Are Defenders Undervalued?

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I’m back, Which means you guys didn’t hate my preview article which you can find here.

For those of you who missed it, Football INDEX have very kindly allowed me to publish some analysis I’ve done on players who are capable of hitting peak scores on Match Day Rankings.

So, Defenders (and Goalkeepers, I guess). I’ve been fairly vocal on @_FIGuide’s Football INDEX podcast (listen here) and on Twitter around my belief that Defenders are still hugely undervalued compared to Midfielders and Forwards on the platform, so I’m starting here.

In the preview article, I mentioned that I used 195 as a peak score for Defenders. I used this number as it turns out the average winning score on a Double Day last season was 198 and on a Treble Day it was 191.

I haven’t got that wrong, it really was more difficult to win on Double Days last season for Defenders than it was on Treble Days. Oh, the delights of data. This probably came down to the fact that the latter stages of the Champions League and Europa League dragged the average score down a bit for Treble Days.

So, enough with my rambling, time to get to the interesting bit.

Nobody hit the Defender peak score more often than Dani Alves. Nobody got close. He reached a score of 195 on eight occasions, with Nicolas Otamendi the next closest with five.

However, what’s more impressive is the frequency with which he hit this score. He started 31 games last season, so he hit a peak score once in every four starts. I like those odds.

Shame he’s getting towards the end of his career. Call me crazy but I’d expect him to be in the £4 region if he was ten years younger.

As we’re on the subject of Otamendi, he hit a peak score one in every eight games he started. Still pretty impressive, but there were three other Defenders who managed to hit 195 slightly more frequently than him.

Aymeric Laporte (1 in 6), David Alaba and Mathieu Debuchy (1 in 8 too, but marginally better) are the others who scored well last season.

Aymeric Laporte and Mathieu Debuchy both had fairly small pools of data when comparing to Alves and Alaba, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep it up.

One thing that’s interesting to note on Alaba is that, despite hitting a peak score fairly frequently, he didn’t return any Match Day Dividends last season. That’s resulted in me coming to the conclusion that he’s the unluckiest Defender on the Index.

If my memory serves me correctly he lost on a Treble Day once due to his date of birth, I might be wrong, but yeah, UNLUCKY. For those of you that are unaware, if a two players hit the same score, the younger player wins the dividends.

Something that I found interesting was when you compared him to his teammate and fellow full back, Joshua Kimmich. The German rascal managed to return 28p in Match Day Dividends without hitting the peak score of 195 once.

It just shows how important the smaller game pools in the latter stages of European Competition can be when it comes down to which players actually yield anything over the course of a season.

When you consider that the likes of Ricardo Rodriguez and Lucas Hernandez also yielded over 20p last season without hitting a peak score, it really helps to drive this point home.

Other players who hit peak scores consistently were Aleksandar Kolarov (4), Sergio Ramos, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Marcos Alonso (3) each of them hitting at least 195 more frequently than one in every 14 starts.

So, if you want to have a few Defenders in your portfolio next season, you can’t go far wrong from having a few of those, in my opinion anyway.

If you would like the full data set please find me on Twitter and I’d be more than happy to share it with you or if you want to @ me for calling Kimmich lucky, find me on Twitter: @footyindexLDN.

Time to add some defenders? Do it now:


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