With the next international break breathing down our necks, be sure to savour the thrills, heartache, jam, and (fingers crossed) joy that Gameweek 8 will undoubtedly provide.
As ever, Fantasy Football Scout is here to help you separate fact from rumour, stat from gobbledegook, and Pep from his roulette wheel. Well, ok separating Pep from his roulette wheel is probably surgically impossible, but two out of three ain’t bad. And, just for the heck of it, we’ll even explain what a “compound differential” is. Oh yes.
The main headline this week has undoubtedly been the injury to Kevin De Bruyne. Guardiola confirmed on Friday that the brilliant Belgian will miss Gameweek 8:
No, tomorrow [De Bruyne] is not fit. After the international break, he will be ready. It’s not a big, big problem.
Over half a million managers have wasted no time in ditching De Bruyne with Mount, Yarmolenko, and Mahrez (more on him later), the popular replacements.
For other more patient souls – willing to trust Pep when he says the midfield maestro will return for Gameweek 9 – this will mean a substitute taking his place in their fantasy teams.
If you’ve got options like John Lundstram (£4.5m) or Todd Cantwell (£5.0m) on your bench, hold on to Kevin.The FPL General
However, as Neale reported in his team news round-up, some may have reason to worry. Speaking on Friday, Norwich City boss Daniel Farke reported a problem with 27%-owned Todd Cantwell:
There is a little doubt, a little question mark behind Todd Cantwell. He’s got some hamstring problems. He was out Wednesday and Thursday, returned back today on the training pitch, it looked alright. We have to wait a bit, how his body reacts. I hope to have him available for tomorrow.
For the low-down on all the treatment room latest, we not only have Neale’s quote-filled articles, but Rotation’s Alter Ego has kindly summarised the key points for each team. Could Allison be about to make his return this weekend?
Who to trust with the armband?
Raheem Sterling leads the captain poll with 25.8% of the vote, ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mohamed Salah, and Sergio Aguero. Without an overwhelming favourite to stick the armband on, FPL managers face another tricky decision.
The underlying statistics once again point to the potential of Manchester City assets ahead of their home encounter with Wolverhampton Wanderers, as David highlighted on the Captaincy Video:
Only three teams have conceded more shots in the box [than Wolves], and no team has had more shots in the box than Manchester City.
Digging a little deeper – using data available to FFS Members – TheFantasyFreÆK focused on Wolves’ defensive problems this campaign:
… the stark contrast I notice in Wolves 19/20 v Wolves 18/19 from a defensive point of view is very worrying. Wolves have conceded triple the number of big chances this season than they did at this stage last season (12 v 4), hence their xGC (expected goals conceded) has nearly doubled (5.5 to 10). Shots in the box conceded have also witnessed an alarming rise of 46%.
The problem is knowing which City player to trust.
In Gameweek 7, many FPL pundits and experts felt Aguero would definitely start following his midweek rest. They were wrong. This week it’s Raheem Sterling’s turn to be the favoured captain pick.
Sterling has scored in his last three matches in all competitions and emerged from the bench in the Champions League on Tuesday night to inspire City to victory. The 24-year-old will lead the FPL General’s troops on Sunday.
However, one manager who won’t be giving Sterling the armband is Career Hall of Fame number one Sean Tobin. Sean, as Greyhead informed us in the latest installment of The Great and The Good, omitted Sterling from his Gameweek 7 Wildcard. Instead he’s chosen to go with Aguero and Salah as his only players costing over £11.0m.
Backing up Sean’s decision to favour Aguero, David observed in his Captain Sensible article:
Once again, we come into a Gameweek with Aguero as the busiest attacking player in the penalty box over the previous four matches. He has shot 17 times there from Gameweek 4 onwards, more than any other player in their last four outings.
While The FPL General feels that we shouldn’t be put off by Salah’s upcoming fixtures:
On paper, Liverpool have a tricky run of games but is it really that difficult? It’s Leicester at home this weekend (Salah’s lowest score at Anfield this season is nine points), then a trip to face mid-table side Manchester United before a home tie against a Spurs outfit who conceded seven goals to Bayern Munich this week.
Second in the captain poll, Aubameyang is attracting interest and it’s easy to understand why. Brandon pointed out in FPL Question Time:
With no blanks through the first seven weeks of the season, Aubameyang is indeed the real deal.
Discussing the Gabonese international in the Captaincy Video, Joe enthused:
It’s a six-point floor!… At the Emirates Bournemouth have conceded eleven goals and scored just three over their last three league visits, and Aubameyang has scored in his last two encounters against the Cherries.
High-end Purchases on a Limited Budget
The challenge facing many FPL managers is deciding which of the £11.0m+ players to own, with many offering the promise of points. Three premium-priced assets make this week’s Scout Picks: Salah, Sterling, and Aubameyang.
To help ease the pressure on our limited budgets players such as McGinn, Pukki, and Abraham – as well as a shift towards cheap defenders – are proving popular. All three offer the promise of goals this weekend.
In his analysis of the underlying stats, Neale revealed that Abraham had been presented with nine big chances in the last four Gameweeks:
Abraham had four of those gilt-edged opportunities in the last two Gameweeks, so he has still been getting into dangerous positions despite recording back-to-back blanks.
And goals are expected when Norwich City host Aston Villa later today:
486 shots conceded by Arsenal (126), Aston Villa (121), Norwich City (121) and Bournemouth (118) combined this season. Those four clubs have allowed the most attempts on goal in the Premier League this season and play each other this weekend, with Norwich entertaining Aston Villa and Arsenal hosting the Cherries.
The form of Riyad Mahrez has been discussed this week. The injury to Kevin De Bruyne and a potential ban for Bernardo Silva increasing his appeal.
Neale goes into impressive depth exploring not only how well Mahrez has performed this season, but also his potential for minutes. While the Algerian does not have the luxury of guaranteed game-time, Neale observed:
If we are to accept the occasional rest for [Sterling, Aguero, and De Bruyne], then why not the more affordable Mahrez?
The most transferred-in player ahead of the Gameweek 8 deadline and with an ownership fast approaching 10%, Mahrez just about squeezes into the differential category.
But it’s as a “compound differential” that he could really make a difference. Appearing on the Scoutcast this week Tom, from Who Got The Assist?, explained:
Where I think Mahrez is really interesting is that because he’s a compound differential, so it’s not really a differential in and of itself, it’s a differential because you’re pairing him with other players and making a unique combination, which is a little bit different to everybody else.
Tom went on to point out that selecting a triple City midfield of Sterling, De Bruyne, and Mahrez is pretty maverick: that combination is owned by just 0.04% of managers.
Even selecting City’s three most highly-owned players – Sterling, De Bruyne, and Aguero – each owned by over 29% of managers, as a combination is only selected by 2.3%.
In Case You Missed It
There was another take on the De Bruyne injury / Mahrez appeal, tuvok thinks that perhaps De Bruyne’s absence could have a negative impact on Mahrez.
If you’re a member and are yet to get to grips with the custom statistics tables, you can view this movie for an explanation of how they work. Also, remember to tag them so that people can find the tables with ease.
For a full update on all FFS Mini-Leagues and Community Tournaments, please click here to read the latest round-up.
The fixtures for Gameweek 8 can be found below:
Use the drop-down menus to show your league and division. To find out which league and division you are in, follow the instructions on the main Head-to-Head page.
Once the Gameweek starts, if you click on your opponent’s name you will be linked to their team on the FPL website.
Best of luck for Gameweek 8!
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