The 40 days of chaos are amongst us and I am very excited for the next ten Gameweeks of football, which will come thick and fast.
I asked the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) community to send in some questions for me to answer, getting many regarding Harry Kane (£12.2m) and Heung-Min Son (£10.3m).
I’ve already written about my thinking with these two in my article last week and spoke about it at length on this week’s episode of The FPL Wire (44:00 onwards), so you can check out my opinion there. I should mention that I have sold Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang (£10.0m) and Kai Havertz (£8.1m) this week, purchasing Kane and Conor Gallagher (£5.9m) in return. I could have gone for the alternative duo of Callum Wilson (£7.4m) and Son but my reasons are outlined in those links.
Let’s move on to the questions.
Q: Why does the FPL community dislike Leandro Trossard (£6.5m) so much? Brighton and Hove Albion are a rapidly improving side and he is getting close to talismanic status for them. His next four matches scream goals after back-to-back hauls. (@HinduMonkey)
A. It is interesting that many aren’t looking at him closely but I think that has to do with him clocking an average of just ten returns over the last two seasons. It is worth noting that he is gaining a little bit of traction this week and I think that has to do with FPL managers preferring him as this current out-of-position, false nine option for Brighton, despite not knowing how long this will continue. If he does so for a couple more weeks, I think managers will be quick to jump on him. Many are focusing their transfers on a Spurs attacker or Diogo Jota (£7.5m) at the moment, which also explains the lack of love for Trossard. I have looked into his numbers so far this season and some are interesting. This is his rank amongst midfielders:
- Touches in final third: 4th
- Shots: 4th
- Shots in the box: 4th
- Expected Goal Involvement (xGI): 17th (second-best over the last two gameweeks, when playing false nine)
- Big Chances: 27th (two big chances from the two matches as false nine)
- Chances Created: 14th
Until Trossard moved up front, his numbers were indicative of a lot of low-quality volume chances but the early signs when playing as a false nine are very encouraging. In fact, thanks to your question, I’m paying a lot closer attention to him than before and will have him high on my watchlist if he continues this. However, one player is outperforming these numbers at his price point – Jarrod Bowen (£6.4m), who is behind only Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) for xGI since Gameweek 5 and has a good run of upcoming fixtures from Gameweek 16. Not that fixtures are important for West Ham these days, as they have blanked just once this season and only Manchester City have more Premier League goals this calendar year.
Q: Not a single forward rank inside the top ten for points across the past five weeks and only two are in the top 20. Just a phase, or should we start moving cash and switching to a 4-5-1 or 5-4-1 formation? (@FPL_Banger)
A. I have also noticed that forwards haven’t been doing well lately. Kane’s manager, Romelu Lukaku’s (£11.5m) fitness and Cristiano Ronaldo’s (£12.4m) fixtures are the reasons why these important cogs of the FPL wheel haven’t been a big part of the conversation in recent weeks. I think this is going to change, given the fixtures for all three which is why I think it might be worth reserving a place in your team for a premium striker. Kane and Ronaldo have great fixtures in the festive period and Lukaku plays for one of the best teams in the league.
At a lower price point, I don’t think there are many options but, depending on your team structure and spread of funds, Michail Antonio (£8.2m), Ivan Toney (£6.7m) and Wilson might be important players in the festive fixture crunch. My problem with going 4-5-1 or 5-4-1 is that the cheap bench-filling forward options don’t actually play, which isn’t the case with defenders and midfielders. We will need our benches in December and there is great value in £4.5-5.0m defenders and £5.5-6.0m midfielders. You mentioned that no forward ranks amongst the highest scorers of the past five matches, yet more than half of the top ten for expected goals (xG) in the last six Gameweeks are forwards. Ever-evolving, I don’t think the state of play will remain idle and, given these factors, I think having at least two playing strikers seems prudent.
Q: Is Mohamed Salah still a captaincy lock? I have Reece James (£5.9m) and Joao Cancelo (£6.5m) – if I’d captained them over the last two Gameweeks, I’d be much better off. (@tony_earnshaw)
Hi Tony. I still haven’t seen anything from any other player in the league that would make me remove captaincy from Salah. You’re talking about having done better with James and Cancelo but that is looking at two specific Gameweeks and, when you look at players in a very short sample size, anything can happen. The shorter the duration, the higher potential variance. Over the season, Salah has been in a separate stratosphere of his own when it comes to underlying numbers as well as efficiency. I don’t know how possible it is to consistently rely on these full-backs to produce attacking returns but I do agree that clean sheet potential gives them a high ceiling for points. That said, I think Salah also offers this in his current form. I have noticed the numbers start to dip slightly in the last two Gameweeks but I think I need to see something a lot more from the other players before betting against the Egyptian.
That’s it from me for this week. I hope you have a good Gameweek and I’ll see you before the next deadline!
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