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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
    17 days, 7 hours ago

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

    1. Pep Roulette
      • 3 Years
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      Greenwood

      1. FC Hakkebøf
        • 3 Years
        17 days, 7 hours ago

        Funny how it changes from week to week innit?

    2. Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      Joelinton

      1. Kabaranko
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        17 days, 6 hours 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
          17 days, 2 hours ago

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

    3. DA Minnion
      • 8 Years
      17 days, 7 hours ago

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

      1. FC Hakkebøf
        • 3 Years
        17 days, 7 hours 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
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      Bale, obviously.

    5. Joey Tribbiani
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      Tonio.

      1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        17 days, 5 hours ago

        Meritan Shabani

  2. fcsaltyballs
    • 4 Years
    17 days, 7 hours ago

    Best 4.5 keeper on a wildcard:

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

    Thanks

    1. FC Hakkebøf
      • 3 Years
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      McCarthy. If you dont have Lamptey then maybe Ryan

    2. Bragazeti
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      Meslier

  3. davies
    • 6 Years
    17 days, 7 hours ago

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

    B) Save ft

    1. FC Hakkebøf
      • 3 Years
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      Depends if you have other transfers planned down the line

      1. davies
        • 6 Years
        17 days, 7 hours ago

        Nope just Pulisic when he’s ready

    2. Bragazeti
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      I'd say yes if you plan to captain Son

      1. davies
        • 6 Years
        17 days, 7 hours ago

        Yep Son or Sterling

  4. fcsaltyballs
    • 4 Years
    17 days, 7 hours 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
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      You must have a lot of money left over?

      1. fcsaltyballs
        • 4 Years
        17 days, 7 hours ago

        0 itb

        Raz Mo and Harry take up a lot

      2. avfc82
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • Has Moderation Rights
        • 10 Years
        17 days, 7 hours ago

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

    2. Bragazeti
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      Looks good.

    3. DIMITRIS
      • 2 Years
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      Very nice

  5. Deadeye367
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    17 days, 7 hours 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
      17 days, 7 hours 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
      17 days, 6 hours ago

      A

  6. TheBabyfacedAssassin
    • 10 Years
    17 days, 7 hours 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
      17 days, 7 hours ago

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

      1. TheBabyfacedAssassin
        • 10 Years
        17 days, 7 hours ago

        Thanks. That's not a -4 though.

  7. Reeker
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    17 days, 7 hours 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
      • 2 Years
      17 days, 7 hours 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
        17 days, 7 hours ago

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

        1. Goonerly
          • 2 Years
          17 days, 7 hours 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
        17 days, 6 hours ago

        That's a very useful shout. Thanks!

  8. Goonerly
    • 2 Years
    17 days, 7 hours 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
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      B but with Trossard imo

    2. Bragazeti
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      17 days, 7 hours ago

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

    3. Bobby's Teeth
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      17 days, 6 hours ago

      B with Trossard

  9. DIMITRIS
    • 2 Years
    17 days, 7 hours 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
      • 2 Years
      17 days, 7 hours 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
        17 days, 7 hours 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
      17 days, 7 hours 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
        17 days, 6 hours 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
          17 days, 6 hours 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
            17 days, 3 hours ago

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

  10. Old Gregg
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    17 days, 7 hours ago

    Best defender up to 5m ?

    Have Lamptey, Justin

    Thanks

    1. Bragazeti
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      17 days, 7 hours ago

      Consider Bellerin

      1. Goonerly
        • 2 Years
        17 days, 6 hours ago

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

    2. Goonerly
      • 2 Years
      17 days, 6 hours 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
      17 days, 6 hours ago

      Consider Dallas.

      1. Old Gregg
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        17 days, 6 hours ago

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

  11. ace3.1415
    17 days, 6 hours ago

    What's the news on chilwell?

  12. Iceball
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    17 days, 6 hours 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
      17 days, 6 hours 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
        17 days, 6 hours ago

        *if he's out at all

  13. AbsolutelyNoIdea
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    17 days, 5 hours 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.