The Champions League group stages may have taken the headlines over the past few days but last weekend is still fresh in the memory of FPL managers. Has the result at Carrow Road altered your best laid plans? Dave Black steps into the world of rotation, injuries and playing out from the back to bring you some FPL guidance ahead of Gameweek 6.
Things are actually starting to show signs of taking shape despite that result at Norwich. Chelsea have a striker scoring goals again, Liverpool’s front three look to be on speaking terms and Sergio Aguero has scored in every game to date. There’s been a distinct lack of clean sheets which suggests spending big on the defence is futile whilst budget figures like Mason Mount, Todd Cantwell and Ashley Barnes have been regularly in the points.
As this is the case, we’re coming into peak wildcard territory. You get two a season and the first one needs to be used by the end of December, so you may as well maximise it before we get into the December madness of squad rotation. With that in mind, this week we’re looking at each position and the top performers so far.
There are two top goalkeepers, one is FPL gold whilst the other may surprise you. David De Gea (£5.6m) has been keeping Man Utd in games for a number of years now and despite some high profile mistakes in recent times. He’s pricey though and Man Utd are about to embark on a tough run of games including Arsenal and Liverpool. Tied with De Gea on 24 points is Angus Gunn (£4.5m). Gunn has gone under the radar somewhat but a 9 point haul away at Sheffield United last weekend has catapulted him up the table. A home game with Bournemouth is followed up by games with Tottenham and Chelsea though, so there is only really price in Gunn’s favour.Embed from Getty Images
With clean sheets at a premium, it makes sense to not go overboard on a goalkeeper so although Rui Patricio (£5.1m) and Fabianski (£5m) are only slightly behind on points I prefer to look for somebody similar in price to Gunn. Tom Heaton (£4.5m) has 2 clean sheets out of 3 at home whilst Nick Pope (4.6m) can also boast 18 points. The two have fixtures that dovetail nicely and for a combined £9.1m, you’ll be hard pushed to find better value.
If you can guess the top scoring defender so far without looking then fair play to you. Like his team mate Angus Gunn, Jannik Vestergaard (£5.1m) has racked up a surprising amount of points so far. 16 of his 27 points have come in the last two matches but as he is only 5.6% owned, he could be a differential pick. At least, unlike Gunn, if his team have tough fixtures he could still be a goal threat from set pieces despite Southampton’s tricky upcoming games. A pair of attacking full backs are next and less surprising on the list. Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.1m) and Lucas Digne (£6.2m) both offer a threat from open play as well as set pieces and are worth the extra outlay despite disappointing outings last week.Embed from Getty Images
Once again it is Aston Villa who provide the low-cost value, with Mings (£4.6m) and Engels (£4.5m) scoring 21 and 20 points respectively. Ainsley Maitland-Niles (£5.1m) is cheap for a top 6 defender but we’ve seen how brittle Arsenal can be, plus his position may come under threat from the returning Bellerin in the coming weeks. The out of position John Lundstram (£4.3m) is a cheap option but reality might be about to bite for Sheffield United with a tough set of games on the horizon. Patrick van Aanholt (£5.6m) offers a goal threat from left back for Crystal Palace so it is no surprise to see he is as high as 3rd in the overall points table for defenders – home games with Wolves and Norwich to come in consecutive weeks may see his 11.7% ownership increase further.
Salah, Mane and Sterling are all classed as midfielders yet play more or less as forwards, so it’s no surprise they fill the top three positions. Assist king Kevin De Bruyne is only 2 points behind Sterling now but also £2.5m cheaper – perhaps something to consider on a wildcard. Mason Mount (£6.5m) was close to being the first name in everybody’s team but his midweek injury is being assessed. 234,767 managers who already brought him in will be hoping it is not serious.Embed from Getty Images
As we always say though, you can’t possibly own them all so the real success comes in finding a good supporting cast. Todd Cantwell (£4.9m) at Norwich looks a great choice for 4th or 5th midfielder whilst Eric Lamela (£6.1m) represents a top four option. He may have 26 points already but his playing time may be limited with the return of Dele Alli. Daniel James (£6.2m) is just behind him on 23 points and his owners will be hoping he can continue his good goalscoring start to Premier League life.
Not many people would have expected Teemu Pukki (£7.1m) to be top of this table after 5 games but with 49 points, he finds himself three ahead of Aguero and £5m cheaper. It’s become a matter of principle for some as Pukki started at £6.5m and it’s getting to the stage where you have to believe this is more than a purple patch. The same can be said for Tammy Abraham (£7.3m) who has nailed down the starting place at Chelsea and is in the form of his life. His 42 points have him third in the list and once Chelsea have this weekend’s game against Liverpool out of the way, the fixture list looks a lot kinder. Elsewhere, the biggest disappointment is that Harry Kane has only managed 28 points so far and not really justified his £11m price tag. Callum Wilson (£7.8m) is looking a safer bet right now whilst Aubameyang is the same price and has 11 more points. Having the right combination and spread across the midfield and attack will be ultimately what decides your fate!
Saleem has regained the lead! Some similar scores across the top five but Saleem’s front three scored 38 points between them which made all the difference. It can all change pretty quickly at this stage of the season so don’t be too discouraged if, like me, you aren’t anywhere near troubling the below screenshot.
That’s all for this week. The deadline is Friday 20th September at 7pm ahead of Southampton vs Bournemouth so don’t forget! Good luck!
You can follow Dave on Twitter @CM9798