The international break is nearing its end and finally managers can turn the attention to gameweek 5. The break always provides a time to reflect over the squad and which direction a manager plans on taking over the upcoming weeks. With a few tasty fixtures this weekend, gameweek 5 looks to be potentially a high scoring week.
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In this GW5 FPL Guest Q&A article, we are joined by Take The Hit #FPL and LetsTalkSoccer who will be sharing their thoughts on the most popular questions ahead of gameweek 5. This week we will be discussing Arsenal assets, triple Man City attack, Laporte replacements and captaincy picks.
“With their long term fixtures, are there any Arsenal players to consider? If so, any looking essential?”
Take The Hit #FPL:
This is one of the main reasons i have activated my Wildcard this week – I can see that purely based on fixtures alone, Arsenal will prosper. We all know the best asset at Arsenal is Golden boot winner Aubameyang. He comes into my starting XI with much sacrifice to the rest of the squad but for good reason.
The man has the stats to back himself up with 13 attempts on goal, (equal with Aguero) 9 in the box (1 behind Aguero) & 5 on target (1 behind Aguero) for the season. To slap the essential sticker on him right now would be premature but he could earn that status over the next few weeks of kind fixtures & I for one will not be missing out!
Arsenal have a great run of fixtures between GW5 and GW16, The Gunners have just 1 game with an FDR above 3 (away to Man Utd in GW7, an FDR of 4).
Aubameyang is the obvious choice. He’s had an attacking return in each of his 4 games (3 goals, 1 assist). Arguably the only downside is his £11.0m price tag. But, for those managers activating their Wildcard chips, it’s a much easier proposition to get him into a squad. But, it also means that sacrifices will be needed elsewhere. Despite that, it’s still very possible to create a well-balanced team.
Lacazette is second on the team (behind Auba) in goals scored (2). The knock against him is his lack of playing time – just 145 minutes out of a possible 360 in 4 matches. And, he’s listed as 75% as of the writing of this article. A hamstring issue could see him sidelined. It’s this uncertainty that steers us away from him. However, if he can get regular starts and minutes, at £9.4m he’s a tempting option.
Pepe (also £9.4m) is an interesting option. He’s started the last 2 PL games, and looks to be a mainstay of the Arsenal starting XI moving forward. He averages 2.3 shots per game and has created 3 big chances. By watching him, it’s clear that he’s a playmaker.
His heat maps show him spending most of his time either in or just around the opponents’ box. Judging by his recent performance against Spurs, he looks ready to explode. Now could be the time to get him while his ownership is still low (just 3.7% at the time of writing this).
Then there are the value – or potential value – players: Guendouzi (£4.5m) and Ceballos (£5.7m). Guendouzi has played all but 5 of his team’s 360 minutes, and had 1 assist in that time. And that assist (against Spurs) was a lovely one. But the downside is that he plays rather far back, so unless he pushed forward more, he feels more like a filler to cover the 2 standard FPL points per game rather than someone that can deliver attacking returns on the regular.
For Ceballos, he plays more forward than Guendouzi. But it’s his lack of starts that is the turnoff. Despite the limited playing time, he has created 3 big chances and 4.5 key passes. If he is a regular starter, he could be a very inexpensive way into the Arsenal attack, especially feeding balls to Auba, Pepe and Laca.
Defensively, Maitland-Niles is an interesting one to watch. His heat maps show him playing fairly high up along the right side. The issue is that clean sheets are in limited availability for Arsenal. They had the 1 clean sheet in GW1 against Newcastle, but none since then. Their expected goals against (xGA) is 5th highest in the league at 6.52, and they’ve conceded 6 goals in 4 games.
Arsenal have enjoyed an indifferent start to the season, however have faced some tough matches against both Liverpool and Spurs. Scoring 6 goals and conceding 6 in the opening 4 matches, it has summed up the mixed start. The Gunners do have a brilliant run of fixtures, playing only 1 ‘top 6’ side in the next 12 game weeks, making their options interesting assets.
It comes at no surprise that Aubameyang leads both the goal scoring and points for Arsenal so far this season. Priced at £11.0m, he would be our top pick for those managers considering a attacking Arsenal asset. While his position rotates between playing down the middle or on the left, his gametime security is much more secure under Emery.
Outside of Aubameyang, we like the look of Ceballos (£5.7m) but at a risk to owners. He is the highest scoring Arsenal midfielder (15pts) with 2 assists and from the eye test one of their best performers. While he looks good FPL value, we would want to see more to judge whether he is a rotation risk.
The defence haven’t done enough over the matches to put any faith in them from a clean sheet perspective. Attacking full backs like Kolasinac (£5.4m) and Maitland-Niles (£5.1m) are potential options if managers don’t value clean sheets are highly.
“Triple attacking Man City? Too much, or just enough?”
Take The Hit #FPL:
I personally believe that from this point forward, being the wrong side of the international break, with the Champions League coming into play & Pep’ penchant to rotate, a triple up on the City attack will be riddled with risk. It could of course become the perfect storm with Aguero getting 90mins a game and the likes of KDB, Sterling & Silva playing week in, week out but we are talking about Pep Guardiola!
The man has a roulette wheel that he spins before every game to see who makes the starting line up, I’m talking metaphorically of course. Overkill for me, if you want 3 City, I would grab a defensive option such as Otamendi to complete the trio and spread the risk.
At the rate they’re hauling, three players might be too little! Looking at the current picture, no, a triple-up on City attackers does not seem overly aggressive – if that trio is Aguero, KDB and Sterling. They’ve contributed 12 of the team’s 14 goals, while also having 6 assists (out of the team’s 13) between them.
The trick to this, however, is their combined price: £34.2m (Aguero = £12.1m; Sterling = £12.3m; KDB = £9.8m). More than a third of the budget would be spent on just 3 players, which is a dicey proposition when trying to created a well-balanced squad.
They have a combined 113 FPL points, and with with just 1 fixture in the next 7 above an FDR of 3, the points seem like they’ll keep coming.
Budget concerns aside, the attacking triple up also means that there’s no chance of of having a City defender. The team is tied for 2nd (with Leicester City) in goals allowed (just 3), having 2 clean sheets in the first 4 games. The likes of Ederson or Zinchenko are tempting – and valuable – FPL assets. So that should be taken into consideration.
So it’s really up to the manager as to how they want to include Man City players in their squads. But, if it’s the City attacking triple, we say “we’re jealous”!
Man City have started the season in irresistible form, scoring 14 goals in the opening 4 fixtures – more than any league side. Sterling currently leads the points for midfielders, likewise Aguero for forwards. The name on everyone’s lips over the past few weeks has been De Bruyne, offering amazing FPL value at £9.8m. But should managers be owning all 3?
Although they have been in brilliant form, we think 3 might be too much. Our picks would be Sterling and De Bruyne. It’s hard to ignore Aguero’s form right now, but we think he is a good short term option, not necessarily long term. The return of Jesus would be a risk on his gametime, whereas Sterling and De Bruyne are gametime secure in our eyes.
Three could be a good strategy, but we think you need to spread the investments in other teams, and investing around £35m in three players of the same side might be a bit top-heavy.
The likes of David and Bernardo Silva do offer cheaper alternatives to the Man City attack, but are simply not in the same FPL bracket as the mentioned three.
“Best Laporte replacements?”
Take The Hit #FPL:
Replacing a player such as Laporte isn’t as easy as it may seem at first glance. The reason is that you have virtually any defender to choose from in the game with Laporte’s lofty price tag. The obvious replacement would be TAA if you have he spare £0.6m in the bank or any of the Liverpool defenders for that matter but I am still not convinced in thier defense without Alisson.
Otamendi is an absolute steal at £5.4m and will make that left centre back spot his own for the forseeable future. The risky option would be to downgrade to a cheaper alternative with great fixtures such as Lowton (£4.5m) at Burnely and upgrade elsewhere.
Laporte’s anticipated return date is still unknown, although hopefully Pep will provide an update during his press conference either Thursday or Friday. And at £6.4m, he leaves a sizable hole – and sizable opportunity. That money can go a long way in helping Laporte’s owners upgrade their teams. There are three ways to approach this:
1. Go like for like in terms of price: The most notable options are Digne (£6.1M) and Van Dijk (£6.5m). At £6.9m and £7.1m, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold are budget stretches, but obviously excellent options. Digne has the second-most FPL points for defenders (23), partially generated by 2 clean sheets and 2 assists. With 10 gameweeks comprised mostly of favorable fixtures, his defensive and attacking returns should continue. VVD, with 19 points, has 1 goal and 1 clean sheet. A GW5 home match against Newcastle looks promising for a second clean sheet. He’s dangerous on corners and set pieces too.
2. Go like for like in terms of team: Walker, Zinchenko and Otamendi look to maintain their starting roles. If that’s the case, replacing Laporte with one of his mates is an excellent option. There’s always the uncertainty of Man City squad rotation (and we mean ALWAYS!), but being in a spot where City are chasing Liverpool, it’s hard to imagine that Pep will mess with a squad that’s been working quite well.
3. Bring in a defender for a lower price and invest the savings in other areas of the squad: FPL is full of good defenders at good prices. Let’s look at players £5.6m and below. This includes points leader for defenders, PVA (£5.6m). But with unfavorable fixtures coming, including away to Spurs in GW5, his appeal is a bit less than it was earlier. Vestergaard (£5.0m) has played well and produced 22 FPL points. He offers the combination of the odd goal and odd clean sheet. Southampton’s next two fixtures look good.
Of course Lundstram at £4.2m has been labeled as this season’s Wan-Bissaka: A very forward-playing defender. In actuality, he’s a midfielder, but FPL classified him as a defender, which is great for his owners because of the points potential for clean sheets. At £5.4m,
Matip can be a cheap way into the Liverpool defensive coverage. There are several other affordable options (Mings, Pieters, Soyuncu, Keane and Coleman come to mind). Whomever is chosen, going cheaper enables managers to upgrade other parts of their squads. It seems that many managers feel compelled to replace with a player of a similar price point, but it’s not always the best decision. If a manager already has 2 or 3 premium defenders, it might be best to go cheaper and use the savings to balance out the team somewhere else.
A big blow for Man City this season has been the injury to their best centre back, Asymeric Laporte. After undergoing surgery, it looks like he will be out of action for a considerable amount of time. For owners, his re-sale price should let managers afford the majority of defenders on the market at £6.4m.
With Man City’s brilliant fixtures, we think that sticking with their assets could be a good move. Both full back positions seem under threat from rotation, with the return of Mendy and Cancelo waiting in the wings. Both Stones and Otamendi could be the best options at the club, especially being priced at £5.4m.
Our pick from the two would be Otamendi, started the last 3 league matches and has a past history for attacking returns – scoring 4 goals in the 2017/18 season. A risk considering the rotation with the likes of Fernandinho, but we think he could be a wise move for managers, especially those looking to save some money.
Outside of Man City, we still think Liverpool defenders are a good replacement. Additional funds are required for the likes of TAA (£7.1m) and Robertson (£6.9m) but their attacking potential justifies the money.
For a cheaper option with attacking potential, our pick would go to Lucas Digne. Already with 2 assists this season, he has proved he has maintained his great form from last season. At £6.1m, we think he could finish as one of the best FPL value defenders, especially with Everton’s defensive displays.
“Best GW5 captaincy pick”
Take The Hit #FPL:
GW5 looks set to be a split when it comes to a captain choice. That being said, I’m confident of most if not all the options delivering. Aguero comes out on top in my list, dependant on the availability of Jesūs, who will eat up the last 30 mins of the Norwich game if fit.
Sterling & Salah are both a dead heat for me, depending on Sterling’s performance & minutes vs Kosovo, this could change as Salah has had 2 weeks of rest. A sneaky captain pick to finish, Auba vs the whipping boys & first managerial sacking of the season, Watford. There is an outside chance that Arsenal go to town on the hornets.
Whew! This one gets harder by the day. Before the International Break, Aguero looked to be the clear choice for the GW5 captain’s armband (if you own him), followed closely by Salah and Sterling. But now, after a couple matches during the IB, things get a bit muddier. Not because there are no good options. But because there might be TOO MANY options!.
Aguero’s form has been absolute fire. 6 goals scored and 1 assist in 4 PL games. His FPL form is 10.0 out of 10.0. No international duty for Kun means he’s well rested. A well-rested Aguero is a very dangerous Aguero.
Sterling, despite the blank in GW4, has also been exceptional. Factor in his form for England – 2 goals, 3 assists – and he’s an excellent captain option.
Since his blank in GW2, Salah has produced attacking returns in each game. Playing at home to Newcastle makes his appeal even higher. And, like Kun, he’s rested over the break. So much so that he tweeted that he’s “Reenergised”. Not a good sign for Newcastle’s defense, but a great one for those that might give him the armband.
Now, fold KDB into the conversation, with his 1 goal and 3 assists in his most recent game for Belgium, plus delivering attacking returns in each of his 5 PL matches. And Kane (yes, Kane), who, despite blanking for 2 consecutive weeks, scored 1 against Arsenal in GW4, has also scored 4 goals and assisted 1 for England this break.
And then there’s also some of the other popular choices, such as Mane, Firmino and Aubameyang. And newcomers like Abraham and Haller.
It’s enough to give FPL managers fits!
But, hopefully the chart below will be of some use. It lists many of the more popular attacking players, showing their four-week FPL performances, including BPS and Form, combined with expected goals per 90 minutes and expected assists per 90. Lastly, we’ve included their historical performances against their Week 5 opponents.
Taking into account all of the data, and pairing it with the “eye test” and gut feel, Aguero seems to edge out his Man City teammates and Salah. As mentioned above, he’s well rested and can light up an opponent’s defense with the best of them.
The top two sides have arguably the best fixtures this weekend, which is going to make for an interesting captaincy split. Leaders Liverpool play at home to Steve Bruce’s Newcastle while Man City are on the road at newly-promoted Norwich.
Norwich have conceded the most goals this season, playing against the side who have scored the most goals. They have had recent defensive injuries to the side, and therefore Sterling would be our top pick for gameweek 5. Sometimes we can over analyse the stats, but we think the factors leading into this weekend are too good to ignore. Equally Aguero is a great option from the Man City side after his recent form in front of goal.
As mentioned, the likes of Salah and Mane have a brilliant home fixture and are rightfully popular captaincy picks. Both have had rest of the international break, especially in comparison to the likes of Sterling and Kane. We think that Man City will have more joy against Norwich than a potentially resolute Newcastle, but thats our personal opinion!
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