Double Gameweek 22 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) is almost upon us, which gives us an opportunity to have a look at some more differential options.
This time, we’ve selected low-owned picks at Manchester United, Chelsea and Aston Villa, who we think have the potential to make an impact.
As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.
- FPL ownership: 3.3%
- Price: £7.3m
- GW22-26 fixtures: CRY + LEE | lee | LEI | BRE (potential blank) | liv
Antony (£7.3m) has struggled to adapt in his first season at Manchester United but has shown improvement in recent matches.
The 22-year-old impressed against Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup semi-final, taking the shot from which Wout Weghorst (£6.0m) scored. He almost found the net himself, only to be denied by Wayne Hennessey (£3.9m). It was a similar story against Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday when he went close in the first half before creating the opener just after the break.
The standard of opposition, of course, should be taken into account, but you’d expect United to exact similar control over Crystal Palace and Leeds United, both of whom visit Old Trafford in Double Gameweek 22. In both matches, there is real assist potential for Antony. That’s because both opponents have allowed 18 chances to be created from their left flank since the restart, at least four more than any other side.
As for Man Utd, Erik ten Hag’s troops are currently sixth-best in the league for expected goals (xG) in 2022/23, with eight scored in their last three home matches. In that time, they have created 11 Opta-defined ‘big chances’.
A move for Antony ahead of Double Gameweek 22 does carry some risk, especially with Alejandro Garnacho (£4.2m) and Jadon Sancho (£7.1m) competing for minutes. However, there is plenty of upside too if he can build on his recent displays.
- FPL ownership: 2.2%
- Price: £7.0m
- GW22-26 fixtures: FUL | whu | SOU | tot | LEE
Mykhailo Mudryk (£7.0m) hit the ground running on his debut at Anfield in Gameweek 21, as he appeared off the bench 10 minutes into the second half.
In an eye-catching cameo, the former Shakhtar Donetsk winger created two big chances for his teammates and probably should have converted a pair of Hakim Ziyech (£5.5m) crosses at the back post.
Once settled, you’d expect him to become more clinical, having arrived at Stamford Bridge on the back of 10 goals and nine assists across all competitions this season.
Chelsea’s attack has underwhelmed under Graham Potter, scoring 12 goals in 13 Premier League games, but the arrivals of Mudryk, Joao Felix (£7.5m) and Noni Madueke (£5.5m) can help form a more dynamic frontline. The former two have certainly laid down a marker, impressing despite limited time on the pitch.
“They are top players. Sometimes as coaches, we can think we turn these guys into top players, but they are top players. Joao [Felix] and Mudryk, they understand the game and football. Then it’s just about helping them, fine-tuning it a little bit, the more we can get them into better situations the better it is for us and them. The signs are positive.” – Graham Potter
The Blues’ upcoming schedule further boosts Mudryk’s appeal. They face Fulham on Friday in Gameweek 22’s opening match, before they meet two of the current bottom three clubs: West Ham United and Southampton. In those clashes, Mudryk could potentially come up against Kenny Tete (£4.4m), Vladimir Coufal (£4.1m) and Lyanco (£4.4m), situations you’d expect him to thrive in.
Given those fixtures, which importantly won’t be affected by blanks, Mudryk could be a decent mid-price punt.
One thing that definitely warrants mention, however, is a potential off-the-field issue. The Football Association have written to Mudryk and Chelsea about his use of a racial slur in a past social media post, so it remains to be seen how that pans out over the coming weeks. Jarrod Bowen was previously reprimanded for a similar offence.
- FPL ownership: 4.0%
- Price: £4.5m
- GW22-26 fixtures: LEI | mci | ARS | eve | CRY
Under Unai Emery, Leon Bailey (£4.5m) has established himself as one of Aston Villa’s main attacking threats.
The 25-year-old has started all five matches since the Premier League resumed, a period that has seen him rack up 14 shots, more than any other Villa player. In fact, among all FPL midfielders, only Martin Odegaard (£6.9m), Marcus Rashford (£7.2m) and Gabriel Martinelli (£6.7m) have attempted more.
In that time, he’s scored just one goal and spurned several good opportunities, which is reflected in his -0.96 xG delta.
However, when you consider his £4.5m price tag, plus the fact Danny Ings (£6.4m) has been sold, Bailey feels like an excellent enabler for the second half of the season.
In Emery’s 4-4-2, Bailey is likely to continue playing up front alongside Ollie Watkins (£7.2m), with Jhon Duran (£5.5m) and Bertrand Traore acting as impact subs, at least for now.
As for Villa, they went unbeaten through January, beating Tottenham Hotspur, Leeds and Southampton and drawing with Wolves. Now, they meet a Leicester City side on Saturday who are without a clean sheet in their last five matches, conceding at least twice on four of those occasions.
Villa also have guaranteed fixtures in Blank Gameweeks 25, 28 and 32, if you’re long-term planning.
Bailey has lots of potential and could now be the pick of the budget midfielders.