Spot the Differential

Barkley’s goal threat makes him a value alternative to Grealish in Villa midfield

Gameweek 22 is almost upon us after a quick turnaround, so let’s have a quick look at some more differential options for the midweek fixtures and beyond.

This time, we’ve selected low-owned picks at Aston Villa, Leeds United and Chelsea, all of whom found the back of the net last weekend.

As always, to qualify, the player must have a Fantasy Premier League ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.

Ross Barkley

  • FPL ownership: 0.8%
  • Price: £5.9m
  • GW22-26 fixtures: WHU | ARS | bha | LEI | lee 

Ross Barkley (£5.9m) returned to Aston Villa’s starting XI last month, having missed seven league games through injury.

Despite initially looking a bit off the pace, he is now back to full fitness and announced his return to form with a goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Southampton.

The 27-year-old got his Villa Park career off to a flyer when he scored in his first couple of games, but hobbled off just seconds into Gameweek 9 with a hamstring injury. In his absence, manager Dean Smith moved talisman Jack Grealish (£7.7m) into more of a central role, with Anwar El Ghazi (£5.6m) and Bertrand Traoré (£5.9m) on the flanks. Villa lost just two games during that period, and the wide players impressed, but Barkley was reinstated as soon as he returned to fitness, highlighting his importance to the team.

Since making his debut, Barkley has created 2.24 chances per 90 minutes, which ranks 12th amongst all midfielders who have played for over 500 minutes. That is some way behind Grealish’s league-leading total of 3.36, but he is shooting more often than his colleague, taking 2.81 shots per 90 minutes, compared to his captain’s 2.21.

Villa now sit ninth in the table with games in hand over most teams above them. The fixtures are appealing too, especially their away schedule, which sees them take on Brighton and Hove Albion, Leeds United, Newcastle United and Sheffield United before the end of March. That’s important, given that only Manchester United and Leicester City have taken more points on the road so far this season.

Grealish remains the headline pick in Villa’s midfield, but if funds are tighter, Barkley is a viable alternative and could offer real value in the coming weeks.

Jack Harrison

  • FPL ownership: 2.1%
  • Price: £5.4m
  • GW22-26 fixtures: EVE | CRY | ars | wol | AVL

Jack Harrison (£5.4m) has been in fine form of late, with three goals in his last five league appearances.

Following his strike at Leicester City, he has now been directly involved in nine goals this season, and the numbers suggest it won’t be long before he’s into double figures.

The 24-year-old, who is on loan from Manchester City, has already created 36 chances for his team-mates this term. Amongst midfielders, only Grealish, Bruno Fernandes (£11.4m), Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m), Mason Mount (£6.8m) and Pedro Neto (£5.8m) have managed more. His goal threat is on the up too, having registered more goal attempts, shots in the box and big chances than colleague Raphinha (£5.4m) over the last six matches.

His positioning sees him supply Leeds’ width on the left, but after Leicester switched to a 3-4-3 in the second-half on Sunday, Marcelo Bielsa responded by moving Harrison into the forward press. That in turn meant he found himself in more central areas than usual, which is something to keep an eye on going forward. It’s also worth noting that he is a firm favourite of Bielsa and is rarely omitted from the starting XI. In fact, he’s now played the full 90 minutes in seven of his last eight league appearances.

Harrison is one of the Whites’ most important players and now, in a really good moment, could be an effective differential for Gameweek 22 and beyond.

Marcos Alonso

  • FPL ownership: 1.6%
  • Price: £5.6m
  • GW22-26 fixtures: tot | shu | NEW | sou | MUN

Marcos Alonso (£5.6m) returned to Chelsea’s starting XI under new manager Thomas Tuchel on Sunday, and took full advantage of the opportunity with a goal and 14 FPL points.

Making his first league start since September, the 30-year-old operated as a left-sided wing-back in a 3-4-3 shape, a role he has previously excelled in for the Blues. He finished the match with two shots in the box, six penalty area touches and three crosses, while amongst team-mates, only Mount had more touches in the final third. It’s also worth noting he took two of Chelsea’s four corners during the game.

As we pointed out last week when tipping up Antonio Rüdiger (£4.5m), change is inevitable under a new manager, especially with Tuchel’s reputation for tactical flexibility, but if they are to continue using a similar shape in the coming weeks, it raises the appeal of their wing-backs, who will naturally get into more advanced positions in the box. 

A move for Alonso this week does carry risk, knowing that Ben Chilwell (£6.1m) is also pushing for a start, but there is a lot of upside too, given the Spaniard’s potential for big hauls. Will he now become first-choice? It’s impossible to say, but if Tuchel does opt to regularly use a back-three system, he’s certainly put forward a strong case.

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804 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Who do I captain? Chasing in my ML.

    A) Salah
    B) Cancelo

    1. ZakyJ
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      If the person doesn't have one, you captain that one. I like Cancelo though

      1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 9 days ago

        He has both.

  2. NETFLIX & CHILWELL
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Soucek > Grealish this week?

    I have the Soucek FEAR though as he's got me so many points the last few weeks!

    1. Krispy Kreme
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      Long term Grealish is the better pick so yes.

  3. Krispy Kreme
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Who to bench out of this front 8?...

    Salah, Son, Bruno, Sterling, Gundo, Bamford, Watkins, Antonio

    Leaning towards Bamford, Son or Watkins.

    Thoughts?

    1. cruzex
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      Gundo for me.

  4. damiang2233
    • 11 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Play one of the below?

    1. Targett
    2. Creswell
    3. Dier

    1. Krispy Kreme
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      Creswell

    2. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      Cresswell

  5. EWH2020
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Bench one:

    A) Son
    B) DCL
    C) Antonio

  6. Van der Faart
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Heung Min Son scores this year when hes had net transfers out;

    GW2: 24
    GW4: 18
    GW9: 10
    GW11: 13
    GW13: 9
    GW15: 3
    GW17: 13
    GW19: 5

    1. The 12th Man
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      How many of those games did Kane play?

      1. Van der Faart
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 9 days ago

        All of them. Just found it interesting that he's returned in all but one.

  7. xHaTr
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Best Dier replacement?

    Can afford any defender. Own Cancelo and Dias already

    1. cruzex
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      shaw

  8. Tshelby
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Who needs to go? Adams, Alioski or Chillwel?

    1. Lazaretti
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      Maybe Adams from those

      1. Tshelby
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 9 days ago

        Yeah I know and he would be replaced with Watkins but don't know if I want Watkins..

      2. cruzex
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 9 days ago

        he will have dgw soon. keep

  9. GS456
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Bench DCL or Gundogan?

    Thanks

    1. Cojones of Destiny
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      Gundo

    2. TB303
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      Gunbo

  10. Phlajo
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Got 1FT and 0.6 ITB - Exact cash to do Maddison -> Grealish, but leaning towards rolling it - What do you think?

    Martinez
    Dias Digne Dallas (Coufal Douglas)
    Salah Bruno Rashford Son Maddison
    DCL Antonio (Brewster)

  11. Cojones of Destiny
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    first on bench:
    a. Dier
    b. Coufal

    1. Phlajo
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      B

    2. Bobby_Baggio
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      A

  12. Bobby_Baggio
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Morning all. Who to bench? Son of Soucek but too scarred by Soucek.

    Son - Salah - Bruno - Gundo - Soucek
    Bam - Antonio - DCL

    1. Cojones of Destiny
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      Sou

  13. LLoris
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Moh In Son Out for a -4??

    1. cruzex
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      no.

    2. TB303
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      Maybe

    3. Cojones of Destiny
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      no

    4. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      No

  14. TB303
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Please can you bench 2 for me

    A) Dallas
    B) Soucek
    C) Son
    D) Holding

    1. Cojones of Destiny
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      wow thats really tough one...hmmm....BD

    2. TB303
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      Thanks! Yep a real tricky one

    3. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      BD

    4. Camzy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 9 days ago

      When in doubt play the attackers.

  15. Daniel100Maerkl
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 9 days ago

    Is game week 26 confirmed as double. If so who is playing twice or link pls

    Thanks

  16. Cheggers
      2 months, 9 days ago

      Martinez McCarthy
      Dias Justin Digne Dallas Cresswell
      Son Fernandes Salah Gund Foden
      Watkins Bamford Brewster

      Justin to Cancelo and Foden to Grealish for -4?