It’s time for One Big Stat, the good looking Fantasy Premier League article that plays by its own rules! What went down in Gameweek 2? Several interesting things, up to and including:
Arsenal vs Burnley
Dani Ceballos (£5.6) – 7 recoveries
Gooners & FPL fans found something to love about Arsenal’s midfield for pretty much the first time since Alexis Sanchez was there. Dani Ceballos might as well have ascended straight off the pitch and into Arsene Wenger’s bosom after his performance against Burnley on Saturday. Of all his great match stats, however, his 7 recoveries must be making Arsenal fan shirts just a little tighter this week. (Oh, Mesut, why couldn’t you just track back a little more??) True, recoveries aren’t directly worth fantasy points, but it’s easily one of the highlights of his man-of-the-match performance and surely cements his spot in the Arsenal starting lineup. Ceballos’ low-end price tag, assured starts in a potent offense, and game-changing creativity should be enough to tempt nearly every FPL manager this week.
Aston Villa vs Bournemouth
Jack Grealish (£6.0) – 6 key passes
He may not be able to win a top-tier match, but no one can say that Jack Grealish isn’t trying. His assist was mostly the work of Douglas Luiz’s (£4.5) right boot, but that perfectly placed setup was just one of the 6 key passes Jack made in the match. He now has 8 key passes this season, 2nd only to Kevin De Bruyne. John McGinn’s lower price (£5.6) may be more appealing, but Villa’s schedule between now and mid-October makes either player worth a look in your FPL midfield.
Bonus Stat Because Wolves vs Manchester United Was Pretty Straightforward!
Ahmed El Mohamady (£4.5) – 3 Bonus Points
Who received maximum FPL bonus points in a match that ended 2-1, with all goals and assists coming from only midfielders and strikers? OF COURSE it was defender El Mohamady, who is currently 7th on FPL’s ICT Index. It was a stat sheet-busting, man-of-the-match-quality performance for Ahmed. He gets the same schedule as the rest of the Villans...
Brighton vs West Ham
Manuel Lanzini (£6.5) – 5 successful dribbles
The Little Jewel looks like he’s 100% healthy, which is great for him and his injury-magnet club. Lanzini’s assist and 3 FPL bonus points vs Brighton were largely the result of his 5 dribbles. He now has 8 total for the season, tied for 2nd overall with Anthony Martial. Ponder this: In 2016-17, he completed 88 dribbles, 5th best in the league. It was also his best FPL season — 8 goals, 2 assists, and 133 fantasy points. In 2017-18, he was 15th in dribbles despite missing almost a third of the season — and still finished with 5 goals, 7 assists, and 106 fantasy points. This West Ham squad is arguably the most talented they’ve had in years, and Lanzini is fit and motivated to play a lot of matches this season. If he does, he could embarrass his previous FPL bests and his £6.5 price tag.
Everton vs Watford
Lucas Digne (£6.0) – 1 early substitution due to injury
What? Would you rather talk about how Everton has only allowed 4 total shots on target so far, or that Deulofeu looked a little better this week? Not a lot else happened here. Digne’s substitution seems to have been precautionary, and 24% of FPL managers are less sweaty because he was back in training on Wednesday.
Norwich City vs Newcastle
Teemu Pukki (£6.8) – 6 shots on target
Newcastle seem to be in a bit of trouble, and Teemu Pukki single-footedly kicked them there. And while Todd Cantwell (£4.5) is definitely worth an FPL look (listen to our podcast this week), and Emil Buendia (£6.0) was statistically excellent again, Pukki is the only story here. He put 6 of his 7 shots on target in this match, and 7 of his 10 total shots so far this season have been on target. He probably won’t shoot 70% all year, but those numbers are no fluke — he hit the target with 57 of his 101 shots in the Championship in 2017-18. You can’t spell “Kick FPL Butt” without “Pukki,” so you might as well ride the train while it’s running.
Southampton vs Liverpool
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0) – 14 crosses
Let’s try to forget about Adrian’s blunder that cost about 75% of the FPL world a clean sheet and focus on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s 14 crosses in the match. It brings his season total to 22, tied with Leicester’s James Maddison (£7.0) for the most in the Premier League.
Think On This:
TAA has attempted 88 passes so far this season — which means 25% of them have been aimed at someone in goal scoring range. Yes, Liverpool’s shaky defense and their lack of clean sheets is dumb. But I don’t think TAA should be the third most transferred out defender in FPL this week given his attacking stats so far, especially as they prepare to face an Arsenal defense that 1.) still isn’t good and 2.) has already faced 27 shots this season, 5th most in the Premier League. Clean sheet? Doubtful. Attacking returns? Not a bad bet.
Manchester City vs Tottenham
Kyle Walker (£6.0) – 2 key passes
“Wow. Great stat to choose from such an exciting match,” you say sarcastically, as you wear your favorite clown nose, with a rather large piece of spinach stuck to your front tooth, and as a pigeon relieves itself on your head. First, it’s the same number that Raheem Sterling had in the match, so bite me. Second, and most importantly, perhaps you’ve noticed that Kyle Walker is looking positively spry this season. Maybe it’s Pep pushing him, maybe it’s Cancelo’s arrival, or maybe it’s a little of both. The fact is, Kyle now has a total of 4 key passes. Last season? He had 24 total in 33 appearances, and didn’t register his first key pass until week six in City’s 5-0 thrashing of Cardiff. It’s progress, and it could be a sign of FPL goodness in City’s upcoming run of favorable fixtures.
Sheffield United vs Crystal Palace
Buy John Lundstrom (£4.1) if you don’t have him already
It’s nice when things are this obvious. Crystal Palace is a mess right now, and Sheffield’s schedule is mostly terrible until the end of November. There’s just too much risk with Enda Stevens, Dean Henderson, or any of the other Sheffield assets.
Chelsea vs Leicester
Corner Kicks – James Maddison (£7.0) and Mason Mount (£6.1)
Two players took the majority of the corner kicks in this match. I’ll bet you can guess which ones. Maddison took all 5 Leicester corners, and Mount took 3 of Chelsea’s 4 corners. Mads leads the league with 17, but perhaps surprisingly, Mount’s 8 corners ties him with Trent Alexander-Arnold for 8th best in the league. It’s just a nice little reinforcement of the FPL appeal for both players.
Aston Villa vs Everton kicks off on Friday, so don’t forget to set your lineups. Good luck in Gameweek 2, everyone!