The Gameweek 6 post-mortem continues as we pick out the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from three more of Saturday’s matches.
Another win for the reigning champions, Luton Town’s Double Gameweek 7 warm-up and a stalemate at Selhurst Park are the focus here.
Any stats you see in this piece are taken from our Premium Members Area, where you can find Opta data on each and every Premier League game.
PEP TO REST KEY PLAYERS
There were some welcome quotes for owners of Manchester City assets ahead of the midweek EFL Cup tie against Newcastle United.
Pep Guardiola promised to rest some players for Wednesday’s clash with the Magpies, even threatening to discard the turtleneck and throw on a City shirt himself.
“We’ll see how many players we’ll have available [for Newcastle]. It will be good for Jack [Grealish] to take minutes, will be good for Rodri. Of course, some players have a lot of minutes, they are not going to play against Newcastle. That’s for sure.
“Carabao Cup is perfect when you are in the beginning of the season because the games at the beginning of the season you have all the squad, deep squad, for the guys that don’t play regularly, they have to play the minutes. That’s perfect.
“But we have a lot of injuries, I’m not going to waste one percent of energy for the Carabao Cup, like Kyle Walker for example, like Ruben [Dias], who have played 90 minutes for the national team, 90 minutes, because they are exhausted already. And we cannot lose it.
“That’s why we’re going to play with the guys who need it, maybe from the Academy, maybe if my back is getting better, [I can play] maybe a few minutes. We’ll see.” – Pep Guardiola
Erling Haaland (£14.1m) would of course be a candidate for minute management, which does raise the question over whether Julian Alvarez (£7.0m) will be one of the regulars who doesn’t have the luxury of a midweek rest.
The likelihood of the Argentina international starting on Wednesday was perhaps raised given that he was an early withdrawal against Nottingham Forest.
Alvarez was transferred in by almost 1.4 million FPL managers ahead of Saturday, and we all know what happened next.
Rodri’s (£5.7m) 46th-minute red card led to first Jeremy Doku (£6.5m) and then Alvarez being hooked before the hour mark, as Guardiola turned to more defensive options to see out a 2-0 win.
One to chalk up to misfortune for Alvarez’s owners, then, who would at least be encouraged to see him finish with a game-high four shots despite the limited minutes. One goalbound effort from six yards was blocked, while he also tested Matt Turner (£4.0m) with yet another direct free-kick.
Rodri’s upcoming absence perhaps dents City’s clean-sheet prospects, especially against Arsenal in Gameweek 8, but Mateo Kovacic (£4.9m) is on the cusp of a return, and he was mentioned as a possible understudy for Rodri upon his signing.
WALKER ON HIS ADVANCED ROLE
Phil Foden (£7.6m) and Haaland did the damage at the Etihad, the latter doing his best to keep the Golden Boot race marginally interesting by wasting another big chance – his ninth such spurned opportunity of the season.
Foden has now returned in all three of his home appearances this season, although this goal came from his only shot of the match.
Foden’s bespoke role on the right flank, in which he drifts infield rather than hugs the touchline, has meant that Kyle Walker (£5.3m) is now getting forward much more from full-back.
Walker assisted Foden’s strike with a cut-back from the byline.
He’s top among FPL defenders for final-third touches in 2023/24, while his chances created total of eight is already more than what he managed in the whole of last season.
“It’s a different role that I’m playing this season – I’m a little bit higher up the field where I can go in and get some assists and goals.
“It’s the attacking power we’ve got where I’m wide and I come in and make the deep runs. Hopefully, I can keep producing the level of performances I have done.” – Kyle Walker
There’s very little to take away from Forest’s display as this expected defeat (despite the man advantage) isn’t going to define their season and much easier tests await.
Turner kept his place between the sticks, while fans of a budget defender may have spotted Nuno Tavares (£4.0m) lining up at left wing-back. A hat-trick of horrors followed, however, as he conceded two goals, picked up a booking and departed before half-time having sustained a groin injury.
Carlton Morris (£5.5m) is the most-bought forward of Gameweek 7 at present, as another outbreak of Double Gameweek fever gets set to infect our brains.
Morris made it three attacking returns in five matches with a goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
Once again the Luton Town forward owed his Fantasy points to penalty-taking responsibilities rather than an open-play contribution.
Spot-kick duty is obviously a major boon; it’d be ludicrous to suggest otherwise. But it’s still worth pointing out that two of Morris’s three ‘big chances’ in 2023/24 have come from the penalty spot.
Gameweek 6 was, at least, Luton’s best attacking performance of the season. Even before Jeanricner Bellegarde (£5.0m) saw red for a kick, the Hatters were on top of their visitors.
Morris rattled the upright with a superb effort from distance and forced Jose Sa (£5.0m) into a decent save, while the hosts delivered a whopping 44 crosses on Saturday – almost twice as many as any other team in Gameweek 6. That’s encouraging for Morris: around a third of his efforts as a Luton player have come from his head.
Left-winger Chiedozie Ogbene (£4.9m) was excellent on his first league start of the campaign, while wing-back Alfie Doughty (£4.4m) was again on set-piece duty. Between the two of them, they supplied Luton with nine chances.
“Last week [against Fulham] we were one thing, but I thought we played really well and should have got something from the game.
“Today I’m sitting here now saying we’ve improved again and should have won, rather than got something from the game, we got something from the game, but we should have won.” – Rob Edwards
The budget-friendly Amari’i Bell (£4.0m) and Issa Kabore (£4.0m), Luton’s most-owned players in FPL, both kept their places. Bell was back at centre-half after his surprise stint at left wing-back in Gameweek 5, while Kabore was again stationed on the right flank. Kabore followed up his promising, unrewarded display against Fulham with the assist for Morris’s penalty.
Pedro Neto (£5.6m) ensured that Kabore and his fellow Luton defenders would again end without a clean sheet, scoring a superb individual effort against the run of play.
He’s played a part in five of Wolves’ six goals this season, scoring one and assisting four.
Above: Midfielders sorted by % Fantasy goal involvement (FGI) when they’ve been on the pitch (min. two goal involvements)
Wolves are a tricky team to figure out. Second-best against lowly Luton (even before the red card) and Everton, they’ve saved their best performances for matches against Liverpool and Manchester United.
The visitors didn’t have a single shot before Bellegarde was sent off, going on to register just three in total.
It’s Manchester City up next for Gary O’Neil’s side.
EDOUARD INJURY UPDATE
FPL’s third-highest-scoring forward is a concern for Gameweek 7 after limping out of Crystal Palace’s goalless draw with Fulham on Saturday.
Odsonne Edouard (£5.6m) couldn’t add to the four goals he’d scored already in 2023/24, with gilt-edged chances limited at Selhurst Park.
He was then replaced in the dying stages of the game and an assessment will be needed for a suspected hamstring injury.
“I can’t attack the Carabao Cup as I intended to do because I don’t have any players. I’m worried about Edouard’s hamstring. At the moment when I find out a player is out for three weeks, I’m relieved it’s not three months.” – Roy Hodgson
Any absence for Edouard raises the prospects of the even cheaper Jean-Philippe Mateta (£4.9m) starting, with the possibility of Jordan Ayew (£5.5m) leading the line slightly dented by injuries to wingers elsewhere.
Whether you’d want Mateta, Eberechi Eze (£6.3m) or any other Palace attacker is another question, of course, as the Eagles rank a lowly 16th for minutes per expected goal (xG) going into the following four-match run:
Palace mustered just 0.30 xG against a Fulham side not renowned for its stinginess, Eze’s effort from distance the closest they came to scoring.
DON’T GO DOWN TO LENO?
Palace’s lack of goal threat meant that it was a quiet afternoon for Bernd Leno (£4.6m) but he still found a way of collecting four extra save/bonus points despite the comfortable ride.
He’s now nine FPL points clear of the next highest-scoring goalkeeper.
Despite Fulham’s awful underlying defensive numbers, the xG-defying Leno can’t be beaten for clean sheets (three) in 2023/24.
He may get a chance to extend his lead in the goalkeeper points stakes in the next two Gameweeks before a more daunting run of fixtures begins after the international break.
That said, Leno did average 4.3 points per match against his Gameweek 9-14 opponents last season – so never underestimate his ability to keep the scoreboard ticking over even when the clean sheets dry up.
Fulham were wasteful at the other end of the pitch. Only Luton Town and Burnley are scoring at a lower rate this season (the Cottagers have scored five in six), with Raul Jimenez (£5.4m) looking excellent right up until the point he gets into the opposition box.