In this review series, the brilliant AbuBakar shares his data-driven observations and FPL Gameweek 5 tips to help us make decisions for the upcoming Gameweeks.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to FPL Gameweek 6 for all the key information, stats and tips you need going into the weekend’s action.
Hi everyone, welcome to “The Review” where I pen my thoughts on the Premier League football played at the weekend:
1) Is it worth keeping Raúl Jiménez and Daniel Podence?
Unlike Everton, Wolves’ poor attacking numbers post restart have worryingly continued into this season as well:
Wolves pre restart v Wolves post restart
Shots in the box per game: 8.3 v 6
Big chances per game: 2.3 v 1.43
These numbers are cause of concern for managers who own the likes of Jiménez and Podence. Jiménez rewarded his owners with a fortuitous goal vs Leeds but is likely to keep ticking along, given that he has Newcastle and Palace in the next two. He’s a decent option for the short term but I think long term there is more value to be had in the cheaper forwards, or even alternatively in upgrading to captaincy options like Kane and Agüero.
Keeping or selling Jiménez for now both has its merits, but I’d be far more confident keeping Podence this week. Scouring through the Wolves forums this week tells me that the Wolves fans expect Podence to keep his place, and I still think given his fixtures and price he’s an easy hold for me.
2) Trent Alexander Arnold or Andy Robertson? Is it worth selling Trent and Robertson to invest more funds in attack?
I’d like to run a few comparisons:
Trent vs Robertson: (this season)
Shots in the box: 0 v 4
Big chances: 0 v 2
Pen area touches: 6 v 22
Final third touches: 154 v 218
Big chances created: 2 v 3
Trent 19/20 vs Robertson post restart:
Mins per touch in final 3rd: 2.5 v 2.1
Mins per chance created: 37 v 39
Mins per big chance created: 167 v 133
Mins per baseline bonus: 5.7 v 5.3
As you can see Robertson is beating Trent in almost every single underlying stat that matters not only this season but post restart, which is very revealing. Understandably with other transfers being high priority, Trent to Robertson is an awkward transfer to make.
I do get the temptation of selling them to invest in attack given the lack of clean sheets nowadays but I still don’t think this is the week to sell. Despite the absence of Allison and Van Dijk, Liverpool are still the most likely team to keep a clean sheet this week according to the odds. Trent and Robertson have the ability to haul in any game anyway given that it just takes an assist and a clean sheet for a defender to go big.
3) Who is the better pick: Jack Grealish, Ross Barkley or Wilfried Zaha? Also, how do Villa’s defensive numbers compare this season to last?
Grealish has looked very sharp playing in an advanced position on the left this season. He’s popping up in the right place and creating chance after chance with some key passes as he now stands first for chances per game created since the league has started. He has also upped his penalty area involvement – Last season, Grealish was averaging ∼3.8 penalty area touches per game but this season that has risen to ∼9.5 due to his utilisation as an inside forward. Only Salah has more penalty area touches than him this season.
I know that Barkley is more than a million cheaper and he scored this week, but I think I still prefer Grealish. That is primarily due to Grealish’s greater penalty area involvement and because I fear that with Hourihane dropped, Barkley might adopt a slightly deeper role like he did against Leicester – Grealish had double the number of penalty area touches than Barkley this week.
As far as Zaha is concerned, I think Palace as a team lack creativity – they are second worst for non-penalty xG and shots inside the box since the season has started which highlights their negligible threat. Zaha is on penalties which is a big plus for him, but other than that he has registered just two big chances from open play in five games this season. Palace don’t offer enough as a team going forward to convince me on Zaha. The upcoming fixtures (ful wol LEE bur NEW) are decent but I think there are better options like Grealish who I would prefer if I had to choose one.
Villa pre restart vs post restart
Shots in the box conceded: 12.2 v 6.2
Big chances conceded: 3.1 v 1.2
Villa’s defensive resurgence has continued into the new season as well which makes Emi Martínez hands down the best keeper to own right now. Villa are almost an entirely different team now, which means there is value in their defence as well. Emi Martínez would be my pick as he has the best minutes per baseline bps too of all Villa defenders, so he is the most likely of them all to record bonus points whenever Villa are to keep a clean sheet.
4) What are my thoughts on James Rodríguez and is it still worth investing in Dominic Calvert Lewin given that he is almost a million more than his starting price?
For those who don’t own him, I think James Rodríguez could be a shrewd acquisition. With favourable fixtures (sou new MUN ful LEE bur) on his side, Rodríguez can come into his own particularly given that he might be on penalties while Richarlison is out. It’s worth noting that he stands second for both chances created and big chances created this season which not only bodes well for himself as an FPL asset, but also has a knock-on effect on Calvert Lewin.
No player in the league has accumulated more big chances than Dominic Calvert Lewin over the past four Gameweeks. Calvert Lewin has the best xG of all players in the league this season and is yet to blank even once. Calvert Lewin’s and Rodríguez’s form means that Everton are ranked in the top three for xG and big chances created this season. If for whatever reason you don’t have Calvert Lewin in your team yet, the boat hasn’t sailed. More points are coming and even at £7.7m he is incredible value!
5) How do Harry Kane’s numbers look like pre and post restart?
Kane pre-restart v post-restart
Shots inside the box per game: 1.8 v 2.2
Big chances per game: 0.5 v 1.1
Pen area touches per game: 4.7 v 3.9
FPL points per game: 5.2 v 8.1
Big chances created per game: 0.1 v 0.6
Goals per game: 0.4 v 0.9
FPL assists per game: 0.07 v 0.5
Fascinating to note that Kane’s goals per game have gone up despite a shift to a slightly deeper #10 role and a drop in penalty area touches. It’s his creativity which has increased big time though – Kane has created the highest number of big chances in the league this season. Kane is second for xG of all players in the league this season as well, so he possesses genuine goal and assist threat at the same time which makes him an explosive asset.
Spurs have recorded the highest number of big chances this season, and with encouraging fixtures (bur BHA wba) on his side, there’s every chance Kane continues to do well. What adds to Kane’s appeal is that a Spurs asset is probably the standout captaincy option in Gameweek 8 when Spurs play West Brom, given the fact that Man City will be playing Liverpool that week.
6) Is it time to invest in Sergio Agüero? How does the City attack compare last season to this?
You can never go wrong with a nailed Man City attacker. They will always get you goals. While Gabriel Jesus is away, I’m sure Agüero will do well but with conflicting reports on the extent of Gabriel Jesus’ injury, I think it makes sense to wait before jumping in on Agüero because Jesus might be back sooner rather than anticipated. If Jesus is still a while away, then Agüero makes sense particularly from Gameweek 10 onwards (BUR FUL mun WBA sou NEW) when City assets are the standout options for captaincy. He’s an easy switch from Kane as well at that point, when Spurs’ fixtures will be considerably tougher.
Man City 19/20 v Man City 20/21
Shots in the box per game: 13.4 v 9.5
Big chances per game: 3.7 v 2
It’s safe to say Man City have failed to hit the heights of last season yet, with their underlying numbers being nothing to write home about. I think the return to match fitness of a recognized front man in Agüero will make a huge difference however. I think this might be the calm before the storm – I’d advise to plan your team structures in a way where it is easy to own the City attacking assets from Gameweek 10 onwards because they have tremendous upside.
7) Who is the best captain this week?
I think Mohamed Salah as the captain picks himself this week. He’s on penalties playing for a team that has the best xG this season. According to the bookies, Salah has the best odds of scoring a goal and Liverpool are the most likely team this Gameweek to score 2.5+ goals. No player in the league has recorded more shots in the box this season. In the same fixture last season, Salah scored and registered 10 points so it’s safe to say he’s the obvious choice this week.
The differential pick would be Raheem Sterling. He’s in form having scored both of Man City’s goals in previous two games. Man City have scored nine goals in their previous two league matches at the London Stadium so they like playing there. With the exception of De Bruyne who is unlikely to play at the weekend, Sterling has the best expected involvement (xGi) of all Man City players this season so there’s a good chance he’ll be involved whenever Man City score.
8) Who is a good Reece James replacement and what are my thoughts on the 4m defenders?
I think Tariq Lamptey from Brighton is a good choice. Brighton against Palace became the first team to restrict their opposition to zero shots inside the box from open play this season. No player created more chances or recorded more touches in the final third in the Palace v Brighton game than Lamptey. He was second for penalty area touches too. It’s also worth noting that Lamptey, after Ben White, fares the best for minutes per baseline bps too which adds to his appeal.
Sitting second best for big chances conceded at home this season and best for fewest shots inside the box conceded overall, Brighton are now up against a West Brom side who have created just one single chance in open play from five games till date. Chances are that Ryan and Lamptey owners will be in profit this time at the weekend.
Those FPL managers who don’t have a £4.0m or equivalent defender can consider Max Kilman from Wolves. The Wolves defender delivered a man of the match performance against Wolves, and now looks likely to hold onto his spot – at least for the short run. A quick glance through the Wolves forums tells me that the significant majority of Wolves fans expect him to keep his spot. Nuno was very complimentary about Kilman too: “When your chance comes you have to respond and Max did that. Two seasons ago Max was a back-up and now he is ready to compete. I think he played well, in the second half he started really well, reading the lines and anticipating well. It was a good pass forward for the goal too. I think he has something.” News is just coming in that he has been rewarded with a new contract so things look good for Kilman for now.
Pascal Struijk can be a good enabler at £4.0m too, given that he is likely to play in place of Kalvin Phillips from Leeds who is likely to be out for six weeks with injury. However, I wouldn’t go there personally now considering that the loss of Phillips might have an adverse impact on the Leeds defence. Tyrick Mitchell too is a risk now, with Van Aanholt’s return to the Crystal Palace squad.
9) Should faith be shown in Ché Adams and Danny Ings?
I’d stick with both. Southampton have been very hard to predict this season, given that they post good attacking numbers one week and are fairly horrible in the other. One thing that has been consistent about Southampton though is the involvement of their two key men – either one or the other has been involved in all nine out of Southampton’s nine big chances this season so whenever Southampton score, one of them will inevitably be involved.
I still like Adams for his price because despite his poor conversion rate, Southampton strike me as the kind of team who create enough to allow Adams to get involved regardless of his consistently poor finishing which is acceptable at his price. Ings has been rightly priced at £8.5m this season and he will continue to tick and has penalties in his locker as safety – I see no reason to sell him.
10) In this section, I’d like to discuss two midfield differentials – Sadio Mané and Christian Pulisic.
Sadio Mané is a great differential to own in the weeks to come. With Liverpool set to play Sheffield United and West Ham at Anfield in the next two Gameweeks, there’s every chance he returns big – particularly given the numbers he has posted so far. Before he got injured, no midfielder in the league had recorded more big chances than Mané this season and he was also ranked third of all players for big chances from open play. Currently, he stands best for big chances per game recorded for all players in the league. With just 8% ownership, Mané is a great differential if you are looking to move up the ranks.
Christian Pulisic was a very popular De Bruyne replacement but the Chelsea midfielder failed to live up to the expectations this Gameweek. The problem with Pulisic was that he was deployed on the right, while ideally FPL managers want to see him playing on the left as an inside forward because that’s where he is at his best. This week Pulisic had more touches in his own half than in the opposition’s, which tells you all about his withdrawn role. Lampard is likely to persist with Mount on the left though, until Ziyech returns to full fitness. So the fortunes of Pulisic owners is well dependent on the return of Ziyech to the starting lineup who is now returning close to match fitness with two back to back substitute appearances.
I’d like to thank @urboihamza (on Twitter) for putting in the hours behind this research this week. Tremendous effort on his part realizing that doing this alone wouldn’t have been possible for me.
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Check out our Ultimate Guide to FPL Gameweek 6 for all the key information, stats and tips you need going into the weekend’s action.
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