Pro Pundits - Andy

FPL Gameweek 5 – What we know so far

We now have four Gameweeks worth of data in Fantasy Premier League. Is that sufficient to radically change our strategy? Probably not.

But it is definitely enough to start looking at what trends have occurred, and whether we should begin challenging assumptions about certain players and teams.

In this article I want to highlight some of the main changes to my own fantasy thinking as we head into Gameweek 5.

Aston Villa looking good at the back

Save potential and improved Villa defence underpin Martínez's FPL credentials

We all know about the attacking potential of Jack Grealish (£7.1m) and Ollie Watkins (£5.9) and new signing Ross Barkley (£5.9m) may have played his way into contention post-Liverpool too, however it’s not the Villains forward line I’m considering here.

Aston Villa might actually be a good defensive team! At the very least they are markedly better than they were for the first 29 Gameweeks of the 2019-20 season.

It has been difficult for me to believe they could change so drastically and I didn’t want to make too many assumptions based on “post-lockdown” alone, especially considering they were fighting for survival whilst some other teams were effectively on the beach.

Now however we’ve had a sample size of 12 matches where a significant improvement can be discerned including some genuinely tough fixtures – from Gameweek 30-38 last season they played Chelsea, Wolves, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton.

From Gameweek 1-29 last season their expected goals conceded (xGC) was 2.03 per game. From Gameweek 30-38 plus the three matches played this season it’s down to 1.09 per match.

This is obviously a massive improvement, and although it’s probably too early to know whether it can be sustained it is clear they have made decent squad improvements at at the back bringing in Emiliano Martínez (£4.7m) and Matthew Cash (£5.0m).

My main concern right now with buying intro the Villa defence is that I’m not the only one to notice the improvement and they’re all priced above £4.5m now. The only exception is Matt Targett, but he hasn’t created a single chance or shot this season so far and it appears most of the team’s full back creativity is coming via the more expensive Cash on the right side.

With a range of cheap defenders like Stuart Dallas (£4.5m), Luke Ayling (£4.5m) or Tariq Lamptey (£4.7m) offering arguably better value elsewhere, I’m pushed into thinking that Martínez is the most viable option in the Villains rearguard.

Wolves struggling up front

Wolves attack is concerning. In four matches so far their expected goals (xG) is just 3.66, less than one per match.

Last season they were 7th best for xG with 54.54, an average of 1.44 a match. This season they are the 6th worst, with only the likes of Sheffield United, Fulham, Crystal Palace, Burnley and West Brom below them.

Of course it’s still early days, and we shouldn’t panic too much, but we do definitely need to keep monitoring the stats. Looking at chances created per 90, Rúben Neves (£5.4m) is 0.59 and João  Moutinho (£5.4m) stands at 2.08. This is down from the 0.88 and 2.23 from last season. It doesn’t look massive and could be altered quickly by a couple of hauls, but is nonetheless a worrying trend.

There have been some big changes in the first team that could be a contributing factor, with Nélson Semedo (£5.5m) coming in to replace Matt Doherty (£5.9m), as well as an injury to Jonny (£5.4m) and the sale of Diogo Jota (£6.3m). So on the positive front you could argue that this will settle as the new boys bed in and it’s certainly true that Wolves have an manager who has repeatedly proven he knows how to get the best out of his players. 
The ultimate question is how long do we give them to click, because it just doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment.

Manchester City out of sorts

Continuing in the vein of ‘attacks I’m a little concerned about’, I can’t fail to highlight Manchester City’s failure to get into forward gear.

There’s always been talk about Pep Guardiola liking a false 9, but it rarely happens in reality, especially in the league and right now they could really do with a proper number 9. It’s not totally clear when Gabriel Jesus (£9.4m) or Sergio Agüero (£10.4m) will be back and available, but those with City assets will be hoping it’s soon and they prove to be the catalyst City need to kick start their season.

For the first 20 minutes against Leeds it looked like just another game where Man City take control and grab a hatful of goals, so the question as usual would be to see who got the points – but it didn’t turn out that way. Once Leeds got into the game they made things difficult for City, and it wasn’t until Fernandinho (£5.5m) came on that City regained some semblance of control.

As if the eye-test weren’t enough, the stats tell a very clear story – Man City are currently creating 1.33 xG per game, down from 2.48 from last season.

Like Wolves this could in part be explained by a team needing time to adjust. Not only are they missing Agüero and Jesus, but in David Silva they have lost a key player in creating chances and making things tick.
It’s certainly too early to be writing off an attack that scored 102 goals last season, but with the injuries they have at the moment it’s probably not the best time to be doubling or tripling up.

Manchester United looking… worse

I’m not even sure where to start with Manchester United. Given what’s expected of them they have probably been THE worst team so far this season.

At 7.72 xGC they are the second worst defence statistically and are only kept off the bottom spot by West Brom, a stat that looks even worse when you consider United have only played three matches.

Apologists could put some of this down to a long season, followed by a shorter pre-season, but I think there’s more to it than that. The 4231 system continues to be used despite the biggest transfer of their summer being a central midfielder who just doesn’t look like fitting into the starting line-up any time soon. And the defence? Frankly it looks an absolute shambles at the moment with zero confidence.

Perhaps the summer’s off field events are still playing on Harry Maguire’s (£5.4m) mind. That’s the only charitable excuse I can think of to explain tackling your own player in the box, as he did with Luke Shaw (£4.9m) against Spurs.

Whatever the reason, there’s a huge drop in performance from last season where they were statistically the 3rd best team in the league defensively and only conceded three more goals than Liverpool and one more than Man City.

Unlike Wolves and Man City where patience can be justified, I don’t think that’s the case for Man United. In the next four Gameweeks they face Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton so it’s unlikely to get any easier.

Though it pains me to say it, there is just way too much value on offer elsewhere to warrant holding onto United players at the moment. It may be a case that you have bigger transfer priorities, but I’d imagine the likes of Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m) to Heung-Min Son (£9.0m) will be popular transfers this week, and for good reason.

The Burning FPL Questions – Gameweek 5

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522 Comments Post a Comment
  1. FC Hakkebøf
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 11 days ago

    After gw3 Barnes was flavour of the week. Now Grealish. Who is next?

    1. Pep Roulette
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      Greenwood

      1. FC Hakkebøf
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Funny how it changes from week to week innit?

    2. Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      Joelinton

      1. Kabaranko
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 11 days ago

        the game is about proactively predicting future events, but 99.99% of players play it reactive, "following form"

        1. MikeBravo
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          Hard to predict some of the results/performances so far?

    3. DA Minnion
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      That's what the game is about. Following form .

      1. FC Hakkebøf
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Kneejerking every week is not what this game is about

    4. Better off with a pin and a…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      Bale, obviously.

    5. Joey Tribbiani
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Tonio.

        1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          Meritan Shabani

    6. fcsaltyballs
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      Best 4.5 keeper on a wildcard:

      1. Ryan
      2. Meslier
      3. McCarthy
      4. Johnstone

      Thanks

      1. FC Hakkebøf
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        McCarthy. If you dont have Lamptey then maybe Ryan

      2. Bragazeti
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Meslier

    7. davies
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      A) Jimmy/Mahrez > Watkins/Son (—4)

      B) Save ft

      1. FC Hakkebøf
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Depends if you have other transfers planned down the line

        1. davies
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          Nope just Pulisic when he’s ready

      2. Bragazeti
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        I'd say yes if you plan to captain Son

        1. davies
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          Yep Son or Sterling

    8. fcsaltyballs
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      How’s this for a wildcard...

      Ryan Forster
      TAA Saiss Konsa Dallas Douglas
      Sterling Salah James Grealish Stephens
      Kane DCL Brewster

      Thanks

      1. DA Minnion
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        You must have a lot of money left over?

        1. fcsaltyballs
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          0 itb

          Raz Mo and Harry take up a lot

        2. avfc82
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          With that team I imagine he's pretty close to the limit.

      2. Bragazeti
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Looks good.

      3. DIMITRIS
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Very nice

    9. Deadeye367
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      On my wildcard and trying to decide between:

      A) Robbo / JRod / Grealish
      B) Dallas / KDB / Trossard

      Currently looking at A as I don't plan on captaining KDB anytime in the next few weeks.

      1. Bragazeti
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        I'm on A, with a one week punt on Greenwood in place of James quite tempting.

      2. Bobby's Teeth
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        A

    10. TheBabyfacedAssassin
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      Current team w/0.3 ITB and 0 FT:

      McCarthy, 4.0
      TAA, Saiss, Justin, Davies, Mitchell
      KDB, Salah, Son, Podence, Bissouma
      DCL, Werner, Mitro

      Would you WC this team? Current WC-draft:

      Adian/4.5, 4.0
      Robertson, Chillwell, Saiss/Bellerin, Justin, Mitchell
      Salah, Son, Pulisic, Mahrez, Soucek
      Kane, DCL, Brewster

      1. DIMITRIS
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        No need for WC. You can just take a -4 hit and remove KDB and Werner for Kane and someone else.

        1. TheBabyfacedAssassin
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          Thanks. That's not a -4 though.

    11. Reeker
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      With Aston Villa playing well, do you think it's more beneficial do not do the Martinez - Steer double up on WC.

      Due to wanting to bring in another Villa asset plus Heaton will be 2nd choice when back anyway

      1. Goonerly
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Absolutely.
        As a suggestion, I've gotten Peacock-Farrell, as he's the only back up to Pope in case he gets injured.

        1. Reeker
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          I had Button for nostalgia but Peacock-Farrell has a better team and an even better name.

          1. Goonerly
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 11 days ago

            Exactly! That name makes the team look even better ha ha

        2. Better off with a pin and a…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          That's a very useful shout. Thanks!

    12. Goonerly
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      Which trio would you rather have?

      A) Son + Grealish + Jimmy

      B) Son + Kane + Neto

      B can be with either Neto or any of Trossard/Barkley/McGinn or others at 6.0 maximum

      1. DIMITRIS
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        B but with Trossard imo

      2. Bragazeti
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        B. The double-up should work out well based on recent form

      3. Bobby's Teeth
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        B with Trossard

    13. DIMITRIS
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      What's better for a hit:
      KDB and Burke OUT for Son and one of these:
      1) Grealish
      2) Trossard
      3) Zaha
      I already have Hamez and Barnes.
      * KDB only out if he's ruled out for Arsenal game

      1. Goonerly
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Don't think we'll get confirmation on whether KDB is ruled out or not.. You know Pep.

        But it's between 1 or 2 for me.

        1. DIMITRIS
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          I know, it would just suck so much seeing KDB play and you took a hit to get him out.
          On the other hand Son looks like the best value this year and like someone who has 200+ points season in him.
          I guess I'll wait until press conferance.
          Cheers

      2. Bragazeti
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        It's quite close between 1 & 2. Zaha has the fixtures but he's probably off penalties with Milivojevic back.

        1. DIMITRIS
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          I lean more towards Grealish, I rate him more than Trossard, but I'm just not sure if he's worth the extra 1.1

          1. polis
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 11 days ago

            I think he'll prove to be worth the additional 1.1 but Tross is still a very decent pick.

            1. DIMITRIS
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 11 days ago

              I hope he'll prove himself. I just got him in 😀

    14. Old Gregg
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 11 days ago

      Best defender up to 5m ?

      Have Lamptey, Justin

      Thanks

      1. Bragazeti
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Consider Bellerin

        1. Goonerly
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          Those Arsenal fixtures though...
          You'd be hoping for an attacking return for him to pay off.

      2. Goonerly
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Konsa, C. Taylor, Zouma, Coady, Dallas all decent options.

        Out of that bunch, I'd propably pick Coady (boring, but should be reliable)

      3. jtreble
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Consider Dallas.

        1. Old Gregg
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          Thanks. Yes Dallas is one I’ve looked out. Yes shame about the fixtures for Bellerin

    15. ace3.1415
        3 months, 11 days ago

        What's the news on chilwell?

      • Iceball
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        Those already with Son and Salah. What arr you doing with KDB? Not that excited to lose for Grealish or Rodrigues. Sterling also a doubt. Have 1ft and feel I dont need to take a hit.

        1. polis
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 11 days ago

          If you've got decent bench choices surely hold. He won't be out long term.

          Of all seasons this looks to be one for a playing bench and rolling transfers when possible.

          1. polis
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 11 days ago

            *if he's out at all

      • AbsolutelyNoIdea
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 11 days ago

        McCarthy (Forster)
        Robbo, Chilwell, Lamptey (Taylor, Kilman)
        Salah, Grealish, Rodriguez, Son (Bissouma)
        Kane, DCL, Maupay

        WC Any thoughts ?

        Was thinking Ryan instead of Forster and turning Lamptey back to Mitchell.