Banking on Clean Sheets
Why football managers care about clean sheets
Football managers know how significant clean sheets can be but they often emphasise their importance in their own unique manner. At a press conference, in September 2015, Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri revealed that he had effectively bribed his players, by offering them free pizza, if they could secure their first clean sheet of the campaign. What followed is the now the stuff of legend, as the Foxes went to on to clinch the most unlikely of Premier League title triumphs.
Sam Allardyce, who was in charge of Sunderland at the time, took a more pragmatic approach a couple of months later and was quoted as saying ‘’ If we get 13 clean sheets this year we’ll stay up. The most important thing is if we can continue to be very difficult to beat, to score against. That is the starting point’’. The Black Cats did indeed stay up and Big Sam was rewarded for his efforts, by being named England manager.
Even when a team is cruising to a comfortable victory, you often see frustration on the faces of players and managers alike, when they concede a consolation goal to the opposition. The goalkeeper may thump the ground, while the manager might be seen kicking out at anything within the vicinity of the dugout. Clearly, a lot of the work done on the training grounds is focused on securing that elusive shut-out. After all, if you don’t concede, you cannot lose the game!
Attack is the best form of defence
Fantasy football managers tend to think that attack is the best form of defence, resulting in a huge proportion of their budget being spent on the big-hitters, the stand-out performers with those high valuations. Defences get neglected and become something of an after-thought.
Unfortunately, far too many fantasy bosses think along these lines but when the prizes are being handed out, it is the managers boasting the best defences, that will often come out on top.
If you’re familiar with our weekly goal projections, you will know that we calculate the expected goals for each Premier League team. However, we appreciate that many of our readers are more ‘old school’ and might prefer a simple value such as betting odds to enable them to quickly assess certain scenarios.
Online betting companies provide this information and you can easily check out football betting at william hill to see a whole range of markets that can be invaluable for any aspiring fantasy football manager.
Within the betting markets for each match, you will find numerous bet-types including the price for each team to record a clean sheet, as well as odds for a player to score anytime, to score 2 or more or even a hat-trick. You can also choose the odds format you prefer, whether it be typical betting fractions or European decimal pricing, so that you can easily comprehend what you are seeing.
Checking the odds can also help with those selection dilemmas. For example, Sunderland take on Everton on Monday night and you may be struggling to split Jermain Defoe and Romelu Lukaku. A quick glance at the odds will tell you the latter is more likely to score due to his lower price. This might be enough to persuade you, to include him in your line-up, while you can always place an actual bet on the former to score, to make yourself feel a bit better, in case you get it wrong!
The scoring system in place on almost all fantasy football games rewards goalkeepers and defenders with points for clean sheets, so make it your mission to use all available resources, so that you stay one step ahead of your rival managers!