Antonio – Keep or Sell?

FPL Brunoo has been sharing his thoughts on Antonio in his latest Twitter thread available here.

With Toney’s fixtures looking tasty and FPL managers looking to free up funds to acquire Son/Kane, many are pondering on whether it’s worth selling Antonio with his tough fixtures coming up.

Retrospective

So far this season, Antonio’s underlying statistics justify his high ownership. West Ham started the season ranked 3rd in Attacking FDR from FFScout until GW10.

Over that run, amongst all players in the league, Antonio is second for Expected Goal Involvements in the league, 3rd for Big Chances, 2nd for Big Chance created, 2nd for Goal attempts and 2nd for Shots inside the box.

Looking back, having been originally priced at £7.5, Antonio was probably the biggest bargain of the start of the season.

His FPL points have slowed down however in recent GWs, having blanked in 3 of his last 5 GWs, averaging only 4 points per game over that run.

His underlying statistics also regressed during that time as shown in the picture.

Antonio’s attacking output has slowed down in recent games and his drop in FPL Goal Involvement % shows us that it is no longer the “Antonio show” at WHU with other players chipping in.

Bowen, for example, in those same GW 6-10 fixtures has returned in 4 of the 5 games.

These may look like worrying signs for an Antonio owner but it is worth noting that despite that drop off, he is still 2nd for Expected Goal Involvements amongst all players for GW6-10.

Are the GW 11-17 fixtures really that bad?

On paper, the fixtures don’t look appealing for Antonio but let’s have a deeper analysis so we can appropriately calibrate our expectations from Antonio for these games.

Antonio usually gets most of his goal scoring chances in the centre of the pitch and his Shots Heatmap clearly show that. Let us now look at the Matchups for Antonio against the Defences he will be playing against.

Chances Conceded down the Centre over the last 6 GWs:

GW11: LIV (H) – 11th

GW12: WOL (A) – 4th

GW13: MCI (A) – 20th

GW14: BHA (H) – 2nd

GW15: CHE (H) – 14th

GW16: BUR (A) – 11th

GW17: ARS (A) – 16th

Based on the Matchups, the games against LIV, WOL, BHA and BUR look decent for Antonio.

You could even add Arsenal to this mix, as over the last 6 GWs they were second for DEF FDR which could have made their Defence look better than they actually are.

Even against Man City where the matchups don’t favor Antonio, you should not be surprised to see him on the scoresheet as he’s scored in both games against the Citizens last season.

Furthermore, Antonio is truly fixture proof. In fact he is even better against the bigger teams.

Last season, in 8 games against the “Big Six” Antonio had an xGI of 0.90/App compared to an xGI of 0.50/App against the smaller sides. The fixtures are thus not a good enough argument to get rid of Antonio.

GW18 onwards Biggest issue with selling Antonio is that you will want him back in mid-December for this very favourable run of games until GW33.

At his price point, there isn’t many strikers to replace Antonio with, meaning Antonio sellers are likely going to downgrade him to Toney this week and if they spread the remaining funds in the upcoming GWs, they will find it difficult to get him back in GW16.

Bubble wrapped Antonio

The worry with Antonio as always is his injury proneness – whether he will even make it to mid-December fit for that run of games.

It is thus worth noting that Antonio has been extra cautious in trying to stay fit these season by changing his diet, not going for International games and managing his minutes for Europa league.

West Ham are also leading their Europa league group by a margin of 6 pts, which means it is very likely Antonio will be rested for the remaining games.

Conclusion

Having value tied in Antonio, I personally will not be selling the striker. Despite not returning FPL points recently, he is still right up there for xGI amongst all players.

He’s proven to be fixture proof and the upcoming fixtures are not even as bad as they seem on paper.

At nearly 50% ownership, it would be a big risk taking off Antonio when he can easily match or score more points than his replacement.

Data taken from @FFScout

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