What should we do regarding the FPL Forwards Conundrum ahead of Gameweek 9 and beyond?
With forwards returning to form, numerous injuries and fixtures swings, Jian Batra provides an outlook into the optimal front line.
Don’t forget to check out our Ultimate FPL Gameweek 9 Guide which has everything you need to help you make the best decisions ahead of the deadline.
There are so many strategies that could be implemented when it comes to selecting the forward line. The same can be said with the number of variables which would allow you to advocate for certain players.
As such, in this article I will be writing in a slightly different style in a shorter format. Rather than leaving the conclusion up to interpretation, I’ll be explaining the optimal strategy from my perspective.
I’ll also be suggesting which players I believe are best to fit into your FPL squads.
The Strategy – FPL Forwards Conundrum
One Premium + Two mid/low-priced forwards
Firstly, it facilitates a brilliant platform for you to enhance the rest of your squad.
You should have Mohammed Salah (£12.8m) in your team. Everyone else you can debate, but not the Egyptian and certainly not in this form.
With these funds, it will allow you to strengthen your defence and midfield.
The combination of Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m), a Manchester City, Chelsea and a cheap defender (for example Pontus Jansson, £4.7m) is the way to go.
There is also space for an enabler like Tino Livramento which gives you more than enough to invest into your midfield.
A midfield consisting of an enabling £4.5m midfielder and three proven midfielders is the optimal midfield structure.
This could be Heung-Min Son (£10.1m), Raphinha (£6.5m) and anyone else priced below £9m. As mentioned earlier, Salah is a non-negotiable.
The less expensive options in the forward category look more appealing than some of the premiums.
Romelu Lukaku (£11.7m) and Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) have both lost their appeal due to tough fixtures and an injury respectively.
In terms of my outlook on Manchester Utd, I’m not very bullish. I believe they will struggle to cope with the lack of possession from both a defensive and attacking standpoint.
Based off the research I’ve done, Lukaku will certainly miss the next two Premier League games. That’s enough for me to sell him.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£9.9m) is another premium asset who has shown good home form. Despite this, the Gabon striker is not someone I’m really considering.
I think the fixtures are quite decent but what puts me off is Arsenal’s inconsistency. Their inability to maintain consist attacking pressure against the opposition is a major cause for concern.
The Front Three – FPL Forwards Conundrum
Firstly I really like this fixture run.
Leicester are by no means are a good side defensively. They are ranked 5th worst for goals conceded (14).
The change to the 3-5-2 makes them stronger defensively but the Foxes are still not solid. The issue is the personnel rather than the system which is a much harder fix.
The next three fixture speak for themselves. I don’t rate Everton or Spurs defensively.
Leeds and Watford you can’t complain about either as a prospective Toney owner.
Now a bit more about Brentford and the former Peterborough striker. The statistics don’t really do Ivan Toney justice because his involvement and performances have been of a high quality.
He’s had to sacrifice himself playing a role closer to a false 9 rather than as a natural striker.
However, I expect this to change against the lesser sides. Furthermore, from what I’ve seen he’s got a good finishing ability and is instrumental in Brentford’s patterns of play. He also has penalty duty.
With Brentford flying and outperforming Chelsea for large portions of 90 minutes, and his price being where it is, it’s a no brainer for me.
A four week punt.
I understand this won’t be the most popular pick but I’m bullish on Armstrong.
Personally, I don’t think Villa are that bad defensively as a unit. However, individually they are error prone and it’s something Armstrong of all people will be able to pounce on.
The other three fixtures are self-explanatory.
Following a fantastic thread by @FPLRisk, my concerns over Armstrong’s starting place were put to bed and I’d strongly suggest giving it a read over on his Twitter.
As such, given Armstrong’s price of £6.0m, he’s a great facilitator for the rest of the squad even if he fails.
Using more of an eye test approach rather than a statistical one, I came to the conclusion that his ceiling is probably higher than what would appear at surface level.
He’s brilliant at consistently running into channels and offers a consistent avenue for him to get in behind.
Regularly positioned in the box, Armstrong has good involvement in patterns of play. He also links the play excellently and plays in the more advanced role of a two-striker formation.
The best striker in the league.
As we have seen often with Kane, he just needs to get the first goal to really kick off.
After a fairly threatening performance against Newcastle, I expect returns to start flourishing. I’d argue the fixture run is good over the entire set shown.
From Gameweek 12-15 it’s simply great apart from Brentford. Given Spurs are at home, I’d still back Kane to do well in this fixture too.
One of Brentford’s problems is that the space between the central midfielders and three centrebacks is too large on most occasions. Kane thrives in these pockets and could cause real mayhem.
West Ham have proven fairly solid. There’s not much to criticise them on, it’s more just an outlook that Kane’s (and Son’s) quality will exceed their well drilled system and impressive personnel.
Manchester United and Everton, however, are vulnerable defensively.
Everton’s central defenders aren’t good enough to deal with someone of Kane’s quality.
Meanwhile, United have too many structural problems. The centrebacks have little protection and the team as a whole don’t work enough off the ball.
Jamie Vardy omission – FPL Forwards Conundrum
Don’t get me wrong, I like him as an option but I just think Kane’s a better one.
Vardy has been in great form, and is ever present in central forward areas. He’s consistently running the channels and the 3-5-2 will certainly help Leicester and Vardy’s attacking returns.
Taken from @BigManBakar:
“Vardy is ranked second for shots, shots in the box, big chances, penalty area touches, xG and expected goal involvement (xGi) among forwards this season.
In the last four Gameweeks, he is top for the same set of statistics.
However, one thing which is worth bearing in mind is that Vardy has overperformed his xG by three goals. This is the highest for overperformance this season.”
In the short term, Vardy’s fixtures are mixed.
I expect Kelechi Iheanacho to share his goal involvement and for teams to adapt to Leicester’s system more efficiently.
Nevertheless, he is a good option and I won’t be surprised if he does well.
Final Thoughts – FPL Forwards Conundrum
Feel free to direct message me on Twitter, @FPL_JianBatra, for any questions you may have (or drop them down below).
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