Throughout the 2022/23 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) season, our stellar team of Pro Pundits, Hall of Famers and guest contributors will be sharing their thoughts and own transfer plans.
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Here, seven-time top 10k finisher Zophar takes some questions from the Fantasy community and reveals his own team plans for Gameweek 6.
Gameweek 5 was a real blockbuster. There was not much of the feared ‘r’ word (rotation) in midweek but with shorter turnarounds for most teams, I expect that to change at the weekend with the UEFA Champions League kicking off the week after.
In this piece, I delve into some of the topics that FPL managers are wrestling with ahead of Gameweek 6.
Q. What to do with Andrew Robertson?
A. Injuries at midfield and centre-back have meant that Liverpool do not look the same resolute defensive outfit as last season and as a result, teams have started having a go at them rather than sitting back. There has been a significant tactical shift in Andrew Robertson’s (£6.8m) role as well: rather than staying wide and creating chances, he has been used as a late runner in the box, which has increased his goal threat but completely killed off his chance creation numbers. He has supplied just six chances compared to Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s (£7.5m) 12, and not a single big chance was amongst that figure. I think moving him on for a budget defender such as Diogo Dalot (£4.4m) or Neco Williams (£4.1m) and shifting the funds to midfield is a viable option with several budget picks delivering.
Q: Is the Luis Diaz to Darwin Nunez switch a good idea?
A: Darwin Nunez (£8.9m) completely bossed the attacking numbers in the limited minutes he has featured for this season and he looked to be the focal point of the Liverpool attack. Luis Diaz (£8.2m) is a great player but when Darwin returns again, the gameplan will be to supply the Uruguayan – which will naturally reduce the burden on Diaz to score goals. I think it’s a great move this weekend and I reckon Darwin is one of the standout captaincy picks. He will be looking to redeem himself after his silly red card against Palace and a fixture against the local rivals is a great opportunity to do so.
Q: Best captain for Gameweek 6? Will Erling Haaland play with a massive ‘effective ownership’ (EO) or is this the week to move the armband off him?
A: This is the question that several FPL managers, including myself, are asking this week. Pep Guardiola forewarned us that Erling Haaland (£11.9m) would not play when there are games every three days yet started him at home to Nottingham Forest. It’s not like Haaland is having to put a massive shift in during these games, with Manchester City hogging a large share of the possession, so there’s not a big fatigue factor as such.
Now the difference here is that City have only two days of recovery for Aston Villa compared to the three they had for Forest and they then have a Champions League game on Tuesday, with Spurs the weekend after. It’s pretty likely that Haaland starts both games next week so the fixture to give him the rest, especially keeping in mind the two consecutive starts previously, does look like Villa.
Pep Guardiola benched Kevin De Bruyne (£12.2m) in the last game with a view to starting him against Villa and that to me sort of signposts that he might look to bench Haaland this weekend. This is complete guesswork from my end; Haaland could still start and even if he doesn’t, he has hat-trick potential even in a 30-minute appearance. He will likely be the high ‘EO’ captain pick this week but I think I am going to back Mohamed Salah (£13.0m). My answer to this could well change after the press conferences later today though.
Q: Wesley Fofana: does he start for Chelsea? Is he a good option or even just a value option if he does?
A: The right-sided centre-back position has been a problem for Chelsea. Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.0m) looks to have declined massively and has been at fault on numerous occasions already, while playing Reece James (£6.1m) in there takes out Chelsea’s most creative player from his best position – and this is something Thomas Tuchel is definitely conscious of.
I think Wesley Fofana (£4.4m) slots into the team straight away given Chelsea’s recent defensive woes and I think he could be a great value option indeed. I would just like to wait a few games till the Blues can sort out their midfield and shape, which have been in disarray the last few games.
Q: Are there better options than Gabriel Jesus at a lower price?
A: There are several viable forward options this season, which makes a refreshing change from the last campaign. Nunez is back from suspension and the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.8m), Ivan Toney (£7.1m), Alexander Isak (£7.0m) etc are firing as well. However, Arsenal are consistently posting high expected goal (xG) numbers and their fixture run leading up to the international break is still great, with games against Manchester United, Everton and Brentford.
I think the time to move off Gabriel Jesus (£8.2m) is after the break, when they play Spurs, City and Liverpool in the space of four Gameweeks. The risk is just too high right now of missing out on a Jesus haul.
Q: With Ivan Perisic playing a full 90 minutes on Wednesday, a rest could be on the cards v Fulham. Then his Premier League games are Man City and Leicester, so is transferring him out for Reece James a good move? I could then possibly get him back on a Wildcard.
A: Like Haaland, Ivan Perisic (£5.6m) has started both games this week but unlike the Norwegian, he played the entire 90 minutes in midweek, which puts a bigger question mark over his start this weekend. Spurs play Marseille in the Champions League on Wednesday and Man City after that, games in which the Croatian is expected to start.
The home fixture against Fulham is definitely the ‘easiest’ on paper which would make me guess that Ryan Sessegnon (£4.5m) gets the nod. With the fixture at the Etihad in the following Gameweek in mind, I think I will be moving Perisic on this week and reassess if I will be getting him in after the international break, when I likely will Wildcard.
My Gameweek 6 team and transfers
Thanks for reading and good luck!