In this review series, the brilliant AbuBakar shares his data-driven observations and FPL GW5 tips to help us make decisions for the upcoming Gameweeks.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to FPL Gameweek 5 for all the key information, stats and tips you need going into the weekend’s action.
Hi everyone, welcome to “The Review” where I look back on the key numbers of Gameweek 4 with a look ahead to the football to be played after the international break:
1) Should faith be shown in Wolves assets?
I start with what is perhaps the most trickiest question of the week. The Wolves attacking options seemed really attractive a couple of weeks ago but have not delivered according to expectations. Wolves do have a good run of fixtures though (lee CRY SOU lei SOU) so it’s a tricky situation.
Raúl Jiménez is the kind of player you know what you’d get from – a low ceiling but consistency. Wolves were in the top six for big chances last year so their assets don’t turn into bad options overnight. What worries me about Jiménez though is that he was the most prolific forward in terms of creating big chances last year, which seems to be missing in his game this season. At £8.5m he will continue to tick, but I think there are cheaper options like Maupay and Watkins who might match him for significantly cheaper.
A quick glance through the Wolves fan forums tells me that Daniel Podence might be at risk for his starting position too. The fans think a formation change might be imminent and Wolves could shift to a 3-5-2 to allow for greater control in midfield. This might be worrying for Podence as Adama is already waiting on the bench while Neto’s been in form having scored not only for Wolves but then for Portugal too. Watch this space!
I think Nelson Semedo is the Wolves defender to own. Semedo seemed really keen on getting forward and had a big chance vs Fulham that was saved from point blank range by Areola. Semedo recorded the highest number of final third touches than any other player on the field in the game and was unlucky to come out of that game without any attacking returns. Roman Saïss’ position in the Wolves first team might also be under threat with Marçal regaining fitness soon.
2) Are Kane and Son worth doubling up on, and who is better?
The pair of Spurs attackers have impressed every FPL manager so far this season. Spurs have been best in the league for big chances, xG and non-penalty xG which highlights their threat from open play since the season has started.
Son Heung-Min has been at the end of six big chances and is highest in the league for big chances. However, it’s worth noting that Son recorded all of these big chances in the games against Southampton and Man United – teams who played a high line. Even though he hit the post twice from distance against Newcastle, his underlying stats in the 45 minutes he played were poor (no shot inside the box registered) as he didn’t find space to run through. I use the Newcastle game as a template for sign of things to come, because Spurs played are expected to play such deep lying defences in their upcoming games (WHM bur BHA wba). Son is too good a player not to get points in these games though, so I’m sure he’ll get some points even though I don’t think his ceiling is that high.
Harry Kane has been in supreme form lately. Kane was very unlucky against Newcastle as two of his big chances were saved by heroic efforts by Darlow. He recorded 15 penalty area touches, seven shots inside the box and two big chances in that game vs Newcastle. Kane has created the highest amount of big chances in the league which add to his value. Kane has the best expected goal involvement (xGi) since the season has started of all players in the league, so with great fixtures to come I believe he’s the main asset to own.
If I was picking one between Son and Kane, I would pick Kane as I think he’s a better captaincy option between the two and the upcoming fixtures are more suited to his playing style. From game week 9, Spurs fixtures take a turn and they have a relatively tough run of fixtures. An advantage of picking Kane now is that there is an easy switch available to Aguero who is in a similar price range.
I expect West Ham to be a tough nut to crack, though. No team has conceded fewer big chances than West Ham this season. Over the past three Gameweek, no team has conceded fewer shots inside the box too. Keeping in mind that they have already played Arsenal and Leicester, that is pretty impressive and their defensive numbers suggest they won’t be a walkover for any team.
3) Was Villa’s performance a one-off or is it worth looking at their players? If yes, which one(s)?
Villa’s attacking players came out of the blue against Liverpool and are now up against a Leicester side down on confidence having lost 0-3 to West Ham at home and potentially missing Evans and Soyuncu. Here in this section I assess each one of their attackers individually:
Jack Grealish: 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 second in midfielders for chances per game created since the league has started. He’s only slightly behind Watkins for expected goal involvement (xGi) and there’s a chance he might be on penalties too so he’s a very good option for his price range.
Ollie Watkins: He’d be my go-to pick if I was picking any Villa asset. Watkins’ total of four big chances was the highest for big chances for all players in the league last Gameweek. Watkins had a xG of 1.63, far above any other player in the field which makes him looks like the perfect young hungry striker who wants to score and make his presence known on the pitch. Given that his price just £5.9m, he’s a low risk purchase. Villa’s fixtures all the way up till Gameweek 15 are favourable too, so he’s a nice set and forget option.
Ross Barkley: With Barkley joining Villa from Chelsea on a loan, he will get more minutes and has already made a mark. Barkley managed to score a goal but could’ve added much more to the misery of Liverpool. Barkley played the #10 role and had six penalty area touches that game. His average position was right up there with Watkins, and his touch map showed that he had touches in dangerous positions in the opponent’s box. He had four shots from inside the box and also seemed to be on corner duty which increases his potential for getting an assist.
4) Timo Werner – keep or sell?
Werner’s owners have been let down by his performances and FPL returns week in week out but at the cost of repeating myself for the umpteenth time this season, I think this might finally be the week where he comes good. With Pulisic and Ziyech almost back at full fitness, Werner is likely to be a major threat to Southampton’s goal as he will return to the striker position. Pulisic is tipped to start while Ziyech might be on the bench and should be back to full fitness soon having trained this gameweek. Werner was fairly impressive against Brighton in the first gameweek when he played as a central striker, recording the most shots inside the box of all forwards that gameweek so potential for returns when he plays in that striker position is great. A goal and an assist for Germany in the internationals should give him confidence, so I reckon it makes sense to be patient with him unless a downgrade to a cheaper striker allows for significant upgrades elsewhere.
5) Should City assets be held or sold, and who is the standout captaincy choice this week?
De Bruyne and Sterling have both had injury scares this week following the international break so my opinion is based on the reports we are hearing so far that both injuries are not likely to be long term. With Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus both working towards fitness, things might change shortly and all City assets might get back to form soon – the presence of a recognised striker will make a huge difference in my opinion. Even against Leeds, a couple of breaks here or there didn’t quite go Man City’s way due to poor decision making and execution which could have led to a completely different scoreline.
City assets are smart investments so there is no need to be hasty with them as they will tend to return their owners with good spells of points in the short run. Even this week, they are the are bookie favourites to score 2.5+ goals. It’s way too soon to write them off in my opinion. There might be other options that might seem more attractive with lesser price tag than City players, but City will return to form soon and when they inevitably find form again, it will be a hassle to rearrange your team structure to accommodate them having already sold. Hence, my advise would be to hold on to at least one of them. The only midfielder I would sell either Sterling or De Bruyne for is Salah.
I prefer captaining midfielders generally so the two options I think are the best for captaincy this week are De Bruyne (if fit) and Mohamed Salah. If De Bruyne is declared fit to play this week, he is a great captaincy shout given that Arsenal are likely to play with three at the back, so De Bruyne should be playing #10 where he is at his absolute best for FPL. He has scored thrice in his previous two Premier League appearances against Arsenal, so he fancies playing against them. Salah, as always, is an excellent shout as well with penalties in his locker. Liverpool are second for big chances created all season, and no player has accumulated more shots inside the box than Salah. With Thiago back, big chances will be on the up again which can only bode well for Salah.
6) Is it worth holding on to, or buying Callum Wilson?
Callum Wilson is the only player in the league to record a big chance in each of the first four Gameweeks so far. He’s the spearhead of the Newcastle attack and everything goes through him. He’s got penalties too which is a huge plus for him. He’s now up against a Man United side who have conceded the highest number of big chances in the league so far, despite playing a game less, so chances are Wilson is likely to do well this week again. I wouldn’t sell him this week for sure, given these numbers. Fixtures over the short term look tough however (wol EVE sou CHE) so it might be worth swapping him after this week. I wouldn’t recommend buying him at this point either with these fixtures to come – it’s one that got away for non-owners.
7) Which Brighton players are worth investing in?
Brighton have been playing really well of late which is why the likes of Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay have attracted attention from FPL managers – and rightly so. Brighton are in the top five for both big chances and non-penalty xG, which highlights their threat from open play as well.
Trossard has been pretty good near goal and often has an average position which is level or even higher than Maupay. He has been unlucky to have been denied by the upright several times, and his set pieces are quality. Maupay meanwhile, is third only to Kane and Vardy for expected goal involvement (xGi) this season which is extremely impressive. If I had the option to go for one of the two, it’d be Maupay as he’s the penalty taker and because he comes out superior to all other Brighton assets – Maupay has accumulated double the number of big chances anyone has recorded in the entire Brighton team and so far, he has been involved in 60% of the big chances Brighton have registered.
8) Do Leeds players warrant investment?
The three players that are worth discussion are Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas and Patrick Bamford.
Both Ayling and Dallas have posted good attacking numbers so far. However, now with Liam Cooper being injured for at least a couple of weeks, Ayling will play strictly as a centre back and that is likely to reduce his attacking threat. Dallas is a player Bielsa allows to play more freely, whether as a wing-back or in central midfield. He has massively impressed and this might be going under the radar but he is joint top with Robertson for big chances of all defenders. Dallas is also joint top with Bamford for big chances of all Leeds players this season, so his goal threat is apparent.
Bamford has already scored thrice this season, despite sitting 15th in forwards for xG and has been extremely clinical which is in sharp contrast to his performances last season – when he missed 77% of the big chances afforded to him (34 of 44). Leeds carry a decent amount of goal threat and are mid table for big chances and xG as a team, so at an affordable price of £5.8m he’s still a decent option.
9) Is it time to sell underperforming strikers like Che Adams and Mitrovic?
Two strikers who more was expected from but have failed to deliver are Aleksandar Mitrović and Ché Adams. Adams as we know is at the end of a lot big chances but somehow manages not to score due to an incredibly poor conversion rate. He’s been the culprit of some horrendous misses at times while often he has been unlucky not to have scored due to great saves as well. He will now be up against Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal this week, so his fortunes might finally change as long as he can keep his efforts on target!
Mitrović has a good run of fixtures coming up in the short run (shu CRY WBA) and one stat that might come across as surprising is that Mitrović has the same amount of shots inside the box as the league’s highest scoring striker, Dominic Calvert Lewin yet he’s way down on big chances when compared to the other strikers. This suggests that Fulham as a team lump everything directly to Mitrović in the hope that he can get something out of nothing, without actually supplying him with quality big chances. They don’t create enough and can be found in the bottom three for big chances.
I don’t think it’s an obvious decision to sell Adams or Mitrović. For that price range, they still offer plenty but if you don’t have any other fires to put out in your team, swapping to Ollie Watkins might be a smart strategy given Villa’s form.
10) Is Wilfried Zaha worth investing in with favourable fixtures on the horizon?
Zaha may seem attractive to a lot of managers but his and Palace’s underlying numbers say otherwise. Palace as a team lack creativity and are in the bottom three for xG since the season has started. Zaha accumulated three big chances in the first two games, but his numbers have dropped off and he hasn’t registered a big chance since. He’s playing a more central role this year and there’s a possibility that he might be on penalties, but Palace don’t offer enough as a team going forward to convince me on Zaha. The upcoming fixtures (BHA ful wol LEE) are decent but I think there are better options like Grealish who I would prefer if I had to choose one.
A big thank you to my friend @urboihamza (on Twitter) for helping me out yet again. Would appreciate if you could show your support for him as well as he deserves recognition for his stellar work.
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