We preview Thursday’s action and look back at what happened in Gameweek 20 as we bring you our latest round-up of Ragabolly’s Fantasy management game.
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The best-value Virtual FPL midfielder this season (based on points per million) is now out of action for the next six Gameweeks.
Anthony Martial (£8.0m) was taken off after just 20 minutes of Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Leicester City on Tuesday and won’t return until Gameweek 27.
The Frenchman had registered nine goals and five assists in his previous 12 appearances for the Red Devils.
Marcus Rashford (£8.8m) blanked for the fifth match in a row and for the eighth time in ten Gameweeks in that stalemate with the Foxes.
Tottenham Hotspur simply can’t keep a clean sheet.
The Lilywhites have recorded fewer of those than any other side in this simulated season, with their solitary shut-out coming away at bottom-of-the-table Bournemouth in Gameweek 10.
Even shot-shy Newcastle United, who have scored fewer goals than any other team in Ragabolly’s game, found the back of the net twice when the clubs met on Tuesday.
Serge Aurier (£5.0m) is pretty much the only Spurs defender worthy of consideration at present but only because of his exploits at the other end of the field.
The Ivorian, who returns from injury on Thursday, has recorded more attacking returns (nine) than all vFPL defenders bar Liverpool’s two full-backs and enjoys a fixture against leaky Norwich City in Gameweek 21.
Beyond that, though, matches against Manchester City, Wolves, Chelsea and Manchester United don’t bode well for the Lilywhites’ backline.
BLANK DE BLANK
After delivering attacking returns in 13 of the first 14 Gameweeks of the season, Kevin De Bruyne (£10.6m) has now blanked in four of his last six appearances.
The Belgian’s attacking involvements have also dropped off: he is averaging 4.7 of those over the last six Gameweeks, compared to 8.1 before that.
Still the second-most-owned player in vFPL, chances are the blip may be a temporary one.
This may simply have been a levelling off after a remarkable run in the first third of the campaign, with his conversion rate standing at a very high 17.5% after Gameweek 14 (most players are at 15% or under, with plenty of the big guns closer to the 10% mark).
The fixtures don’t look great over the next four Gameweeks but De Bruyne did rack up 31 points in the reverse fixtures.
The indefatigable TopMarx has been hard at work again, adding more features to the team attacks spreadsheet he maintains.
The latest is “Virtual xG”, which uses fixture difficulty to work out how many goals a team is expected to score/concede based on the averages we have seen so far this season.
The above table ranks teams by their forecasted goals tally in the next six matches, with Liverpool, unsurprisingly, heading the pack.
The VxG tab can be found on the usual attack counter spreadsheet.
GREEN MEANS GOALS
A fair bit of research has gone into team attacks this season, with fixture difficulty seemingly making little difference to how many chances a team carves out in any given game.
There is, however, a definite disparity when it comes to actual goals scored.
TopMarx – who else – has produced the above table in conjunction with his VxG feature, which shows that most teams (bar Newcastle and Southampton) are finding the back of the net more often in the easier (green) fixtures than the tougher (red) ones.
Just out of interest, Aston Villa are the team who enjoy the most ‘green’ fixtures (four) over the next six Gameweeks. The talismanic Jack Grealish (£6.5m), who has played a part in half of Villa’s goals and who has scored twice in the last two Gameweeks, might be worth another look over this run, then.
Look for the ‘Goals’ tab in the usual spreadsheet for more information.
VIRTUAL FPL PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
TopMarx’s spreadsheet that details team attacks (for and against, home and away) has been updated after Gameweek 20 and can be viewed here.
The interactive player stats spreadsheet has also been refreshed after the latest 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
Aside from Martial, there were four other fresh injuries to report from Tuesday.
Adam Smith (£4.3m), Jan Vertonghen (£5.2m), Daniel Podence (£5.1m) and Dan N’Lundulu (£4.5m) will be out for between three and six weeks, with their exact return dates to be found in the table above.
Harry Wilson (£5.8m) begins a three-match ban after being shown a red card in Gameweek 20, meanwhile.
Along with Aurier, a number of other players return on Thursday.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m), Mario Vrancic (£6.2m) and Jorginho (£4.9m) are back from injury, while Sean Longstaff (£5.0m) and Matej Vydra (£5.3m) are available after suspensions.
Fábio Borges is a comfortable 42 points clear of the chasing pack in the overall standings and in our Fantasy Football Scout mini-league, with Joe Gunbie in second in both.
Three of the managers above played their second Wildcard at the first possible opportunity.
There was a notable new entry into the top ten overall rankings: Hrobjartr, who rises to ninth, hasn’t used a single transfer or chip and has kept the captaincy on Salah all season.
You can join the Fantasy Football Scout mini-league by entering the code 9RV4A via the below link.