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FPL 2018/19 REVIEW: Player of the Season

The Premier League season ended on Sunday 12th May 2019, with the final of the 380 league matches taking place. Man City won the league by a single point ahead of Liverpool, there were three Golden Boot winners, whilst Huddersfield, Fulham and Cardiff had long been relegated. With the 2018/19 season in the rear-view, we look back at the defining statistics for Fantasy Football players in the form of graphics that highlight the top ten players in various categories. All aboard.

FPL 2018/19: Player of the Season

Name: Andrew Robertson

Nationality: Scottish

Club: Liverpool

Position: Defender (LB)

Player Age: 25

Total Points: 213 points

Appearances: 37/38

Final Ownership: 33%

Starting Price: £6.0 million

Highest Price: £6.9 milliom

Final Price: £6.7 million

Signed from Hull City for £8 million in the summer of 2017, it was shrewd business from Jürgen Klopp to give a player of Robertson a chance at the elite level. In the modern transfer market, there have been some unbelievable prices for full-backs, two of which belong to Manchester City. The summer of 2017 saw Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker move to City for a combined £108 million, which is staggering to think Andrew Robertson’s price makes up the smallest part of that combined fee. This summer also sees Lucas Hernandez make the switch from Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich for the price of £68mil.

There wasn’t a huge buzz in the fantasy community when Robertson signed for Liverpool, all the hype was on Benjamin Mendy. Hailed as the best attacking left-back on the planet, Mendy has been cursed with injuries since arriving at City, and the most disappointing thing was that Mendy had some incredible fantasy returns to back up his reputation. Mendy was part of a Monaco team that usurped the monopoly PSG held over Ligue 1, whilst Andrew Robertson had just been relegated with Hull City. There couldn’t be a wider contrast to the two players, and over the course of the two seasons it has been the Scotsman that has become the Premier League’s best left-back.

Things didn’t start out as planned for Robertson at Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp kept faith with Alberto Moreno for the beginning of the 2017/18 season which was a shock to most people. After a bedding in period Robertson made his debut on the 19th August 2017 in a 1–0 win over Crystal Palace, winning the Man of the Match award. Since then he hasn’t looked back, and when Virgil van Dijk was signed later that year, it started the beginning of a journey that would see Andrew Robertson become the solution to Liverpool’s cursed left-back position.

The 2018/19 season was different for so many reasons, mostly because a universally mocked Liverpool defence became the most robust and impervious in the Premier League. Virgil van Dijk had transformed the Liverpool defence, and Liverpool’s revamped system saw most of their chances created from their full backs in wide positions. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson both broke the assist record for defenders in the same season, and Robertson played a part in all but one match.

There was a balance with the Reds defence, they were solid when they needed to be, and they knew how to attack and create chances to affect the game. Van Dijk held everything together, but Robertson’s job was much more demanding, and watching him charge up and down the left-flank all season the Scot made it look easy. Liverpool had secured a player that could do it all, surprising everybody because the initial price-tag for Robertson didn’t scream ‘elite signing’.

2017/18 was about Mo Salah’s unbelievable goal scoring, shattering nearly every league and Liverpool record, and there wasn’t any debate as to who the player of the season would be. This time round, there was no standout candidate to sit in the fantasy football throne. When you look at a player to win this award you should think of a consistent engine in your team, a player that you could always rely on to be competitive regardless of the fixture. We considered lots of forwards and midfielders for this season’s best player, but you could argue every single name, leaving you going in a circle.

Raheem Sterling, for example, had huge bursts of points potential, followed by lots of blanks, and then also falling victim to the Pep Guardiola rotation game. Sergio Aguero was the best forward option this year but fell victim to what Aguero falls victim too every season. The Argentine always has a few stellar returns that justify his ownership, and fantasy managers would keep faith with him in hope of another pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Mo Salah and Sadio Mane of Liverpool were effectively the same player this year, always an option, but ultimately patchy and unpredictable.

Salah was a victim of his own success from last year, and if Robertson hadn’t had such a ground-breaking year would have been awarded the throne for the second consecutive season. Putting it into context, Salah had 259pts, Robertson had 213pts, making only a difference of 46pts for the entire season. Over the course of the season Salah had twenty-three fantasy returns all season, whereas Robertson had twenty-five returns, the most of any player this season. Robertson and van Dijk broke the glass ceiling for defenders in this years FPL, and this shouldn’t be overshadowed by a midfielder that was constantly in rotation in managers teams. Sterling, Aguero, Mane, and Salah were all in contention to be cannon fodder for fantasy teams, big money options to rotate for the best available points that week.

Meanwhile, Robertson had been the player everyone needed in their defence. A lot of fantasy managers even doubled down on two Liverpool defenders…they were that essential. That is the word that gives you the throne…essential. Robertson ticked every single box for player of the season, and he was the player most top ranked managers had in their team as a ‘set it and forget it’ option. You rarely had to think about Robertson, and the statistics further down this article fully justify the Scot as a worthy winner of the 2018/19 Player of the Season award.

This season didn’t belong to a flashy forward, or live-wire midfielder, it belonged to a working-class defender that outlasted all other players in this year’s fantasy marathon. Congratulations go to Andrew Robertson, and his season had been capped off with a trophy in the form of Liverpool’s sixth Champions League title which says everything about where he came from, to where he is now.

Andrew Robertson's Best Performances (2018/19)

Robertson’s best performance was GW36 against Huddersfield picking up 14pts, providing two assists, keeping clean sheet, and being awarded two bonus points. This was a home game at Anfield.

The second-best performance was GW28 against Watford, picking up 13pts, keeping a clean sheet, providing two assists, and earning one bonus point. This was a home game at Anfield.

The third-best performance was GW12 against Fulham, picking up 12pts, providing one assist, keeping a clean sheet, and earning all three bonus points. This was a home game at Anfield.

The joint fourth-best performance was GW16 against Bournemouth, picking up 11pts, keeping a clean sheet, providing an assist, and collecting two bonus points. This game was away from home.

The joint fourth-best performance was GW1 against West Ham, picking up 11pts, providing one assist, keeping a clean sheet, and earning two bonus points. This was a home game at Anfield.

The trend with Robertson was that he was always reliable when playing on home soil. Four of his five best performances came at Anfield, with the exception being away to Bournemouth. When Robertson was at his best, he was able to provide fantasy managers with the dream return; a combination of attacking returns, clean sheets, and bonus. The fact that he was consistent with his return only adds to the argument that he was the most necessary Fantasy option this year.

Facts & Statistics: Andrew Robertson (2018/19)

The Scotsman recorded the highest number of clean sheets (21) for any defender in this years FPL. Virgil van Dijk would have also been on the same number had he not been substituted on the 54th minute, during the Reds 3-0 win over Southampton during GW6.

Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk are the first defenders in FPL history to surpass the 200pt mark, meaning that Robertson’s performance in the 2018/19 season is the best of any defender in the competition’s history.

Along with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Robertson broke the record for the number of assists for defenders in the Premier League. Officially, Robertson finished on eleven assists, one behind Alexander-Arnold on twelve, but in the FPL assist charts the Scot has twelve assists, and Trent has thirteen.

Robertson only missed one game this season, the 4-1 home win against Cardiff during GW10. Ironically, it was Alberto Moreno’s mistake that led to Paterson scoring the consolation goal for Cardiff.

The best period of returns for Robertson came in two periods of the season. First was at the very beginning of the season, between GW1 and GW4 where he recorded fantasy returns in all these games, amassing 32pts. The second period was between GW26 and GW29 where Robertson kept four clean sheets, provided three assists, and recorded 35pts.

Robertson didn’t go more than two games at a time to register a fantasy return. In fact, there were only three instances where the Liverpool defender went consecutive games without registering a return. First was GW10 (Cardiff) and GW11 (Arsenal), and then GW24 (Leicester) and GW25 (West Ham). The third and last instance was GW30 (Burnley) and GW31 (Fulham), making these three periods the longest points draughts of Robertson’s entire season.

Appeared in the Dream Team five times in the 2018/19 season.

Robertson finished as the joint most expensive defender, alongside fellow Liverpool defender, ending the season at £6.7mil.

Robertson finished as the mostly widely owned defender, finishing the season at 33% ownership. The other most owned defenders were also Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold, also of Liverpool.

Robertson picked up four yellow cards the entire season, significantly less than most defenders. In contrast, Luke Shaw of Man United picked eleven.

Robertson picked up the most bonus points for a defender, earning 29pts. He also finished 5th overall, finishing behind Vardy (31), Jimenez (31), Aubameyang (32), and Hazard (35).

Robertson had been transferred in a total of 2,650,621 times this season, the second most for any defender in the league. The most transferred in defender was his teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold with a staggering 3,306,874 inbound transfers.

Robertson finished 5th on the list of players for their overall price rise during the season, finishing a £0.7mil higher than he started. Of these five, Robertson was the fourth placed defender level with van Dijk, but behind Doherty, Laporte, and Alexander-Arnold who finished in first.

Lastly, Robertson finished second of the over FPL ‘Bonus Point System’, finishing with 906pts. Unsurprisingly, Virgil van Dijk finished ahead of him with 932pts. The BPS system demonstrates an overall performance and worth in a match, highlighting just how important Robertson is to Liverpool, only falling short to the PFA Player of the Season.

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