Sead Kolašinac

This is our “prospecting the prospects” series, where we run the rule over lots of FPL prospects who will enter the game next season– our directory for these (over 20!) is 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.

Today’s subject, the new Arsenal signing (and Bosnia-Herz international) Sead Kolašinac (try saying that one ten times in a row after a few g&ts!) was confirmed as a Gooner on 6th June. The club said the player

… will join us this summer on a long-term contract.

Subject to the completion of all regulatory processes, the defender will start pre-season training in July.

(From Arsenal’s website)

He will arrive on an FT from German Bundesliga side Schalke 04.

Squawka data shows individually he scored 3 goals and contributed 5 assists last season – which sounds promising in Arsenal’s new 3-5-2 system – and that he was part of a back four that kept 8 clean sheets across the 25 games he appeared in. Furthermore, he created 23 chances (5 of those being assists and the other 18 being key passes… a 22% assist rate) which heightens his appeal at first glance.

Prospecting the prospect (using last season’s data)

As part of our rundown on him, let’s look at how many points he would have got if he was in for FPL last year, using a mixture of the Squawka data for his performance last season and our experience with the (sometimes nebulous) FPL bonus system:

Appearances25 appearances (all starts) = 50 points (25×2). n.b. no points deducted for conceding more than 3 goals.

Goals3 goals = 18 points (6×3).

Assists: 5 assists = 15 points (3×5).

Not conceding: 7 clean sheets = 28 points (7×4)

Bonus: Let’s analyse the games he contributed in. This (of course) covers goals, assists and clean sheets.

(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: his goals versus Darmstadt on 27th Nov (the equaliser before going on to win 3-1) and against RB Leipzig on 3rd Dec (the equaliser before going on to lose 2-1) were without a clean sheet; he’s likely to have received 1bp for the goal versus Darmstadt and being on the winning side, but not awarded the 2 or 3bps as he didn’t keep a clean sheet. He may well have also gotten 1bp versus RB Leipzig, even if he was on the losing side. His goal v. Mainz, however, on 19th March, was the only goal in a 1-0 victory for Schalke, which would surely have netted him all 3bp. Let’s estimate an extra 5 points for goals scored.
  • For assists: His assist and clean sheet in the 4-0 win over Gladbach on 9th October would have maybe netted him 1bps. It’s the same story (1bp potentially) for the 3-0 win over Mainz on 23rd October. An assist on 6th November in the 3-1 win over Bremen may not have gotten anything, but his assist on 19th November in the 1-0 win over Wolfsburg away may well have elicited 2bp. Finally, an assist and a clean sheet in the 3-0 win over Augsburg on 12th March may also have netted him 1bp. So let’s say an further 5 for assists.
  • For clean sheets: Schalke kept 7 clean sheets over the course of the season, with Kolašinac actually performing (as mentioned above) in 4 of those games, for which we’ve already assigned bps. For the other 3, let’s say he snuck a further 1bp somewhere along the line.

Total guesstimated bonus: 11 points (5+5+1)

Disciplinary: 5 yellow cards = 5 points0 red cards

Scores on the doors

117 points overall. OK, not bad at all: that’d mean him finishing around the top 80*  players, tied on points with Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic in the overall player rankings, and he’d have been the 17th best defender, just below new team-mate Héctor Bellerín and ahead of the likes of Nacho Monreal and Eric Bailly.

But bear in mind he didn’t play in all of Schalke’s fixtures last year (he appeared in 26/34 matches last time). If we divide the amount of games he played in by that projected score to get points per game (ppg), this gives us 4.5ppg (i.e. 117/26). If he’d played all 34 Bundesliga fixtures, we could extrapolate that that’s 153 FPL points he might have scored (i.e. 4.5×34). That’s slightly better.

If that was in FPL this season, he’d be 4th in the overall defender standings, above Kyle Walker and below Chelsea’s Gary Cahill, Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta. He’d be in the top 30 scorers in the game, just below Sadio Mane. Woof.

We could also ramp that up to reflect the 38 games in the Premier League (4.5×38), which would take us to 171 points – 3rd in the defender charts, just above Azpi, and equal with Coutinho overall, and again in the top 20. That’s surprisingly good.

*we cannot give later ranks exactly as there are a lot of tied players – for higher ranks, we can assign that more confidently

Evaluation and conclusion

(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Well, let’s take the 38 game score with a pinch of salt – injury and rotation tend to mean that very few players appear for the full 90 across the season. Though the scores for Chelsea’s big three are pretty gigantic, that also reflects Chelsea’s dominance of the league for large parts of this year. He’s not joining that team; instead, he’s joining the slightly more porous Arsenal.

With that in mind, we’re thinking that somewhere between the 26 game and 34 game score to be a decent guesstimate here: around the 130 mark seems OK (top 10 defenders, around Nathaniel Clyne territory).

Of course, a lot depends where Wenger plays him (or, indeed, if he plays him at all). Either one of him or Nacho Monreal could wind up in the LCB or the LWB position as they are both able to fill both roles. However, with Nacho stepping into the back three many times towards the end of the season, I might stick my neck out and say he might become an Azpi-style converted CB, with new man Kolašinac out at wing back.

It should be noted what our Twitter friend (think The In-Betweeners, Brits… and if you aren’t familiar…) FPL Connect (follow him!) has written in conclusion to his great article on the player:

If established as the LWB in their 3-4-3 formation and other wing-back options are priced similarly, Kolašinac could well prove a good buy, but approach with caution. Not every player coming to the Premier League takes to it like duck to water.

We agree with the caution that Connect advises, but also feel there could be just enough evidence to think he could turn out to be a more than decent FPL asset. Furthermore, if Kolašinac improves his output due to playing for, objectively speaking, a better team, he could turn out to be some prospect.

A kind valuation (5.5 maybe, as Walker was in 16/17) would, of course, significantly burnish his appeal.

Overall rating: 4 / 5 – A good* prospect for FPL. 

*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.