Welcome to the Fantasy Football Scout Guide to Gameweek 7.
It’s another Friday deadline and for those of you outside of the UK, note that we’ve switched from BST to GMT – get your team ready before 18:30 GMT.
Also, a quick heads up for next week: the Gameweek 8 deadline is on Friday at the unusual time of 16:00 GMT.
Gameweek 6 proved to be a “horror show” for many, none more so than Pro Pundit Darren Wiles who emerged with a paltry 27 points. But, as he pointed out in his latest piece for Fantasy Football Scout: “it’s not the Gameweek score that maketh the manager, it is your response to it that really matters.”
Patience and a premium defence have been key to his success in recent years – at the last update Darren sat second in our Live Hall of Fame. So how does he cope when things go disastrously wrong?
I think it is so important for us to remember not all good decisions lead to good results in FPL. Ultimately, we pick our teams but we have absolutely no control over what happens on the pitch.– Darren
Darren offered three great tips to help Fantasy managers with their FPL decision-making following a bad Gameweek:
- Identify the difference between bad decisions and what is bad luck.
- Try not to chase points.
- Embrace the highs and lows.
For more detail on each of these points have a read of his article.
What Happened to all the Goals?
There were four clean sheets registered in Gameweek 4; this rose to five in Gameweek 5 and to six in Gameweek 6. This trend for increases in clean sheets and decreases in goals scored week on week suggests that potentially now is the time that we as FPL managers should be looking to invest more of our budget in our defensive units.– Sam
Pro Pundit Sam Bonfield highlighted the trend in increasing clean sheets this week as she considered investing more in defence. And Darren agrees, arguing that football managers are reacting to the early glut of goals:
However, I believe we will soon see a return to normality and Premier League managers will address the defensive issues. Manchester United’s rather dull, stalemate draw with Chelsea is perhaps a good early example of this.– Darren
So which defences should we target?
Three defenders featured in the headline Team News that’s emerged over the last couple of days, while the absence of Michail Antonio (£6.3m) could impact West Ham’s ability to hold up the ball and take the pressure off their backline:
- Michail Antonio will miss the Liverpool match with a hamstring injury
- Timothy Castagne (£5.8m) is out until after the international break
- Budget-defender Tyrick Mitchell (£4.2m) could miss the weekend’s action
- Lucas Digne (£6.2m) had his ban reduced to one match
Career Hall of Fame No 1 Fabio Borges was among those to be stung by Digne’s dismissal last weekend and he discussed replacements in his latest offering. While highlighting a potential rotation risk, one of the players he picked out was Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell (£5.8m):
With great fixtures ahead, an impressive attacking threat and some set pieces in his arsenal, Chilwell seems to be the best Chelsea defender to have and, simultaneously, the logical replacement for Digne.– Fabio
Described as a “great option” by Sam, the former Leicester City full-back has attracted attention from most Pundits and observers following his recent performances. Writing in his Scout Notes on Chelsea’s visit to Old Trafford, David Wardale noted:
Chilwell leads the way, not just among Chelsea defenders but the entire team, for chances created this season, with nine.– David Wardale
While Pro Pundit Zophar pointed out that Chilwell’s potential reaches beyond the confines of Lampard’s team:
Since Chilwell’s first start for Chelsea in Gameweek four, only Robertson beats him for touches in the final third (99 v 117). No defender has created more chances over this period.– Zophar
David offered further encouragement: not only is the left-back an attacking threat but there are good reasons for Chelsea’s improved defensive displays, and the fixture ticker looks promising too:
In the last three matches in which Thiago Silva (£5.5m) and Edouard Mendy (£5.0m) have started together, Chelsea haven’t conceded a single goal. The Blues are embarking on a very promising five-match schedule in which a visit from Spurs looks perhaps the toughest test– David Wardale
The budget options in the West Ham United rearguard have also been attracting attention of late given their impressive performances.
West Ham’s defensive numbers are elite. Having played Manchester City, Spurs, Leicester and Wolves in the last four, the Hammers are still ranked the second-best for Shot in the Box conceded (18) and have allowed just four big chances.– Zophar
Vladimir Coufal (£4.5m) and Arthur Masuaku (£4.5m) are the two players being considered. Pro Pundit Tom Freeman and Lateriser shared their thoughts on the pair:
At the back, Vladimir Coufal stands out due to his security of his starts.– Tom
I fear that Masuaku will make way, which makes me a little worried about his nailed-on-ness. The reason for this concern is if Moyes changes his set-up to accommodate his new signing Said Benrahma (£6.0m) into the team.– Lateriser
The Hammers embark on an appealing run of fixtures from Gameweek 8, which could see their full-backs enjoy more attacking opportunities. But that injury to Antonio might hinder their threat going forward. Sam counselled:
Coufal looks like a fantastic option after the Liverpool game in Gameweek 7. His link-up play with Antonio was superb and managers who invest in the Hammers’ new boy will be hoping for a quick return for Antonio following his hamstring strain in Gameweek 6, as the prospect of a nice run of fixtures from Gameweek 8 until Christmas looks great for an in-form £4.5m defender.– Sam
However, Sam is wary of filling her team with budget options:
Suddenly, owning Alexander-Arnold feels good again on the back of a really positive performance in the Champions League on Tuesday which saw him keep a clean sheet and register an assist. He was unlucky not to register points in Gameweek 6, too. Alongside him, it no longer feels ok to have a series of £4.5m defenders. Whilst the likes of Coufal and Mitchell look like great options if they continue to start, freeing up cash for the likes of Chilwell, Saiss and other £5.0m+ assets seems like a really good FPL strategy.– Sam
As David Munday reported in his Scout Notes from Liverpool’s encounter with Sheffield United, FPL managers can feel rather hard done by that Mohamed Salah (£12.4m) didn’t score. And the creator of the Transfer Algorithm, Mikkel Tokvam, doesn’t feel unduly concerned:
A blank like Salah managed in Gameweek 6 has not worried the Algorithm at all. His underlying statistics for the Sheffield United match were amazing, it just wasn’t his day. After all, even the best players blank about half of the time anyway, and long-term data holds substantially more value than the short-term noise.– Mikkel
The opportunity is there for Salah to redeem himself against West Ham and many, including Tom Freeman, are likely to hand him the armband. But our double-points maestro Jan Sienkiewicz, outlines an enticing case for Son Heung-min (£9.5m) in his Captain Sensible article. Analysing the upcoming fixture, Jan noted that the space left behind Tariq Lamptey (£4.7m) when he bombs forward could be exploited by the South Korean.
Brighton’s style of play suits Spurs, who have already proved this season, against Southampton and Manchester United, that they can be deadly on counter-attack.– Jan
Opportunities to Consider
A switch to a back four for Arsenal increased Kieran Tierney’s (£5.4m) attacking threat. As Neale mentioned, the Scotsman is worth monitoring should Arteta stick with the formation.
Elsewhere Southampton’s front two are in good form:
In terms of value, the pair are ploughing remarkably similar furrows – the more expensive Ings is producing 4.6 points per million (PPM), the cheaper (but less productive) Adams 4.7 PPM.– David Wardale
But will their high defensive line be exploited by Aston Villa, and in particular Jack Grealish (£7.3m)?
The average position map from Villa’s defeat to Leeds reinforces the idea that Grealish would stand to benefit most from the Saints high defensive line.– David Munday
Although Zophar noted the Saints’ improvement at the back:
They have conceded a league-best two big chances over the last four Gameweeks does indicate to me though that this side is capable of producing solid defensive performances.– Zophar
And could it be another chastening Gameweek for Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m), who was starved of service and managed only two penalty area touches and zero shots against Southampton, with the now-injured James Rodriguez (£8.0m) forced to play a little deeper:
Coleman’s absence also had an impact on Rodriguez, who was forced that much deeper and less central in a vain bid to provide some kind of help for Godfrey.– David Wardale
Upcoming opponents Newcastle United restricted Wolves last Sunday to shots outside the box.
Wilfried Zaha (£7.3m) is Crystal Palace’s talisman, so should we be considering him for our teams given his recent form?
Admittedly, two penalties taken in the absence of Luka Milivojevic (£5.7m) may have helped slightly inflate Zaha’s long-term credentials and it is certainly worth noting that the Serbian international made his first Premier League start of the season in Gameweek 6. However, Zaha demonstrated that he does not necessarily need spot-kicks to register a double-digit haul, scoring, assisting and taking all three bonus away from Craven Cottage.– David Munday
And finally, Patrick Bamford’s (£5.9m) “Pat-Trick” mustn’t go without mention, considering it came against a previously excellent Aston Villa defence:
Aston Villa had kept three clean sheets from a possible four and had the best expected goals conceded (xGC) figure in the Premier League (4.04). Bamford was having none of that, registering a total of nine shots, seven in the box and four on target.– David Munday
An injury-hit Leicester City side is next up for Bielsa’s men.
Yesterday’s Best of the Community feature included a look at some of the under-the-radar players who have performed better than expected and also provided some reassuring stats for those favouring a Salah armband.
For those interested in the Head-to-Head Leagues, the main page can be linked to here. The fixtures for Gameweek 7 can be found below:
Use the drop-down menus to show your league and division. To find out which league and division you are in, follow the instructions on the main Head-to-Head page.
Once the Gameweek starts, if you click on your opponent’s name you will be linked to their team on the FPL website.
May your arrows be green!
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