Spot the Differential puts the spotlight on three players who all have an ownership of 5% or less in Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
This time, we’ve selected low-owned picks at Liverpool, Arsenal and Nottingham Forest who we think have the potential to make an impact.
- FPL ownership: 1.3%
- Price: £7.7m
Diogo Jota (£7.7m) isn’t a guaranteed starter for Liverpool most weeks but he should get the nod in Gameweek 9 when Liverpool entertain Everton in Saturday’s early kick-off.
South Americans Darwin Nunez (£7.4m) and Luis Diaz (£7.5m) both faced long trips home after their midweek World Cup qualifiers and could still be feeling the effects, so Jota is the fresher option, given that he played only 27 minutes for Portugal during the international break. The Portuguese also missed Liverpool’s most recent game away to Brighton and Hove Albion through suspension.
Jota has scored only nine Premier League goals since the start of last season, but his minutes have been limited and he hasn’t always started. When on the pitch, his ability to get into dangerous shooting positions regularly is notable.
This term, he’s averaging 2.7 shots in the box and 0.6 ‘big chances’ per 90 minutes (p90), numbers which stack up well against Liverpool’s other midfielders. In fact, his 0.43 non-penalty expected goals (NPxG) p90 is superior to Mohamed Salah’s (£12.7m) 0.37.
Liverpool boast a near-perfect record at Anfield in recent times and have only failed to score in one of their last 45 Premier League home games. They are also unbeaten since a 2-1 defeat to Leeds United in October 2022, which bodes well for their prospects in this weekend’s Merseyside derby. Their opponents, Everton, have conceded seven goals in their three away matches so far, meanwhile.
Longer-term, a move for Jota carries more risk, with four attackers – Jota, Diaz, Darwin and Cody Gakpo (£7.2m) – essentially competing for two spots in Jurgen Klopp’s front three. However, his chances of a start on Saturday look good, making him an excellent differential pick in Gameweek 9.
- FPL ownership: 4.3%
- Price: £7.7m
Arsenal went into the international break on the back of a 1-0 win over champions Manchester City. The hero that afternoon was a returning Gabriel Martinelli (£7.7m), who stepped off the bench to score the winner.
Having not gone away with Brazil during the international break, Martinelli has been able to work on his fitness for two weeks. It means he’s surely in contention to start at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, especially if Leandro Trossard (£6.6m) and Bukayo Saka (£8.5m) aren’t passed fit.
Across Martinelli’s six Premier League appearances in 2023/24, he is averaging 2.06 shots in the box p90. For context, Saka is on 2.05, while Martin Odegaard’s (£8.5m) figure is just 1.02. He also has assist potential from open play and dead balls, having taken 15 corners.
As for Chelsea, they have lost their last two Premier League home games, suffering 1-0 defeats against Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa. Overall, their defence has generally performed well (they sit fifth for shots faced) but the only top-six attack they have come up against so far is Liverpool, who carved out a number of opportunities on the opening weekend. Arsenal, meanwhile, have won all three of their away matches without conceding a single goal this season.
Even if Martinelli doesn’t return in this match, there is a very good run to follow which includes games against Sheffield United, Burnley, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Luton Town in the next seven, so there is real potential for him to deliver.
- FPL ownership: 0.0%
- Price: £4.5m
Murillo (£4.5m) has made a superb start at Nottingham Forest, helping his side keep their second clean sheet of the season at Selhurst Park in Gameweek 8.
The former Corinthians centre-back looked very solid defensively, making three clearances and winning both of his tackles, but it was his driving runs and passing range that really caught the eye.
On 20 minutes, he picked out the run of Morgan Gibbs-White (£5.8m) with a perfectly weighted diagonal ball, but his chipped volley struck the post. Then, he came close to scoring himself, when he weaved his way past four Crystal Palace players and into the area, before seeing two efforts saved by Sam Johnstone (£4.5m).
Forest have only conceded one goal in the two games since Murillo’s introduction to the starting XI alongside Willy Boly (£4.5m). Across those matches, only Callum Hudson-Odoi (£4.9m) has made more successful take-ons, while no team-mate has attempted more shots (three). Very quickly, Murillo has shown he has the potential to be a great addition at the City Ground.
“In terms of how he [Steve Cooper] wants me to play, what he has said to me is that he wants me to do what I was doing for Corinthians in Brazil. He wants me to put that same quality on the pitch. So, that’s to do with the quality of my passing, playing long balls and penetrative passes. Obviously, as a centre-back, your most important characteristic is marking, but he’s also looking to my passing ability.” – Murillo
Now, Murillo’s pinpoint passing will look to hit the space in behind Luton’s wing-backs on Saturday, but there is clean sheet potential too, given that Forest sit eighth for expected goals conceded (xGC) after the first eight Gameweeks. After Luton, the next run of fixtures looks tricky on paper, but a £4.5m defender is easily benchable providing you have cover.
Then, from Gameweeks 14 to 18, Murillo can easily play four of the next five matches, making him a nice differential pickup.