FPL Gameweek 8 preview from veteran Fantasy Premier League manager BigManBakar. He shares his data-driven observations to help us make effective decisions for Gameweek 8 with his essential tips.
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Q: Is it worth doubling up on Toney and Mbeumo?
Bryan Mbeumo (£5.5m) is ranked top among budget midfielders (£7m and less) for big chances this season. He is top for big chances and xG among all Brentford players this season as well so there is a good chance of him being involved whenever Brentford are to score. At his price point, he represents great value and allows for significant spend elsewhere.
Brentford showed in their recent game against Liverpool that they have the capability to score even against the tough defences in the league where they accumulated a xG of 2.3. This is why I would double up on their attack without hesitation, because in isolation both Mbeumo and Ivan Toney (£6.4m) are bargains to be taken advantage of.
I think Toney is a pick you can pick and forget about for the long run. He reminds me of Jiménez in the yesteryears. He is on penalties, and his creative ability is extremely underrated. He is top among all players for big chances created this season and third among forwards for expected goal involvement (xGi) – only Antonio and Lukaku are faring better.
With the high volume of chances that Toney creates, he is also highly likely to get bonus points as well whenever he is to register an attacking return.
Q: Who is the Toney alternative to get if double Brentford attack is to be ignored?
If you don’t fancy the double up, then Adam Armstrong (£6.0m) could be your man. Neither Southampton nor Armstrong have the best of attacking statistics but they have had a reasonably tough run of fixtures to begin with. Picking him is purely a fixture play (LEE BUR wat AVL nor).
Anyone who punts on him could be rewarded straightaway though – no team has conceded more chances centrally than Leeds this season and Armstrong in the absence of Ward Prowse, is likely to be on penalties.
Q: Who are the defenders to pick on wildcard?
I’d want at least one defender from Man City and Chelsea heading into the coming Gameweeks. 53.7% of clean sheets have come at home this season so there’s not been much disparity between home and away data when it comes to clean sheets – the key is to simply back the best defences whether they are playing home or away.
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:
1) Man City (42)
2) Wolves (68)
Shots in the box conceded:
1) Man City (26)
2) Wolves/Man United (41)
Big chances conceded:
1) Man City (5)
2) Wolves (7)
1) Man City (3.8)
2) Brighton (7.2)
Man City have already registered five clean sheets in the first seven fixtures, and are a team high on confidence. João Cancelo (£6.2m) is fourth among defenders for penalty area touches this season, even though it must be said his expected goals (xG) and expected assists (xA) per 90 haven’t been the best. Nonetheless, with his recent performances, I think it’s his shirt to lose and the fact that he is versatile enough to play right back should Pep decide to rotate means that he’s worth selecting.
Chelsea have a really good run of fixtures coming up and in my opinion, Antonio Rüdiger (£5.8m) is the best Chelsea defender to pick in terms of security of starts. He has started over 90% of the fixtures he has been available for under Tuchel and is one of his favourites. He is a bit of a doubt with a back problem this week, but that would not put me off from selecting him in my squad as he’s a safe long-term pick.
This is a bit of a punt given the fact that Ben Chilwell (£5.6m) isn’t fully nailed but I think with the overall squad depth that one can pick on a wildcard, one can afford to pick a risky differential with high upside. Chilwell scored his first league goal of the season in Chelsea’s previous fixture against Southampton and added to his tally by scoring another goal for England in the World Cup qualifiers.
Even though he gave away a penalty against Southampton, most of the Chelsea fans and journalists believe that he has done well enough in his recent performances to have won back the shirt from Marcos Alonso. Alonso was below par against City before being taken off at half time after another poor performance against Juventus so might have lost his manager’s trust.
Chilwell was also on corner duty against Southampton which suggests that he could do well for bonus accumulation should he keep on creating chances through set pieces. With a very low ownership, Chilwell might be the perfect differential for now and a good long-term investment as well.
I think four at the back could be the play going forward with the lack of midfielders in the £7m to £9m midfield bracket at the moment and optimal use of funds could be made by investing in reliable defenders.
Q: Is it worth picking Antonio on wildcard? Is Benrahma an immediate sell for those who don’t have a wildcard?
Michail Antonio (£8.0m) is second only to Salah for xG and expected goal involvement (xGi) among all players in the league this season, and that is despite missing one game due to suspension. He’s the top scoring forward in FPL so far and despite the tough fixtures coming up, I think is worth selecting on a wildcard.
West Ham are ranked fourth for xG this season and strike me as the sort of team who will score even against the difficult defences in the league. The common perception is that they have some tough fixtures coming up (eve TOT avl LIV wol mci BHA) but the fact of the matter is that they scored in each of these seven reverse fixtures last season, scoring 13 goals in the process and averaged 1.86 goals per game.
Saïd Benrahma (£6.6m) has returned in just one of the previous five fixtures but I don’t think he’s an immediate sell – primarily due to the lack of alternatives around. Mbeumo is the only one I would consider selling him for, that too after Gameweek 8. Only Sarr and Gallagher have a better xGi than Benrahma among the budget midfielders (£7m and less) this season so his numbers are still pretty good.
What I like about him is that numbers have been more consistent than the likes of Sarr (who accumulated most of his xGi against Norwich) and Gallagher (who has lost set pieces since Milojević has started playing).
Q: Is it worth selecting Foden and Son?
To be honest, I’m not totally convinced about Phil Foden (£7.9m) but with the lack of alternatives available in this price range, I think he might be worth a punt. He has been in great form recently so looks good to have established himself into Pep Guardiola’s first eleven.
Man City have scored 30 goals in their past eight meetings against Burnley so just the sheer thought of having one of their attackers for potential upside is tempting in itself. You can leave yourself with the luxury of having a good bench on a wildcard which could be enough to justify the potential upside.
Having said that, he has played two games on the bounce for England so could be rested this weekend ahead of Man City’s fixture against Brugge in midweek. That game is a bit of a must win for Man City in the Champions League.
It’s also worth noting that only twice did Foden go on a run of starting three or more Premier league games on the bounce last season, so it’s fair to say that Pep loves to rotate him. I won’t recommend taking hits to fit him into your team but on a wildcard it’s a different matter.
I’m still not convinced by Heung Min Son for a premium price of £10.1m given Spurs' form. Eight midfielders this season have had more shots in the box than him, seven have had more big chances and six have a better xG which is why I don’t think he is likely to present good value for money. For me, Gameweek 12 is the time to get him before LEE bur BRE NOR – fixtures in which he is more of a captaincy option.
Q: Is it worth selling Jiménez to Hwang to free up cash?
Wolves' fixtures remain one of the best in the league till Gameweek 14, a run in which they don’t face any of last season’s top five so I can see why fantasy managers are tempted to pick one of their attacking assets.
Raul Jimenéz's (£7.5m) numbers have been consistent - he has now recorded at least one big chance involvement in all of Wolves’ previous four fixtures. 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. Having said that, he overperformed last week v Newcastle – he got two assists despite a low xA of 0.48. Hee Chan Hwang (£5.6m) made those chances look ridiculously easy!
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