Been a while, hasn’t it? The stresses and strains of life have kept this site, and the Twitter account, on the backburner a little bit. Well, it’s time to get back into the swing of things – and what better time than after an absolute shithouse of a gameweek.
It’s been lovely for some, though being someone that hasn’t got Sterling, Arnautovic or Richarlison, and had Jimenez on the bench… I’d declare it a shithouse of a gameweek. I personally had a score of 50, with only 2 players bagging a respectable return.
So then, let’s take a look at another gameweek review in this lovely 18/19 FPL season, looking at the top scorers, talking points, and what I feel like venting about.
Gameweek 11: Key Stats
FPL Points: Raheem Sterling (21!)
Total Shots: Harry Kane (8)
5 players with 5 shots, including Morata, Felipe Anderson, Brooks and Kenedy.
Shots in the Box: Harry Kane (5)
10 players with 4 shots in the box, including Morata, Richarlison, Lacazette, Wilson and Jimenez.
Shots on Target: Harry Kane (6)
Felipe Anderson (4), 5 players with 3 shots on target including Jimenez, Ings and Sterling.
Attempted Assists: Willian, Grady Diangana (5)
4 players with 4 attempted assists, including Aguero, Salah and Maddison.
Mitrovic’s Regression Gives Me Depression
One of the great emerging assets at the start of the season was Aleksandar Mitrovic. He’d scored 5 goals in the opening 6 games, including a 16-point haul in gameweek 3. Up there with Salah and Aguero for shots, right at the top of the Expected Goal charts… it all looked so good.
Now? Not so much.
Providing his 4th blank in 5 matches, Mitrovic ended up with his second straight 1-pointer this week as Fulham lost away at Huddersfield.
Following his brace against Burnley, his ownership hit 28%. Now, his ownership sits at 22% and is declining rapidly.
Ignoring how utterly atrocious Fulham are, Mitrovic’s individual stats have been quite concerning for a while now. He’s registered just 1 shot on target in the past 5 games. The similarly-priced Marko Arnautovic has racked up 9 shots on target in that time, and he didn’t even play in one of those matches.
Harry Arter, Manolo Gabbiadini, Callum Paterson, and Jack Stephens have all had more shots on target than Mitrovic over the past 4 gameweeks. Jesse Lingard has also had 1 shot on target, and he’s played 13 bloody minutes of football in that period of time.
His overall xG is just 0.6 over the past 4 matches. Again, for the sake of comparison, Callum Wilson has an xG of 3.8 in that same timeframe.
This has been a real blind spot for me – I’ve looked past this solely in favour of the fixtures. Even with Fulham’s frailties, I thought it’d be worth keeping him for their run of Cardiff, Bournemouth and Huddersfield. As it turns out, you really need to know when to focus on form + statistics as opposed to punting on fixtures. Oh, and he’s picked up 4 yellow cards this season, leaving him one away from a suspension. Fulham play Liverpool away next – you just know he’s leaving that match with 1 point and a yellow card.
Looking at replacements, there’s one primary option: the aforementioned Marko Arnautovic. Currently sat at 7.1m (and rising), he racked up 12 points this week, scoring 1 and setting up another in a talismanic performance. West Ham’s run of fixtures is outrageous, with it being a sea of green until the new year:
Callum Wilson also keeps chugging along. He scored against Man United, clocking up 4 shots and 3 attempted assists. Wilson has had 13 shots in the past 4 gameweeks, all of them coming inside the penalty area. In terms of xG, he’s still right up there – 7.49 xG (2nd of all players, only behind Aguero) and 5.97 NPxG (excluding penalties – 3rd of all players). The worry here comes from Bournemouth’s fixtures, with them playing Arsenal, City and Liverpool in the next 5 games.
Raul Jimenez also providing a double-digit haul, providing another cheap option at 5.7m. He took the second Wolves penalty and provided his 4th assist of the season. The stats are decent, too. Jimenez has had 11 shots in the past 4 games, 8 coming in the box.
Sterling On The Rise
The top points scorer this week was Raheem Sterling, providing an enormous 21-point haul in City’s 6-1 win against Southampton. He scored 2, created 2, and picked up all 3 bonus points, setting the record for most points in a gameweek so far this season. This came from 4 shots, 3 of which were in the box, as well as 3 attempted assists.
Here’s his heatmap from the match:
Mad, isn’t it? He set another record for a single gameweek this season, with 15 touches in the box.
Raheem Sterling’s penalty box touch count (15) against Southampton today was the highest tally recorded by an FPL player (forwards included) in a single Gameweek this season.
— FFScout Neale (@SkontoRigga) November 4, 2018
Sterling was an outstanding FPL asset last season, albeit one overshadowed by the ludicrous Mo Salah. He racked up 18 goals and 17 assists, tallying up to 229 FPL points. His difficult price (11.1m) and the looming presence of Pep’s Wheel of Rotation have kept his ownership at just 7%, even after his third double-digit return of the season. Anyone that had him, and maybe even captained him, absolutely flew this week.
He’s started 9 out of 11 games so far, failing to return in just 2 of them (Wolves and Liverpool, both away from home). The two games he missed were Huddersfield and Burnley, both at home. Following on from that, his double-digit returns have come against Newcastle, Brighton and Southampton – again, all at home.
This is where the worry sets in. He’s as explosive as any player in the league when playing lesser sides at home… though there’s the risk he won’t even play in some of those games.
He also seems to provide his hauls in these home fixtures. Looking at last season, Sterling scored 11 goals in 15 home games. Away from home, he managed 7 goals in 18 games.
There’s also the fact that City play United next week. Yes, United are shite defensively, but his record against United is very poor. In 11 appearances against them, he has 0 goals and 1 assist.
All this in mind, he’s certainly a tricky player. With the elite defensive options like Mendy, Robertson and Alonso, a lot of money will be sunk into the defence. You’ve also got Salah, Hazard and Mane providing premium midfield options, with teammate Aguero providing the only consistent premium forward option.
In the end, though – he’s worth having. Yeah, there’s risk of him not starting, especially with Mahrez in the side, but he’ll end up on 180+ points again this season. He’s managed 6 goals in 5 assists, tallying up to 77 points, all in 768 minutes of football. If you get him in, just stomach the rotation roulette and keep him.
Again, fitting him into teams is an issue. I wouldn’t drop Hazard for him, as Chelsea play Everton and Fulham at home in the next 3 gameweeks. Dropping Aguero and opting for a cheaper front three, spearheaded by Arnautovic, also seems like an option. That being said, Aguero actually completed 90 minutes this week, scoring 13 points. His live ownership is also 60% – not owning him would be terrifying.
Dropping Salah for Mane would seem like the move, combined with either reducing money in the defence, or opting for two very cheap strikers alongside Aguero.
If you’re looking to get Sterling in, how are you planning to do it?
Morata Emerging as an Option?
Yes, I know it sounds mental, but Alvaro Morata has actually been picking up some form recently.
Morata has scored 4 goals in his last 4 games for Chelsea, making the most of Giroud’s absence. In those 4 games, he has had 14 shots – the 3rd most of any player, tied with Salah and Arnautovic. 12 shots have been in the box, the 2nd most of any player, and 9 have been on target – the most of any player.
Looking at expected goals again, he’s doing well in terms of the correlation between expected goals and actual goals (players above the line are “overperforming”, players below the line are “underperforming”):
There are a few things holding him back from becoming a real option. Firstly… his history. A lot of players were stung by Morata last season, with his form falling off a cliff following an impressive start. After that hat-trick against Stoke, we thought we had an FPL superstar in our midst. Following 3 goals between gameweeks 11 and 15, he went on to score just twice again that season.
His xG was rather interesting – he scored 11 goals, but had an overall xG of almost 14. This helps to show much he, for the lack of a better term, shat the bed in front of goal.
Morata seems to really be a confidence player. This ties into something often held against him – seemingly an issue with mental fragility. One knock to his confidence, and he’s scuffing shots, chucking himself about, and generally being a miserable bollocks.
Another area holding him back is his price. He’s in that really awkward price range for a forward, currently sitting at 8.7m. The cheaper strikers highlighted above have been performing, while essentially everybody has Aguero taking up 11m+ of their funds up front.
Are you considering Morata as an option? If these performances and underlying stats continue, he’ll have to be considered.
The Mid-Priced Midfield Minefield
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a number of options emerge as key choices in the mid-priced midfield bracket.
Richarlison (6.8m) has finally returned to form, rewarding the patience of those who stuck with him. The Brazilian notched a 15-point haul following his brace at the weekend, complete with all 3 bonus points. He started up front again, taking 4 shots – all in the box. Everton’s fixtures are rather hit-and-miss for the rest of the calendar year. They play Chelsea (A), Liverpool (A), Man City (A) and Spurs (H) in the next 7 gameweeks. This, coupled with a slight knock to his foot, could temper the bandwagon somewhat.
Anthony Martial (7.5m) also provided the goods once again, claiming a 10-pointer against Bournemouth. After all this time, it seems like he’s really nailed his spot in the United side, actually playing in his favoured position. Lukaku is the one that’s been booted for the time being, with Sanchez and Rashford being tried out in the central role.
His form has been outstanding – in the past 4 gameweeks, he’s scored 10, 9, 15 and 13 points respectively. There’s an upward curve stats-wise, as well:
Along with the 10 shots he’s taken in the past 4 games, Martial also has 9 key passes. Also, God forbid, Mourinho has spoken about how he’s looking to attack a bit more, and is aiming to find the right balance – boding well for any United attackers.
Jose Mourinho talks openly about how he’s trying to change to an attacking strategy whilst finding the right balance. He wants to change and if you don’t want him to succeed after watching this then I don’t really know what to say. #mufc [Standard] pic.twitter.com/BeThbbfqaE
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) November 4, 2018
One recent bandwagon which came to a bit of a stop was Ross Barkley (5.9m). After scoring 36 points between gameweeks 8-10, he notched a 2-point blank before being subbed off against Crystal Palace. He only had 1 shot, and had no key passes.
While still an option, the options Chelsea have in his role make it really difficult to go for him. Kovacic may not have the goal threat, and Loftus-Cheek may be third in line, but there’s still a real risk of reduced minutes.
Keeping with Chelsea, Willian (7.4m) has certainly been ticking along. He’s started Chelsea’s past 6 league games, seemingly being above Pedro in the pecking order. Though he’s returned just 1 goal and 1 assist in that time, the underlying stats are interesting.
Over the past 4 gameweeks, Willian has notched 11 shots and 15 key passes. The latter sees him comfortably above any other player in that time, with 5 others being tied on 12, including Sigurdsson, David Silva, and Eden Hazard. Looking at where they’re coming from, it’s generally from wide areas + from set pieces:
Along with Morata, Willian could be another Chelsea option worth monitoring.
Keeping with the positive theme, Felipe Anderson (6.8m) was brilliant this week. He scored twice, though, by all accounts, he could’ve had a few more returns. 5 shots and 2 key passes, coupled with a fine set of fixtures and a growing partnership with Arnautovic, all go towards making him one to watch.
Wrapping things up for this price bracket, let’s look at James Maddison (6.8m). Ah, Jimmy. The young Englishman notched his 4th consecutive blank after a fine start to the season. This is an odd one, as he’s being shipped out by many for the likes of Martial and Richarlison, though he hasn’t necessarily been playing badly.
It’s not a Mitrovic-style situation where the stats have dropped, along with performances – he’s been doing well. Stats-wise, he has 11 attempted assists in the past 4 games, the third-most of any player in that time. He has complete ownership of set pieces, and a fine run of upcoming fixtures.
Their next fixture is Burnley at home. I’d put my nan in my FPL team if she was playing against Burnley at home. If you’re thinking about getting rid, I’d hold fire for now. If he blanks against Burnley… fair enough.
A 4.5m Midfielder With 0.1% Ownership
The 4.5m midfield spot, if you have one, is probably the least glamorous role in an FPL side. They’re usually a midfield water carrier that you can rely on to bring in 2/3 points every game. It’s more of a “break glass in case of emergency” player if your options have been depleted to such a degree that you need them to come in.
We’ve flirted with the potential of having some decent options here, namely Cardiff’s Danny Ward. He started off as a 4.5m midfielder who started up front for them, but has only played 36 minutes in the past 5 games.
There’s another decent option emerging in this price bracket: West Ham’s Grady Diangana.
Though I like to think I watch a decent amount of football, and have dabbled with FM in my time, I must admit – I didn’t have a Scooby Doo who this bloke was prior to this weekend.
That being said, he was excellent in West Ham’s 4-2 win against Burnley. Though he only picked up 5 points and a single assist, but it could have been much more. Diangana notched 5 attempted assists this week, the joint-highest of any player.
He also played rather high up the pitch (#45 below), only behind Arnautovic in that regard.
Drifting into that right-hand channel in a Sterling-esque manner, he also notched a fair few touches in the box:
Now, you’d probably need to be in a decent position to consider switching your 4.5m midfielder, though if you’re looking to potentially drop one midfielder to free up funds, Diangana could be a very helpful option. He’s certainly one to monitor going forward. If he can take ownership of that right-hand side in Yarmalenko’s unfortunate absence, he could be a massively helpful bit of bench fodder.