Line-up Lessons

Which Arsenal players are most likely to avoid rotation during season run-in?

Ahead of an expected rush of Wildcards in Gameweek 31, Anna Woodberry analyses which players stand the best chance of beating Mikel Arteta’s rotation policy at Arsenal.


Arsenal sit second of our Season Ticker over the next five Gameweeks when clubs are sorted by ease of fixture. Mikel Arteta’s side face the four bottom Premier League clubs over this period, with a tough home match against Everton sandwiched in the middle.

For Fantasy Premier League managers on their Wildcard, or those looking to maximise their transfer(s) this Gameweek, these fixtures could yield good returns.

That said, Arsenal’s form this season and their quarter-final matches against Slavia Prague must be considered when choosing which assets to go for. 

We have weighed up their credentials in this latest article by considering recent performances as well as investigating which players are the most likely to play consistent minutes in the Premier League between now and Gameweek 38.

Arsenal have not impressed as many would have expected during Arteta’s reign. The Gunners had a particularly poor start to the league and found themselves languishing in fifteenth place after eleven Premier League matches. However, Arteta has managed to pull them back up during the second half of the season, where they are now flittering between ninth and eleventh position.

Source: Wikipedia

This is in spite of a tough run of fixtures in their last ten games, which saw them play both Manchester clubs, Leicester City, Tottenham, West Ham and Liverpool. They picked up 12 points from a possible 30 from these matches: winning three, drawing three and losing four. 

Yet they only managed one clean sheet during this period (and have zero in their last six) while conceding 15 goals in total, six of which came in their last two matches against West Ham and Liverpool. 

On the flip side, though they only netted 14 goals during the same period, the team scored two or more goals in four of the ten games and are in the top five for goals scored over the past six matches. Given that their upcoming fixtures are against bottom-half clubs with poorer defensive records, this is something FPL managers will be hoping Arsenal could replicate over the next few Gameweeks.

EUROPEAN DISTRACTION

Who has the best and worst upcoming FPL fixtures? 14

The biggest headache for FPL managers, however, will be factoring in Arsenal’s Europa League campaign. Their quarter-final first leg against Slavia Prague takes place on Thursday evening, three days before their Gameweek 31 match against Sheffield United. Meanwhile, the second leg is scheduled for the following week, in between Gameweek 31 and Gameweek 32 (Fulham). 

If they get through this quarter-final, the semi-final fixtures are pencilled to take place in and around their Gameweek 34 and 35 matches against Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, meaning the Gunners are facing the prospect of nine games in 30 days. So, while Arsenal are playing the four bottom Premier League teams, this is happening in amongst their European campaign, raising concerns over how much Arteta might rotate his squad to cope with this demand.

This concern is increased when considering which competition the Spaniard might favour going into the final part of the season as the Europa League arguably represents the best chance for the club to make it into the Champions League next season.

The Gunners are ten points off fourth place with eight Premier League matches to go but are battling a host of rivals to get there. Aston Villa, Everton, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea are all above Arteta’s team, so the odds are stacked against them to win a European qualifying spot through domestic channels.

This could have ramifications for Arteta’s team selection in the Premier League over the next few Gameweeks. He utilised fringe players in the group stages of the Europa League, keeping his main stars – Kieran Tierney (£5.3m), Alexandre Lacazette (£8.2m) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.4m) – for the league. This may change now we are reaching the latter stages of the competition, especially if this is Arsenal’s best chance of playing in Europe next year. 

TIME FOR THE ‘BIG GUNS’

If we compare the Arsenal players’ minutes for the group-stage and knock-out matches of the Europa League this season, we can already see a shift towards the more experienced group. 14 players – Bernd Leno (£5.0m), Tierney, Hector Bellerin (£5.0m), Gabriel (£4.9m), David Luiz (£5.4m), Thomas Partey (£4.9m), Martin Odegaard (£6.0m), Dani Ceballos (£4.7m), Granit Xhaka (£5.2m), Emile Smith Rowe (£4.2m), Bukayo Saka (£5.2m), Aubameyang, Gabriel Martinelli (£4.9m) and Willian (£7.5m) – have all featured more in the knock-out stages than they did during the group matches.

This is also reflected when looking at the starting line-ups. Leno, Bellerin, David Luiz, Gabriel, Xhaka and Aubameyang have started all four knock-out games so far, with Tierney, Ceballos, Saka, Odegaard and Smith Rowe starting three. Therefore, we would expect Arteta to turn to these players again for the two legs against Slavia Prague. 

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PREMIER LEAGUE

The issue this poses for FPL managers is whether these players will feature in the Premier League games either side of those quarter-final matches. Though hard to predict, we can see which players started a high number of league games in and around the Round of 32 and Round of 16 matches against Benfica and Olympiacos in February and March. 

Leno, David Luiz, Tierney, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard and Aubameyang were the only players to start four or more games in the league, suggesting they would be the best bets to play against Sheffield United and Fulham. In contrast, stalwarts Bellerin and Gabriel only started two games each, so might see their league minutes similarly restricted if they play on Thursday.

However, injuries could change this completely. David Luiz looks set to miss the next couple weeks after undergoing knee surgery, leaving Gabriel (£4.9m) to shoulder the principal centre-back burden. In his absence, Arteta could turn to either Rob Holding (£4.2m) and/or Pablo Marí (£4.4m) to partner Gabriel in the Europa League and Premier League games. Both are budget-value defenders who could easily fill the fourth or fifth spots in any FPL team.

In addition, Arsenal fear that Tierney could be ruled out for a similar period to Luiz after limping off in the first half against Liverpool in Gameweek 30. If true, this leaves Cedric Soares (£4.6m) and Saka as the Gunners’ left-back options since Sead Kolasinac went on loan to Schalke in January. With this uncertainty, it means Leno is probably the most reliable way into Arsenal’s defence.   

In terms of midfield and attack though, Odegaard and Aubameyang are the safest picks, but whether they represent the best value for money compared to other players in those price brackets remains to be seen. They could be good differential picks if they start though.

For FPL managers feeling a bit risky, Nicolas Pépé (£7.6m) and Eddie Nketiah (£5.4m) were frequently used in the group stages of the Europa League to give the more established players rest. Arteta could utilise the two again but in the league this time, especially if the tie against Slavia Prague is still close after the first leg.

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941 Comments Post a Comment
  1. tambourineman
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Pukki party

    1. The Ilfordian
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      First name on the team sheet next year

      1. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        What could go wrong right

        1. The Ilfordian
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          LOL

    2. Rassi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Interesting to see his price next FPL season.

      1. tambourineman
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        6.5m again?

        1. Honourvolley
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Could be... 7m maybe I reckon!

          1. tambourineman
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Has a striker from a promoted team ever been 7m?

            1. Honourvolley
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              Not sure! Seems quite high doesn't it so probably not

        2. S.Kuqi
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Most likely. Could be 7 but doubt it

  2. Jimmers
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Europa League distractions for Arsenal............

    1. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Won’t be for long I’d imagine.

      The main issue isn’t rotation. The issue is they are crap

      1. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Saka and Martinelli (if he gets a run) is the only ones I’d consider but even then

  3. TheDragon
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Is Mendy really the goalkeeper to go for on wildcard?

    Fixtures aren’t that good are they?

    Martinez is very hard to drop

    1. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      He’s a decent option but probably better cheaper options

  4. artvandelay316
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 3 days ago

    So with Gundo and Stones both playing tonight and Pep saying there's gonna be more rotation for fresh legs, is it worth getting rid of them both now?

    1. TheDragon
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Stones I’d get rid of personally

      Feels like Laporte will play every league game and Pep clearly wants to play Dias in as many games as physically possible

      Gundo is trickier - is such good value and could get a huge score if starts vs Leeds

      1. artvandelay316
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 3 days ago

        I think I'll probably bench him this week, keep Mount or Lingard as first sub incase Gundo doesn't play. Then I'll have two FT next week to transfer one or both out depending on what happens.

  5. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Liverpool poor so far. Trent being caught out

  6. KAALI_DAAL
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Madrid in control so far.

    • DavidBadWillie
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Goal De Bruyne

      • Hazz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        It's a shame Cantwell won't be 4.5m again!

        1. DavidBadWillie
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Why would you want Cantwell?

            1. Hazz
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              Why not?

              1. DavidBadWillie
                  1 month, 3 days ago

                  Ermmm Norwich = Dogsh*t

              2. KAALI_DAAL
                  1 month, 3 days ago

                  Cantwellinho

            2. DavidBadWillie
                1 month, 3 days ago

                Madrid playing in their training ground is an insult to football.

                1. Hazz
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 3 Years
                  1 month, 3 days ago

                  Makes complete sense to be fair.

                  1. KAALI_DAAL
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      A jab at Liverpool i suppose?

                2. Finding Timo
                    1 month, 3 days ago

                    Can we seriously consider mendy of City on WC?

                  • JJO
                    • 8 Years
                    1 month, 3 days ago

                    Ofcourse its Debruyne

                  • TheDragon
                    • 3 Years
                    1 month, 3 days ago

                    How’s this as a WC?

                    Martinez (or Mendy), Forster
                    Phillips, Rudiger, Shaw, Coady, Konsa
                    Salah, Son, Jota, Fernandes, Gundo
                    Kane, Iheanacho, Antonio

                    Assuming Antonio is fit - otherwise Watkins/Bamford/Vydra
                    Gundo -> Neto in GW32

                    1. HD7
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Lingard?

                      1. TheDragon
                        • 3 Years
                        1 month, 3 days ago

                        Can’t have them all - for the 5th mid slot I’m thinking potentially Gundo this week, move to Neto in 32 and then to Lingard in 34/35

                        I could go with Lingard but I’ve benefited from all his points so far, he is going to regress and rice out/ potential Antonio injury can’t help. Plus fixtures for next few aren’t great

                        1. HD7
                          • 4 Years
                          1 month, 3 days ago

                          Im also thinking between Neto Coady and Lingard Diop for my team

                  • Life_Ban
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      So Nathaniel Phillips (plays for Liverpool defence) a dead option for Premier League as playing tonight??

                      1. BobB
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 11 Years
                        1 month, 3 days ago

                        No - Liverpool have to to try to get top 4.

                    • ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
                      • 11 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Liverpool getting torn a new one here

                    • ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
                      • 11 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      OMG vicinius

                    • ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
                      • 11 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Phillips getting taken to school

                    • Isco Disco
                      • 3 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      VINIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

                    • DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
                      • 8 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Trent very poor tonight.

                    • CloudSky
                      • 4 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Trent has been getting absolutely rinsed by Vinícius effing Júnior.

                    • BobB
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 11 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      If Liverpool crash out it will be better for FPL assets - they have to fight for top four

                    • balint84
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Jota, Neto or Gündogan? (Have salah)

                      1. TheDragon
                        • 3 Years
                        1 month, 3 days ago

                        Jota for sure long term

                    • Isco Disco
                      • 3 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      VAMOS!!!
                      What a ball my the great Toni Kross

                      1. Isco Disco
                        • 3 Years
                        1 month, 3 days ago

                        Kroos

                    • Isco Disco
                      • 3 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Vinicius is our future

                    • ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
                      • 11 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Pen check for city

                      1. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
                        • 11 Years
                        1 month, 3 days ago

                        No way that’s a pen

                        1. Forza
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 6 Years
                          1 month, 3 days ago

                          Still funny to listen to Jenas in meltdown over the wrong issues 😆

                    • BobB
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 11 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Tottenham signed the wrong Vinicius

                    • rnrd
                      • 6 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Mahrez was about to take it over Kdb

                      1. JJO
                        • 8 Years
                        1 month, 3 days ago

                        Hahah thank you my friend from future

                        1. rnrd
                          • 6 Years
                          1 month, 3 days ago

                          No joke. Commentators in France said Mahrez had already taken the ball

                          1. Duke Silver ☑
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 6 Years
                            1 month, 3 days ago

                            Yeah from what I saw it was Mahrez who handed the ball back to the ref.

                      2. Collie01
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 3 Years
                        1 month, 3 days ago

                        Mahrez really??

                    • JJO
                      • 8 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Who took the ball for penalty 🙂 ?

                    • Don Kloppeone
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 3 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      {The sound of WC templates being ripped up}

                      1. TheDragon
                        • 3 Years
                        1 month, 3 days ago

                        Why?

                        Real Madrid are slightly better than the likes of Newcastle and west brim you know

                    • Duke Silver ☑
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 6 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      Emre Can stuck with a yellow card for a penalty that was overturned 😆

                    • Random Name
                      • 5 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      I said Trent was a poor defender a couple of days ago and was told it was a "tired opinion". I repeat once again, Trent is a poor defender. He's getting absolutely steamrolled by an above average vinicius