Gameweek 5 essentially brought you either pure joy or misery, depending on if you owned 1 or 2 players. If you owned them, fair play. If you didn’t, feel free to lament about it with me in this, the review of Gameweek 5 of the 18/19 FPL season.
Gameweek 5: Key Stats
FPL Points: Eden Hazard (20, the bastard)
Total Shots: Raul Jimenez (6)
Shots in the Box: Raul Jimenez (6)
Shots on Target: Raul Jimenez, Raheem Sterling, Sadio Mane, Paul Pogba, Eden Hazard, James Maddison (3)
Key Passes: Bernardo Silva, Ruben Neves (5)
Penalty Area Actions: James Maddison (15)
Hazard and Fraser Explode
Eden Hazard has continued his stunning run of form, which goes back to the World Cup where he was one of the best players in the tournament.
He was mentioned last week as there were quite a few people considering bringing him in for Mo Salah or Sadio Mane, with Liverpool’s fixtures taking a turn.
It’s gone pretty well so far, to say the least. Hazard scored a hat-trick against Cardiff, resulting in a 20-point haul. He’s always been up there in terms of the league’s best players, but he looks even better now under Sarri. He’s their main man going forward, with 14 shots and 11 attempted assists in little over 3 games worth of football.
Sarri’s even said that Hazard spends a bit too much energy dropping deep and that he could score 30-35 goals if he stays further forward.
Sarri says Hazard is expending too much energy far from goal, touching the ball too much in the middle third of the pitch. Says he can score “30, 35 goals” if he focuses fully on the final third #cfc
— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) September 15, 2018
Sounds promising, doesn’t it?
It’s also worth mentioning the difference that Olivier Giroud has made to the side. He provides a real presence up front for Chelsea, allowing Pedro/Willian and Hazard to play off him, making constant runs in behind.
Here are the average player positions for Chelsea against Cardiff, showing Pedro and Hazard ahead of the bloody handsome Frenchman:
Chelsea’s next game is against West Ham. Though improved against Everton in their 3-1, their defence hasn’t exactly been their strong suit so far. Even in that match, which saw them switch to a midfield 3, they were weak down their right-hand side, with the 33-year-old Zabaleta having trouble against Lucas Digne. I can’t imagine he’ll have a much better time against Hazard and Alonso running in tandem down that wing.
Another player that hauled was Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser (5.7m, though not for long), scoring 2 and setting up another in an 18-point return. I can’t help but be bitter about this one, as I really wanted him in my side, even bringing him up in the GW3 review. But then, he picked up a “knock” in the international break, making him a doubt – this also led to plenty of managers leaving him on the bench this week.
Fraser has been superb this season, with 3 goals and 2 assists so far, coming from 9 shots and 12 attempted assists. He’s still top of the league in terms of Expected Assists as well (2.11 xA), with him being the creative hub for Bournemouth in their immense start to the season.
Here’s a look at the players who are the most involved in their team’s attacks – Fraser is right up there:
Credit: Tim Bauer
Bournemouth face Burnley, Palace, Watford and Southampton in their next 4, providing further potential for attacking returns.
The Discount Alonso?
One of the most enticing picks in all of FPL is an attacking full-back that plays for a side that’s more than decent defensively. You’ve got the chance of a clean sheet, as well as plenty of potential for an attacking return.
There’s a player out there that really fits that bill right now: Matt Doherty (4.4m).
Wolves only won 1-0 against Burnley, but it was a rather comfortable victory – the overall shot tally was 30-7. Though Burnley haven’t threatened much this season, it was another game in which Wolves held their own defensively.
They’ve kept 2 clean sheets in a row, and are third from bottom in terms of xGA (expected goals against – essentially the number of goals they should’ve conceded based on Expected Goals, everyone’s favourite subject), below only Man City and Liverpool.
All that good stuff aside, let’s get to the attacking threat. Matt Doherty currently plays as Wolves’ right wing-back, and bloody hell he loves going forward. Here’s his average heat map for the season so far:
He’s had 8 shots so far this season, with 3 of them coming against Burnley. He grabbed an assist in that game, with him also putting in 3 key passes in that match.
Wolves’ fixtures are decent, too. They’re away at Man United in GW6, so he isn’t likely to feature in many teams. That being said, their fixtures after that are against Southampton, Palace, Watford and Brighton. At just 4.4m, he’s emerging as an outstanding option. Also, with the aforementioned solidity of Wolves’ defence so far, other defenders like Willy Boly (4.5m) and Jonny (4.4m) are great options too.
Mendy vs. Sane
One element of Man City’s tactical setup would be the choice Pep has between Leroy Sane and Benjamin Mendy. Yes, one’s a winger and one’s a full back (kind of), but they’re both capable of providing City’s width on the left-hand side. Due to this, it’s difficult to play them together.
They actually have rather similar heat maps, though Sane’s minutes have been limited:
Mendy got off to a blistering start going forward, with 5 assists in his 4 appearances this season.
City’s social media mogul didn’t feature for City this week due to a minor injury, though it brought up this subject again. Sane impressed as City won 3-0, with Delph playing at left back. City generally seem more defensively solid when Delph plays there, as Mendy really isn’t the greatest of defenders.
Could this present an opportunity for Sane to get a run in the side? Mendy could become another part of Pep’s famous wheel of rotation, used as a weapon in certain games as opposed to a consistent figure in every game.
Is a Cheap Forward Line an Option?
It’s been another week for the cheaper forwards, with a number of them getting on the scoresheet in GW5. Though the likes of Firmino, Aguero and Lukaku provided some returns, the cheaper lads have been providing great value.
Marko Arnautovic (7.0m) grabbed 12 points after scoring 1 and setting up another, continuing his fine form this season. West Ham’s main man has 3 goals and an assist – excellent returns considering how poor they’ve been collectively, with this being their first win so far. West Ham’s fixtures are bowling shoe ugly, though 3 of their next 4 are at home. Plus, if West Ham do manage to score, he’ll likely be involved.
My boy Danny Ings (5.6m) also scored his 3rd goal of the season, scoring a penalty in Southampton’s 2-2 draw against Brighton. He’s in a tricky spot, as he’s ineligible for their upcoming game against Liverpool, and they’ve got fixtures against Wolves, Chelsea and Bournemouth after that.
Another standout forward in the bargain bin would be Wolves’ Raul Jimenez (5.5m). He scored just once against Burnley, but managed 6 shots – the most of any player this week. He’s had 17 shots in total, the fifth-highest of any player this season. The chances are there, and if he can start putting them away at a somewhat decent rate, he could provide excellent value as an enabler with good fixtures.
We also saw goals for Wilfried Zaha (7.0m) and Joshua King (6.3m), with another attacking return for Callum Wilson (6.3m).
With the vast number of midfield options, could we see a lightweight front three of talismanic figures up front emerge as an option? Could we forego the likes of Aguero and Kane to focus on the likes of Arnautovic, Mitrovic and Zaha, allowing for an enormous midfield?