FPL Community Questions: Gameweek 9

I’ve teamed up with my analyst Piotr,or FPL Analyst as he’s known on Twitter, to answer the community’s hottest FPL questions with regard to the upcoming Gameweek 9

Welcome back to our ‘Community Questions’ series where I (Simon), usually have my say on the communities conundrums in an attempt to provide a different perspective, or perhaps some statistical information or insight some of you may not have thought about.

Each week, I’m going to set up a thread and ask the community what questions they have and I’ll pick the interesting ones, or the questions that apply to a wider majority, to feature on this article where myself and a guest/guests from the FPL Twitter community will join me in providing you with our own answers.

This week, I’m joined by Piotr Mietla (FPL Analyst)!

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Piotr has been playing FPL for 8 seasons with a best finish of 9,224! He’s a Chelsea fan and has recently changed his personal account into an FPL Twitter account in order to get more involved in the community by interacting and providing quality and helpful content. He joined us at the start of this season and is the creator of our ‘Prediction Tool’ piece, which includes the brilliant spreadsheet that predicts players’ FPL returns using the bookies odds.

He also posts helpful tweets and if you want to view those and interact with Piotr, you can follow him here >> https://twitter.com/TheFPL_Analyst

If you haven’t already seen, you can sample his quality work for us here >> https://fplconnect.blog/2018/10/04/fpl-prediction-tool-gameweek-8/

Sterling or Agüero? 

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Simon (FPL Connect):

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In all pictures, Agüero is left and Sterling is on the right.

As we can see from the above stats, Agüero’s goal threat is far more significant, yet he has only scored 1 more goal than Sterling, which is suggesting that Sterling’s finishing has improved and he’s less wasteful and that Agüero’s finishing has become somewhat more wasteful.

The assist potential is also very similar between the two, as is the expected goal involvement.

There’s really very little to separate the two, and if there’s a possibility of fitting both in, then I would recommend that, but if it’s a straight shoot between the two, then I would opt with Agüero for the now, given his far significant goal threat to Sterling’s (twice as many shots inside and outside the box) and the fact he’s matching him for chance creation.

Plus, with Liverpool’s amazing fixtures and the way they attack, you’re going to want one of Mané/Salah over Firmino, so it makes sense to balance it this way at this stage.

Piotr (FPL Analyst):

Both Agüero and Sterling are great quality players. The issue with Agüero, is that he’s always subject to coming off early with Jesus waiting on the bench and being prone to injury however, Sterling might totally miss some games due to City’s midfield being stacked. I would say their playing time will more or less even out come the end of the season.

In terms of points potential, their form is quite similar; Sterling has returned in GWs 4-7 3 goals and 2 assists, blanked only in GW8 against Liverpool, 13 shots and 13 key passes in the last 5 games; over that same period, Agüero has had 2 goals and 3 assists, 22 shots and 7 key passes). I would say Sterling has looked better in the last few games and of course, he was fantastic against Spain in England’s UEFA Nation’s league match. Besides that, he gets more points for a goal scored plus points for clean sheets – that is always an important factor whenever you are comparing midfielder with a forward.

Furthermore, there is an apparent lack of good premium midfield options right now, with Salah and Mané possibly injured, KDB not back yet, Alli and Eriksen injured – Hazard is the only premium midfield option available and in-form right now other than Sterling. Whilst the cheaper midfielders are offering value currently, they cannot match the ceiling potential that Sterling offers, which is also linked with being able to give him the captain armband.

All in all, I would go for Sterling, but doubling up is also fine in my opinion as, let’s face it, they score enough goals to make a premium double-up viable.

Is it actually crazy to go without ANY Man City players? 

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Simon (FPL Connect):

In a word? Yes.

They scored 106 goals (the most) and kept 18 clean sheets (the 2nd most) last season and so far this year, they’ve scored 21 goals (the most) and kept 5 clean sheets (the joint most) in their 8 games so far.

I understand all of the concerns you have listed and if it was any other team, I might agree, but their assets are able to produce returns so regularly, and often high-scoring, that those concerns simply don’t matter, except the Ederson one, as I fully agree there that the £4.5m GK options are the better way to go.

Piotr (FPL Analyst): 

I wouldn’t say it is madness however, I would recommend getting someone from City’s team.

Mendy is and always was a rotation risk with Sané and it didn’t stop him from getting amazing returns. Same goes for Alexander-Arnold who might be rotation risk with Clyne or Trippier/Davies rotating with Aurier/Rose. Those players are offensive defenders from the best teams and often provide more than enough returns to justify their price even with the rotation risk. It is similar with Mendy. If you have a strong bench then it will not be an issue.

We know Agüero is not guaranteed 90 minutes every game, but he is an amazing player able to score and assist no matter how much he plays in a team that score so many goals. I would focus more on City’s fixtures and comparing Kun with other premium options you can get instead of him. So far, he has the third highest amount of points in the game despite not playing all 720 minutes. With difficult fixtures approaching for Kane, Agüero still seems the better choice of the two for the medium term.

Raheem Sterling is another player that should be heavily considered, as well as Aymeric Laporte, who seems to be getting regular starts at a reasonable price of £5.7m.

Move on Kevin de Bruyne early? 

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Simon (FPL Connect):

It’s a nice notion, but it feels like a luxury move and kind of an unnecessary one. We all know KDB is undeniably an amazing player, one of the best in the league, and City are even more improved when he plays, but right now, we can’t be sure of how he will be re-integrated back into the team.

Of course I expect him to play versus Burnley, but given the length of time out, the medical team may wish to manage his minutes until he’s back to 100% match fitness – I feel this may take a while. So with that in mind, I would advise waiting a while before moving, but it’s ultimately your team and your decision.

Piotr (FPL Analyst): 

Moving to KDB early is a risky move. I agree that he is a great FPL asset and has proven it the last few season. He conducts the whole team, driving every dangerous attack and finding crucial passes. However, we can not be sure whether he will come back straight into the first team and start every game or be slowly re-introduced back into the team – it was a lengthy time out.

His injury was much more serious than for example Mendy’s, so it might take more time for him to be back in the squad permanently. This situation is high risk, high reward however, in my opinion there is no need for that kind of play in the first half of the season. If we were talking about a player who costs only £7.0m (like it was with Richarlison for example) then it would be different, but getting KDB means sacrificing another premium player and I am not so sure it would be worth it.

Murray, Arnautovic or Mitrovic as a replacement for Zaha? 

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Simon (FPL Connect):

I would say Mitrovic for the next 3 games, then I would look to switch to Arnautovic in GW12. Both players are talismans for their respective teams and provide a regular goal threat. Both teams know how to get the best out for their players and both seem to be in great form.

Murray is very lowly owned and is doing very well for his price and age, but Brighton as a team are generally off-putting, as they don’t play as attacking as Fulham or West Ham do and I just feel the ceiling is higher for Mitrovic and Arnie.

Piotr (FPL Analyst): 

Murray has the best fixtures incoming out of those players however, BHA is a rather low-scoring team. Fixtures of Arnautovic are great after Spurs and if it was GW10 now then I would probably go for him. Mitrovic is not in the same form now as he was in GWs 2-4, but he still gets a few chances each game and is Fulham’s main threat. Wilson is in form and has good next four games.

If you’re looking short-term, then I would probably go for Wilson (or Jimenez even more short term – only 2 gws). If you are looking for a longer term investment, then Murray is the biggest differential – medium risk and high reward.

Benjamin Mendy a must-have? 

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Simon (FPL Connect):

No. There are plenty of great value options in defence and other premium defensive options that are doing well.

Having said that, if you own Trippier, then I might be tempted to switch back to Mendy, as Spurs’ defence hasn’t been all that impressive so far and it’s difficult to see many clean sheets with their upcoming fixtures, whereas Man City have demonstrated defensive quality and an ability to keep a clean sheet in tough games, with the latest example being Liverpool at Anfield, a game in which most saw them conceding in.

Piotr (FPL Analyst): 

Mendy was part of the best back 3 set and forget defenders for many until he got injured.  If you have bought Trippier in his place (someone who costs similar amount) and are able to go back to Mendy without using too many transfers and stealing funds from other positions, then I would get him back in.

However if you have brought, for example, Doherty in, and used the funds you got from downgrading somewhere else and are not able to get Mendy back without any sacrificing in other areas, then I wouldn’t worry about not getting him in. I also wouldn’t take Robertson or Alonso out with the potential and upcoming fixtures they have.

Having a strong bench a mistake (bench of AWB, Fraser and Maddison)?

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Simon (FPL Connect):

There’s strong, and then there’s overly strong and by the looks of it, yours is too strong. It’s good to have some strength in depth, but it needs to be balanced, as let’s face it, only the first 11 can get you points week in and week out, so that’s really where you should be spending the brunt of your money.

I would always advocate focusing the majority of your cash on the first 11 and then having players that are cheap that can come in and get you a 2/3 pointer with the chance for the odd clean sheet/attacking return, so that you’re not faced with difficult decisions week in, week out and don’t have nice points sitting on your bench every week.

It comes down to how you want to play the game, some are fine with making these kind of difficult decisions every Gameweek, but the fact you’ve asked this question suggests that you aren’t.

Piotr (FPL Analyst): 

If the rest of your squad is fine, then there is nothing wrong with having a strong bench. It is better to have selection headaches than to have no players to come in from your bench in case of injury, suspension or random surprising team selections.

In my opinion, having a strong bench is important, especially if you have many players from top teams that are playing also in the Champions League – they have to rotate players from time to time and then you will need someone viable waiting to come in. It also allows you to bench players from weaker teams if they have hard fixtures as you can replace them with the ones that have easier games.

Is Shaqiri worth considering with Mané and Salah injury doubts? 

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Simon (FPL Connect):

No. I don’t see the point in a move for Shaqiri. Even if they’re, or one of them, is confirmed out of the game this weekend, it likely won’t be for that long and besides, why wouldn’t you move to someone like Sterling? Also, how do you know that Sturridge won’t come in and Firmino goes out wide?

Wait for the press conferences and see what Klopp says about them and then make your decision, but I wouldn’t be keen on Shaqiri – it’s just another transfer out waiting to happen.

Piotr (FPL Analyst): 

Wait for more information from the press conferences first. If you will expect Mané to not play/be rotated and you have no other pressing transfers then I would get rid of him looking at his form in the last few games. Assuming you already have Hazard, I would say that Sterling is the best premium option you can switch to.

Bringing Shaqiri in is an unnecessary risk in my opinion – you are not guaranteed he will play in the next game and even if he does, he’s highly unlikely to confirm a starting place over one of Salah/Mané. Taking that into consideration, you need one transfer to bring him in and another one soon to ship him out. What’s more, you will probably be missing one of other top options (highly owned and high scoring players like Richarlison), so for me, Shaqiri is a high risk and not so high reward – I wouldn’t recommend that move.

Bournemouth and Arsenal fixtures toughen soon – stick or twist on their assets? 

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Simon (FPL Connect):

This depends on whether you think the assets you own from these teams are fixture proof. Players from the bigger teams typically are fixture proof, whereas those from the lower teams tend to need good fixtures to get returns, but Bournemouth are a difficult team to place.

They have demonstrated that they can throw up a surprise result (3-0 away to Chelsea last season) every now and again and they are in great form, especially at home, where they play 3 of the 4 harder fixtures coming up against Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal.

2 of those 3 teams haven’t exactly been defensively solid either, so for now, I would stick with form over fixtures and keep your attacking Bournemouth and Arsenal options until they demonstrate that their returns are faltering.

Piotr (FPL Analyst): 

Bournemouth next four fixtures are fine (United being the hardest but I think BOU will be able to score) so there is no need to get rid now. Stick and evaluate the situation again after those four gameweeks (unless you have some spare transfers then you can consider moving to players with even better fixtures).

Arsenal are doing really well lately, so I would keep their assets for the next two however, I think that after those games, you should consider twisting, as I can see Liverpool getting a clean sheet (as they were able to stop City from scoring) and Wolves defence is so far one of the best in the league (3rd lower xGA – expected goals against – in the league, 4 clean sheets in 8 games). For now, don’t rush on any moves unless you are on a wildcard or have two free transfers and need to use one so it doesn’t get wasted.

What do about Harry Kane? Get Agüero back in? 

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Simon (FPL Connect):

If it was a 1/2 week punt and the intention was always to bring Agüero back in, and you haven’t any other problems to deal with, then stick with the plan.

If you have other problems, then I would definitely say deal with those first, as WHU away isn’t a bad fixture for Kane.

It was a move I never advocated to begin with, but if you brought him in with the intention of just keeping him over Agüero because you felt he’d outscore him, then again, that was your thinking and you should stick with it, as it’s entirely possible Agüero blanks versus Burnley and Kane scores against West Ham and not only will you be down on points, you will have wasted a free transfer too.

Piotr (FPL Analyst): 

You need to think about a few questions first – what was your plan before? Did you bring Kane in just before Cardiff game? Was it a transfer just for one week or were you planning to keep him for longer? Or have you had Kane since GW6 and gotten all his good returns?

Kane’s potential for GW8 was huge, but hard fixtures are coming for him now. Our blog team has kept Agüero and we don’t regret it however, his fixtures after Burnley are not so easy either. If you brought Kane in before GW8 with a plan to hold for one week, then switch to Kan, then go for it, as that was the original plan however, if your plan was to keep him also for the West Ham game and now you are reconsidering just because he blanked against Cardiff, then it is not a good idea in my opinion – you need to remember that Agüero also blanked in the last game.

If you want to swap out Kane, then I would consider changing to another player with good fixtures coming – someone like Vardy who is in a good form and has easy games ahead – but not before the game vs WHU.

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