We here at One Big Stat would like to wish you and yours a very Happy Lundstram Solstice! May the light of this holiday season shine bright, may your blades be ever sharp, and may your arrows shoot green and straight and directly into the eyeballs of your opponents.
Need to do some last-minute FPL shopping for gameweek 12? Here are some ideas to help you panic-buy:
Bournemouth vs Manchester United
Marcus Rashford (£8.5) & Anthony Martial (£7.7) – 2 combined shots
Given the weirdness of this season so far, nothing could be more on-brand than Marcus Rashford & Anthony Martial serving up such a turdburger vs Bournemouth. After they flushed the Canaries with their 10-shot, 2-goal, FPL-price-rising performances, of course they take 2 total shots and get nothing vs the Cherries. What a difference not playing Norwich makes, I guess. With Brighton and Aston Villa visiting Old Trafford in two of the next three matches, buying Marcus and/or Tony isn’t the worst idea. You won’t want them for United’s inevitable 1-0 loss at Bramhall Lane in two weeks, however, so buy cautiously.
Arsenal vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Diogo Jota (£6.1) – all-around goodness
While it’s Raul Jiménez (£7.3) who has all the form in the past four weeks, it would be very lazy and boring to talk about him again. So let’s unboringly focus on Diogo Jota, who was very not lazy against Arsenal: 16 total touches in the penalty area, including all 5 of his shots, and 4 key passes (tied with the super-creative João Moutinho). Now that’s the dynamic Diogo Jota we saw in the 2nd half of last season. Too bad his last (and only) goal was six weeks ago, and the masses certainly won’t think of buying him until he gets at least one more attacking return. However, as we discussed on our podcast a few weeks ago, Diogo J. is one of the players who we think can bounce back, especially with a fairly favorable* upcoming schedule: Aston Villa, at Bournemouth, Sheffield, and West Ham.
*Ignore the fact that Wolves are the worst home side in both shots (44) and shots on target (11) this season. Bask in the warmth of knowing that whilst on the road the Villans, Cherries, and Hammers are all in the bottom ten of both shots allowed and shots on target allowed.
Aston Villa vs Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk (£6.4) – the most owned defender, but why?
I’ll ask again: why is Virgil van Dijk still, this very day, November the eighth in the year two thousand and nineteen, the most owned defender in FPL? 41.3% of FPL accounts are inactive? Virgil is personally threatening bodily harm against his current owners if they sell? “GOAL THREAT!” a VVD owner screams, then slips on a banana peel and lands head-first in a toilet bowl. He is currently ranked 18th overall in FPL’s threat rating. Gary Cahill is more of a goal threat this season. “LIVERPOOL DEFENSE!” another screams, tripping over his untied shoelace and landing face first in a full plate of spaghetti. West Ham, Bournemouth, and Newcastle have more clean sheets than Liverpool has this season. I’m sure the Virgil ownership strategy accounted for the lack of clean sheets. We all know that Virgil is one of the world’s best defenders. That doesn’t mean you should own him in FPL.
Brighton vs Norwich City
Leandro Trossard (£5.8) – 31 minutes
Following the win against the Canaries, Graham Potter said of Leandro Trossard, “That’s why it is nice to have Leo coming on, as someone who can make a difference in the final third when the game becomes a bit more stretched.” On one hand, he’s still getting back up to speed following a multi-week injury. On the other hand, shut up, Graham Potter! Play Leandro for more than 31 minutes, you big dope! In fairness, Brighton is entering an important bunch of matches, and they’ll need their game changer to be fully fit. However, if preservation was the point here, it might be an even smarter move to buy Trossard now, despite the “tough” schedule. He’s proven his ability in tough matches already, and other than away to Liverpool in three weeks, the other “red” matchups in the next four weeks are not all that terrible (Man. United, Leicester, and Arsenal).
Manchester City vs Southampton
City players supplied SIXTY-TWO CROSSES
From an FPL perspective, all that really happened between City and the Southampton is that you were disappointed in Raheem Sterling (£12.1), Kevin De Bruyne (£10.2), David Silva’s (£7.7) thigh, or Benjamin Mendy’s (£6.0) zero minutes. However, I just want to highlight that City players had 62 crosses in this match. KDB and Angeliño (£4.7) had 35 of them. Wow, huh? You can’t really do anything with this information. And that’s fine, because sometimes it’s just nice to do nothing.
Sheffield United vs Burnley
Bonus! Several observations!
John Lundstram (£4.8) kicked two goals in! Really though, if you didn’t own him before this week, what were you doing?
Boy, did Burnley miss Chris Wood (£6.2) – 0 shots on target, and they produced nothing particularly troubling for Dean Henderson. Boy, does West Ham hope that Chris Wood sits again this week – he has scored 5 goals in the last four matches vs the Hammers.
Erik Pieters (£4.7) was replaced by Charlie Taylor (£4.2) at the half, and based on the Clarets’ second half improvements vs Sheffield, that’s a change we should all want to see. Sean Dyche said of his squad, "I mentioned to the players before the game how tight it was for decisions as to who plays. Well that throws it all back into the mix.” Pieters has been shaky a few times this season, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see last season’s first choice (Taylor) back in the starting lineup this week vs Hammers.
West Ham vs Newcastle
Robert Snodgrass (£5.2) – 14 crosses & 5 key passes
Two straight starts and two straight goals for Robert Snodgrass, whom Manuel Pellegrini showered with the kind of praise that would make just about any guy blush: “very useful player” and “one of the players who arrive in the box.” Cripes, what’s next, Manuel? Asking him to go on family vacations together? What he did do, in addition to his goal, was be the most creative player on the pitch, supplying 14 crosses and creating 5 chances. That’s 31 total crosses in the last two weeks, which is, as they say in many other parts of the world, “a crapload of crosses.” With West Ham’s overall dip in performance in the last five matches, just about anything with them is tough to trust right now. But Snodgrass is cheap, and he could be just the guy you need as a fourth or fifth FPL midfielder, a useful fill-in or enabler to free up funds for improvements elsewhere in your squad.
Watford vs Chelsea
Mason Mount (£6.9) – 4 penalty area touches
I’m not going to harp on this every week, but I will at least pluck a string or two: Mason Mount just isn’t as active in the box as I’d like to see. He finished with 4 touches vs Watford. By comparison, Christian Pulisic (£7.3) had 6, and Willian (£7.1) had 7. Mount’s 5 shots were the most of any player in the match, and you like that 3 of them were on target, but it’s not ideal that he took 4 of them outside the box. While it appears that he’s mostly recovered from the ankle injury he sustained midweek, there’s clearly still a chance he could be rested vs Crystal Palace on Saturday. Given the other options available in his price range, I certain wouldn’t fault anyone for selling him, at least until after the international break.
Crystal Palace vs Leicester City
Youri Tielemans (£6.6) & Ayoze Pérez (£6.1) – 1 shot combined
I was afraid of this exact thing last week, and if my fears are coming true, I am now terrified that my worst fear will be realized: that Count Chocula will, yet again, see an overall reduction in the number of marshmallows per serving. Will I ever find rest in this cursed land? Tielemans took the lone shot of this pair, and it also happened to be the only touch he had in the penalty area. Ayoze attempted no shots, though he was a bit more active in the box (6 touches). This is much more consistent with their numbers in “regular” matches this season, that is, matches in which Leicester’s opponent has all 11 players on the field. Yes, their prices are great, and the Foxes’ schedule remains nice, but I’m still wary of these two and would prefer to put those funds toward players with a little more statistical volume.
Everton vs Tottenham
Nothing to see here
I suppose Sonny (£9.6) and Dele (£8.4) did fine enough, and Lucas Digne (£5.9) bailed his owners out with an assist. But other than that, what did you see in this match that makes you feel good about either of these sides? We all know how good Son is, and it’s nice that his red card was overturned. But at his price, it still seems wasteful to own him in FPL as long as Spurs remain in this kind of league funk. If you feel like rolling the biggest dice in the history of mankind, maybe you’ll take a chance on Dele in hopes that he’s regaining his long-lost form. These two clubs feel like they’re in very similar places right now, and I just don’t think I want the headache of owning players from either of them.
That’ll do it for this week. Be sure to set that lineup today (Friday), and good luck in gameweek 12!