After much deliberation in Gameweek 9 I finally opted to transfer Mohamed Salah (£12.2m) out of my team at 00:40 on Saturday morning. That’s the latest I’ve made a transfer all season.
Instead of opting for the obvious Bruno Fernandes (£10.8m) move, I went for the long term play and brought in Kevin De Bruyne (£11.6m) who I knew I’d want for the foreseeable.
With two free transfers it didn’t seem that risky to get rid of Salah, especially with the potential for him to miss an additional Gameweek.
As you can see below it didn’t go well.
With just 50 points it undid all the hard work from the Gameweek before and saw a big red arrow.
The big question is whether to get Salah straight back in as I look at a team without Jamie Vardy (£10.2m) and wonder whether I really want to captain De Bruyne.
From what Klopp has said it looks as though he’s now available and back training
“Salah trained with the team yesterday and looked really good. The test was negative so, if nothing changed since yesterday, he is available. Now we have to see what we do with that because he was quarantined until three days ago.” – Jurgen Klopp
There’s still no guarantee he’ll play against Brighton, so I’ll be heavily focused on watching the outcome of the Champions League game between Liverpool and Atalanta on Wednesday.
The ideal situation is that he plays some part in the game and comes through unscathed. Given that he had no symptons and is now back training you would think (or is it hope?) that he’ll be fine to play a Brighton side who will be down one of their key players in Tariq Lamptey (£4.8m).
The reason I’m so keen to get him straight back is simple, captaincy. I think Jamie Vardy is the best captaincy option for Gameweek 10, but Salah gives a great option, not just for this week but for many Gameweeks to come:
- Gameweek 12 – Fulham (a)
- Gameweek 14 – Crystal Palace (a)
- Gameweek 15 – West Brom (h)
The rotation that I mentioned in my previous article with a Manchester City player is just too good to turn down.
It’s important not to overthink sometimes, and a fit Salah really should be in my squad.
In order to get to that point I probably have to do the unthinkable and sell one of Heung-Min Son (£9.5m) or Harry Kane (£11.0m).
I fully understand the form argument but I’m a fixtures man, and until Gameweek 16 I have no intention of captaining either of these players. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be sold, but I don’t have a better way of funding the moves I want to make and ultimately I’d rather own Salah than Kane…….for now.
Kane may have been explosive towards the start of the season but his highest score in the last four Gameweeks is 9 points. In fact in the last four Gameweeks he’s only had 9 shots in the box.
Twelve players have a higher non-penalty xG than Kane in the last four. In the first five Gameweeks he was third, only behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.8m) and Sadio Mané (£12.1m).
Kane is still being fairly consistent, but the explosiveness seems to be on a downward trend and it’s that which makes me feel I can get away with it for a few Gameweeks.
Choosing a cheap striker to fund the Salah move is difficult. There’s still so many options to choose from, but it’s Patrick Bamford (£6.1m) that I’m considering.
I’m consistently impressed with the number of chances Leeds United create for him. In fact they’ve created a total of 98 chances so far this season which is equal with Aston Villa and just nine behind Liverpool at the top.
From those 98 chances, Bamford has already had 31 shots in the box over the entire season. No other player has had as many with Salah (26) and Kane (25) in second and third respectively.
Even if we filter out the opening Gameweeks where there were a lot of goals, and perhaps teams were getting adjusted to a new and slightly different kind of season it’s still promising for Bamford.
In the last four Gameweeks he’s had 18 shots in the box, five more than Trézéguet (£5.3m) in second. No player has a higher expected goal involvement either and he’s been involved in 80% of Leeds goals.
Ollie Watkins (£6.1m) is another option to go for as well, and he has penalties in his locker which is a big plus. However from open play there is really no competition between the two. Watkins still has a chance of making the team however as I think it’s probably time I moved on from Neal Maupay (£6.4m) who’s been stinking up my team with no returns since my Gameweek 5 Wildcard.
The only question left is who does Salah come in for. It’s between Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) and Son which will leave me with money in the bank to upgrade the other one in a few Gameweeks to Mané or Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) down the line.
I think most people would side with selling Rashford. He looked tired and rusty against West Brom, squandering a great chance from Fernandes.
However when you compare the two over the last four Gameweeks it’s quite close. Both players have only had four shots in the box, but Rashford has created six chances to Son’s two.
I also prefer Manchester United’s fixtures with Southampton (a) and West Ham (a) versus Tottenham Hotspur against Chelsea (a) and Arsenal (h).
A lot has been made about Spurs being better against stronger teams because they can play on the counter but I don’t expect either Chelsea nor Arsenal to attack them like Manchester City did. I think both games could be close.
If it was for the long term I’d probably hold Son, but if I go through with the Mané or Sterling double up then I only need them for two Gameweeks at most so Rashford might get the nod as a bit of a differential with slightly better fixtures in my book.
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 9
- Newcastle United 0-2 Chelsea
- Aston Villa 1-2 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City
- Manchester United 1-0 West Bromwich Albion
- Fulham 2-3 Everton
- Sheffield United 0-1 West Ham United
- Leeds United 0-0 Arsenal
- Liverpool 3-0 Leicester City
- Burnley 1-0 Crystal Palace
- Wolves 1-1 Southampton
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