Are Premier League players more likely to score on their birthday?
Inspired by Laurent Koscielny's bicycle kick goal on his birthday on Sept. 10, I was curious if there was a history of other players with a record of success on their birthday. Per OPTA (found here), 53 Premier League players have scored on their birthday. Before Koscielny's goal, Christian Eriksen was the last player to score on his birthday, doing so on February 14, 2016.
I pulled stats for a sampling of attacking English Premier League players to see if they had a record of scoring on their birthday in the Premier League, Champions League, etc. With the help of the invaluable TransferMarkt website, I looked back at approx. 3-4 years of results for each player to see how they did if and when a match fell on their birthday.
The results? Interesting but inconclusive. Of the 58 players on this list, 10 (17%) have recorded either a goal or an assist on their birthday (based on my far-from-scientific research), with another 11 (19%) having birthdays in the June/July off-season. Although it may sometimes feel as though there are a seemingly infinite number of matches, it's actually not all that common for a player to have even played a competitive match on their birthday, either because their birthday falls during the summer, at midweek, etc.
For the 2016/17 season, there are at least 5 players who will play a match on their birthday - and in an interesting coincidence for this article, both Mesut Ozil and Nolito have their birthdays and matches set to take place this Saturday, 10/15. The other players with matches currently scheduled for their birthday are Christian Benteke (12/3), Wilfried Bony (12/10), and Andre Ayew (12/17).
From an FPL perspective, there doesn't seem to be any data here that makes an overwhelming case for buying/captaining players on their birthday, but it will be interesting to see whether Mesut Ozil (home to Swansea) or Nolito (home to Everton) help to make a case this weekend for doing so in the future.