FPL Focal previews the weekend’s Fantasy Premier League (FPL) action, taking a look at who the bookies think are best bets for goals and clean sheets as well as monitoring the latest transfer trends.
Make sure to also check out G-Whizz’s weekly Hot Topic on fixture and clean sheet odds, which also looks back at how the bookmakers performed in the previous Gameweek.
GAMEWEEK 9: GOALSCORER ODDS
The anytime goalscorer odds are always based on the assumption that the player in question starts – which is sometimes not the case.
For example, it’s unclear whether Jamie Vardy (£9.2m) will get a recall on Monday, having been benched for the last two Leicester City matches. When he’s in the team he can be a great pick but he looks like one to avoid given recent team selections.
One player who is a shoo-in to feature so long as he is fit, Erling Haaland (£12.1m), is first in the above graphic, having been given a 55% chance of scoring in the Manchester derby. He sits top of the league for expected goals (xG) with 6.5. To provide some context, Harry Kane (£11.4m) in second with 4.7.
Mohamed Salah (£12.9m) is in second with a 40.5% chance of scoring, and he represents a genuine alternative captain to Haaland this week. He was on the scoresheet over the international break for Egypt, and of course, has the advantage over Haaland in that he gets an extra point per goal and for a clean sheet.
Jurgen Klopp returns from the break with a welcome dilemma or two in his starting XI after an injury-affected opening month, with Diogo Jota (£8.9m) and Darwin Nunez (£8.9m) – fifth and fourth in the anytime goalscorer list above – back available. Nunez would perhaps be the favourite to start through the middle but Jota could potentially get a look-in down the left flank given Luis Diaz‘s (£8.2m) late return from international duty.
The odds-makers think that Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.9m) has a 35.5% chance of scoring against Newcastle, meanwhile. He was absolutely flying for Serbia over the break, scoring a hat-trick against Sweden and a goal against Norway. He was spotted with ice around his foot after the game, it should be said, so all eyes and ears will be on Marco Silva on Friday afternoon to confirm whether this was just a knock.
Ivan Toney (£7.3m) has been given a 34% chance of finding the net against Bournemouth; as far as Alexander Isak (£7.1m) replacements go, you’d say it’s Mitrovic, Toney and Dominic Solanke (£5.7m) in that order. Gabriel Jesus (£8.0m) has a 34% chance of scoring in the north London derby, while Harry Kane (£11.4m) has been given a 31.5% chance in the same game.
GAMEWEEK 9: CLEAN SHEET ODDS
Onto the clean sheet odds and Liverpool are top for Gameweek 9 with a 47% chance of shutting out the opposition. The return of Joel Matip (£5.9m), Thiago Alcantara (£5.2m) and Jordan Henderson (£5.3m) should hopefully correlate to an improvement both defensively and offensively.
The usually reliable Manchester City are second in the above list (42%) and with Anthony Martial (£6.9m) and Marcus Rashford (£6.6m) likely out of the derby, that could be further good news for those who own City’s defensive assets.
Graham Potter’s first league game comes with a 37.5% chance of a clean sheet, so say the bookies, on the road at Crystal Palace. West Ham United are at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers with the same odds; this season West Ham and Wolves are the two sides who have scored the fewest goals (three each). In terms of underlying numbers, Wolves are fourth-worst for xG, so players like Kurt Zouma (£4.5m) or perhaps even Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) aren’t the worst shout on a Wildcard.
Interestingly, Leicester are ahead of Newcastle, which may present a form-over-fixtures dilemma for the many managers who have Nick Pope (£5.2m) paired with Danny Ward (£4.0m) or Daniel Iversen (£3.9m).
Frank Lampard has confirmed that the in-form Jordan Pickford (£4.5m) is back for this weekend, which should help Everton’s chances of a clean sheet away at goal-shy Southampton. No side has conceded more shots in the box than Everton this season, however.
It looks like a week to bench Neco Williams (£4.1m) unless you’re confident of an attacking return, while away fixtures at Anfield and the Etihad see Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United prop up the table above.
GAMEWEEK 9: MOST TRANSFERS IN
James Maddison (£8.0m) tops the list of most-bought players in Gameweek 9, attracting well over 330,000 new owners. Despite Leicester’s woes and them sitting bottom of the Premier League, Maddison has still put up 29 points from three goals and one assist. If the Foxes can find their stride over the next five matches, who knows what he’s capable of. We’ve spoken lots about Toney and he’s the second most transferred in player heading into Gameweek 9, with over 300,000 managers – many of them no doubt former Isak owners – picking him up.
William Saliba‘s (£4.9m) up there too but it seems the wrong week to be investing in the Arsenal defence, as matches against Spurs, Liverpool and Leeds precede a Blank Gameweek. Gameweek 13 would seem to be the ideal time to look at the Arsenal defence again.
The talismanic Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m) is another with excellent fixtures on the horizon and he’s even on penalty-taking duties for Palace, although he does have a patchy record from the spot.
Son Heung-min (£11.4m) appears in the top 10 off the back of his Gameweek 8 hat-trick. He’s got a very good record against Arsenal, too: in his last six derbies, he has four goals and four assists to his name.
Alexis Mac Allister (£5.6m) is one to avoid, despite the demand. Penalty-taking duties are a boon but his non-penalty xG is a poor 0.44 this season, highlighting his lack of threat from open play. New boss Roberto De Zerbi may line up with a 4-2-3-1, as well, which may see Mac Allister continuing to play deep.
GAMEWEEK 9: MOST TRANSFERS OUT
Onto the most transferred-out players and it’s Gabriel Jesus (£8.0m) who heads this list with just under 300,000 managers sales. He’s not done a whole lot wrong: he’s the fifth-highest-scoring forward with seven attacking returns from as many games. That said, both Toney and Mitrovic have outscored him and are cheaper, so it’s an understandable time to sell after factoring in the fixtures, the Gameweek 12 blank and the fact that he is one booking away from a ban.
Salah’s in second with over 200,000 sales. This one has the potential to backfire with a good-looking home fixture to Brighton, and he was in goalscoring mood over the international break before being given Egypt’s second friendly off to return to Liverpool and focus on Gameweek 9.
Likewise, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m) is the most-sold defender – but he is one to consider buying, if anything. In my case, there’s no route to him this week but in Gameweek 11 or 12, he’ll join the team along with Salah.
We found out this week that Emile Smith Rowe (£5.6m) has had surgery, which will put him out until December. That means that there’s a big lack of competition for Gabriel Martinelli‘s (£6.6m) spot and despite the fixtures he feels like a hold, particularly considering the price rises many have benefitted from while owning.
That wraps up this episode of The Preview, thanks for reading!