Another weekend is upon us, which means another double-header in Ragabolly’s Fantasy management game.
We look ahead to what’s in store and reflect on what happened in Thursday’s fixtures.
READ MORE: How to sign up and play Virtual FPL
Chelsea firepower show
Chelsea put four goals past Manchester City on Thursday as their excellent Virtual FPL form continued.
The Blues have won 10 of their last 12 games, scoring 31 goals in the process.
Tammy Abraham (£7.5m) hasn’t blanked in any of his last 11 appearances, while Willian (£6.9m) and Christian Pulisic (£6.9m) have registered nine and 11 attacking returns respectively from Gameweek 11 onwards.
Reece James (£5.0m) has found the net on four occasions in his last six starts, meanwhile, and now sits joint-top for goals scored among defenders in this simulated season.
James (7.6), Pulisic (7.2) and Abraham (7.2) all sit in the top ten in the vFPL form table over the last five Gameweeks, too.
While clean sheets may be hard to come by until the fixture swing in Gameweek 27 (see below), the fairly ropey clean sheet and goals conceded counts of Wolves and Spurs should provide further encouragement for owners of Chelsea’s in-form attacking assets.
CLEAN SHEET BREAKDOWN
Another Virtual FPL article and another new TopMarx table to report; does the man ever sleep?
This time the spreadsheet specialist has looked at the breakdown of clean sheets, both in terms of fixture difficulty and venue.
Just over 70% of shut-outs have arrived on home soil, which was a trend we spotted earlier in the season and seems to have remained consistent.
Thirteen of the 20 top-flight clubs have kept one clean sheet or fewer on their travels.
Well over half (58.2%) have come in the easiest (green) fixtures, with only 9.2% arriving in the tougher (red) games.
Only Liverpool have kept more than one clean sheet in a ‘red’ match this season.
Seven of Chelsea’s nine shut-outs have come in a ‘green’ fixture but the Blues don’t enjoy one of those until Gameweek 27.
Sharpen Your Blades
Based on what we have read above, ‘green’ fixtures at home represent the best chance of clean sheets.
Sheffield United have more of those remaining than any other club (five), with three of them falling in quick succession from Gameweeks 23-26.
Five of the Blades’ six clean sheets this season have indeed come on home soil.
A double-up on their backline may appeal over that period then, with the likes of George Baldock (£5.1m) offering attacking threat to supplement any potential clean sheet points.
Team up with Teemu
In just one ‘non-red/purple’ fixture has Teemu Pukki (£6.5m) blanked this season and even that was only because he missed from the penalty spot against Crystal Palace in Gameweek 19.
After the trip to Manchester United on Saturday, Norwich City’s final 16 games sees them face only three ‘red’ fixtures – a tally that only Wolves can better from Gameweeks 23-38.
The best-value forward in the game based on the ‘Pts/£/90’ metric (0.98) and the second-most-involved striker in terms of attacking involvements per 90 minutes (9.37), the Finn may well be a popular purchase from Sunday onwards.
The Nonsense Potter
Leandro Trossard (£5.8m) was one of the form midfielders heading into Gameweek 21, having recorded five attacking returns in as many appearances before that.
His first benching since Gameweek 6 duly arrived in the 0-0 draw with Southampton, with the Belgian emerging for a one-pointer in the second half.
The virtual version of Graham Potter may be as frustrating as his real-life incarnation but a goalless draw at St. Mary’s may aid Trossard’s cause, given that the Seagulls could only put together a dismal two attacks before his introduction.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m) moved back to the top of the Virtual FPL goalscorers’ charts after a hat-trick against Watford on Thursday.
It’s been a strange few weeks for owners of the Gabon international, who has perhaps underwhelmed during what has been a generally excellent run of games (three goals and two assists in the eight Gameweeks before the latest one).
Those who held onto the premium striker were rewarded with a 17-point haul in Gameweek 21 but up next this weekend are fixtures against Burnley and Liverpool, two sides who sit in the top four for fewest goals conceded and most clean sheets recorded.
Aubameyang did score twice in the reverse fixture against the Clarets, at least, and does enjoy a more appealing match against Aston Villa next Tuesday.
VIRTUAL FPL PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
TopMarx’s spreadsheet that details team attacks (for and against, home and away) has been updated after Gameweek 21 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
Jack O’Connell (£4.7m), Pedro (£6.8m), Marvelous Nakamba (£4.4m), Hugo Lloris (£5.3m) and Junior Stanislas (£5.9m) will all return from injury on Saturday, with Yan Valery (£4.6m), Sean Longstaff (£5.0m), Dwight McNeil (£6.0m) and Bernardo Silva (£7.8m) back on Sunday.
Lewis Cook (£5.0m) and Kyle Walker (£5.7m) will also be available from Gameweek 23 onwards after serving suspensions.
McNeil, Longstaff, Troy Parrott (£4.3m), David Silva (£7.3m), Roberto Pereyra (£5.6m), Max Aarons (£4.3m) and Panagiotis Retsos (£4.5m) were the new names added to the injury list on Thursday, with their return dates listed above.
Fábio Borges has extended his lead to 53 points in the overall standings and in our Fantasy Football Scout mini-league, with Atticus Finch leapfrogging Joe Gunbie into second place in both.
Burgerboy and Shawn Davenport both leapt into the top ten above after playing their Wildcards.
You can join the Fantasy Football Scout mini-league by entering the code 9RV4A via the below link.