Gameweek 7 FPL Q&A – Time to sell Sterling and Digne?

An 8-0 Man City thrashing of Watford rightly caught all of the headlines over the weekend, with the likes of De Bruyne, Silva and Aguero rewarding FPL managers. However, it was Sterling who frustrated owners, not featuring at all to leave managers only dreaming of what score he could of had.

After another win for Liverpool, a worrying loss for Everton and the return of Benjamin Mendy, there are plenty of talking points after another eventful gameweek…

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In this GW7 FPL Guest Q&A article, we are joined by regular LetsTalkSoccer who will be sharing their thoughts on the most popular questions ahead of gameweek 7. This week we will be analysing specific players including Sterling, Digne, Tomori and Zinchenko along with the usual captaincy picks.

“Tomori – a real FPL option?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

Tomori has started – and played all 90 minutes – in each of Chelsea’s last 3 matches. He’s scored 1 goal – and a superb goal at that. At just £4.5m, he’s a tempting option. The question is: “How long will he continue to start?” Chelsea have yet to keep a clean sheet this season. But with FDRs of 2 for the next 6 consecutive games, Chelsea’s chances should improve.

Aside from TAA, Robertson and Digne, it’s hard for us to peg attacking returns on a defender, so we don’t advise going into getting him with the expectations that he’ll deliver attacking returns because, as a defender, there’s a greater chance of not. So just don’t be disappointed and ready for a rage transfer if he doesn’t score or assist.

In looking at his heatmaps, he doesn’t get forward all too often, even when playing in a fullback role. And he doesn’t contribute much offensively in the form of key passes or big chances created. But, with the cheap price, his current starting status and Chelsea’s upcoming fixtures, we think he’s worth seriously considering.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Priced at £4.5m, Tomori has emerged as an FPL asset after starting the last 3 matches playing 90 mins in each. Including a worldy goal against Wolves, he has caught the headlines within the FPL community as a potential gem.

Chelsea have a brilliant long term run of fixtures:

Chelsea fixtures

On paper, they have 8 matches that they would expect to win, and possibly keep a few clean sheets along the way. The worrying stat is that Chelsea have not kept a clean sheet yet, and have conceded the 3rd most goals of any side. While their expected goals against (7.97) suggest they have been unlucky to concede 13 goals, the stats don’t scream value.

Tomori does offer a cheap way into this defence, however we think there is some potential risk associated with it. Chelsea’s best centre back, Rudiger, has only been fit for 45 minutes this season coming against Wolves. In this fixture Chelsea played 3 at the backRudiger, Christensen and Tomori – however this formation isn’t necessarily their preferred. We know that, right now, Tomori is ahead of Zouma in the pecking order, but it isn’t clear with the other two options.

It seems that there is a lot of unanswered questions right now in the Chelsea defence due to recent injuries. While Rudiger is injured, we think Tomori’s gametime is secured, and once he returns we will understand more from Lampard’s selection. To own him would have some risk associated, but has the fixtures and passed the eye test to be potentially amazing FPL value.

“Zinchenko: Time to sell? Best replacements?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

The time to sell Zinchenko is nigh. If the Watford game was any indication, Mendy might have reclaimed his starting left back position. With the amount of budget Zinchenko represents, it’s too risky to us to keep him in our squad.

If looking for like-for-like, Otamendi (£5.5m) looks to be the popular choice. With injuries to the middle of City’s defense, Ota looks to be nailed on for at least the next few weeks, if not longer. In a similar price range, Matip (£5.5m) could be a good choice. Another similarly priced consideration is van Aanholt (£5.6m). He’s in the top 10 FPL points for defenders and has a couple consecutive gameweeks with favorable fixtures.

Remember, too, that just because Zinc costs £5.5m, it doesn’t mean a manger HAS to spend the full amount. There are plenty of good options for less than that, including Tomori (above), Lundstram and Pieters, to name a few.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

We owned Zinchenko from GW1, offering great FPL value at £5.5m and a cheap way into the Man City defence. However, we owned him with an eye on an exit point once a certain Mendy returns to the squad, and unfortunately that day has come.

After playing the opening 5 league games – 90 minutes in each – Zinchenko was rested last weekend with Mendy being handed a first start. While he only featured for 45 minutes, it is a preview of what’s to come in the coming fixtures.

Pep has publically stated the additional attacking dimension Mendy brings to the Man City side. While we think Zinchenko will still feature in league fixtures, the risk of rotation is too high to continue owning him.

Selling Zinchenko is further supported by the long term injury to Laporte and injury to Stones. Leaving only one recognised centre back in Otamendi, it seems the Argentine’s gametime is secured for the foreseeable future. Priced at £5.5m, managers have the opportunity to do a straight swap from Zinchenko to Otamendi, which would be our top pick.

“What to do with Sterling?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

It’s kind of strange that this is even a question. Yet, it’s an ongoing debate on Twitter and Instagram. Yes, he was benched last game and blanked the 2 games prior to that. But, if you’re a Sterling owner, you’re aware that he’s a spotty player.

He’ll go through periods where he’ll light it up for a few games, and then come back down to Earth for a couple games. And then it starts all over again. But to seriously consider selling him, we think that’s a bit much. It feels like a wasted transfer.

He’s a goal scorer on a team that scores a lot of goals. Yes, he will blank sometimes, but show us a player that doesn’t. That player doesn’t exist. Even Messi blanks. There’s a very strong element of impatience this season. The moment a player blanks, he’s a candidate to be dropped. It’s a very reactive and unnecessary reaction in our opinion. And who’s to say that whatever player is brought in to replace Raz will do any better?

We believe that transfers should be made to either 1) replace an injured or consistently benched player or 2) to make a marked improvement to the team. If Sterling is a target to be transferred out, neither of those criteria will be met. Our advice: Hold onto Sterling. He’ll be back.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Who would of thought after already scoring 5 goals this season, we would be asking if Sterling is FPL value? However, after blanks in gameweeks 4 and 5 along with being rested against Watford last weekend, the questions are being asked.

A big reason for this is the recent performances of his fellow teammate Kevin De Bruyne. Priced £2.2m cheaper than Sterling, KDB has scored 15 more points consisting of 2 goals and 7 assists.

Our recent tweet highlighted whether we think KDB can not only cover Sterling, but outscore him over the course of the season.

Take a read below:

In regards to Sterling, we think if you choose to sell, the stats suggest that he could come back to bite managers. He is still posting the 3rd highest xG (3.91) – the highest of any midfielder – and 2nd best xG90 of any player (playing over 300 mins).

Our recommendation is to hold on to Sterling. Of course, if he continues to be rotated and shy in front of goal, then there certainly is an argument. But with his underlying stats still brilliant, excellent fixtures and attacking potential of Man City, it could be a big mistake down the road.

“End of the road for Digne?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

The value that Digne can bring to an FPL team is the chance of maintaining a clean sheet and also the chance of an attacking return. That’s what managers like about – and expect from – Digne. That’s why he’s premium priced.

But he’s not delivering either of those lately. He hasn’t had a clean sheet since GW2 and an attacking return since GW4. Everton are having a difficult time at both ends of the pitch; they concede goals and don’t score many of their own.

Digne left our squad this week. It could very well come back to bite us, but we added a defender that costs less while still having the ability to generate points like a premium defender, as well as used the savings to make a key upgrade in another area of our team.

Each manager will has his/her own tolerance level, and although we’d had Digne since GW1 we’d reached our limit with him, so it was time for him to go. Obviously, it’s not mission critical to replace him, so be sure to address more important things first. But if you’ve got a couple free transfers around and can really justify the transfer (such as enabling you to upgrade your team), it might be time to do the deed.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

How the mighty have fallen over the past 3 gameweeks. Digne is currently the third most sold player after his back-to-back blanks. At first glance, it seems harsh for such high sales for a defender that has the 9th most points of any defender, 2 assists and 2 clean sheets.

The main reason for these sales is due to the team performance of Everton, conceding 5 goals in their last 3 matches. Most notably was their performance against newly promoted Sheffield United, losing 2-0. While the result wasn’t acceptable, we think it is worth acknowledging the stats of that match. Sheffield United only mustered 2 shots, scoring 1 and the other an own goal from Mina. An xG of 0.51 also supports the argument that they were lucky to win the match, when compared to Everton’s 16 shots and 1.26 xG.

At £6.1m, Digne does offer the significant attacking potential to other options, registering 4 goals and 5 assists last campaign. While he is capably of significant double-digit hauls, clean sheets are the essential factor to consider with FPL defenders, especially at that price point. While Everton seem to have been unlucky over the past few gameweeks, we think selling him might be a good move.

“Captaincy options”

LetsTalkSoccer:

It’s an interesting – and somewhat challenging – process to select a captain for the weekend because many of the main options are playing away from home, including the Man City and Liverpool boys.

So, if for no other reason than to mix things up a bit, we’ll look beyond Aguero, Sterling and Salah, and instead look towards some players that have rarely entered the captaincy conversation much (or at all) this season.

Specifically, let’s look at Son, Kane and Callum Wilson. They all play at home this weekend. And while playing at home isn’t everything, it’s definitely something.

  • Despite having only played a handful of games, Son has provided 2 goals and 2 assists. If you’ve watched him play, he’s really leading the Spurs attack. His direct-to-goal, hard-charging style makes him a goal threat every time he touches the ball in the attacking third. He played limited minutes in Spurs’ Carabao Cup game Tuesday night, so he should be fresh and ready to go against Southampton. As shown in the chart below, Sonny has an excellent history against Southampton. In the 5 games against, he’s been directly involved in 6 of them (4 goals, 2 assists), for a rate of 1.20 per game.

 

  • Son’s teammate, Kane, has had a bit of a lift in form recently. He scored a goal in Week 6. And a fine goal it was. And despite his somewhat sluggish form (he seems to be playing a bit deeper than usual), he can pop off 2 or 3 goals in any given game. He didn’t play at all in the Carabao Cup match, so he should be more rested than most this weekend. Like Son, he also has a strong record against Southampton. He has 8 goals, 4 assists in 10 games against the Saints, for a goal involvement average of 1.2 per game.

 

  • Wilson, who has had an attacking return in every game this season, has been on good form. A bit under the radar, he could be a differential captain in Week 7. In his 6 games vs. West Ham, he has scored 6 goals. Additionally, Southampton’s expected goals against (xGA) of 11.66 is among the highest in the league. Wilson looks likely to extend his goal involvement this coming weekend.

Gameweek 7 captaincy

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

While the top two play away from home this weekend, we think there is still plenty of value in those assets. Liverpool face Sheffield United who have adapted well to the Premier League since their promotion. United have only conceded 3 league goals in their opening 3 home matches, however we don’t think they will have as much joy against Liverpool.

Liverpool have scored 7 goals in their 3 away matches and we expect them to continue their goalscoring form. Naturally, Salah is one of the top picks and with his underlying stats this season he rightly so should be considered. Averaging 2.88 sh90 and an xG of 3.37, he is performing at around his actual output. At 42.1% ownership, we can imagine he will be a popular choice this weekend.

Man City assets are seemingly always brilliant captaincy options, and they go away to Everton. After conceding their two goals against Sheffield United and Man City scoring 8 goals, it doesn’t take hard maths to see there is potential for those assets to return again.

Our top pick would be Aguero, who is the leading goal scorer this season with 8 goals. Producing amazing underlying stats – 5.02 sh90, 2.01 kp90 and 6.41 xG – he is the obvious choice from the Man City side, especially after the recent rotation of Sterling. A note on Sterling, we think that although he was rested in GW6, he is still a great captaincy option for this weekend.

Our differential captaincy pick would be Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, who has already scored 7 goals this season. Although owned by over 30% of managers, he will likely prove to be a differential captaincy pick at home to Brighton. Brighton have looked to play more expansive football this season, passing the eye test on a number of occasions this season. They have kept 2 clean sheets this season, however the potential injury to Duffy will only play into Abraham’s hands, and we fancy him to continue his goal scoring this weekend.

 


 

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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