Gameweek 15 was highlighted many weeks ago as the opportunity for rotation by Premier League managers. And for FPL managers, a potential nightmare GW where squad benches will be needed. One thing that managers can’t predict is the injury to one of their most hopeful point scorers for the week.
Roll up Marko Arnautovic, who for many FPL owners, had this match touted as one for him to score big. West Ham facing Cardiff at home always had the opportunity for goals from a West Ham perspective, and they didn’t fail winning 3-1.
The horror for the 1.3 million FPL managers that own him, was to see him not only be yellow carded, but substituted after 30 minutes with a hamstring injury. 0 points and a yellow flag, an uphill battle become even harder.
And with GW15 still only halfway through, managers now have to plan ahead for their GW16 transfers, with the deadline fast approaching – 11:30am Saturday.
While Arnautovic was set for a brilliant run of fixtures over the Christmas period, it now seems that managers have to look for other alternatives to the Austrian. We have listed the best replacements for Arnautovic, considering both similarly priced players and budget options.
Before deciding on replacing Arnautovic, it is important to monitor the news of his injury before rushing to anything. This applies to any surprise transfers that you have to make, and we would suggest tracking the price movement of the player in question, and identifying when their price is dropping.
That will indicate how long you have to decide before you begin to lose value in the player. Likewise, its worth monitoring the players who may be the replacement, as some managers will jump on bandwagons and increase the price, and in some cases if you do not watch, can get priced out early on.
With that all being said, here are some of the options you should consider:
Callum Wilson (£6.9m)
Wilson has been the best value FPL player of the season, currently leading the forwards points on 92. He has been in brilliant form throughout the season, and his recent form his included 2 goals and 1 assist in his last 2 matches. His goal last night took his tally to 8 goals this season, and even more impressively is his 8 FPL assists to match.
He is producing some great stats, averaging 2.44 shots/90 and 1.43 key passes/90. An interesting observation is his expected goals being currently 8.09, indicating that he is performing at a sustainable level, a great sign for strikers.
Priced at £6.9m, it is predicted that his value will increase before the GW16 deadline. As mentioned before, tracking these price rises/falls are essential to ensure you not any buy the player at a cheaper price, but not be able to afford him if he rises.
Here are his fixtures until the new year match:
The matches are a real mixed bag, playing 3 of the top 6 over this period – 2 of which are away. Wilson has proved that he can score against the big teams, scoring a few weeks ago against league leaders Man City.
We think that Wilson’s value was better prior to these fixtures, however it is hard to ignore the players form and how well the team are playing. Also, Wilson’s ownership is now over 38% making him a rank killer for any managers that do not own the forward.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.6m)
Mitrovic started the season in great goal scoring form, scoring 5 goals in the first 6 matches. However, his goal scoring reflected the teams performances and went 6 GW’s without a goal from GW7.
The new appointment of Ranieri sparked both the player and team into life, winning their first match since GW3, on his arrival. Mitrovic scored 2 goals, helping Fulham win 3-2 against Southampton.
Fulham face 3 great home matches between now and the new years match, where 5 of Mitrovic’s 7 goals have been scored.
Currently priced at £6.6m, the transfer of Mitrovic would leave some money in the bank to strengthen other areas in your squads. It’s yet to be seen whether Fulham will be successful under Ranieri, but its clear that his philosophy is to get the ball forward as quick as possible, similar to his reign at Leicester.
Although Mitrovic isn’t playing in a team at the level of Bournemouth, Fulham do have some great fixtures that he could score goals in. We personally think that he would be a good transfer from Arnie, and being the talisman at the club you would expect his rotation to be minimal over the Christmas period.
Owned by 18% of FPL managers, he is more of a differential than Wilson, but for those wanting to chase in their mini-leagues he could be the perfect player over December to own.
One thing to consider with Mitrovic is the 4 yellow cards that he has accumulated this season. 5 yellow cards results in a one match ban, but the cards are cleared after December 31st. Mitrovic has 5 matches until this date, so if you plan on bringing him in, consider the possibility of him having a one match ban.
West Ham Alternative
While Arnautovic is injured, it shouldn’t be ignored the great fixtures that West Ham still face over the Christmas period. It isn’t clear who the direct replacement will be in the forward positon, with a number of players in contention for a starting place. These include Chicharito (£6.2m), Lucas Perez (£6.2m) and the returning Andy Carroll. While Chicharito scored 2 goals in GW14, and Perez scored 2 goals from the bench last night, we don’t see enough value in these options.
Instead, if you haven’t already the wise move would be to own Hammers midfielder Anderson (£7.1m) over this period. With the absence of Arnautovic, although it will negatively affect the team, the attacking responsibilities will be more on the shoulders of the Brazilian. If managers have another free transfer and are looking for a mid-priced midfielder, than Anderson could be a great option with the form and fixtures.
Raul Jimenez (£6.0m)
The cheapest of the options, Jimenez, makes his case as a potential budget striker replacement. Having scored 3 goals and assisted 6, he has performed well in a declining Wolves side that offered so much potential at the start of the season.
Having not won a match since GW8, the only attacking player that has done well since then is Jimenez. He has scored 1 goal and assisted 3 since then, reflecting the rut that they currerntly find themselves in. Although they haven’t been in great form, they do have some good fixtures including 3 bottom half teams.
Jimenez is averaging 3.3 shots/90, and 1.54 key passes/90. While he is continuing to be a goal threat, it is the teams general performances that should be the worry. While Fulham are bottom of the league, the new manager motivation is something that could rejuvenate the team.
We think that Jimenez isn’t a prority move, especially when his ownership (14%) is even lower than Mitrovic’s. He provides a bigger differential option, but we think that is you want to go for this route, then Mitrovic is the better of the two over the next month.
While Mitrovic seems to have the best fixtures over Christmas, managers have to assess the current situation of their squads. We haven’t mentioned premium options in this article, but if you have money in the bank to upgrade Arnie to a Lacazette or Firmino then that is probably the best move to make.
However, make sure that the move to a premium striker doesn’t result in the ownership of a non-playing player. As this game week has proven, having a 15 man playing squad is essential over a busy fixture schedule, with rotations regular.
Of the alternatives mentioned, our pick would be Wilson due to the form and ownership. He has proved that he can score against the big teams and more importantly Bournemouth can match these ‘big 6’ for large amounts of a game.
If FPL managers are seeking a differential pick and are happy to take more of a risk, then Mitrovic could prove to be a great option. With some good fixtures and the new manager motivation, Fulham could pick up some valuable points and in turn opportunity for Mitrovic to score points.
Thanks for taking the time to read our article, we hope that it has helped in picking your replacements. If you have any questions or advice to offer on the topic, let us know on Twitter!
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