These articles are dual-focused, analysing a player’s role within their club from a footballing perspective before considering whether that information translates into them being a viable consideration for our FPL teams. Today’s instalment discusses Leicester City midfielder James Maddison.
Since joining Leicester from Norwich in a £22 million deal last summer, James Maddison has established himself as one of the Premier League’s most creative players. Aided by his monopoly of set-piece duties, his 100 chances created was the most of any Premier League player, narrowly ahead of Eden Hazard (97).
70 of those were during 25 matches under Claude Puel, an average of 2.8 per game compared to 30 in 11 appearances (2.73 per game) after the Frenchman’s departure in late February. Nearly maintaining that average under Rodgers is even more impressive, considering that he used Maddison in a slightly deeper role alongside Youri Tielemans, rather than as an out-and-out number 10 like Puel did. He excelled in that role too, providing three assists to accompany two goals from direct free-kicks, gaining a WhoScored rating of 7.43.
Unsurprisingly, this all saw Maddison top FPL’s creativity table with a score of 1515.0, again ahead of Eden Hazard and followed by Ryan Fraser, Joao Moutinho and Willian. As stated on the FPL website, the creativity table is not merely a reflection of how often a player creates a chance as ‘While this analyses frequency of passing and crossing, it also considers pitch location and the incisiveness of the final ball.’ This suggests that it was not simply a case of racking up a century of chances created – they were ones that had a good chance of being converted. An xA of 8.67 (third behind Fraser and Hazard) confirms this and demonstrates that he could have improved upon 7 assists in 2018/19 if his teammates had been slightly more clinical in front of goal.
Statistically, Maddison clearly performed very favourably, yet a return of 137 FPL points from 36 appearances left his owners frustrated. This was a despite a promising start of albeit fortunate returns from a deflected goal, an assist from a rare Alisson error and a penalty in Jamie Vardy’s absence, all during the first five gameweeks. Thereafter Maddison switched from an over-performing to an underperforming asset. But with a statistically excellent season of Premier League football under his belt, an attack-minded manager in Brendan Rodgers and a talented group of teammates in support, there is every chance he can become the consistent mid-priced midfielder of choice.
In terms of a possible price for Maddison, a small rise has to be expected. Although Norwich fans would never have doubted him, whether a player can make the step-up from Championship to Premier League is always difficult to assess and this was reflected in the somewhat cautious £6.5 million valuation last season. Seeing him not only cut it at this level but also be the league’s most creative player will surely play into the pricing considerations. Therefore, a fair price for Maddison would be around the £7.0 million mark.
In summary, it is clear that Maddison has the quality to improve on an impressive debut season in the Premier League which saw him both score and assist on seven occasions. However, in order to establish himself further from a footballing and FPL perspective, those numbers need to increase towards the double figure mark. Nonetheless, there is enough to suggest that he will hit the ground running from the off ahead of encounters with Wolves, Chelsea, Sheffield United and Bournemouth in August.