While exams are on the brain for Stag, I have the pleasure of filling in for this gameweek.
I wish that there was more to dwell upon from gameweek seven but it was one that saw most of the top captaincy options blank, Sergio Agüero got rested, and Teemu Pukki blanked again. The quicker that we move on the better, but I have a tad more to chat about first.
Liverpool got the gameweek of to a tepid start only putting one goal past Sheffield United thanks to a Gini Wijnaldum dribbler. At least double Liverpool defense owners were happy. But in the midday slate, things got a little more interesting. The stout Crystal Palace defense blanked Norwich but Luka Milivojevic got his fifth yellow of the season in Palace’s seventh game of the season. Is that some kind of record for yellow card accumulation? Bournemouth and West Ham played to a wonderful draw that that had the King and Wilson show keep going. Chelsea finally kept a clean sheet at home to Brighton and Jamie Vardy was the star of the show as Leicester put five past the Magpies.
Dealing with rotation is a repeat key topic as pep roulette hit again. Sergio Agüero and David Silva were the unlucky guys to miss out on another crooked number with the Citizens. But don’t move off of your City assets. Just surround them with reliable options for when they don’t play in their fixtures. I’ll always advocate having a playing bench and it’s definitely important if you’re running triple city in your FPL squad.
This might as well be labeled the Teemu Pukki corner as he has scored five goals and collectd two assists at home versus one goal in gameweek one away. Todd Cantwell has produced two goals and two assists at home as opposed to none on the road. Emi Buendía has three of his four assists on the road. Notice a trend, Norwich City assets are benchable in road matches. Also in this class are Crystal Palace defenders with three clean sheets in four home matches, Leicester players not named James Maddison, and Wolves defenders. The best way to deal with this is lining up rotation. In the next five gameweeks Norwich lines up as home, away, home, away, home. Burnley has a similar slate of home and away matches but Leicester City will go away, home, away, away, home. It's not perfect but looking at their opposition, pairing Cantwell or Pukki with a Leicester defender or possibly Harvey Barnes if he keeps his starting spot can deal with sitting your Canaries on the road. Sprinkle in a little John Lundstram and some Bournemouth and you’re cooking with gas.
What to do with Tottenham and Manchester United:
Two teams who have gotten off to less than stellar starts to the season are Spurs and the Red Devil's. Heading into gameweek eight both teams with Champions League aspirations are sitting sixth and 10th respectively in the table. They've had issues scoring away from home and keeping clean sheets anywhere but their players, United especially are highly owned but most aren’t living up to their price tags early in the season.
We’ll begin with Tottenham. I’m a strong advocate in divesting completely in Spurs defenders as they simply aren’t good enough to merit inclusion in your FPL team at the moment. Looking at the midfield, Heung-Min Son offers a balanced way to build a squad without Salah or Sterling and Tanguy Ndombele is enough of a two way threat to be on managers radars. Among all the struggles, Harry Kane is still King with 44 points on the season, but Aubameyang is the better option in his price bracket.
Looking at Manchester United, the picture is much bleaker. Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are still in the top 10 most selected defenders while being 39th (maguire) and 46th (Wan-Bissaka) highest scoring defenders in FPL. I cannot stress how quickly you should sell them from your squad if you own them (this includes David De Gea as well). Danial James was a wonderful budget midfielder for a bit but he seems to be hitting a wall at this point in the season. I can understand holding him, but it may be best to sell looking at how many options are floating around the 6.5 range. Marcus Rashford is another gut who hasn’t been bad with 36 points on the season but Callum Wilson is a better option in his price bracket. If I’m on a wildcard today, it wouldn’t include a United asset.
Watch Watford Moving Forward:
I’m not ready to scream from the heavens that the Hornets are chock full of FPL assets but the underlying numbers show that there is value to be had in the attack. Averaging 11.3 key passes per game, Watford ranks fourth behind Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. Where the issue lies is that while Watford takes 15 shots per game only 4.3 are on target. But with Danny Welbeck finally fit, there is an opportunity to capitalize on chances that Gerard Deulofeu has been missing so far. It’s something worth watching.
Mo Salah (Leicester H)
Salah has a tough matchup versus Leicester City but that’s also why I’m leading with him for captaincy picks this week. Liverpool won’t have the luxury to sit back versus the Foxes and while Salah had to play the full game in a nail-biter midweek versus Red Bull Salzburg he will still start this one. Looking at games this season, when Liverpool scores more than two goals, Salah scores nine or more points (and when he didn’t he still got a return). If Liverpool wants to beat Leicester City, more than two goals will be needed leading to a haul from Salah.
Sergio Agüero (Wolverhampton H):
The only real knock to Aguero here is possible rotation but I also don’t see him missing out on back to back Premier League matches. For safety’s sake I would go with Raheem Sterling if I owned him but I'm backing Aguero since I own him. Wolverhampton just got their first win of the season last week versus Watford and they did it in a less than convincing fashion. Also, needing to rotate the squad after a Europa League win over Besiktas, a trip to the Etihad is not what the doctor ordered. Expect another crooked number from Manchester City, even if Kevin De Bruyne doesn't feature, making Sterling/ Aguero very good captaincy options.
Teemu Pukki (Aston Villa H)
I’ve gone over Pukki’s home numbers and if you’re looking for a differential captaincy option this week, look no further than Pukki. Aston Villa are allowing a whopping 17.3 shots per game which is tied for second with Norwich City and behind arsenal who allow 18 per game. If you only look at Villa's away matches, that number jumps to 24.7 shots per game. You give a clinical striker like Pukki multiple chances and he will find the back of the net, likely more than once at that.