Fantasy Premier League

Maddison or Sterling: Who is the better FPL pick?

By The Scout 27 Aug 2023
maddison v sterling

The Scout analyses in-form duo as Fantasy managers reassess their midfields ahead of Gameweek 4

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Managers in Fantasy Premier League are rushing to bring Raheem Sterling (£7.1m) and James Maddison (£7.6m) into their midfields for Gameweek 4.

Sterling’s two goals and an assist in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Luton Town on Friday have made him the most-bought player in the Gameweek.

Most-bought players in GW4
Player Transfers in
Sterling 345,000
Gusto 303,000
Maddison 231,000

Some 345,000 managers have turned to Sterling ahead of a very kind run of opponents.

According to the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR), four of Chelsea's next five matches score only two.

Chelsea’s next five matches
Gameweek Opponent FDR
4 NFO (H) 2
5 BOU (A) 2
6 AVL (H) 3
7 FUL (A) 2
8 BUR (A) 2

Maddison’s goal and 10 points in Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-0 win at AFC Bournemouth on Saturday has also turned heads.

He is closing in on Sterling for transfers in over the last 24 hours ahead of back-to-back matches against promoted Burnley and Sheffield United.

Spurs' next two matches
Gameweek Opponent FDR
4 BUR (A) 2
5 SHU (H) 2

The duo’s displays handily come at a point where managers in Fantasy are starting to reassess their options in midfield.

In Gameweek 4, Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (£8.6m) and Martin Odegaard (£8.5m) face Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes (£8.5m) and Marcus Rashford (£9.0m) at Emirates Stadium.

Furthermore, Brighton & Hove Albion’s home match with Newcastle United starts a run of tough fixtures for the popular Kaoru Mitoma (£6.6m). 

Although Sterling has a slight advantage by 23 points to the 22 of Maddison, the underlying statistics tell a different story.

Sterling v Maddison, first three GWs
23/24 Sterling Chelsea rank Maddison Spurs rank
Points 23 1 22 1
xGI 1.38 3 2.88 1
Touches in box 35 1 14 4
Shots 6 3 8 1
Shots in box 6 2 7 =1
Created chances 4 3 9 1

Maddison has recorded an expected goal involvement (xGI) score of 2.88, more than double Sterling’s 1.38.

He also surpasses Sterling for shots, shots in the box and chances created.

When assessed against their respective team-mates, the Spurs star dominates further.

Maddison’s eight shots and nine chances created both rank top for Ange Postecoglou’s side, while his seven shots in the box are joint-first with Pape Matar Sarr (£4.5m).

Greater threat

Sterling’s six shots, six shots in the box and four chances created, meanwhile, all rank among Chelsea’s top three players.

His most noticeable statistic is 35 touches in the box, which was a league-high after Saturday’s matches.

Assessed against their displays in the previous campaign, it’s clear that both Maddison and Sterling are boasting a greater threat inside the opposition penalty area.

Although Maddison’s shots and minutes per shot are near-identical to his 2022/23 season at Leicester City, his shots in the box per match have climbed from 1.3 to 2.3.

Maddison 2023/24 vs 2022/23
  2023/24 2022/23
Touches in box 4.7 3.6
Shots 2.7 2.8
Shots in box 2.3 1.3
Mins/shots 31.6 29.0
Created chances 3.0 2.3
Mins/Created chances 28.0 36.0

It’s a similar story for Sterling across those same three statistics, with his shots in the box up from 1.2 to 2.0.

Sterling 2023/24 vs 2022/23
  2023/24 2022/23
Touches in box 11.7 4.6
Shots 2.0 1.5
Shots in box 2.0 1.2
Mins/shots 43.5 45.1
Created chances 1.3 1.2
Mins/Created chances 65.0 56.0

When it comes to creativity, though, Maddison has the clear upper hand. 

His 28 minutes per key pass is quicker than his average of 36 minutes from last season and is more than twice as fast as Sterling’s 65 minutes for Chelsea this term. 

Overall, then, Maddison looks the standout pick of the two. 

Handed more freedom to attack under Postecoglou, he has immediately established himself as a central figure for Spurs in the first season of the post-Harry Kane era.

His potential for both goals and assists looks to have improved from last term, suggesting he can return to the form of 2021/22, where he recorded his career-high 181 points.

Although Sterling is overshadowed in the analysis, his improved goal threat in the box under new head coach Mauricio Pochettino offers plenty of encouragement for Chelsea's favourable schedule.

Also in this series

Part 2: FPL Lessons: Why five-man midfields are the way to go for managers
Part 3: Whose FPL prospects have improved after Gameweek 3?
Part 4: The Scout’s FPL Gameweek 4 Ones to watch
Part 5: The Scout’s FPL Gameweek 4 Differentials
Part 6: FPL experts: Keep or sell Arsenal and Man Utd midfielders?
Part 7: FPL long view: Time to consider Newcastle in Gameweek 5?
Part 8: Scout Selection: Best FPL team for Gameweek 4
Part 9: Best alternatives to Haaland as FPL captain in Gameweek 4

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