Gameweek 27 FPL Q&A – Time to sell Vardy & De Bruyne?

In this weeks FPL Guest Q&A article, we are joined by our regular guest LetsTalkSoccer who will be sharing their thoughts on the most popular questions ahead of GW27. This week we will be discussing whether it’s time to sell Vardy, what to do with Man City assets, the top players over the next 3 game weeks and the best captaincy options.

Thanks to all those people that sent in their questions to us, we have picked out the most popular ones that have been asked. Like always if you enjoy the content, please give our Twitter account a follow along with our FPL guests this week.

“Time to sell Vardy?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

One of the many pressing questions we’re asking ourselves going into GW27. We’ve owned Vardy since GW9. And in that time, he’s produced several rewarding performances. For a stretch there, the points just kept rolling in. 20 points. 6 points. 12 points. And another 12 points. From GW7 through GW18, he was about as sure a thing as there is in FPL. Just put the armband on JV and set it on autopilot.

But then, just as fast and furious – and frequent – as his goal scoring spree began, it ended. (Insert sad emoji here!) Since his goal against Man City in GW18, he’s tallied 0 goals and 1 assist. Let us say that again. ZERO goals since GW18. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Bagel. In the last 8 matchweeks. Granted, he was injured for a portion of it. And also had a baby then too. (Well, his wife had the baby, but you know what we mean!)

Our strategy while he was injured was “We’ll hold onto him. When he comes back, he’ll be well rested and pick right up where he left off with the goal scoring”. Then, it was “He’s gonna score for the baby. And maybe even make a little cradle as part of his goal celebration.” Well…we’re still waiting for that celebration. At this rate, the kid will be celebrating her 16th birthday before her dad puts one in the net.

Then, our thinking was “He’s got to score soon. We’ll keep him for one more game.”

“One. More. Game.” An FPL manager’s famous last words.

Here’s the thing: While Vardy’s dry spell is far from ideal, it happens to every player. Every single one of them. Players come in and out of form all the time. Because of this, one has to think that Vards will be back on good form soon. And if he does, he has the fixtures to reward those that held onto him.

These are Leicester City’s fixtures through the end of the season. Pretty tasty.  Although there’s a touch of red FDRs here and there, that can be misleading. Arsenal, Spurs and Man United have conceded their fair shares of goals this season. Same with Man City, against whom, Vardy has a very solid record (6 goals + 1 assist in 10 matches). He also has 5 goals + 4 assists (in 10 games) vs. Man United, 9 goals + 1 assist (in 9 games) vs. Arsenal, and 5 goals + 3 assists (in 9 matches) against Spurs.

Leicester fixtures

Form aside, let’s consider the alternatives within his current £9.7m price range:

  • Firmino: A very viable option, although chances are most managers already have their Liverpool triple up already set. But if you’re one of the managers that doesn’t yet have 3 Liverpool players, Bobby could be an excellent – and more affordable – way to into the Liverpool attack.
  • Ings: A great option. Nearly 70% of teams don’t own him. If you’re one of them, what are you waiting for?
  • Jimenez: 3 goals in the last 7 games doesn’t scream “must have”, but, like most top-tier forwards, he could haul in any given game. And Wolves have a very favorable run of fixtures starting in GW27.
  • Abraham: He surprisingly sat out during Monday’s game against Man U, but once declared available for selection, he could be a good option. Despite blanking against Man U, Chelsea’s attack looked pretty solid. Tammy should prove to be the main benefactor of that. Before getting him, we recommend waiting for Lampard’s press conference at the end of the week.
  • Calvert-Lewin: On great form. And, like we said above, don’t let a lot of red FDRs dissuade you from selecting a player like this. Aside from Liverpool, all the other top teams have proven to be prone to conceding goals.

In many cases, managers have other more pressing needs within their teams. Using a free transfer to replace Vardy could be burning the transfer. We prefer to use this week’s and next gameweek’s transfers to prepare our team for Blank Gameweek 28 (Man City, Arsenal, Aston Vila and Sheffield United not playing).

In our opinion, if you currently own Vardy, we suggest holding onto him as his form is due to take a turn for the better. He has impressive histories vs. the larger clubs. Plus, Leicester City have the fixtures to make it worth the wait. You’ve held onto him for this long. What’s another game or two???

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Only a few months ago, Vardy was one of the few players that the FPL community agreed was an essential pick. Speed forward to now, the wheels seem to have fallen off the Vardy train for many managers. Being an owner ourselves, it is a topic that we have been thinking about for many gameweeks.

Vardys last league goal came well back in gameweek 19 against Man City, and since then he has only managed 1 assist. It is worth acknowledging that over the last 8 gameweeks, Vardy missed two games due to injury and was substituted before half time during their away fixture at West Ham. However, while he can be forgiven for missing some fixtures due to injury, it is clear that his overall game his dropped.

Since his last goal, he has only managed 5 shots in 6 matches, which works out as 0.93 shots per 90. This is a drastic decline compared to his season average of 2.27, highlighting the lack of goal threat he is currently possessing.

In some ways, Vardy’s form has been reflective of the recent form of Leicester. Over the past 9 gameweeks, Leicester have only managed to pick up 11 points from a possible 27, a stuttering period for the 3rd place team. Difficult games against the likes of Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Wolves have provided some reasoning behind the recent struggles.

When considering what to do with Vardy and similarly any player looking to transfer out, it’s important to evaluate all aspects. Looking at the Leicester fixtures, they face a tough weekend match home to Man City, however we think there is value in this match.

With City having played Wednesday night, and now out of the title race, their midweek Champions League fixture has become the most important game of the season for them so far. A big opportunity will be available for Leicester to match Man City this weekend and turn around their recent winless form.

After this fixture, Vardy’s medium term matches are excellent, facing Aston Villa and Norwich back to back – the worst and third worst defences in the league. While it is easy to worry about Vardy’s recent form, the fixtures look too good to sell. We couldn’t knock anyone for selling Vardy for the likes of Ings or the popular Jimenez this game week, but for us he is a hold.

We can’t look past the defensive stats of some of the upcoming opponents that Vardy will face, which looks like a real opportunity for him to regain form. Likely many managers will have some value tied up in the forward, so if you do consider selling, be sure to remember the buy back price!

“What should managers do with their Man City assets?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

In short, “stick” – provided that we’re talking about De Bruyne, Aguero or Mahrez. Every other City player is expendable.

Yes, we know…City blank in GW28. But, assuming you have only 1 or 2 players at the most, and your bench is in good order, it should be as simple as benching your City assets for the week. And, a blank one gameweek means a double another! You’ll want these players in the DGW.

We know. We know: City rotates its players a lot. It does. There’s no denying that. But, with Sterling injured, Mahrez should maintain a starting role for the most part. KDB has played 60+ minutes (much closer to 90 mins than 60 in most cases) in all but 2 PL games this season (what City rotation???!!!). Aguero is probably the most prone to rotation, but does it really matter? Really? The man has a legit chance at winning the Golden Boot this season. So, despite any rotation or managed minutes, he makes the most of the time he doesspend on the pitch. In fact, the whole “Aguero could be rotated” argument is a very, very weak one.

The only possible concern we have is the UEFA ban. If, and that’s “if” the ban is upheld, there’s a chance Pep turns much more of his attention towards trying to win UCL this season (especially if City could be banned for the 2 upcoming UCL seasons). You could argue that he’ll go “all in” on UCL, likely meaning that his key players (like KDB and Kun) could see noticeable less playing time in PL games. It’s just a theory. And we’ve received some excellent counter points to this from our Instagram Community, so there’s a good chance this theory never becomes reality regardless of whether the ban is upheld.

Barring any unexpected situations, I don’t foresee a time where we’ll dump our Man City asset (we’ve had KDB since GW3).

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Having only owned one Man City asset in De Bruyne for the majority of the season, City have been a tricky team to trust this year. However, the unthinkable has happened over the past few weeks, and thoughts of selling the Belgian magician have been taken seriously. We’ll round up our initial reasons why it seemed a good idea…

De Bruyne set himself an impossible benchmark over the opening 7 gameweeks, averaging an incredible 9 points per game. While he hasn’t been able to maintain this form – as expected – he has still accumulated 3 double digit hauls since that period. We never had doubts over the value of De Bruyne, however the major doubt for him is the potential rotation over the coming weeks.

As mentioned in question 1, Man City have arguably their most important match of the season against Real Madrid next week. Resting important players during league matches might not necessarily come to fruition, however the odds do seem to be more likely. This won’t only potentially affect De Bruyne, but other key players such as Aguero, Sterling etc.

Even if rotation isn’t a problem for De Bruyne and co, the fixtures really aren’t screaming value. As mentioned they face Leicester away this weekend, followed by a blank in gameweek 28 and another potential blank in gameweek 31. They also face Man Utd away as well as the league leaders Liverpool at home. The only fixture over the next 6 gameweeks which looks appealing is the home fixture against Burnely, which is only 3 days before their 2nd leg clash against Real Madrid.

Our big reason against selling De Bruyne is the options available to replace the Belgian. The surprising news of Son possibly being out for the rest of the season eliminated a popular KDB replacement and one of our key targets.

With many managers already owning triple Liverpool, an upgrade into the likes of Salah or Mane looks unlikely, especially with the additional cash required. The problem with selling De Bruyne is also the likely huge value built up in him over the season – we personally have £0.5m. If you come away from him, it could be likely that he will be out of the team for the rest of the season.

For us, it seems like it is a situation of selling him if he is the only problem a manager has in the side. Apart from the potential blank in gameweek 31, a lot of the worries are over him ‘possibly’ being dropped over the tough fixture run. We think it might be best to first witness him being dropped before deciding to sell him.

As for the other Man City players, we think they can be treated in the same boat as De Bruyne, sell once you see a pattern of being rotated.

“Who are the top picks in each position for the next 3 game weeks?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

Can we give a 1 and a 1a?  Or top picks – by position – for the next 3 fixtures are:

  • Goalkeeper
    • Top Pick: We’re gonna go with Alisson. In the last 11 games, Liverpool have kept 10 clean sheets. 10! Including the last 3. Of the next 3 fixtures, 2 are at home (WHU – wat – BOU).
    • Alternate: Henderson. We would have listed him as our top choice, but the blank in GW28 put a bit of a damper on things.
  • Defender:
    • Top Pick: Trent, Van Dijk and Robertson seem to be obvious choices, but since we listed Alisson above, we’ll go with Doherty. That’s a name we haven’t heard in a while. In his last 3 games, Wolves has kept 2 clean sheets (they conceded 2 to Liverpool in Week 24). In that time, Doc has accumulated 3 shots, 2 big chances missed, and 2 key passes. In the next 3 fixtures, Wolves face NOR, tot, and BHA. Norwich have scored just once in their last 3 games. With Son being recently announced as injured and sidelined for “a number of weeks”, Spurs attack is much less potent. And Brighton are hit and miss on their attack. Clean sheet potential aside, Doherty is also an attacking threat. He tends to play quite high in opponents’ attacking thirds. And the teams he’s facing in the next 3 games have conceded a combined 15 goals in their previous 3 matches.
    • Alternate: Pereira. Despite playing Man City next week (followed by nor and AVL), he’s been a silver lining in an otherwise Leicester City team. In his last 3 games, he had 1 goal, 1 assist and 1 clean sheet, as well as 4 key passes, 6 crosses, 1 big chance created, and 6 shots.
  • Midfielder:
    • Top Pick: Mane is well rested after missing some games due to injury. He played just 30 minutes this past matchweek, but still managed to score the game winner in a 1-0 win. Now that he’s fit, he’ll look to recapture the form he had before he was injured. He’ll face WHU, wat and BOU in the next 3 fixtures. We could see Mane light up the scoreboard over the course of those games.
    • Alternate: Bruno. He’s provided quite the spark since joining Manchester United. In just the 2 games he’s played in the Prem, he’s racked up 8 shots, 3 key passes and an assist. Man U play WAT, eve and MCI for their next three.
  • Forward:
    • Top Pick: Jimenez has picked up 10 shots and 3 big chances missed in his last 3 games. And that was against Leicester City, Man U and Liverpool. Next up, Wolves face arguably easier opponents (NOR, tot, BHA). If he and Traore can sync up like he has, Jimenez could go on quite the run. We just get the feeling that he’s about to find some impressive form.
    • Alternate: What more can be said about Ings that hasn’t already been said? He’s smack in the middle of the Golden Boot race. He just can’t stop scoring. Up next, he goes up against AVL, whu and NEW.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

We are going to make the assumption that the majority of managers reading this already have a triple investment on Liverpool assets. For those that don’t, it should need no convincing the amazing value that they are providing and with the upcoming fixtures it only looks to continue.

Over the next 3 gameweeks, there are a number of factors to consider, mainly the European competitions and blank gameweek 28. It’s important for managers to consider these aspects before selling/buying players.

Goalkeeper

Our number 1 goalkeeper over the next 3 gameweeks would be Wolves’ Rui Patricio, who has kept back to back clean sheets. At £5.1m, Patricio is the joint third highest scoring goalkeeper and has arguably the best fixtures over the next 3 weeks – Norwich (H), Spurs (A), Brighton (H).

Defender

As mentioned, if you do not have triple investment in Liverpool then this is the time to do so. They have West Ham (H), Watford (A) and Brighton (H) in their next 3 matches, with TAA and Robbo being the top picks available. However, if managers can’t afford the lofty prices of the full backs, Gomez looks to be a great cheap option into the defence.

Midfielder

The midfield pick is a surprising one and that goes to Leicester’s James Maddison. Similar to Vardy, Maddison has been on a poor run of form, with only 1 goal and zero assists in his last 10 league matches. Clearly we aren’t making this pick based on the form, rather the potential and fixtures.

We have previously discussed the great fixtures coming up for Leicester, and we think Maddison has been unlucky to not register any attacking returns of late. In his last 4 league matches, Maddison has registered 8 shots and 17 key passes, highlighting to us that he is still a serious goal threat.

Now owned by 21% of managers, while he looks a risky punt based on recent form, we think he could be a shrewd signing for the next 3 fixtures.

Forward

Our top pick for the forwards is another Wolves player in the shape of Jimenez. As previously mentioned, Jimenez plays during the blank gameweek 28 and faces relegation battling Norwich and Brighton. While these types of fixtures can be tough, we expect both to struggle to keep Wolves out and Jimenez is a key part to their attacking play. Jimenez has 17 goal contributions this season, which equals 50% of Wolves’ league goals.

At £7.8m, he provides a great opportunity for those owners of Vardy or Aguero that are worried about form/rotation to save cash and transfer too. Wolves do have the Europa league to contend with, and while rotation is a possibility, as maangers we can use previous rounds to make judgement calls. Jimenez has started all but one league game this season, enough data to justify calling him ‘rotation proof’.

“Top captaincy picks”

LetsTalkSoccer:

The captaincy options for GW27 seem fairly cut and dry. As always, there are the “safe” choices and there are the differentials. In our minds, it breaks out like…

Safe

  • Mane and Salah (WHU)
  • KDB and Aguero (lei)

Differential

  • Firmino (WHU)
  • Ings (AVL)
  • Grealish (sou)
  • Martial and Bruno (WAT)
  • Jimenez (NOR)
  • Aubameyang (EVE)

It’s the time of the season where overall rank comes into much sharper view.  Depending on each manager’s OR goal, it could help determine which captain option to go with. For those attempting to preserve their ranks or want to limit the size of a potential red arrow, the safe options are probably the best choices. For those looking to make larger jumps, differentials can be a better route to take. Like any other decision in FPL, the arrow can go either way. A small red arrow could just as easily be a small green one. Or, a large increase in rank could also result in a large drop.

Whatever your captain selection, we wish you a green arrow in GW27!

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

As the season continues to throw surprises and affect FPL scoring, the emphasis of a successful captain is enhanced. And as we begin to approach the business end of the season, a correct captain pick can be the difference between hitting those overall rank targets.

So no pressure on our picks to help you select the correct captain!

The stand out fixture unsurprisingly involves the league leaders Liverpool, who play West Ham at home in the Monday evening fixture. Having an extended break from their Champions league fixture against Atletico Madrid, we fully expect Klopp to play a full strength side. They don’t have any midweek fixtures following the West Ham game and return to league action on the Saturday.

The usual suspects are on offer from a Liverpool perspective and we can’t look past Salah or Mane. Both have been in great form this season, with Mane scoring on his return to help Liverpool get past a tricky Norwich side. Most likely managers own one or the other therefore we think the sensible captaincy choice is the pick that Liverpool asset that you own.

West Ham have been shipping the goals lately, highlighted in their 3-3 draw against Brighton. At home Liverpool have averaged 2.7 goals per game, while Salah has been the best performer at Anfield, scoring 12 of his 14 league goals at home.

For those managers that have doubled up on both Mane and Salah, the choice is tough to pick one over the other. As mentioned, Salah has an exceptionally home form and recently looks like he has penalty duties with Milner seeing limited minutes this season due to rotation and injury. Meanwhile, due to his recent injury Mane has become somewhat of a differential at 21% ownership in comparison to Salah (45%).

If you own both, our recommendation is to make the decision based on your current position. Neither player is a risky pick, hence the ‘toss of the coin’ situation they have created. We think Mane is the best pick if your overall rank requires any sort of potential boost, his ownership being half that of Salah will be the very thing required. Of course, managers will be at the mercy of heavily captained Salah performing but we think it is a ‘risk’ worth taking.

Otherwise, we think the home form and stats around Salah is enough to justify picking him as a solid gameweek 27 captain.

Outside of this fixture, we think the other stand out captaincy option is Southampton’s Danny Ings. Saints face Aston Villa at home this weekend, a crucial match for both sides to stay out of trouble from relegation.

Surprisingly to us, Southampton have the worst home record of any side, only winning 3 of their 13 home matches. Ings personally has performed both at home and away, scoring 8 of his 15 league goals at St Marys. As a team, Southampton have scored only 14 goals in their 13 matches, stats that shouldn’t suggest a captaincy option.

We don’t think that Southamtpon will necessarily win this match against Aston Villa, but from a FPL perspective we like the look of Ings. Aston Villa have the second worst away record, losing 9 of their 13 matches and only managing 8 points. They are second for the most goals conceded away from home (26) and worryingly post the highest expected goals against – 28.88. A stat like this suggests that Aston Villa are lucky to have only conceded 26 goals, a good sign for Ings owners.

As mentioned, we aren’t expecting big things from Southampton as a whole, the form and stats suggest a poor game. But looking at the defensive stats from Aston Villa, the opportunity looks great for Ings to continue his excellent form in front of goal. He could be the differential some managers have been looking for outside of the Liverpool pair.

One word of caution regarding Ings is to not necessarily expect a haul from the frontman. While he has been consistent in front of goal, he has only scored one brace this season, the majority of his big scores coming from bonus points – which he is leading for forwards (28).

 


 

Big thanks to LetsTalkSoccer for contributing to this weeks Q&A article, be sure to give their accounts a follow for top tips throughout the season.

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