FPL Gameweek 7 preview from veteran Fantasy Premier League manager BigManBakar. He shares his data-driven observations to help us make effective decisions for Gameweek 7 with essential tips.
You can also watch the Gameweek 7 preview on YouTube:
Q: Who are the Best Defenders to Pick on the Wildcard?
My Wildcard draft would be based heavily on Chelsea and Man City defence. I’d want at least one defender from either of these clubs heading into the coming gameweeks.
Antonio Rüdiger (£5.7m) would be my pick from Chelsea’s defence. Chelsea have a really good run of fixtures beginning from this week and Rüdiger is the best Chelsea defender when it comes to security of starts. He has started over 90% of the fixtures he has been available for under Tuchel and is one of his favourites.
Man City are ranked best for xG conceded, big chances conceded, shots conceded and shots in the box conceded this season. I would like to highlight their superiority in terms of defensive statistics when you compare them with some of the other defences in the league:
Shots in the box conceded:
1) Man City (21)
2) Man Utd (31)
1) Man City (36)
2) Wolves (60)
Big chances conceded:
1) Man City (2)
2) Everton/Wolves (6)
1) Man City (2.2)
2) Everton (6.1)
João Cancelo (£6.1m) is top among defenders for penalty area touches, even though it must be said his expected goals (xG) and expected assists (xA) per 90 haven’t been the best.
Nonetheless, I still think he’s worth putting in – I think you can afford to punt with one of the defensive picks because Tino Livramento (£4.2m) from Gameweek 8 onwards has LEE BUR wat AVL nor and is more than an able deputy should Cancelo fall victim to the Pep roulette.
Nonetheless, if you prefer the security of starts, then Rúben Dias (£6.1m) is an excellent long-term option as well.
This is a bit of a controversial selection given the fact that Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.6m) has fallen victim to an injury, but I think I’d still pick him even if he is to miss this gameweek. Klopp – in his interview on Thursday – alluded to the suggestion that Alexander-Arnold is likely to be fit after the international break.
Should that be the case, I don’t want to sell him as it’s essentially a transfer down the line to buy him back. He’s ranked top for chances created and second for big chances this season so remains an elite asset.
I think four at the back could be the play going forward, with the lack of midfielders in the £7.0m to £9.0m midfield bracket at the moment. Optimal use of funds could be made by investing in reliable defenders.
Q: Who are the Best Budget Midfielders to Pick for Gameweek 7?
With so many options available, this makes for an interesting debate this week.
Raphinha (£6.5m) would be my first pick here. Raphinha has been consistent with his points in recent times but I still feel as if he has got more to offer. Even against West Ham, he was unlucky not to have hauled bigger as he hit the post and should have had an assist had Klich put away what was a straightforward chance.
Raphinha, in my opinion, remains the best midfielder in his price range, especially with the fixtures coming up. The Brazilian has recorded 19 big chance involvements in 24 matches this calendar year and remains in a league of his own when it comes to budget midfielders.
Bryan Mbeumo (£5.5m) is the midfielder I personally think has the highest potential after Raphinha. He is ranked second only to Ismaila Sarr amongst the budget midfielders for big chances per 90 this season (and Sarr’s stats have been inflated due to the Norwich game alone).
I prefer him to the Watford man as I believe that Brentford have the capability to score against the tough defences in the league whereas I expect Watford to be more circumspect in the difficult games to come after Gameweek 7.
A good example of that can be seen this week against Liverpool, where Brentford accumulated an xG of 2.3, the second highest of the gameweek.
Mbuemo is top for big chances and xG among all Brentford players this season, so there is a good chance of him being involved whenever Brentford are to score.
Bukayo Saka (£6.2m) is ranked in the top three budget midfielders (below £7m) for both shots in the box per 90 and chances created per 90 this season. The Gunners now head into a great run of fixtures and Saka, at a very affordable price, is worth a punt in my opinion. He’s less than 10% owned too, hence he could be an ideal differential to climb up the ranks.
Since he started playing in Gameweek 2, Conor Gallagher (£5.7m) is in the top five midfielders for both expected assists (xA) and expected goals (xG) which highlights how good his attacking numbers have been. One thing to note though is that since Milivojevic’s introduction back into the side, Gallagher seems to have lost his share of set pieces. One thing worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.
I think the boat to invest in an Everton midfielder has probably sailed. They have West Ham and Watford after Man United, but after that the schedule reads wol TOT mci bre LIV ARS cry CHE. I don’t think it makes sense to invest in either of them for just the West Ham and Watford games alone.
Q: Who is the Best Captaincy Option This Week? Cristiano Ronaldo or Romelu Lukaku?
I honestly think this is as close as it gets this week. I’ll give you information from both the statistical and the bookmakers point of view and leave the decision to you.
Statistical: In terms of goal threat, both Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.7m) and Man United have better underlying numbers when it comes to xG, shots in the box and big chances than Romelu Lukaku (£11.7m) and Chelsea.
Both Southampton and Everton both have more or less the same non-penalty xG conceded (4.3 v 4.1) but it’s interesting to note that Everton are yet to face a single side in the top eight for non-penalty xG this season, while Southampton have played all their six matches against such teams.
This tells me that Everton are yet to face an in-form attacking team yet. Having said that, Lukaku’s numbers in the game against Arsenal where both Reece James (£5.6m) and Mason Mount (£7.4m) played were highly impressive. Should we get news regarding their fitness before the deadline, it could play a pivotal swing in the captaincy debate.
Bookmakers: According to the bookmakers, Chelsea are likely to score more goals than Man United as they give Chelsea a 39% chance of scoring 2.5+ goals as compared to Man United’s 35%.
Ronaldo, according to the odds, is the most likely goal scorer this week with a 56% of scoring while Lukaku is second with a 55% chance. However, Lukaku is given 7% more chance of an assist than Ronaldo. Ronaldo has slightly better odds to score a brace with both players being given equal odds for a hat-trick.
Q: Who is the Best Patrick Bamford replacement?
I would go with Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m).
Jimenéz has finally broken his goal drought and I think he will kick on in the times to come. Wolves’ fixtures remain among the best in the league till Gameweek 14, a run in which they don’t face any of last season’s top five.
Jimenéz’s numbers have been consistent as well. He has now recorded at least two big chances in all of Wolves’ previous three fixtures and sits in the top five players for chances created and shots in the box this season. The fact that he creates so many chances is good for his bonus potential as well, as it means he is likely to haul big whenever he is to score.
Further, he plays against a Newcastle side this week who have conceded an abnormal number of chances down the middle this season (31), the second highest in the league after Leeds. This is one of the key reasons as to why no forward has blanked against Newcastle in the league this season.
Q: Is Jack Grealish Worth Getting on a Wildcard This Week?
This is an intriguing one as we are all crying out for midfielders in that price bracket. Man City have a great run of fixtures after Gameweek 7, so a lot of FPL managers are considering Jack Grealish (£8.0m) on their Wildcards.
However, Grealish is ranked 21st among midfielders for expected goals (xG) and 10th among midfielders for expected assists (xA) this season. He’s playing in a really advanced position though, often the most advanced of all Man City outfielders which is why he is second among midfielders for penalty area touches this season, averaging eight penalty area touches per game.
However, it’s key to note that most of these touches come in wide areas and not exactly in the goal threatening penalty areas (as per his heat map) where you’d ideally want him to be. He has underperformed on his expected goal involvement (xGi) of 3.0 with just two returns this season, but his numbers have been underwhelming.
I think I prefer the option of doubling up on the Man City defence rather than investing in one and getting Grealish.
Q: What to do With Luke Shaw?
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For those who still own Luke Shaw (£5.5m), I think I would still hold onto him this week if he is declared fit. He is ranked fifth in the league for chances created and third in the league for big chances created. For him to be averaging just under four FPL points per game this season doesn’t do justice to his underlying statistics.
Defensively, Man United are ranked second for shots in the box conceded but eighth for xG conceded and 12th for big chances conceded respectively. This is mostly down to the fact that Man United are top for direct errors leading to goal scoring chances for the opposition this season.
Everton are likely to be without both Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m) and Richarlison (£7.4m) so I would still think there is a good chance of a Shaw clean sheet. The bookies have them as the second favourites for a clean sheet.
However, when the fixtures turn in Gameweek 8 I’d look to sell Shaw. The counter argument would be that Man United recorded half of their clean sheets against tougher opposition last season. However, based on this sample of 12 games (six home, six away) that Man United played with the top 10 last season, their underlying statistics were fairly poor.
Man United against top 10 v Man United against bottom 10:
Shots in the box conceded per game: 8.25 v 6.73
Big chances conceded per game: 2.17 v 1.54
Average xG conceded per game: 1.5 v 1.2
The Man City and Chelsea defenders are likely to offer more clean sheet potential going forward.
Q: Aston Villa’s New Defensive Solidity
Since Dean Smith decided to change to a 3-5-2 in Gameweek 4, Villa have recorded a non-penalty xG conceded of a combined 1.1 in three fixtures against Chelsea, Everton and Man United.
That is seriously impressive given the difficulty of the fixtures. This tells me that Villa aren’t an ideal fixture to target from an attacker’s point of view. Further, it’s also worth keeping an eye on Matty Cash (£5.0m) who is second among defenders for penalty area touches since Villa’s move to the wing-back system.
All of the stats I use here are taken from the Hub’s OPTA stats tool.
Thank you for reading!
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