GAVIN HORSFALL (@GHorsfall) has consistently delivered big-priced Football League goalscorers this season. Here he shares a few tricks of the trade…
Anytime Notebook Extra
It’s not been a bad first-half of the season for the Anytime Notebook (it’s been outstanding – Ed).
In a market where strike rates will always be low, we’ve managed to keep our head well above water with a +16.7pt profit heading into Christmas.
As tends to be the case, more scorers slip through the net each week than you’d like but the key to profit remains a solid stable of players from which to draw upon when conditions suit.
One of the profitable stables this term has been central defenders from set-pieces where I’ve managed to get on the right side of 16/1 and 9/1 winners in the last couple of months.
So seeing as this is the season of giving, I thought I’d share a list of defenders currently residing in the Notebook in the hope that they may spring up at a big price or two in the coming weeks.
Think of these as the go-to players when an opposition is on a bad run defending corners or have a keeper low on confidence.
There’s some pretty crude data behind the below list but it details the average headed shots-on-goal per-game in the first part of the season by defenders across the division.
I’m not interested in whether the shot was on-target or not because all I really want to know is, who is a target from set-pieces and who is good at getting on the end of cross.
Any figure about 0.5 usually gets me interested, which doesn’t sound high but it definitely puts us in the ball park for a bet if the price is right.
- Ryan Cresswell (Northampton) 0.9 headed shots-on-goal per-game
- Luke Wilkinson (Luton) 0.8 headed shots-on-goal per-game
- Ryan Tafazolli (Mansfield) 0.7 headed shots-on-goal per-game
- Dave Winfield (York) 0.7 headed shots-on-goal per-game
- Bira Dembele (Barnet) 0.6 headed shots-on-goal per-game
Three of these scored last weekend which seems like bad timing but only goes to show that far from being a one-off, we can put some faith in this particular group of players to pop up again.
Price is still king of course and with Ryan Cresswell and Luke Wilkinson both averaging more than one in 10 over a career, we won’t get many opportunities to back them at double-figure prices. Dave Winfield and Ryan Tafazolli, on the other hand, should both offer better value in the long-term.
One player of note who doesn’t make the list was Jean Yves MVoto, who averages a 0.8 after only a handful of outings for Leyton Orient since joining in November; almost certainly one for the Notebook over the next few weeks – possibly against Portsmouth who conceded that Ryan Cresswell goal at the weekend.
Bira Dembele has been put up several times this year without me quite getting it right; I haven’t quite had the stomach to see what price his brace went off at Crawley – just another one that got away, I’m afraid.
- Alfie Mawson (Barnsley) 0.8 headed shots-on-goal per-game
- Neill Collins (Sheffield Utd) 0.8 headed shots-on-goal per-game
- Ian Evatt (Chesterfield) 0.7 headed shots-on-goal per-game
- Byron Webster (Millwall) 0.6 headed shots-on-goal per-game
- Adam Barrett (Southend) 0.6 headed shots-on-goal per-game
No surprise to see Neill Collins at the top of this list – the Blades defender popped up for the Notebook column at 9/1 last month. Collins and Chris Basham are the first names on the shortlist if I think a team they come up against could be vulnerable.
Alfie Mawson has continued where he left off for Wycombe last season and looks a threat in opposition penalty areas when Barnsley do create something while Ian Evatt has been a target for Chesterfield corners for most of the last three seasons – he’s only got one to his name so far this term but we might expect him trouble the scorers at big prices before the season closes out.
Byron Webster has been another solid selection over the last few years and should be on any shortlist if the price is right. Another player of note could be Crewe’s Semi Ajayi who has got his 6ft4in frame on the end of crosses for both Wimbledon and Crewe this year – the 22-year-old returns to parent club Cardiff after the Christmas schedule but is worth following wherever he ends up.
It’s an ever-evolving list of players, as you might imagine. When time is short and opinions are scarce though, it pays to have a stable of players to draw upon. If you’ve got some of your own, then let me know. I’m pretty sure this group will continue to pay their way into 2016.
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