Fantasy Premier League

Why fixture-proof Neto can be a top FPL midfield pick

By The Scout 7 Jun 2024
Pedro Neto, Wolves

Wolves star produced more assists against top 10 opponents than any other player in Fantasy last season

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The Scout is identifying players who could improve on last season's displays and have an even bigger impact when 2024/25 Fantasy Premier League begins.

Pedro Neto (Wolves)

The Portuguese was quick to make an impact under Wolverhampton Wanderers' head coach Gary O’Neil at the beginning of last season.

After blanking in his first two matches, Neto then delivered an attacking return (a goal or an assist) in eight successive Gameweeks prior to a spell on the sidelines through injury.

Despite making just 20 appearances (including 18 starts), Neto ended the campaign with two goals and 11 assists.

That total of 13 goal involvements matched his best-ever season in Fantasy, when he produced five goals and eight assists in 2020/21. However, he played 1,000+ minutes more that season than he did in the last campaign. 

Neto's Fantasy career
Season Goals Assists Total Mins
2019/20 3 3 6 920
2020/21 5 8 13 2,549
2021/22 1 1 2 459
2022/23 0 2 2 962
2023/24 2 11 13 1,516
What do the underlying statistics tell us?

Neto finished last season on 86 points, some way behind Wolves’ top performers Matheus Cunha and Hwang Hee-chan, who collected 135 and 125 points respectively.

But assessing Neto's statistics against his fellow attackers does highlight his major influence on O’Neil’s side.

Although forward Cunha led the way for frequency of shots and shots in the box, there was very little to separate Neto and Hwang.

The Portuguese marginally had the upper hand for minutes per shot, by 42.3 to the 47.6 minutes of Hwang, who edged it for minutes per shot in the box, by 53.5 to 56.4.

It was no contest when it came to creativity, though. Neto supplied a key pass every 40 minutes, more than twice as quick as Cunha and over three times as fast as Hwang.

That all-round style of play meant that Neto was involved in a team-high 59 per cent of Wolves’ goals when selected last season, compared with the 48 per cent of Cunha and 43 per cent of Hwang. 

Neto, Cunha and Hwang, 23/24
  Neto Cunha Hwang
Mins/shot 42.3 33.6 47.6
Mins/shot in box 56.4 50.1 53.5
Mins/key pass 40 88 126
Goal involvement 59% 48% 43%
How did he compare with other midfielders?

Neto’s attacking returns against tough opponents was one of the most impressive features of his first season under O’Neil.

Eleven of the Wolves star’s 20 appearances were against sides who finished in the top half of the table – and he only blanked in two of those 11 outings.

The Portuguese scored or assisted against all eight of the top 10 sides he faced last season - Manchester City, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Crystal Palace.

When compared with other midfielders in Fantasy against top 10 opposition, Neto fares incredibly well.

He was one of only 11 midfielders to record 10 or more attacking returns in those contests, with his total of 10 matching the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Rodri and Declan Rice.

Neto’s creative output in those encounters was particularly encouraging – indeed, his total of nine assists against the top 10 sides was more than any other player in Fantasy.

Furthermore, his average of 83.8 minutes per attacking return in those encounters was second only to the 81.7 minutes of Cole Palmer, the top-scoring player in the game. Palmer scored nine goals and assisted a further five across 14 matches.

Midfielders with most attacking returns v top 10 sides
Player Goals Assists Total Mins per goal/assist
Palmer 9 5 14 81.7
Neto 1 9 10 83.8
Gordon 8 8 16 84.6
Salah 8 7 15 85.5
Son 10 5 15 96.7
Saka 6 6 12 120.3
Foden 9 2 11 129.9
Gallagher 5 6 11 131.2
Rodri 4 6 10 140.7
Bowen 6 4 10 143.6
Rice 3 7 10 153.4

Over the season as a whole, Neto was one of only five midfielders to score or assist in at least 60 per cent of his starts, along with Palmer, Michael Olise, Mohamed Salah and Bukayo Saka.

If O’Neil can keep him fully-fit, Neto’s huge influence on Wolves’ attack, combined with his ability to deliver regardless of opponent, can make him a very strong option in midfield in 2024/25 Fantasy.

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