Next in our new ‘Player Value’ series, we ask: Is Arnautović fixture proof?
One eye on the past – In the long-term, he has averaged 2.5pts* per game (goals, assists & bonus points) – which is exactly where we’d expect him to be versus our value for money target of 2.5pts per game (4.5 including appearance points). However, he did miss 20% of the games during this period due to a muscle injury (and don’t be concerned because he is rarely injured), so his medium-term stats might be more representative of what he is capable of – 3pts* per game.
*goal points measured as a forward
It is fair to say that his FPL contribution exploded last season – and this was largely due to playing as a number 9. But taking a look at his last ten games, it is clearly visible that he can go one or two games without even a big chance-involvement, followed by games with goals, assists and bonus points.
So even though we should be patient with all players and not expect returns every game, we need to remember this if choosing Arnautovic.
More so, take note that he blanked versus Swansea and Stoke and scored a brace versus Southampton and blanked versus Man City and Man Utd – yet got a goal and assist versus Arsenal and Chelsea respectively; it is not so much that he is fixture proof (in the sense of scoring against anyone), it is more that when West Ham score he tends to be involved.
One eye on the future – First and foremost, he has been recategorised as a Forward this season, which will see the BPS system award him more points per goal, increasing the chances of maximum bonus points. On the flip side, he will only collect 4 points per goal (as opposed to 5 as a midfielder) and will not be eligible for clean-sheet points.
Looking forward, West Ham are forecast to score a goal per game, and as their most influential player for both share of goal-involvement and games involved in goals, Arnautovic can be expected to continue his form – but be sure to judge him over the full five games and don’t lose faith if he blanks in the first couple.
Finally, because there is the likelihood that his returns hinge on him playing number 9, be sure to watch him during pre-season and be confident new manager Pellegrini will continue to get the best out of him.
We haven’t mentioned the new manager throughout this article, because although Pellegrini might be more attacking, Moyes did get the best out of Arnautovic – so don’t necessarily expect an uplift from him, just be confident in what position he will play.
What to do? – More than anything else, we need to be confident he will play as the number 9, but if he isn’t, it is not necessarily the case that he won’t deliver good value for money, it just increases the risk.
At £7M and as a number 9, he is a no brainer – bring him in. As a winger, it will depend on the rest of your selections, because he is priced well to enable investment elsewhere.
FPL Tip: it is too easy to expect all of our attacking players to score points every week, but for the cheaper ones in particular, you need to accept that there will be blank weeks – it is value for money over time that you should be expecting – be patient.