This article is part of our DFS Soccer 101 series.With Gameweek 27 out of the way, we have a short turnaround to Gameweek 28 with five matches Tuesday and five more Wednesday. This quick break makes it an extra appealing tournament slate, as defenders and midfielders usually are the ones who struggle the most because they tend to work the hardest, making them the most likely candidates to be subject to a rotation in the starting lineup.
That makes this week a good time to look at recent trends and which players have been playing well but have had trouble delivering on their performances to try to narrow down those to target in the midweek fixtures.
First, let's take a look at the top 20 players in terms of shots taken in the last four matches:
There are a few standouts in this table that are worth considering:
• Both Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez are in very poor runs of form in terms of conversion. Of their combined 33 shots, only 10 have been on target, and the majority of those have come from Giroud. Alexis has been very poor in finishing and of those 10 shots on target, the pair have scored zero goals in the last four weeks.
• Ross Barkley leads the league in shots in this period despite having only played three times in the last four gameweeks. Everton have had their matchup with Liverpool postponed due to their Merseyside rival playing in the Capital One Cup final on Sunday.
• Christian Eriksen has had a remarkable nine of his 15 shots go on target recently. This has contributed to his solid play in recent weeks, which has coincided with Tottenham winning six consecutive league matches.
An important part of the equation in breaking down goal scorers is the opponent. Here are the matchups for Gameweek 28:
|Tuesday||Leicester||West Bromwich Albion|
Of the players mentioned above, the ones with the juiciest matchups are the Arsenal duo of Giroud and Alexis, as they face a Swansea team that has not kept a clean sheet in five weeks, making it a perfect opportunity for the latter to snap out of his drought.
Another interesting matchup is Crystal Palace visiting Sunderland. Palace have looked very vulnerable, and if you look at their recent game log you find that they have just one point in their last six and could be a candidate to enter the relegation race after their recent performances. However, the underlying metrics don't quite suite that theory. In the last few games, here are their stats:
|Assists|| Touches in|
|27||West Brom (A)||L (2-3)||15||2||2||8||1||155|
|26||Watford (H)||L (1-2)||15||5||1||9||1||191|
|25||Seansea (A)||D (1-1)||12||2||1||10||1||146|
|24||Bournemouth (H)||L (1-2)||14||3||1||10||1||239|
|23||Tottenham (H)||L (1-3)||11||3||1||6||0||148|
The noticeable aspect of these results is that they have taken shots, and when facing a team close to their level, they held possession. In Tuesday's matchup on the road at Sunderland, I expect the Eagles will have somewhere around 160-190 touches in the final third, culminating in about 13-15 shots with a goal or two. With the return of Yohan Cabaye in the last three matches, Palace have looked better on the ball and have had a better command of the midfield, so this should yield more opportunities for the team to convert. The only thing missing is a striker who can put the ball in the back o