Just when you thought it was safe to hide in shame in your dimly-lit, FPL basement...
From out of the shadows, here comes One Big Stat! To scare you? Heck no! It’s here to let you know that everything is going to be ok this week, but making it very uncomfortable by gently brushing your sideburns with its hoof while it does so. Gameweek 10 was full of the usual garbage, but let’s sift through it anyway to see if there’s anything we can repurpose and sell on eBay, shall we?
Southampton vs Leicester City
Ayoze Perez (£6.1) – 7 shots
It’s hard to have any takeaways from such a historical beatdown, but it’s also pretty difficult ignore the Foxes right now. While over 130,000 managers collectively pounce on Ayoze Perez, just a word of caution if you haven’t bought him yet: While it’s easy to love his match-leading 7 shots (and his hat trick), this was the first time since week 2 that he had more than 2 shots in a match. Every other match in between, his shot total was either 1 or 0. Is his price good? Yes, especially if we’re about to see summer-form Ayoze. However, I am hesitant to buy him in FPL based on the abnormality of this match, and based on his shot totals and minutes this season. (I have similar hesitations about Youri Tielemans that I talked about on our podcast, so it’s nice to know that I could look like an idiot about two different players in two different formats pretty soon!)
Manchester City vs Aston Villa
John McGinn (£5.8) – 1 woodwork shot
I get it: Jack Grealish was raking in the FPL points, McGinn has blanked a few times, and the Villa schedule isn’t great anyway. Still, I think it’s presumptuous for everyone to be selling John McGinn so much (over 100k transfers out in the past two weeks). He’s still tied for 2nd overall (with Firmino and Sterling!) with 32 shots, and he’s 4th in shots on target. Plus, think about his last two weeks: he was a VAR-ruling away from an assist two weeks ago, and he hit the post this week vs City. His attacking numbers are good, even if his FPL numbers have dipped. Keep the faith.
Brighton vs Everton
Leandro Trossard (£5.8) – 6 penalty area touches
Part of me wants to use this segment to give Lucas Digne the traditional French FPL farewell: “Èff ôff de mon FPL groupe!” Instead, in the spirit of positivity and brotherhood, I’ll take this time to say in plain, beautiful English, “Welcome back, dude!” to Leandro Trossard. It took just 25 minutes for Brighton fans to be reminded what they missed for the last 5 weeks. He finished with 6 touches in the penalty area, including the FPL assist for the cross that Digne own-goaled. With a decent run of upcoming matches (Norwich, Man. United, and Leicester), Trossard could be a huge differential thanks to his 0.2% ownership.
Watford vs Bournemouth
Diego Rico (£4.2) & Ryan Fraser (£7.0) – lots of good things
If you thought the Cherries’ clean sheet vs Norwich was unlikely, then what do you call the result vs Watford? Four or more goals in five of the last six between these two? Sure, zero goals sounds exactly right! Even without goals, we saw more positives from Diego Rico and Ryan Fraser. TWENTY crosses supplied by the two of them (9 & 11, respectively), Rico’s half-volley was oh so close to perfect, and Fraser was unlucky not to finish with at least an assist (on Steve Cook’s header off the post). I’ve been skeptical that Rico could keep his spot especially with Lloyd Kelly lurking in the background, but he’s proven to be an excellent asset so far this season. Plus, at just £4.2, his 12.8% ownership seems ridiculously low. Fraser is a bit trickier because of the endless number of midfield options at or below his price. However, if he finds form anything like what we saw last season, his now-reduced price will put him back in plenty of FPL lineups. He’s not there yet, but he’s definitely worth watching closely this weekend.
West Ham vs Sheffield
Andriy Yarmolenko (£6.0) – 3 key passes
Yet another shout from this article for Andriy the Giant, who not only led all players in the match with 3 shots, but he also finished as the most creative player with 3 key passes. As we said on our podcast this week, Yarmolenko has quickly become the most important West Ham player for FPL purposes, and he’s making a case for himself in real-life football as well. His 6 big chances created is not only the most of any Hammer, it’s the 5th most of anyone in the Premier League. Their upcoming run of matches may look intimidating based on FPL’s idiotic color-coded matchup system, but look closer at their next four opponents: those defenses (Newcastle, Burnley, Spurs, and Chelsea) scare no one, least of all Andriy.
Burnley vs Chelsea
Willian (£7.0) – 12 fantasy points
Just a quick note that Willian is the second most in-form player in FPL, bested only by Jamie Vardy. Another quick note: he is only the 6th most selected Chelsea midfielder, with just 2.3% total ownership. Another note I just thought of: based on his usage and form in the past six weeks, he is in no apparent danger of rotation, unlike some of the other Chelsea midfielders. Last note: Chelsea face Watford this weekend, a fixture that has not seen fewer than 3 goals since Feb. 2016.
Newcastle vs Wolves
Jamaal Lascelles (£4.4) – he costs £4.4
Be honest: you’re not buying anyone from either of these clubs except Raul Jimenez. Or are you?? Go look at Newcastle’s upcoming schedule and be even more honest: it’s not too bad. If anyone from Newcastle has a shot at getting you FPL points, it’s Jamaal Lascelles. Besides, it’s Newcastle. What could possibly go wrong?
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace
Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3) – shots & penalty area touches
Just one match for Alexandre Lacazette, and I already want to own him more than Aubameyang. Of course, we could be seeing more of the home/away, Jekyll/Hyde Lacazette we saw last season, but his numbers were excellent against Palace: 8 touches in the penalty area, including 4 of his 5 shots, 2 shots on target, and 1 assist. His return is what Aubameyang owners feared: P-E finished with just 2 touches in the box and just 2 off-target shots from outside the box. With all the turmoil they have to sort out, the return of Lacazette is one of the few positives the Gunners have right now and gives them a much needed boost heading into a couple of tough matches in the next two weeks (vs Wolves & Leicester).
Liverpool vs Tottenham
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.2) – 7 key passes
Other than Paulo Gazzaniga standing on his head, I don’t know that anything happened in this match to change many FPL manager’s minds. You got attacking returns from actual attackers, and you got nothing from any of the defensive players that matter. Hey, sometimes that happens. So, let’s just marvel for a moment atTrent Alexander-Arnold’s very good, unlucky day. He finished with 7 key passes in the match, giving him 38 for the season, which is now the most of any player in the league. Sorry, Kevin De Bruyne, not only has your team clearly already lost the Premier League title to Liverpool, but now you’ve also lost your fancy shmancy creativity title. I sure hope all the FPL managers who have sold TAA in the past two weeks won’t regret their very idiotic decision...
Norwich City vs Manchester United
Anthony Martial (£9.3) & Marcus Rashford (£9.3) – 8 combined shots on target
Who missed their attacking buddy more: Aubameyang missing Lacazette, or Marcus Rashford missing Anthony Martial? Let’s just say it was Rashford so I can wrap this up. They shot the ball a lot: 10 shots combined, and they put 8 of those shots on target. (For comparison, United had 9 shots on target total in the previous 3 matches.) Yes, it was against Norwich’s garbage defense, but this is what the United attack felt like in the first few matches of the season, which you may remember was the last time Martial was healthy. Please, Anthony’s hamstrings and other soft tissue areas, stay healthy.
Honorable mention: Onel Hernandez, who had missed tons of time with a weird knee injury suffered in week 1, came back for significant minutes for the first time this season. Boy, was he hungry. 5 shots in the 2nd half, a like-for-like replacement for the out-of-form Todd Cantwell, and now Cantwell owners are on notice.
That’ll do it for this week. Good luck making the last of your decisions by Saturday, and may you have even good-er luck in gameweek 12!