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How FPL assists are awarded: Final pass

25 Aug 2019
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A three-part series on what makes up a Fantasy Premier League assist, with examples of how rules are applied

Assists are a crucial part of Fantasy Premier League, delivering vital points for managers.

FPL has expanded on the traditional definition of an assist, rewarding more actions that lead to a goal.

Traditionally, assists are awarded to a player who makes the final pass or cross before a goal is scored.

An assist is given even if the pass is unintentional. This means that this "pass" could be an inadvertent touch, as long as it is the final one before the goal is scored.

That is the simple explanation of what makes up a regular assist, as defined by Opta.

FPL extension

But in FPL, the basic definition of an assist is extended.

Firstly, the rules on touches of the ball by opponents are relaxed.

An assist can be awarded for a pass or cross, even if an opponent gets a touch before the goal is scored. However, that touch must not significantly alter the intended destination of the ball.

That "intended destination" can often be a team-mate if he is a clear target. But it may also be an area of the pitch.

This is often the case with headed passes, long punts or clearances and crosses from set-pieces.

So a player who takes a corner or free-kick, even if an opponent gets a touch on his cross, can earn an assist if the ball remains on course to its intended destination, such as the six-yard box or far or near post.

The example in the video at the top of this article, from Liverpool's victory at Burnley in Gameweek 22 of 2017/18, demonstrates this.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross was deemed as intended for Sadio Mane, or Mane’s area of the pitch, which was the centre of the penalty area.

Therefore, despite the deflection, the assist is awarded to Alexander-Arnold because the ball still reaches Mane to score.

Deflections

Assists can also be given when touches or attempted tackles from opponents deflect the ball in off the goalscorer.

Again, the scorer of the goal has to be the clear intended target for the pass and the assessment of whether the ball would have reached the scorer without the defensive touch must be made.

We saw this in Gameweek 7 of 2017/18, with Newcastle United's goal against Liverpool.

Newcastle's Joselu is put through by Jonjo Shelvey and scores via Joel Matip's attempted tackle.

Matip's challenge diverts the ball into the net off Joselu and it is that action that produces the goal.

Shelvey, therefore, earns the assist.

However, if a player is deemed to have lost possession, regaining the ball before taking a shot, no assist is awarded.

This happened in Gameweek 8 of 2017/18, when Christian Eriksen scored for Tottenham Hotspur against AFC Bournemouth, with no assist awarded.

While Son Heung-min passes to Eriksen, the Dane overruns the ball and is tackled by a defender.

But the challenge diverts the ball back to Eriksen, who scores.

No assist was awarded as Eriksen was deemed to have regained possession before the shot.

Also in this series

Part 2: How FPL assists are awarded: Rebounds
Part 3: How FPL assists are awarded: Foul play

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