Scout Notes

Sa making ‘set-and-forget’ FPL goalkeeper case as United struggle

Better late than never, our latest Scout Notes article offers up the main Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening.

JOSE SA: SET AND FORGET?

Wolves made it six clean sheets in eight matches with a well-deserved win over Manchester United on Monday evening.

Their goal was scarcely threatened, save for a Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m) effort that rattled the woodwork, and they have, perhaps trailing only behind Manchester City, a claim to be the best backline in the division on current form.

The recent results for Bruno Lage’s troops are reassuringly dull from a defensive perspective: 1-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1, 0-1, 1-0, 0-0, 1-0.

What makes that run all the more impressive is that amongst it there have been fixtures against Liverpool, City, Chelsea and West Ham United, sides who have had little trouble finding the net elsewhere in 2021/22.

They are spectacularly ‘overachieving’, it must be said: their expected goals conceded (xGC) total is almost 10 more than what they’ve actually let in this season (23.73 v 14).

But then they do have one of the division’s best goalkeepers between the posts and there’s no surprise to see Jose Sa (£5.1m) up there with the best shot-stoppers for not just FPL points but for expected goals prevented (xGP) and save percentages.

Above: Goalkeepers sorted by xGP in 2021/22

The next challenge for Wolves is to see whether they can cope without the AFCON-bound Romain Saiss (£5.1m) in Gameweeks 22 and 23, as consistency has been key this season and all three of their centre-halves are ever-present starters.

The bargain-bin Marcal (£4.2m) may have to drop into the back three to cover, a move that also helps to accommodate Rayan Ait-Nouri (£4.3m) at wing-back.

Wolves defenders, despite their excellent form but likely because of their recent fixture run, remain underrepresented in FPL, as seen in the top 10k figures above.

Some stiff tests still await from Gameweeks 24-27 but longer term, they sit top of our Season Ticker up to Gameweek 35 and may have a very appealing Double Gameweek 22, should their outstanding fixture against Watford be rearranged for a fortnight’s time.

Sa might be the way to go for anyone setting up their team for the long term, then, with the likes of Conor Coady (£4.6m) and Max Kilman (£4.5m) cheaper routes into the backline – albeit ones with limited goal threat.

On the subject of attacking prowess, Wolves’ forward players remain a no-go: despite their dominance at Old Trafford, Joao Moutinho‘s (£4.9m) strike was only the third goal that Bruno Lage’s side have scored in their last nine matches.

UNITED REVERTING TO UNDERWHELMING TYPE

And continuing with the theme of underwhelming attacks… boy were United awful on Monday.

The new manager feelgood factor has slowly ebbed away over recent weeks and this could easily have been a display from the final days of the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era, with their players looking sluggish and directionless.

“I didn’t feel when I was on the pitch that we were all there together. We felt like we were struggling and it was tough.

“Sometimes quality isn’t enough. Like I said, we need to bring the intensity, we need to bring being more aggressive and we need to bring more motivation. Maybe from the outside today it didn’t look like we had any of those three, but inside the dressing room, we know we want to win. We know what we want.

“When we step out on that pitch we need to give 100%. Everything we’ve got. I’m not saying not everyone did, but I think to win these types of games against a tough team like Wolves, we all need to be 100% committed because we know it’s always close games whoever they play.” – Luke Shaw

United were towards the top of our Season Ticker for ease of fixture difficulty when Ralf Rangnick took charge but only six goals have been scored against the might of Crystal Palace, Norwich City, Newcastle United, Burnley and Wolves, with the expected goals (xG) column also telling a sorry tale:

TeamGoalsxG  Goals minus xGMins/ xG
 MCI2417.72+6.2837.4
 TOT1011.00-1.0043.9
 LIV912.54-3.5445.9
 ARS1612.17+3.8347
 CHE1212.55-0.5553.2
 LEI96.18+2.8261.3
 WHU129.23+2.7762
 CRY109.00+1.0063.3
 MUN66.84-0.8470

Above: Teams sorted by minutes per expected goal (xG) from Gameweek 15 onwards

We can’t expect miracles from Rangnick given the short space of time he has been at the club but the Red Devils have been outplayed by Wolves, Newcastle and arguably Norwich in three of his five league matches in charge, with only the first halves against Burnley and perhaps Palace anything to offer encouragement.

There’s not a lot to incentivise fresh investment in United at present but existing owners of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) still have favourable fixtures on their side until Gameweek 27, after which comes a tough, bottom-of-the-ticker run-in.

And for all of United’s collective struggles, Ronaldo still ranks highly among FPL forwards for most of the key underlying metrics since the change in manager:

 1

Above: Forwards sorted by shots in the box from Gameweek 15 onwards

At the back, David de Gea (£5.1m) was on for a bonus point-boosted haul before Moutinho’s late winner.

Only two goalkeepers have made more saves than him since Rangnick took charge, which suggests all is not well at the back, either. It’s not like we can blame unavailability for the defensive woes, with the lesser-spotted Phil Jones (£4.5m), in for his first start in almost two years, actually an upgrade on the injured Harry Maguire (£5.4m) at centre-half.

Maguire might be back for the Gameweek 22 clash with Villa but Luke Shaw (£5.0m) and Scott McTominay (£5.4m) will miss out after collecting their fifth bookings of the season.

“Harry, he received that knock on his chest or whatever, in the game against Burnley so we thought he would be good again for tonight.

“But, yesterday, he was just trying and it was impossible. He even had too much pain when he was just standing around or sitting. It wasn’t possible for him to play.” – Ralf Rangnick


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68 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Magic Zico
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    12 days, 1 hour ago

    Evening, empty and quiet ...

  2. SoulShakinTex
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    12 days, 1 hour ago

    Good evening! Which combination and which premium asset do you prefer going forward, until Salah gets back?
    A) Ronaldo/Maddison/Marcal (or up to 4,3 def)
    B) Dennis/DeBruyne/Laporte for -4
    C) Calvert-Lewin/Foden(?)/Robertson for -4
    D) Other triple idea fwd+mid+def at max 23,7 mill

    1. Fefguero
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      12 days, 31 mins ago

      I’m thinking Son, Van Dijk, Dennis for a gw22 WC team

      Both Kane and Ronaldo worry me and it’s hard to incorporate Robertson and TAA with the price tags

      1. SoulShakinTex
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        12 days, 26 mins ago

        Yup, thx, I already own Son and TAA, and not on a WC yet. Brought Ronaldo in as «best» premium replacement for Salah already in GW 19 and not happy with how it is playing out. Question is stick with him or rearrange for a hit. (Livra and Galla probably need to go soon anyway…)

        1. Fefguero
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          12 days, 24 mins ago

          The double gw announcements may help your decision bro!

          1. SoulShakinTex
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            12 days, 21 mins ago

            Indeed! Will def wait. Even though the last minute Everton doubleup when dgws were announced last week was not (yet) a particularly inspired idea. Everton defender. What was I thinking…

    2. Ruinenlust
      • 4 Years
      12 days, 6 mins ago

      C

      1. SoulShakinTex
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        11 days, 23 hours ago

        Thx! And still with Foden?!

  3. Riverside Red
    • 2 Years
    12 days, 1 hour ago

    Calling all Arsenal fans : Is your young striker Folarin Balogun a budding talent? Boro may be taking him on loan in January.

    1. DavidBadWillie
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      11 days, 16 hours ago

      He’s good at u23 level. Happy to see him go on loan

  4. PastaConcerto
    • 8 Years
    12 days, 41 mins ago

    I've had Sa for most of the season, and I'm happy. Missed a few of his pts against stronger opposition because I have been rotating with Sanchez.

    1. Nightrain_
      • 5 Years
      11 days, 21 hours ago

      that's great, my sore mistake is when I had the chance to pick between Sa and Meslier in the early season, I chose Meslier just because he got many saved and boy was I really wrong 🙁

      1. PastaConcerto
        • 8 Years
        11 days, 20 hours ago

        My mate leading the ML early on made the very same mistake...Sa was frankly the reason I passed him.

    2. BDA Shadow
      • 7 Years
      11 days, 19 hours ago

      Raya injured for the season, to Guaita who was seemingly dropped (turned out to be a finger injury and then allegedly covid so sold and he somehow came back early), to Ramsdale who had a game postponed and two more scheduled soon, to De Gea who can't keep a clean sheet despite putting in world class performances.

      Keepers have absolutely killed me this season.

  5. Shardlow
    • 4 Years
    11 days, 23 hours ago

    Sorting out my telegraph work team - get 3 transfers for Jan, then that's it for the season.

    Who scores more:
    A. Son - 20 games left + FA Cup
    B. De Bruyne - 17 games left + FA Cup

    Bearing in mind rotation etc, if city win the league early?

    1. Egg noodle
      • 11 Years
      11 days, 22 hours ago

      Son

  6. Ragabolly
    • 12 Years
    11 days, 23 hours ago

    Risers: Tierney (5.0) Sánchez (4.6) Bachmann (4.3)

    Fallers: Fred (4.9) Skipp (4.4) McGovern (3.9)

    1. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      11 days, 22 hours ago

      Cheers, R.

    2. Catenaccio FC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      11 days, 22 hours ago

      D = {'a': 'T', 'b': 'h', 'c': 'a','d': 'n','e':'k','f':' ','g':'Y','h':'o','i':'u','j':'!'}
      for key in D:
      print(D[key], end=' ')

      1. Ragabolly
        • 12 Years
        11 days, 21 hours ago

        You're very welcome :))

        Note that the above code only works in Python3.6+. Older versions will iterate over the dictionary in a random order, you will get something like "OknY aTu!h" 😛

        1. Catenaccio FC
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          11 days, 20 hours ago

          And that's the difference between a newbie and a guru... Thank you for the valuable lesson.

      2. rokonto
        • 6 Years
        11 days, 19 hours ago

        What's going on?

        1. Ginkapo FPL
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          11 days, 18 hours ago

          Deep state

        2. King Carlos
          • 6 Years
          11 days, 18 hours ago

          Stroke

        3. THE SHEEP HUNTER
          • 4 Years
          11 days, 16 hours ago

          Bletchley Park wannabee.

    1. ilikewud
      • 1 Year
      11 days, 22 hours ago

      Nah

  7. OneDennisBergkamp
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    11 days, 22 hours ago

    with Salah missing just 2 games, are people selling on benching?

    1. The Units
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      11 days, 22 hours ago

      Benching at the moment. Might FH GW 22 yet.

    2. ilikewud
      • 1 Year
      11 days, 22 hours ago

      Selling

    3. Boxwoods
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      11 days, 21 hours ago

      Probably selling. But might keep if I opt for FH 22, which will depend significantly on whether BB 22 looks promising.

    4. NJ MetroStars
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      11 days, 21 hours ago

      gotta sell; son, kdb, etc. too much firepower to pass up on

    5. HMC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      11 days, 21 hours ago

      sold in 21
      it's more fun but if your team is well setup then could make sense to bench.
      Some chance he's not back for gw24 and also need to navigate Blank in 27 which is some way away

    6. Nightrain_
      • 5 Years
      11 days, 21 hours ago

      IMHO selling is the sensible move, no guaranteed he will play in GW24 right away, maybe fatigue, maybe Covid or need quarantine,
      and if he play, they're up against LEI and BUR and this year, Salah failed to score on both games so chances are we can FH during Norwich, and buyback after their blank or just simply rely on Jota/TAA on Norwich and allocate the money to Son/KDB/everybody else

    7. Dthinger
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      11 days, 20 hours ago

      Depends on what the DGW landscape looks like

  8. EVILFUK
    • 11 Years
    11 days, 19 hours ago

    I see Premier League matches can be rescheduled on Champions League nights now. This season could end up being the most exciting yet. I would rather have several DGW's than just big ones, lots of chances to gamble and roll the dice.

    1. CAVEAT KING
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      11 days, 19 hours ago

      Agreed

    2. zøphar
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      11 days, 18 hours ago

      this is where the Free Hit chips will come into play imo

      1. Ze_Austin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        11 days, 18 hours ago

        And TC

        1. zøphar
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 12 Years
          11 days, 18 hours ago

          well my TC is reserved for whenever Salah has a double so idk about that

          1. Ze_Austin
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            11 days, 18 hours ago

            That could be rescheduled for a UCL night too, the week Liverpool isn't playing

    3. Weak Become Heros
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      11 days, 16 hours ago

      Is that an official line? Massive news if true.

      1. AC/DC AFC
        • 6 Years
        11 days, 15 hours ago

        Yeah, UEFA announced it with the backlog.

        Opens that spreadsheet right up.

        I'd be more inclined to roll with the punches than plan massively ahead, but each to their own.

  9. Ze_Austin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    11 days, 18 hours ago

    I wonder how AFCON will affect the tactics of some EPL teams. No way to be sure beforehand

    Quite curious about that

    1. AC/DC AFC
      • 6 Years
      11 days, 16 hours ago

      Some Premier League teams may be more cautious and play for penalties to try and progress in the tournament.

      1. Ze_Austin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        11 days, 16 hours ago

        Lmao

        1. AC/DC AFC
          • 6 Years
          11 days, 14 hours ago

          I hope for the good of the tournament that teams play expansive football and try to win each game in 90 or 120 minutes.

  10. Eleven that Mata
    • 4 Years
    11 days, 18 hours ago

    Free money league taking into account points from GW21, you’re welcome.

    https://twitter.com/jonathantwj90/status/1478610462581215233?s=21

  11. DavvaMC
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    11 days, 18 hours ago

    Thinking of bringing in a Wolves attacking defender who to go for?

    A. Semedo
    B. Ait Nouri

    Thanks

    1. Sam (Team Sam)
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      11 days, 17 hours ago

      Wait to see if Semedo leaves and Doherty returns?

      1. DavvaMC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        11 days, 17 hours ago

        Did not know the news regarding Semedo, where might he be going to?

        1. Sam (Team Sam)
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 12 Years
          11 days, 17 hours ago

          Oops, see below

    2. DLLM
        11 days, 16 hours ago

        coady

      • DavvaMC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        11 days, 16 hours ago

        I like Ait Nourri stats before he got injured,

      • Not again Shirley
        • 5 Years
        11 days, 15 hours ago

        I brought in Kilman last week for security of starts. Still staying at his 7 points last on bench lol

        1. DavvaMC
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          11 days, 15 hours ago

          Do you not think Ait Nouri will be nailed to start?

          1. Not again Shirley
            • 5 Years
            11 days, 13 hours ago

            Yes probably not personally didn’t want to take the risk as need decent squad these days. I do rate him though

    3. Sam (Team Sam)
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      11 days, 17 hours ago

      Read a rumour Atletico want him to replace Trippier.

      Then another rumour that Wolves want Doherty back!

    4. Steve The Spud
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      11 days, 16 hours ago

      What’s a reasonable team value to have at this stage of the season, I’m in 104.7, does it really matter?

      1. Steve The Spud
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        11 days, 15 hours ago

        I guess I still don’t really understand why tv is important, I mean if I wildcard I will keep most of the players I have value in anyway like cancelo, Antonio, salah - surely I would only benefit if I sold these?

        Idk, maybe as it’s quiet here someone can explain it to me

        Have a good day all

        1. TheDragon
          • 3 Years
          11 days, 15 hours ago

          More money = can buy more expensive players.

          Even if it’s just players you will never sell, it makes it harder for others to buy them.

          I don’t take any notice of team value anymore as for me the marginal gains to be had from it are outweighed by needing to move early and check price rise sites all the time.

          Often it doesn’t matter as you can find a cheaper alternative.

          However, at the higher ranks I think it is important. World number 1 has/had a very similar team to me for example but because his team value was 2m+ better than mine he had a a quality 15 man squad whereas I’ve got Brownhill & Foster. These things at the higher ranks will ultimately matter.

          My team value is 103.9 which I think
          Is pretty low compared to most taking it ‘seriously’.

          1. TheDragon
            • 3 Years
            11 days, 15 hours ago

            Example:

            We start with exact same team. You get James just before he goes on his scoring run. I don’t. His value goes up by 0.6m in 2 weeks. You ‘don’t care’ as you won’t ever sell him. However, I need to get him in now as he is killing my rank, but he costs me 0.6 more and thus I have to weaken another area of my team to afford him (as my team value is 0.6 less than yours) whereas you don’t.

            You get a few of those situations go against you in a season and it has the potential to make quite a difference

        2. TheTinman
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          11 days, 15 hours ago

          The classic FFS FPL tactic is to wildcard into a DGW for BB. That DGW is usually close to the end of the season, which leads people into some strange / aggressive picks they would not typically go for, sacrificing players they have relied upon all year.

          Also there's always a January signing who pulls up trees and replaces one of the old template, injuries, bans, covid, schedules etc. Can all lead to you wanting to dump one of your high value players.

          It gives you options and there is no worse feeling than missing a move by 0.1m who inevitably scores a brace that weekend.

          In my experience I never chase TV I just let it happen and you can almost always find an alternative option to suit your budget.

          1. TheTinman
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            11 days, 15 hours ago

            TV 105.7m
            SV 102.9m

        3. AC/DC AFC
          • 6 Years
          11 days, 14 hours ago

          It's fairly straightforward, teams doing well have the players scoring points who others want and TV will look after itself.

          But you need to pick on availability and fixtures. So a 0.1m shift shouldn't be a reason to buy or sell, until the bigger picture is clear which is often 2 hours on the deadline day.

          So avoid following TV at all in disruptive seasons like this.

          Picking the better available players and it will follow. So isn't it a lagging rather than a leading indicator in reality?

          1. TheTinman
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            11 days, 14 hours ago

            Yea good point on the lagging indicator. It shows points chasing more than anything else. Very rare that you see a player who isn't scoring points last week go up in price because of fixtures for example. Past points are often an indicator of future points of course.

            1. AC/DC AFC
              • 6 Years
              11 days, 14 hours ago

              Yeah.

              An opportunity or event offers the potential to score points which comes off.

              Other players pile in hoping for future points. Price reacts to the transactions that were triggered by what happened on the pitch.

      2. Steve The Spud
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        11 days, 14 hours ago

        Thanks all, that was very helpful and cleared it up for me