Kevin de Bruyne‘s (£10.0m) popularity among the top 10,000 Fantasy Premier League managers is on the up once again.
However, the Belgian blanked upon his return to the Manchester City team to cap off a frustrating Saturday of Gameweek 9.
On two occasions, de Bruyne went close to scoring against Crystal Palace, once nodding a glancing header against the post and then not receiving a squared pass from Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m) when he was faced with an open goal.
Following his Gameweek 7 injury at Everton, de Bruyne remained the most fashionable midfield asset among top 10k squads but saw a drop-off in representation at that level of over 26 percentage points going into Gameweek 8.
It would appear that those who sold the Manchester City man for that disastrous round of action before the international break did not do too well, with many who benched de Bruyne pushing into the top 10k.
That shift, plus 270,000+ new owners for Gameweek 9, has brought his ownership in the top 10k back up to 71.1%.
While it was a case of what could have been at Selhurst Park, there are perhaps positives to take from how close de Bruyne did go to getting attacking returns.
By contrast, those at the upper echelon of FPL have largely lost faith in Mohamed Salah (£12.4m) ahead of his trip to Old Trafford on Sunday.
At the Gameweek 8 deadline, the Egyptian was owned by 54.1% of managers inside the top 10k and was second only to de Bruyne for popularity among midfielders.
However, now that the Gameweek 9 deadline has passed, just 31.6% at that level of the game are holding Salah – that’s a drop-off of 22.5 percentage points.
At the same time, Sadio Mané (£11.8m) has travelled in the opposite direction.
Heading into Gameweek 8, the Senegalese international was not among the top-five most popular midfielders among the top 10k.
However, a 12-point haul for Mané against Leicester both propelled his backers into the upper reaches of the worldwide rankings, but also triggered a flurry of transfer market activity.
540,000+ managers signed Mané for Gameweek 9, making him the third-most fashionable midfielder among the top 10k this weekend, behind only de Bruyne and Mason Mount (£6.8m).
Not surprisingly, Teemu Pukki (£7.1m) also saw his representation among the top 10k decrease for Gameweek 9.
Even in Gameweek 8, he was still the most popular forward at this level of the game but dropped from 57.1% top 10k ownership to just 38.3% over the international break.
It would appear that the decision to leave the so-called ‘Pukki Party’ was a sensible one as Norwich drew another away-day blank.
The top 10k largely stayed away from Callum Wilson (£8.0m) for the Canaries trip to the Vitality Stadium, even though Daniel Farke’s men had a dreadful defensive record coming into it.
He was owned by just 21.3% of managers at this level for Gameweek 9 and was barely considered by them for the captaincy too.
Wilson’s effective ownership among the top 10k was just 26.8% for this weekend, which could have seen act as an incredible rank-boost but, alas, he blanked for just the second time this season.
Tammy Abraham (£7.7m) was another huge disappointment on Saturday afternoon as he blanked against Newcastle.
The Chelsea forward really should have registered attacking returns, hitting the crossbar and spurning a golden close-range chance.
That was of huge frustration to managers inside the top 10k for Gameweek 9.
They had moved en masse for Abraham increasing his ownership at that level from 48.6% to 69.3%.
Furthermore, Abraham was also the most captained player for Gameweek 9 among the top 10k managers.
He was supported with the armband by 25.9% of them, almost double the number who went for a benched Sergio Aguero (£12.2m).
The Manchester City forward was the second-most captained player at this level with the backing of 14.5%.
In what has already proven to be another damp squib of a Gameweek, Harry Kane (£10.9m) also let down those who trusted him with the armband.
10.1% of managers in the top 10k fancied his chances against an out-of-form Watford side, only to see Kane blank against the Hornets.
The Wildcards continue to get used up by the top 10k. We are now at 51.8% usage for that chip among these managers.
Not surprisingly, that’s now double the number who have played the Triple Captain.
That chip stands at 25.4% usage, the Free Hit at 14.3% and the Bench Boost at 12.8%.
Data and statistics taken from LIVEFPL.NET.
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