Tottenham Hotspur’s trip to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday afternoon will play a massive role in how Gameweek 8 plays out among the highest-ranking Fantasy Premier League managers.
Harry Kane (£11.0m) and Son Heung-min (£9.6m) come into the latest round of action heavily backed by the top 10,000, especially for the captain’s armband.
As you can see from the pie chart below, Spurs’ talismanic striker, who scored his 200th club goal in 300 appearances on Thursday, is the skipper for 66% of managers at this level.
That means for the third week in a row, the top 10k have handed Kane considerably more support when compared with Fantasy Football Scout readers, in terms of proportion.
In our latest captain poll (don’t worry, we have counted all the votes now), just 39% said they would be backing Kane with the armband, representing a lead of 18.2 percentage points over Son.
That lead widened to 46.4 percentage points when we considered only managers in the top 10k, who have only handed 19.6% captaincy backing to the South Korean.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah (£12.4m), Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) and Timo Werner (£9.4m) complete the top five skippers at this level for Gameweek 8 but each one of them is very much a differential in comparison to Spurs’ dynamic duo.
As ever the top 10k more emphatic in their backing for Kane than compared to the rest of the world.
The Spurs striker is, indeed, the most fashionable skipper, despite still being on lower overall ownership (45.2%) than Son (60.3%), chosen as captain by 2,060,781.
However, that still only represents 31% of worldwide managers, only 7.7 percentage points ahead of Son, who 1,503,449 managers chose as skipper in Gameweek 8.
With so many armbands handed to Spurs players, their effective ownership in the top 10k is particularly ominous this weekend.
Kane stands at 154.7% while Son is also over 100% with an effective ownership figure of 106.9%.
In total, 74.9% of the top 10k own both of these players for Gameweek 8, a somewhat worrying statistic for the 25.1% who don’t.
That said, considering these two titans of the top 10k both face Manchester City in Gameweek 9, it will be interesting to see how these managers respond to the shift in fixtures.
It is in defence where we see the biggest shifts in the top 10k ownership template.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m) has been slipping down the pecking order for some time at this level and Gameweek 8 proved to be when he finally dropped out of the top five defenders.
The Liverpool man was in 24.9% of top 10k teams for Gameweek 7, that figure decreasing to 17.1%.
We see a similar story with Romain Saïss (£5.2m), who managed to become the most popular defender at this level last time out, only to be replaced at left-back by Rayan Aït-Nouri (£5.0m).
The top 10k have responded accordingly, shrinking his ownership among them from 35.9% to 26.4%.
Ben Chilwell (£5.9m) has clearly been a chief beneficiary of those who did not vote Romain, quickly rising to become the most fashionable defender in the top 10k, up 8.3 percentage points on his Gameweek 7 backing.
A 14-point haul against Burnley has helped Kurt Zouma (£5.3m) creep into the top five, the top-scoring FPL defender now owned by 23.1% of the top 10k.
With so many transfer focussed on putting out fires in defence, the midfield and forward positions have remained largely stable, with the same eight attackers featuring in this template in Gameweek 8 as we saw in Gameweek 7.
The exception to that was a massive shift towards owning Jack Grealish (£7.4m). He was in the top-five midfielders last time out, but only just, with 35.7% ownership in the top 10k. His 15-point haul against Southampton was enough to increase that by 22.2 percentage points.
The Wildcard remains the most heavily-used chip among top 10k managers this season, the number of deployers now up to 42.7%.
However, for the first time in 2020/21, the Triple Captain was the most popular of the Gameweek, 2.5% of the top 10k pulling the trigger.
Almost all of these managers trusted Kane with the enhanced armband with 0.3% of the top 10k using it Son, 0.07% on Werner and 0.03% on Salah.
As we hit the half-way stage of the first Wildcard period, the next one available from Gameweek 17 onwards, 39.2% of the top 10k are still yet to use a single chip.
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 8
- Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Burnley
- Southampton 2-0 Newcastle United
- Everton 1-3 Manchester United
- Crystal Palace 4-1 Leeds United
- Chelsea 4-1 Sheffield United
- West Ham United 1-0 Fulham
- West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Leicester City 1-0 Wolves
- Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool
- Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa
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