GW38 FPL Guest Q&A – Son Replacements and Mini League Winners

This is it! The 2018/19 FPL season is drawing to a close and so too is our content for the season. Before we get into the article, we just want to say a big thank you to everyone that has support us since we started up back in August. We wouldn’t be able to do this without you and it has been amazing to engage with everyone and hopefully help some throughout the season.

We will be creating more content throughout the FPL break, so be sure to keep an eye out for that along with our regular content on Twitter. We are also working on a project that we will announce in the coming weeks, something that will benefit all managers that plan on playing FPL next season.

So sit back and enjoy the last Guest Q&A article of the season.

In this weeks FPL Guest Q&A article, we are joined by LetsTalkSoccer who will be sharing their thoughts on the most popular questions ahead of GW38. This week we will be discussing the best Son replacements, players to help win those mini leagues, captaincy picks and whether to invest in United assets. 

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.

 

“Best Son Replacements?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

Not a great end of the season for Sonny. Just 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 10 games. Then, he’s banned from playing the first leg of the Champions League semifinal against Ajax. And now, he got booted out of Spurs’ GW37 game after just 43 minutes, which means that his Premier League season is done.

Even if he was available this weekend, why bother? While it’s unfortunate that many of his owners are now forced to use a transfer to replace him, thankfully there are a lot of options available.

We decided to list many of those options in the table below. We tried to stay within Son’s price range (maybe just a touch higher and then also lower).

Son Replacements
Unless you have enough money to fund a transfer of someone like Sterling, Hazard or Mane, someone from this group might float your boat. If you subscribe to the theory that current form is a good indicator of future performance, then Fraser and Babel appear to be strong options. Babel also offers a differential factor as well. If you like to look at fixture and historical performance against the opponent, then Pogba and Redmond might catch your eye.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Son has been in a disappointing run of FPL poor form recently, and this was only exaggerated with his needless red card away at Bournemouth last weekend. For the 1.4 million managers that owned him, it has created a headache going into the last gameweek of the 2018/19 FPL season.

Currently priced at £8.7m, the replacements for the Spurs man don’t fall under the premium options unless managers have the money in the bank. For those that aren’t restricted by budget, then we think there are a handful of players that need to be top of the list.

Both Man City and Liverpool have taken the title race down to the last game of the season, making both sides viable FPL options. Man City play away at Brighton and Liverpool close the season at home to a dangerous Wolves side. From a premium perspective, there are 3 options that managers should be considering if they do not already own.

Salah was recently stretchered off with concussion last gameweek against Newcastle, and missed his sides amazing 4-0 victory over Barcelona. Reports suggest that Salah will be fit for the Wolves match and having missed the midweek match, should be fully fit.

Salah has regained his league form, scoring 5 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 matches. His underlying stats have also been brilliant, taking 23 shots and creating 12 key passes over this period.

Mane is the other obvious pick from the Liverpool side, scoring 3 goals over his last 5 league matches. Sadio Mane’s underlying stats have also been strong, taking 14 shots and creating 10 key passes. After their brilliant Champions League win we can only see a Liverpool victory this weekend and the two mentioned to be at the heart of this. While Mane has justified his FPL value being £3.0m cheaper than Salah, the stats suggest a final gameweek punt on Salah could reap some rewards.

The only premium consideration from Man City is Raheem Sterling. Priced between both Mane and Salah at £11.7m, his formed has dipped recently only scoring 2 goals and 1 assist in his last 5 league matches.

His game time will be secured in this final gameweek, and faces a Brighton side with little to play for. Man City have scored 34 goals in 18 away matches and we fancy them to add to this tally against a fragile Brighton defence that has only kept 1 clean sheet in their last 9 league matches.

Now that we have voiced our thoughts on the importance of the premium alternatives, we will go over the picks at the same or cheaper price range. The big question for those managers is whether they trust Man United going into the final game of the season.

Ask managers a few months ago, then owning Pogba (£8.5m) would have been a no brainer and a great option for replacing Son. We have gone into detail about trusting Man United assets in question 4, but we think that Pogba should only be considered if you want to take a risk in your final transfer.

Redmond (£5.5m) is a great cheap alternative for those that want to use the sale of Son as a cash cow to fund another transfer. We have gone into more detail about Redmond in the following question, as we have highlighted him as a great option for those chasing in their mini leagues.

Our final Son replacement is Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.4m) who faces Spurs away. Spurs haven’t been in the best league form recently, and having played a midweek Champions League match the fitness levels are only going to be decreased.

Sigurdsson hasn’t been in blistering form, however Everton as a team have been brilliant over the past few months winning 5 of their last 7 matches. The midfielder is averaging 2.47 shots per 90 and 2.09 kp90 with the added bonus of set piece responsibilities.

We think that Everton will put up a stern test against Spurs, and with Sigurdsson playing against his old side will have the motivation to finish the season strong.

“Best Players to Buy to Win Those Mini Leagues”

LetsTalkSoccer:

Looking to win your mini league? Unless you’re currently in the lead and want to stay the course, it could be time for a differential. Although differentials come with a certain degree of risk, they’re an excellent catalyst for leap-frogging those above you. Sometimes you just gotta throw caution to the wind and go big!

Throwing caution to the wind doesn’t necessarily mean blindly choosing players at random, however. In FPL terms, it means looking for those players that are on good form, have a favorable fixture Sunday, have a strong potential to produce returns, and, of course, also have low ownership (here, we’ll look at players with 10% ownership or lower). Here are a few.

  • Babel: At just 1.4% ownership, he’s averaged 7.4 FPL points over his last 5 games, with 3 goals, 1 assist and 3 clean sheets in that time. Fulham face Newcastle at home, and Newcastle are conceding 1.28 goals/game away from home. With Fulham relegated for next season, Babel will look to put on as good a show as he can to attract more attention from other PL clubs.

 

  • Vardy: 9.6% ownership. Jamie has 6 goals in his last 6 games. Despite playing Chelsea in his final match, the Blues are vulnerable on the road – conceding 1.5 away goals/game (compared to just 0.63 at home). Vardy’s been on a nice little run of form lately, and he’s capable of putting a couple away on Sunday.

 

  • Digne: Squeaking in right at 10.0% ownership, his form is on fire. He has clean sheets in his last 3 games, and 6 in the last 7 games. Although Everton play away to Spurs on Sunday, they’ll be without Son – arguably their most-threatening attacker. And even with the possibility of a clean sheet a bit more difficult to achieve, Digne also offers the potential for attacking returns. He has the highest amount of key passes per game on his team (2.10) for the season.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Like many managers, we are chasing in mini leagues and hope to find that ‘unicorn’ player that can propel us to victory. We think that the question is very dependent on the position managers are in and how they value risk.

For those that are looking to maintain rank, then the obvious transfers to make are the highly owned, in form FPL options. These include the likes of players that we mentioned in the previous question, from clubs that are finishing the season strong.

Then we have the other managers that are targeting differential options that are either under the radar or low ownership. Our first pick is a popular name on Twitter recently, Nathan Redmond. Priced at £5.5m and 5.5% ownership, the midfielder has scored 5 goals and 5 assists this season.

Although his tally isn’t amazing, his recent underlying stats suggest he is getting into good attacking positions. He has registered 15 shots and 6 key passes in the last 3 and half league games. Southampton face already relegated Huddersfield at home, and Huddersfield have the second worst defensive away record conceding 44 goals in 18 games.

For those considering Redmond, a word of caution. Hasenhuttl has stated that he wants to ensure all of this players have featured this season, so that could spell further rotation. It’s best to wait for the press conferences to get further information, but we think being their last home game of the season, he’ll play a strong side including Redmond.

Bournemouth face Crystal Palace away in their final game of the season and we fancy Callum Wilson (£6.8m) to finish the season strong. Wilson has enjoyed being on the road this season, scoring 9 of his 14 goals and 6 of his 12 assists away from home. He is averaging 2.34 sh90 and 1.14 kp90 and is one of the players to have a higher xG than actual goals (15.87).

Bournemouth have scored 23 goals in 18 away league matches, while Palace have conceded 20 goals in 18 home matches. Although this doesn’t read necessarily positive for buying Wilson, we think he still offers great FPL value. For both sides that don’t have anything to play for, we expect both to express themselves in their final game of the season.

Our final differential pick might come at a surprise to some, but it is the Burnley duo Barnes (£5.6m) and Wood (£6.3m). We have included both due to the price difference and what managers can afford, but we believe they both bring similar FPL value.

Burnley play an out of form Arsenal at home this weekend who have only kept 1 away clean sheet this season – against a 10 man Watford. The London side failed to beat Brighton at home last gameweek, all but confirming their place outside of the top 4. With all their attention focussed on the Europa League, Emery may see this game as a chance to rest some his key players in preparation for a potential cup final.

Taking into consideration Arsenal’s poor away defensive record and it being Burnleys final home match this season, we think they have a great chance of upsetting Arsenal. Wood has scored 10 goals and grabbed 3 assists this season, and would be our top pick of the two strikers. Barnes offers a great cheaper alternative, and has a good track record against ‘top 6’ sides scoring 4 league goals this season.

“Captaincy Pick”

LetsTalkSoccer:

Depending on your goal – maintain first place in your league, jump into the top 100K in overall rank, or whatever it may be – your captain selection could change based on it.

For managers trying to maintain overall rank or position in a league, it’s best to choose one of the more popular, widely-chosen players, like Aguero or SalahSterling and Mane will probably be included here too. Chances are that they’ll be the top 2 captains for this final gameweek.

None of them have a particularly easy game. While they play at home, Liverpool face a Wolves team that loves to frustrate upset the ‘top 6’. It will be interesting to see how Wolves success against top teams clashes with the insane form Liverpool are on.

As for City, they’re away at Brighton. There’s a marked difference in goals scored in away games (1.89/game) for City compared to when they play at home (3.00/game). While we think City will beat Brighton, we do not expect it to be incredibly high-scoring. Liverpool seem to the the form. And although they could lose the league title if City beat Brighton, we think the Reds stand a better chance at scoring more goals in their game. They average just under 3 goals/game when playing home.

Despite the injury, Salah appears to be the man for the armband if you’re going to play it safe. In his last 5 league outings, he has 5 goals, 2 assists and 3 clean sheets. He’s looking to protect his current lead in the Golden Boot race. Of the “safe” choices available, he feels like the safest.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

The final captaincy choice of the season and possibly the most important to reach that target rank. We think that there are a number of standout choices that should be considered by managers.

We have discussed the value of City assets and the record of Brighton in question 1, and we think they should be top of thoughts. Sterling has been a regular in the side over recent gameweeks and therefore isn’t a captain risk opposed to earlier on in the season. City have all the motivation to win this match against Brighton, and we fancy them to put a few goals past the seagulls.

The same principles apply for Aguero and we think either player is a great captaincy pick. If you own both, which one to pick is a coin toss!

Liverpool have the same motivation to Man City making both Mane and Salah great captaincy options. Judging by recent performances, we think that Salah is the best option of the two, especially considering he did not play during the midweek. As mentioned, for guaranteed selection be sure to wait until after the press conferences for confirmation especially with the deadline not being until 2pm Sunday.

We don’t think managers need to get too fancy with the captain pick, the players mentioned above are the easy and sensible moves to make. However, if you are looking for a differential pick then we would consider either Redmond or Wilson as possible options.

To support the case of a Wilson captaincy, there was recently a brilliant Twitter thread by Neil Murray that you can check out below:

“Can We Trust Man United Assets for the Last GW?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

Trust? No, it doesn’t seem like Manchester United can be trusted. They haven’t won a game since GW34 when Pogba scored 2 penalties, and those goals turned out to be all the team could muster that day. And they’ve only scored 2 goals in their last 4 games. Now that the “new manager smell” has faded, they look like the same Man Utd that got Mourinho sacked.

This weekend, they’re home to Cardiff. On paper, this should be a blowout. But we thought the same thing when they played at Huddersfield last weekend and that ended in a 1-1 draw.

Of the United players worthy of consideration, Pogba is probably as good as it gets because of his potential for goal involvement. But, as illustrated in our table above, he’s not playing his best football. Maybe in his mind, he’s already off to Madrid.

Rashford and Lukaku feel sort of the same: the potential is there, but the form isn’t.

At the other end of pitch, perhaps there’s a bit more promise. Cardiff average less than a goal a game (just 0.61) when on the road. So maybe someone like Shaw or Lindelof is a better bet. You could still capitalise on what should be a very favorable fixture, but without dumping a bunch of money into it.

Our best advice on Manchester United players: Buyer beware.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Man United have been in a awful run of form leading up to the Huddersfield match, however almost everyone would have expected them to win that fixture. The performance epitomised their season and the challenge that Solskjaer faces to make them a top 4 side once again next year.

There really wasn’t any player that put their name in the hat to realistically be considered as a final gameweek transfer. While many of the players bring FPL value regarding their price, the form and performances don’t suggest any major returns in GW38.

Notably, Pogba did hit the woodwork twice against Huddersfield, managing 4 shots and 2 key passes. However, as discussed in previous questions, the transfer of Pogba should only really be considered if you are happy to take the risk associated.

Man United face Cardiff in their final fixture, who have conceded 31 goals in 18 away league matches. While on paper and from a stats perspective, it should be a comfortable Man United victory. But based on recent form and the eye test watching the players and the team, it is clear that it could be anything other than straight forward.

United do have the fixture and motivation being their last league fixture at home. However, we wouldn’t recommend targeting any player unless you are seeking a risky differential to try and make some serious ground in the final gameweek. Even though we have discussed his faults, Pogba would be the only player we would consider if we had to choose one.

Special Mentions

LetsTalkSoccer:
On a personal note, we want to give our sincerest thanks for Callum at FPL Football Advice to allowing us to contribute several times this season. It’s been an absolute pleasure being involved. We’ve poured over a lot of data and done a lot of reading and exploration. We’re better FPL managers because of it.  We wish everyone the best of luck in GW38 and nothing but green arrows. Cheers.

Gary and Josh, Let’s Talk Soccer

 

And that’s that! We have thoroughly enjoyed creating these Q&A articles and tackling some of the most popular questions asked by you.

A big thank you to Gary and Josh at LetsTalkSoccer for being a regular contributor to the website and brining some great stats and thoughts to the table. If you haven’t followed them already, be sure to check out their social media channels in preparation for the 2019/20 FPL season.

A massive shout out to all the accounts that have also helped contribute to the articles over the season: Arrow FPL, Heskibo, FPL XI, FPL Prince, FPL Logic, FPL Reuser, FPL_Fantasy_Phenom, FPL Wolf, FPL Tipster and FPL Canuck. Some great insight and was a pleasure to chat with you all. Again if managers don’t already, you need to follow all these great accounts ahead of the new FPL season.

Good luck to everyone in the final GW and if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact us over on  our Twitter account.