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. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Son to Salah for a hit and make Salah captain? I can bring back Son next week if needed

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

      Why not, although hokey cokey has burned me badly this season

      1. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        hokey cokey worked for me this season on the opposite

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

          So go for it then ...

    2. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      It's 8pt hit that worries me. I'll tinker

  2. Messiah Hazard
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Doesn’t Jota get an assist for the Salah goal in UCL fantasy?

  3. fcsaltyballs
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Do we think KDB will be rested this weekend?

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

      yes

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

      Most probably

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

      Golden question, do I keep him? I have a bad feeling he will be rested, doesnt seem to be coming off

    4. Tinkermania
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 3 days ago

      He is due a rest.

    5. Utopsis
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Gundo is more likely to be rested for me, he looked knackered at one point.

      Will he rest both Gundo and KDB? Don't think so

      1. fcsaltyballs
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        But you’d think KDB is essential for next weeks CL and FA ?

        1. Utopsis
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 2 days ago

          Absolutely - but KDB is the fitter man.

          Don't even think Pep knows at this stage, but I think KDB starts and gets hooked around 60mins. Either way, I really cannot see either of those 2 playing 90mins

  4. Maarrrr17
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Incoming sancho ban.

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

      What happened

  5. Shark Team
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Wtf happened to Mane, the rest are bad too but Mane is completely disappeared this season.

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

      I don’t understand why Klopp dropped Firmino over Mane. Jota’s best role is to the left of him. A front 3 of Salah, Firmino and Jota is the most balanced imo

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

      possible slight question marks over his real age? his 'origins story' is pretty sketchy, turned up in the big city having been playing at a provincial level, declaring himself to be 15 years old?

      1. Tinkermania
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Careful now. What do we say when he goals and scores 20+ in the next 4 seasons? I think the whole team is having bad season.

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

      By definition every player has to have a season you can point to as their best, Mane had his. He peaked.

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

    When did Ramos turn into a librarian.

    1. The Knights Template
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      He just put on some glasses and added an 'l' to Iberian!

  7. KAPTAIN KANE
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    KdB this week vs Leeds 😎

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

      Why was he subbed?

      1. KAPTAIN KANE
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        No just saying if he does start it could be lovely

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

          That's a big IF

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

      Worth keeping kdb u think?? Won't he be rested, I own and wondering to ditch..

      1. Tinkermania
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Yes to both. Worth keeping and likely rested.

      2. KAPTAIN KANE
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Difficult one, surely as owners we shouldn’t sell this week

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

          I punted on kdb on wc gw30 for these 2 fixtures (Inc. Leeds), but he was also a placeholder for salah with Leeds after. I fear if he's rested this weekend not much point keeping this week! Dilemma.. obvs plan was originally kdb cap v. Leeds so maybe I should just stick with it and see

          1. Tinkermania
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Possible 1 point cameo.

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

    Fernandes -> Salah madness?

    1. Utopsis
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Indeed

  9. TAT
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    Do I tear up my defence on WC to get Son? Could have almost any defender I want if I keep Raphinha instead of targeting a Spurs double-up.

    Forster – Mendy
    Veltman – Azpi – TAA – Shaw – Dias
    Salah – Lingard – Fernandes – Jota – Raphinha
    Kane – Iheanacho – Antonio

  10. Finding Timo
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Is son likely to fall tonight ? Last night on fpl stats he looked like failing but didn’t & Same again tonight?

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

      OMG vicinius.

    • My heart goes Salalalalah
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      3-1

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

      Awful defending and rubbish keeping

    • KAPTAIN KANE
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Own both KdB and Gundogan and I swear one or both have scored in the last 3 non prem games.
      So frustrating!

    • Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Predictions for Dias Cancelo and Gundo starts on the weekend?

      1. Messiah Hazard
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Dias 75%
        Cancelo 25%
        Gundo 50%

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

        Maybe 2 outta 3

      3. Tonyawesome69 FH36
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        I could see Dias benched this weekend. He hasn't been great tonight with a few mistakes.

        1. Tinkermania
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 3 days ago

          He won't be benched because of mistakes. It will be because of the minutes racked up. I partly agree with you.

          1. Tonyawesome69 FH36
            • 2 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Probably should've been more clear. I think he has made these mistakes due to the number of consecutive 90mins games he has played up until now.

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

        25, 25, 75

        1. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Me not like those percentages

      5. Shark Team
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Dias and Cancelo almost sure imo, Gundo likely too

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

      Alison wouldn't save stamps.

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

      Nearly 4-1

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

      Liverpool going to need one of those special Anfield nights ( without fans ) next week now

    • Milkman Bruno
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Foden should score and then Dias gets away lucky.

      • Bartowski
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Its pretty standard but anything you'd change on this wildcard:

        Mendy Foster

        TAA Shaw Mendy Holding Masuku

        Salah Jota Son Fernandes Lingard

        Kane Iheanacho Vydra

        0.1 in the bank that I could use to upgrade Holding to a more certain starter if needs be.

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

          Is that City's Mendy in there?

          1. Bartowski
            • 10 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Sure, i'm guessing he'll start the league games.

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

              Ah man I think that left back spot is poison for FPL right now. Cancelo, Zinchenko and Mendy all in the mix but if you're confident Mendy will get the nod then it could work out well.

      • Shark Team
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        (checks Twitter...) Grealish to ManCity confirmed

        1. Amey
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          ?

      • Tosa86
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        My actual team is:
        Martinez - Forster
        Dallas creswell struijk shaw cancelo
        Kdb son Bruno smith rowe soucek
        Vardy kane bamford

        Ft:2

        1) soucek, cancelo, vardy-> dias lingard ineacho (-4)?!
        2) in gw 33 i’ll have out Kane son kdb and cancelo how to move?
        3) any suggestion to improve team?

      • anish10
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Punt on Aguero(c) this weekend

        1. anish10
          • 10 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          This was a question by the way

          1. Bartowski
            • 10 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            No, too much wishful thinking with that one me thinks

        2. Tinkermania
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 3 days ago

          If you already have him. Seems too risky to bring in. Jesus and Sterling more likely starters

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

          Jesus a better option but have no idea who plays myself

      • El Presidente
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Liverpool is just a shadow of the team it once was. What an embarrassing performance they could easily be 5 or 6 down....

      • Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        End of the season looks fun. Finally a lot of options to break the template

      • Milkman Bruno
          1 month, 3 days ago

          De Bruyne close. Mahrez is class

          1. Super Saints
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Terrible scuffed shot, has he scored a decent goal this season that wasn't a tap in or pen?

            1. Tinkermania
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 3 days ago

              Yes, 1 or 2.

              1. Super Saints
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 3 days ago

                I think it may literally be 1 but I can't think of it

            2. Milkman Bruno
                1 month, 3 days ago

                True enough I guess. Foden has missed a few chances at wrapping this up.

          2. Milkman Bruno
              1 month, 3 days ago

              City cranking it up a notch

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

              Imagine what KDB will do to Leeds if plays the 90.... Jesus

            • Henning
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              Pick 2 for next 2 gameweeks

              1.Son
              2. Kdb
              3.Salah

              1. Scots Gooner
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 3 days ago

                1 & 2

              2. Daniel - Maquire or Hendo?
                • 11 Years
                1 month, 3 days ago

                Those who will start

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

                Son ( DGW) and Salah ( Fixtures )

              4. Super Saints
                • 4 Years
                1 month, 3 days ago

                Son
                Sterling
                Jota

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

                Son and Salah 100%

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

              Phillips been exposed all night. The guy turns slower than my Granny’s wheelchair and has no coordination or spacial awareness. Kabak isn’t much better