Our regular Virtual FPL round-up looks back at the latest simulated action and previews Thursday night’s games.
READ MORE: How to sign up and play Virtual FPL
MANE SEES RED
Owners of Sadio Mane (£12.4m) who were deliberating over whether to keep the Senegalese winger during Liverpool’s upcoming tough run of Virtual FPL games pretty much had the decision made for them on Tuesday night.
The premium midfielder was shown a straight red card after 34 minutes of the Reds’ 0-0 draw with Newcastle United, bowing out with a score of minus two.
Mane will now miss Liverpool’s next three fixtures against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester City and Norwich City, returning for a triple-header of away games at Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United.
His dismissal also had a knock-on effect for the rest of the Liverpool squad, who failed to score for the first time in this simulated season.
It should be said, though, that the visitors still managed to launch 29 attacks in less than an hour after Mane’s dismissal, so could still easily have kept up their scoring run.
Despite being substituted in the final 15 minutes, Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) was involved in 15 of Liverpool’s 39 attacks overall – only two players, both on Manchester City’s books, could beat total that in Gameweek 12.
Brilliant De Bruyne
Now joint-level with Salah at the summit of the Virtual FPL points table, Kevin De Bruyne (£10.6m) was the top-scoring asset of Gameweek 12.
The Belgian hit a hat-trick in Manchester City’s 4-1 win over Watford, collecting maximum bonus en route to a 20-point haul.
The most-owned player in vFPL, De Bruyne was the only one of the seven most popular Gameweek 12 captaincy picks to score more than six points, further rewarding those who handed him the armband.
In terms of consistency this season, he is unparalleled – in only one of his 12 starts has he blanked, in a tricky away match at Chelsea in Gameweek 4.
Thursday night sees the return of Bruno Fernandes (£8.5m), who is back after a four-match spell on the sidelines.
The midfielder is second only to Salah for attacking involvements per 90 minutes in this simulated 2019/20 campaign (14.13) and has himself returned at least one goal or assist in six of his eight starts.
Manchester United have felt his loss to some extent: they have averaged 16.5 attacks per match in his absence, compared to 25.4 before that.
The Red Devils succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United on Tuesday, failing to score for the first time this season.
On the subject of injuries – get set for more of them to occur.
Via the game’s Twitter account, Ragabolly has announced that additional ‘midweek’ injuries can strike players in between the simulated games.
Happily, if that’s the right word, we will get notice of this and not be left in the dark, Eddie Howe-style.
Any additional fitness problems (and there won’t be too many, we’ve been assured) will be announced in the commentary after the final whistle has blown in a particular match, so we will have plenty of time to address availability issues before the next Gameweek.
SERGE GAINS POINTS
Spurs’ defence has left a lot to be desired this season, with the Lilywhites having kept only one clean sheet in their first dozen matches.
They do face three of the seven worst attacks in Gameweeks 14-16, at least, which should give them a chance to rectify that.
Even if clean sheets don’t arrive (and they haven’t been too plentiful anywhere this season), Serge Aurier (£5.0m) is capable of chipping in at the other end of the pitch.
He has delivered five attacking returns already in Virtual FPL and sits joint-top of the defenders’ assist table, alongside Liverpool’s two full-backs, on four.
The significantly more expensive Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.8m) and Andrew Robertson (£7.0m), indeed, are the only two players in Aurier’s Fantasy position who have been involved in more attacks than the Spurs right-back (48).
On the subject of Spurs, the Lilywhites’ players look set to be among the leading captaincy candidates in Gameweek 13 – if you can look past De Bruyne and City’s trip to Villa Park, of course.
Spurs host Watford on Thursday night, with the Hornets bottom of the entire division for team attacks conceded – despite having faced only two red fixtures (the tougher ones) so far in 2019/20.
In each of those two matches, against Liverpool and Manchester City, Watford allowed over 40 chances to their opponents.
No other side in the division has conceded 40+ attacks in a single game this season, let alone two.
For those who haven’t yet noticed, Ragabolly has added a new table to the ‘Captaincy & Ownership’ stats page.
Virtual FPL managers can now see chip usage statistics in the top 100 and overall, with the above table reflecting the latest figures after Gameweek 12.
Over half of the top 100 have already used their first Wildcard although that figure drops to around one in five when we look at the overall picture.
The Triple Captain has been the most popular of the other chips so far.
VIRTUAL FPL PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
TopMarx’s spreadsheet that details team attacks (for and against, home and away) has been updated after Gameweek 12.
The fixture difficulty rating colour (according to Ragabolly’s ticker) is reflected in the relevant Gameweek.
The refreshed standings are below:
TopMarx has also updated his interactive player stats spreadsheet after Tuesday’s matches, meanwhile.
The stand-alone spreadsheet can be accessed via this link, with Fantasy managers able to make their own copy by selecting “File>Make a copy”.
INJURIES AND BANS
Along with Fernandes, Jamie Vardy (£9.6m) returns to action in Gameweek 13 after a two-match absence.
Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m) and Christoph Zimmermann (£4.4m) are also newly free of injury.
Aside from Mane, the only new addition to the above table is Declan Rice (£4.7m): the budget midfielder will miss West Ham’s next 13 matches after picking up an injury on Tuesday.
Eddie Campbell is a non-mover at number one in both the overall Virtual FPL standings and in our Fantasy Football Scout mini-league, although Basil1977 has closed to the gap to four points in both leagues.
MCR Reds, Aritravo and SUTRISNO are among the leading managers above who are also signed up to our mini-league.
Francisco Lamarque is back on the summit of Greyhead’s Great and the Good league, deposing Mr Hindsight.
Legomane remains first in the Mods and Cons mini-league, meanwhile.
You can join the Fantasy Football Scout mini-league by entering the code 9RV4A via the below link.