FPL Gameweek 5 preview from veteran Fantasy Premier League manager BigManBakar. He shares his data-driven observations to help us make effective decisions for Gameweek 5 with essential tips.

You can also watch the Gameweek 5 preview on YouTube:

All of the stats I use here are taken from the Hub's OPTA stats tool.

OPTA Stats for Fantasy Football

Gameweek 5 Preview | Wolves Defence

I’ve been thoroughly impressed by Wolves this season. They have had difficult fixtures to begin with yet are the best team in the division in terms of xG conceded from open play. They have significantly improved on their averages from last season.

Wolves Defence 21/22 v 20/21

Shots in the box conceded per game: 5.5 v 7.8
Big chances conceded per game: 0.75 v 1.9
Average xG conceded per game: 1 v 1.4

Their full-backs have really caught my eye. Since Nelson Semedo (£4.9m) started playing in Gameweek 2, he is:

*Top among defenders for penalty area touches
*Top among defenders for big chances
*Second among defenders for xG
*Fourth among defenders for touches in the final third. Only Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joao Cancelo and Luke Shaw have had more.

I now compare Semedo to Fernando Marçal (£4.6m):

Marçal v Semedo 21/22 (Stats per 90)

Shots in the box: 0.25 v 1
Big chances: 0.25 v 0.67
xG: 0.1 v 0.3
Chances created: 0.5 v 1
Touches in the final third: 22.3 v 32.3

While Marçal will represent good value at £4.6m and carries some threat, Semedo is the one you really want as I believe he has more haul potential.

Marçal’s attacking threat isn't as great as Semedo's but if you’re on a budget and want a defender, Marçal might be a great option due to how good Wolves are defensively.

In fact, Marçal looks primed to exploit Brentford’s weakness on their right flank – only Leeds have conceded more chances down their right flank this season, with Brentford having conceded 57% of their chances on that flank alone.

What is comforting is the fact that Bruno Lage’s full-backs have a history of doing well in previous seasons. In the 2019/20 season when he managed Benfica, his starting full-back, Álex Grimaldo registered 6 assists in 26 starts. Nuno Tavares filed in for him and he registered 4 assists and a goal in 11 starts. The starting right back, André Almeida recorded 4 goals and 5 assists in 23 starts.

Gameweek 5 Preview | The Best Dominic Calvert-Lewin Replacement?

 

Patrick Bamford (£7.9m) v Raul Jiménez (£7.4m)

21/22

Shots in the box: 10 v 12
xG: 1.38 v 0.76
Chances created: 2 v 12
Big chance involvements: 3 v 2
Expected goal involvement (xGi): 2.3 v 1.9
Team xG: 4.2 v 7.2

That comparison tells me that even though Raúl Jiménez (£7.4m) is playing for a Wolves side with better attacking numbers, he is playing in more of a creative role. Meanwhile, Patrick Bamford (£7.9m) is getting into more threatening positions. When I look at their upcoming fixtures in terms of ranks for xG conceded from open play:

Wolves: BRE (3rd), sou (12th), NEW (20th), avl (10th)
Leeds: new (20th), WHU (11th), WAT (13th), sou (12th)

It's interesting to note that all four of Leeds’ opponents are actually in the bottom 10 for xG conceded from open play. Wolves’ fixtures long term are great though, where they don’t face any of last season’s top five till Gameweek 14, which is why I would probably pick both if I was on a Wildcard.

Bamford's underlying numbers are more or less on par with last season:

Bamford 21/22 v 20/21:

Shots in the box per 90: 2.6 v 2.8
xG per 90: 0.36 v 0.56
xGi per 90: 0.6 v 0.7

This is all the more impressive given that three of his first four fixtures have been against Man United, Everton and Liverpool. I’m expecting his numbers to get better with the upcoming fixtures.

A few people have asked me about Richarlison as well in the absence of Calvert-Lewin:

Everton with v without Calvert-Lewin:

20/21

Shots in the box per game: 7 v 5.17
Big chances per game: 1.84 v 1.5
Average xG per game: 1.26 v 0.98

Richarlison with v without Calvert Lewin:

20/21

Mins per shots in the box: 42.4 v 74.3
Mins per big chance: 186.2 v 223

The above computations are based on a sample size of six Premier League games that Calvert-Lewin missed last season. The findings are self-explanatory: Everton and Richarlison seem to struggle without their talisman.

Gameweek 5 Preview | Keep Michail Antonio?

It’s safe to say Michail Antonio (£7.9m) has been the standout forward in FPL this season.

West Ham are ranked 4th for xG with Michail Antonio (£7.9m) having recorded the highest number of big chance involvements among all players in the league.

Once he comes back from suspension, he plays a Leeds defence who have been out of sorts this season, and are coming on the back of a performance against Liverpool where they conceded an xG of over 4 this week.

His ownership is also likely to remain fairly high, so it's a risk getting rid should he start firing upon his return. There’s also the fact that if he fires and should you want him back, you’d have to pay a higher price than what you sold him for.

Q: What are the reasons to sell Michail Antonio?

*The Europa effect?

*Antonio has Leeds next gameweek, but Bamford has Newcastle this week who are bottom for xG/big chances conceded. In fact, Newcastle are 19th among all teams in the division for chances conceded down the middle where Bamford is likely to operate.

*From Gameweek 8, Antonio has Everton (A), Spurs (H) and Aston Villa (A). In that spell, Bamford has Southampton (A), Wolves (H) and Norwich (A). It's a move you might want to make later, so why not do it now before Newcastle, West Ham and Watford?

*Even Brentford in Gameweek 7 could be a tricky game for West Ham given that no team in the division has conceded fewer big chances than Bamford.

*At the moment, both Raphinha and Bamford combined are owned by just 13% of managers. In the weeks to come, this could be a great differential to move up the ranks. The chance to gain ground would be reduced should Bamford fire this week and you decide to bring him in later.

*Leeds’ defensive issues may mean lead to more open games where they actually have to score more goals to make up for their defensive lapses.

Gameweek 5 Preview | Ronaldo and his Impact on Man United

Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) marked his second debut with a brace as he registered five shots inside the box including two big chances.

Luke Shaw (£5.5m) created four chances and two big chances in this fixture, which now takes him to second among defenders this season for chances and big chances created.

Bruno Fernandes (£12.0m) scored a long-range goal in the second half, as all of his five shots in the game came from outside the box. This might be an indicator for things to come, with Ronaldo now being the centre of attention in the opposition penalty area.

He created two chances though, including one big chance, which suggests he will continue to carry great assist potential from open play. He had an expected goal involvement (xGi) of 0.7 as compared to Ronaldo’s 1.2.

In my opinion, it’s worth making the swap from Fernandes to Ronaldo as it would allow you to change your structure to accommodate a Ronaldo to Romelu Lukaku (£11.6m) move before Gameweek 7. At the same time, it ensures that you get to captain Ronaldo in Gameweek 6 where he is the standout captaincy pick at home to Villa.

Mason Greenwood (£7.7m) had no big chance involvements and recorded just the one shot in the box. He was fortunate to record returns this week due to a goalkeeping error.

He’s recorded four goal involvements this season, which is way up from his expected tally of 1.4 and suggests over-performance.

However, he's definitely worth keeping this week. He was rested in the Champions League fixture and will look to exploit West Ham’s weakness on their left flank: they have conceded 47% of their chances on that flank alone as compared to chances conceded down the middle and on the right flank.

West Ham with v without Antonio

20/21

Shots in the box per game: 9.08 v 7.6
Big chances per game: 2.21 v 2.07
Average xG per game: 1.67 v 1.22

The computation is based on a sample size of 15 fixtures. As expected, West Ham are worse off without Antonio but in my opinion, their numbers as an attacking outlet are still fairly decent even without him. They have an average of two big chances recorded per game.

That means Saïd Benrahma’s owners shouldn’t lose hope ahead of this fixture. His numbers this week will be worth monitoring though: he has had just the single penalty area touch and shot in the box over the past two matches.

The introduction of Nikola Vlašić is also likely to be worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks, as he might eat into Benrahma’s minutes.

Is it Time to Sell Saïd Benrahma?

Gameweek 5 Preview | Liverpool and Captaincy

I would side with Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) for captaincy in Gameweek 5.

Liverpool are top among all Premier League teams for chances created, xG and xG non penalty and seem to be playing at another level at the moment.

They have an elite chance creator in Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.6m) who is playing in more of an inverted full-back role these days, with shades of Cancelo playing centrally last season.

What that has meant is that Salah has moved slightly wider, with Sadio Mané (£11.9m) coming infield.

Salah’s stats are good in their own right, recording nine shots in the box and three big chances in three games since this role was taken by Alexander-Arnold in Gameweek 2.

What has been interesting to note though is that Mané has "out-statted" Salah (17 shots in the box and 5 big chances!) since this system has been implemented. However, Harvey Elliot (£5.5m) had a huge role to play in this system, and it remains to be seen how Klopp sets out now that he is out injured.

What I like about Salah is that Liverpool are playing at home which gives me an added sense of security. I pointed out in the Gameweek 4 preview that 62% goals were scored at home and 38% away. That trend continued again this past gameweek, with 58% of the goals being scored at home.

Both Salah and Mané have a great record against Crystal Palace. Salah has recorded 15, 12 and 11 FPL points per game against them in his previous three home starts against them respectively, while Mané has had 12 goals against them: that’s four more than he has scored against any other Premier League side.

Ronaldo is the other shout for captaincy, but West Ham this season are fourth for xG conceded and in home games last season were 8th for xG conceded. This makes me think that they might make things tough for Man United.

Liverpool have an xG of 11.4 as compared to Man United’s 7.8 this season and are a superior attack at the moment.

Mane actually has better underlying stats than Salah this season.

Mane actually has better underlying stats than Salah this season.

Gameweek 5 Preview | Budget Midfielders

Despite the recent string of blanks, I believe that Raphinha (£6.5m) is the best midfielder in his price bracket.

I say that because he has recorded 18 big chance involvements in 22 matches this calendar year, which is incredible for someone for his price. Unfortunately, he has missed five out of his previous six big chances to score, which is why he hasn't really hauled in recent times.

Nonetheless, the numbers suggest good scores, particularly with the favourable run of upcoming fixtures, are imminent.

Conor Gallagher (£5.6m) was second for big chance involvements and top for shots in the six-yard box among all players who played this gameweek.

Since he has started playing in Gameweek 2, he is first among midfielders for big chances and second for xG and xGi. He’s actually integral to the way Palace play – this Gameweek he was involved in nine of Palace’s 18 shots. He's also on set pieces which gives him more routes to points.

He's the one I like most after Raphinha. His numbers are suggesting that he could be a serious option for us this season. This is further supported by his manager’s quotes:

“I believe he's one of the players who can get a lot of goals got us.”

I think I’d pick him if I were on a Wildcard. Even though his immediate fixtures aren’t the best, he can be used in a rotation with Marçal which would also allow you to maintain your team structure.

Demarai Gray (£5.7m) has caught the eye in the FPL circles, having scored his third goal of the season v Burnley. What is noticeable is his average position: against Burnley, he was once again the most advanced player on the average position map, as has been the case in recent weeks.

Before this week, he had scored two goals from two shots with a xG of just 0.2, but this week his numbers were much better. He had four shots in total, two of them in the box with one being a big chance as he racked up a good xGi tally of 0.7 this week.

Gameweek 5 Preview | Premium Assets

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