FPL Lessons Learned – Gameweek 6

Norwich City: Turning up for home matches only?

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After a good performance in their first away game of the season, the Canaries haven’t seemed threatening at all on the road, going down easily to two 2-0 defeats, at the hands of West Ham and Burnley.

It can’t be denied that, at Carrow Road, they could beat anyone on their day (as we’ve seen already), but it may well be that City are just too dependent on having 25,000 fans to roar them home every week.

Even just by watching the matches, it isn’t hard to see that Norwich seem to operate much better in the familiarity of NR1, and this is where the hype around their FPL potential has mainly come from.

However, with just one goal in their 3 away games, which came because Liverpool switched off at 4-0 up, it’s clear that the Canaries slow down away from home, and managers should be careful of including players like Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell when Norwich are on the road.

For example, Norwich created just one big chance against Burnley, and managed a dismal 2/11 shots on target at Turf Moor. Added to that, they also made just one big chance at Anfield on the opening day, and 2 big chances against a West Ham defence which, until that game, had been lacklustre.

Therefore, it’s a much safer bet to pick the Canaries in home matches over away matches. Anyway, they very much seem to be a form-over-fixtures side, in a sense that they’re on brilliant form at home, and dreadful form on the road.

West Ham much improved all round

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After a 0-5 humiliation from Manchester City on the opening day, West Ham have been unbeaten in all of their 5 league matches since, extending their run with a second consecutive 2-0 home victory, this time over Manchester United.

They have scored in all except one of these fixtures (which was away to Aston Villa, where they played the final 27 minutes with 10 men), and both Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko have been pivotal figures in the Irons’ resurgence.

The Ukrainian international has been the most effective in the last few matches, with 2 goals in his last 3 matches, as well as making 4 key passes and hitting the post against Norwich, which was the first of these three games.

It is also worth remembering that the winger hadn’t played football for the better part of a whole year, after the horrific injury he sustained in October last year.

Before that, he seemed to have taken to English football like a duck to water, so it can only be assumed that there is still much more to come from the former Dortmund player.

At the other end, it is also well worth noting that the Irons are currently joint with Man City for clean sheets so far this season, after their run of three successive shutouts.

Lukasz Fabianski, who has made 20 saves so far this season, may be a candidate for inclusion in anyone’s FPL team, with 31 points already this season.

However, there may be a little bit of uncertainty for the time being surrounding the left-back spot, as we wait to see if Aaron Cresswell’s performance on Sunday will see him reinstated as the first-choice, over Arthur Masuaku, who was suspended for the match.

Red Devils’ forward issues and possible consequences

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On the wrong end of West Ham’s aforementioned victory, Manchester United seem to be in crisis, in more ways than one.

The one that does relate to FPL, however, is their quickly diminishing supply of strikers, with Marcus Rashford becoming the latest forward admitted to the Carrington treatment room.

While the extent of the injury isn’t yet clear, and a lack of news on the fitness of Anthony Martial, it means that there is certainly potential for young Mason Greenwood to start Monday’s match against Arsenal.

The 17-year old missed out against West Ham with tonsillitis, but may be faced with playing 2 games in a week, starting with the match against Rochdale at Old Trafford.

Greenwood is the only fit player in the Man Utd squad who is a central striker by trade, but if he doesn’t get the nod, it’s likely that Daniel James will be pushed up front, as the only other player with experience playing there.

This could bring a lot of promise for FPL managers, especially as it is likely that he will already be nailed on to start as a winger, so there is very little risk involved in terms of playing minutes. The fact that United are struggling for strikers, in my opinion, only serves to increase the Welshman’s appeal.

Consider set-piece takers against Chelsea

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Rounding off the article, we have another visit to Chelsea’s defensive shambles, and how best to attack it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that set-pieces should be the method that most teams use against the Blues, given their complete inability to defend against them so far under Frank Lampard’s reign.

It isn’t something which should come as a shock, to be honest. Lampard’s Derby side struggled with defending set-pieces last season in the Championship, and it seems that Chelsea’s all-time top scorer still hasn’t quite got the hang of it.

3 out of the 4 goals conceded in their last 2 games have come as a result of set pieces, with 2 free-kick routines and a corner being the Blues’ downfall.

Yes, they’ve played against Liverpool, but a top team really shouldn’t be struggling so much with set piece defending. At every set-piece that I’ve seen Chelsea face this season, their defenders have looked all at sea, and the opposition have nearly always looked like scoring.

So my advice is to look towards some set-piece takers against Chelsea. Because there will nearly always be at least one unmarked, or badly marked, opponent in the box, who will likely capitalise on the errors in the Blues’ defensive system.

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