Fantasy Premier League

How Palmer has matched Haaland's impact in Fantasy

By The Scout 5 Jul 2024
Palmer and Haaland

The Scout shows why Chelsea star's breakout season has been just as big as Haaland's was in 2022/23

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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.

Cole Palmer (Chelsea) £10.5m

It’s impossible to downplay Palmer’s impact on Fantasy last season after he finished as the top-scoring player in his breakout campaign.

Having started 2023/24 at a cost of just £5.0m while at Manchester City, Palmer’s move to Chelsea helped him become the best-value asset of all-time in Fantasy.

His all-round style of play, combined with penalty duties, earned the midfielder 244 points thanks to 22 goals and 13 assists.

Palmer’s performances are all the more remarkable when you consider he didn’t make his full debut for the Blues until Gameweek 7. He collected just four points in the first six Gameweeks after appearing as a Man City substitute on four occasions.

From Gameweek 7 onwards, at Chelsea, Palmer’s total of 240 points was at least 43 more than any other player, with Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins (£9.0m) his nearest rival on 197 points.

Palmer's final tally was at least 70 points more than premium assets such as Man City's Erling Haaland (£15.0m), Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (£12.5m).

Top-scoring players in 2023/24 Fantasy
Player Total pts Pts GW1-6 Pts GW7-38
Palmer 244 4 240
Foden 230 34 196
Watkins 228 31 197
Saka 226 44 182
Haaland 217 51 166
Son 213 44 169
Salah 211 43 168

Delving into the goal-involvement data below underlines how Palmer’s displays compared with last season’s top-scoring players in Fantasy.

Haaland, for example, had already scored eight goals and supplied an assist in the first six rounds of matches. 

Salah and Arsenal's Bukayo Saka had each delivered at least three goals and three assists, while Son had scored five of his 17 goals for the season.

From Gameweek 7 onwards, Palmer’s all-round output made him the standout Fantasy asset.

His 22 goals were more than any other player, while his 13 assists were bettered only by the 14 of Watkins.

Palmer’s total of 35 goal involvements (combined goals and assists) in this period was 12 more than the 23 of Man City's Phil Foden, who finished as the second top-scoring player in Fantasy on 230 points.

Goal involvement compared 2023/24
Player Goals GW1-6 Assists GW1-6 Goals GW7-38 Assists GW7-38
Palmer 0 0 22 13
Foden 1 3 18 5
Watkins 1 4 18 14
Saka 3 3 13 10
Haaland 8 1 19 7
Son 5 0 12 10
Salah 3 4 15 8
How Palmer compares with Haaland's debut season

There’s no question that Palmer will be one of the most-expensive players in 2024/25 Fantasy. Not only does he merit that inevitable hefty price hike, his relentless consistency means he can be Haaland’s greatest rival for the captaincy.

Palmer blanked only ONCE in his 13 starts at Stamford Bridge last season, while his 15 attacking returns in away matches were just two behind the league-high 17 of Watkins.

Assessing Palmer’s displays from Gameweek 7 of 2023/24 against Haaland’s debut 2022/23 campaign is illuminating.

It shows the pair performed similarly in their respective breakout seasons, which is notable given Haaland's 2022/23 displays meant he subsequently became only the fourth player EVER to be priced at £14.0m in Fantasy.

Haaland had the clear advantage for big chances by 1.7pm to Palmer’s 0.7pm. As a result of his better-quality scoring chances, the Norwegian had the edge for Expected Goals (xG) by 0.8pm to the 0.6pm of Palmer.

But Palmer's creativity was far superior. He had an Expected Assists (xA) average of 0.3pm, while Haaland's was only 0.1pm.

The Expected Goal Involvement (xGI) numbers - which combine xG and xA – show that Palmer’s 0.9pm from the point of his full debut onwards was exactly the same as Haaland’s free-scoring debut 2022/23 campaign. 

Palmer v Haaland stats per match in breakout season
  Haaland 22/23 Palmer 23/24 (GW7-38)
Shots 3.5 3.5
Big chances 1.7 0.7
xG 0.8 0.6
Key passes 0.9 2.3
xA 0.1 0.3
xGI 0.9 0.9
Home form on a par

To elaborate further on Palmer vs Haaland in their breakout seasons, their displays in home matches help highlight the Chelsea midfielder's ability. 

Again, their xGIs of 17.73 were identical, with Palmer’s creativity helping him keep pace with Haaland’s 2022/23 form.

The Chelsea star’s xGI Delta number in 2023/24 home matches is also promising as it means he only slightly overperformed.

Palmer was involved in 20 goals at Stamford Bridge, scoring 16 of them and supplying four more. As his xGI was 17.73, this gives him an xGI Delta of +2.27, a low figure that you would anticipate he can replicate or even improve on next season.

By contrast, Haaland’s xGI Delta of +11.27 in 2022/23 home matches shows just how much he overperformed, after achieving 22 goals and seven assists from a total xGI figure of only 17.73.

Palmer v Haaland at home in breakout season
  Haaland 22/23 Palmer 23/24
Mins per xGI 73.9 69.8
xG 15.58 12.95
xA 2.15 4.78
xGI 17.73 17.73
Goals & assists 29 (22G, 7A) 20 (16G, 4A)
xGI Delta +11.27 +2.27
How does Palmer compare with other FPL midfielders?

The graphic below shows that Palmer was the most-reliable midfielder in Fantasy last season.

Looking from left to right across the graphic, you can see he produced an attacking return (a goal or assist) in 73.3 per cent of his appearances.

Saka and Salah were his nearest rivals for this statistic, with success rates of 65.7 per cent and 62.5 per cent respectively.

Palmer v other FPL midfielders 23/24
Cole Palmer in FPL 2023/24

Rotate your mobile device to see graphic full-screen

Meanwhile, looking at the graphic from top to bottom shows how many points Palmer scored on average in the matches where he got at least one attacking return. 

It shows how reliable Palmer was for also delivering big scores in Fantasy, because he collected 227 points in those 22 contests, an average of 10.3 points per match.

The graphic also helps to highlight just how similar Foden and Son were for output last season.

Both made 35 appearances, with the Man City star having the slight edge for consistency, with attacking returns in 19 matches compared with the 18 of Son.

They were also near-identical for points per successful outing, with Foden again bettering the South Korean by 10.2 to 9.5.

Player Matches Succ. matches Succ. rate Pts/succ. match
Palmer 30 22 73.3% 10.3
Saka 35 23 65.7% 8.6
Salah 32 20 62.5% 9.4
Foden 35 19 54.3% 10.2
Son 35 18 51.4% 9.5

Ultimately, then, the numbers show that Palmer’s outstanding 2023/24 season was no fluke and that he will more than merit his place among the premium talents.

It’s also hard to argue against Palmer's status as the go-to midfielder for millions of managers, while his major all-round points potential means his rivalry with Haaland will dominate the captaincy narrative for the majority of 2024/25. 

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