 2 / 5 – A below average prospect for FPL (n.b. moves up to a 3 (above average) if he starts!)
*derived from a completely subjective scale from 1-5, where 1 is bad and 5 is excellent
Caveat: we thoroughly accept this system of evaluating players isn’t flawless. However, we feel that it’s a nice approach to getting a feel for how a player might do.