FPL Team of the Week: Gameweek 2

In this brand new series, covering all LIVE games, team FPL Connect will choose their team of the week from an FPL perspective to help you plan your transfers/moves moving forward each gameweek

Introducing the concept

In team FPL Connect, we have contributors that range from university graduates in Sports Psychology/General Psychology, to former professional youth players (Spurs), to sports data analysts, not to mention some consistently high performing FPL players with collective best ranks of 1k, 2k, 9k and 11k.

We thought it would be interesting to, as a group, pick a TOTW (team of the week) from the previous GW based on a mix of the eye-test and any eye-catching underlying numbers.

We will be able to cover every LIVE Premier League football match each weekend and thus, will be able to give you the most insightful, and well-rounded view of the events each weekend, detailing who are the stand-out options each GW.

With our justifications and analysis to compliment each player we choose, you’ll be able to follow and keep up with the key takeaways every GW – as it’s difficult to keep up with every game – and will be able to use it to perhaps predict some bandwagons/help you plan your transfers moving forward.

3 writers each week from team FPL Connect will set our their justifications and analysis for the players from the matches they watched, giving you a balanced view of the events, rather than just one writer writing from one perspective.

Criteria for inclusion in the TOTW

For us, it’s not simply about goals and assists. We will centre our selections around 2 key points:

  1. Future potential of the FPL player regardless of points scored in GW.
  2. Price of the FPL player in relation to his performance/FPL points.

Some players can have a brilliant game, show plenty of potential to be a great scoring FPL asset, but are simply a little unlucky in the game in that they hit the woodwork or their teammates couldn’t finish their chances.

For example; we did a mock TOTW for GW1 which included James Rodriguez, who stood out in GW1, creating 5 chances for his teammates, but only scored 2 points, as Richarlison, in particular, was wasteful with the chances he got, assisted by Rodriguez.

There will also be instances where we include players that return less than others, but their return came in a match with greater difficulty.

For example; a low/mid priced asset playing well and scoring against Liverpool/City would be held in higher regard and would be more likely to be included in our TOTW than say, a higher priced asset scoring a brace at home to WBA/Fulham.

Basically, the higher the price, the more they have to do to earn a spot in our TOTW.

We all know about what Aubameyang, Salah, Mané, KDB, Sterling, Bruno etc can provide, it’s about finding those hidden gems that can get us those good/great returns for a lower price – this is what we’re hoping our article series can provide.

So, without further ado…

TOTW – GAMEWEEK 2

Simon (FWDs):

Dominic Calvert-Lewin plays his way into our first FPL TOTW after bagging himself a poachers hat-trick versus ten-man WBA.

Despite it being against WBA, and the fact that he was against ten men for the 2nd half, we felt this hat-trick deserved it’s place in our TOTW given he’s priced very reasonably at £7.2m (£0.2m increase already) and registered an xG of 2.51 from 6 shots (6 inside the area), much higher than any other FPL asset in GW2.

His first goal was a typical poachers goal, being in the right place at the right time, to be able to excellently back heel finish it from close range. Great positioning and movement was key to the second goal, as James Rodriguez played a sublime chipped pass over the defence to Richarlison who squared it along the ground to the back post where DCL was ready to tap it into an empty net.

Poor marking and concentration was the reason DCL was able to wrestle his way to meet the ball from James Rodriguezs’ corner, to complete his hat-trick and round off an explosive 17pt haul.

With the classy Colombian pulling the strings, the quality of Digne’s delivery combined with DCL’s movement, there’s plenty more goals to come for the English centre forward.

Harry Kane’s dominant display sees him take a spot in our forward line quite easily, but not for his goalscoring exploits, but for his creativity and distribution.

Kane was pretty much operating as a false 9/number 10 against Saints, dropping in to pick the ball up, letting Son run in behind and picking the pass beyond the suicidally aggressive Saints high line.

It worked a treat, as Kane was able to put it on a plate for Son on 4 occasions, before tapping home a rebound himself.

What’s interesting to note, is that Kane himself only registered 1 penalty area touch, which incidentally was the one touch that tapped in the goal from the rebound. He also only had 1 shot other than the goal he scored, and it was from outside the area.

So I would be careful about Kane moving forward, as he won’t be up against a suicidally high line like that any time soon however, we cannot doubt his quality and the upcoming fixtures are favourable.

The slightly more controversial pick, is Raul Jiménez.

In a GW where so many other FWDs had scored better than the talismanic Mexican International, future potential and the difficulty of the fixture were the factors behind our choice for our final forward spot.

For example, you may be wondering why Bamford (14pts) hasn’t been included this week:

Comparison tool on www.fantasyfootballhub.co.uk

As you can see from the above comparison, aside from his actual goal contributions, you can see Raul wins on every other metric. This was against Manchester City too, a much more difficult opponent than Fulham.

Don’t misunderstand, Bamford’s goal contribution’s were excellent, his finish for his goal and the weight of pass for the assist to Helder Costa were high quality, and of course, he’s just £5.7m, but it’s the fact that beyond that, the stats aren’t there, which suggest points for him may not be sustainable.

Whereas, we can likely rely on Raul Jiménez as a consistent source of points moving forward, if he can score and put in a good performance against the likes of Manchester City.

Matthew Halliday (MIDs):

Wilfried Zaha £7.1m

The Ivorian OOP midfielder, again playing up front against the Red Devils continued his blistering start to the season with two goals and three bonus points on top. His successful penalty-kick also potentially indicates that he is now on them going forward, with the benched Luka Milivojevic seemingly out of the preferred starting eleven.

Zaha also had a reasonable xA of 0.41 from the match, which puts him in the highest 15 players for xA from across Gameweek 2.

He clearly demonstrated that he is even more of an attacking threat in central positions than from out wide, judging by the amount of one-on-one situations that he found himself in against United’s retreating defenders.

Heung-Min Son £9m

The South Korean’s incredible four goal blitz against the hapless Saints means he is a shoe-in for our team of the week. He proved what a deadly finisher he is and could have even had more.

Son demonstrated how well he runs onto Harry Kane’s exquisite through balls over the top and his performance will no doubt encourage Mourinho to ask his number 7 to stay on the last shoulder of a defence with such a high line, like Southampton’s.

James Rodríguez £7.6m

What a wand of a left foot! With his exquisite finish from outside the box for his goal and excellent link-up play all round in the game, the Toffees’ latest hero tore the Baggies apart.

Everton were crying out for some much needed creativity last season and the Colombian exhibited his ability to break down defences here. He has slotted really well into the league, which fully explains this week’s price rise.

Harvey Barnes £7m

This precocious talent is the only midfielder from our team to have not had a price rise this week with many FPL managers understandably wishing to wait until after the Man City fixture before considering the Englishman for their FPL sides.

Barnes’ heat map vs Burnley

Barnes took 5 shots, with 3 on target, against Burnley along with 2 key passes in a stupendous 90 minute performance. A lot of his 52 touches during the game didn’t just come from way out wide on the wing, with Barnes frequently cutting in with his penetrative dribbling skills.

His goal was smartly taken and he beat three defenders before assisting Dennis Praet’s for the Foxes’ final goal.

FPL Rover (DEFs/GK):

Emi Martinez – £4.5m

Imagine the utter devastation had a John Lundstram penalty been saved by Arsenal’s number two keeper last season. Luckily there is more interest in the penalty stopper than the taker this time around as Emiliano Martinez (4.5m) looks very much in possession of the gloves for Aston Villa following his permanent transfer from Arsenal.

Despite missing out on gameweek 1, Martinez is already the joint second highest scoring goalkeeper in FPL this season following an impressive debut which involved a clean sheet, a penalty save and a couple of bonus points however, due to an early red card for Sheffield United’s John Egan, his actual goalkeeping ability was rarely put to the test.

Based on last season’s data, there won’t be many games where Martinez faces just 0.05 NPxG (non-penalty expected goals), but he did his job exceptionally well on debut. For anyone looking to wildcard in the near future, Martinez should certainly be on your shortlist.

James Justin – £4.6m

Question marks still remain about Justin’s long-term place in the Leicester side once Ricardo Pereira returns from injury, but that hasn’t stopped him impressing so far this season.

Following a clean sheet and assist against West Brom last week, Justin popped up with a goal in a seven-goal thriller against Burnley. Yes, Leicester did concede twice, but that’s the beauty of owning a defender in FPL who gets in such advanced positions.

With Harvey Barnes occupying the left flank as an ‘inside forward’, this left space in the channel for Justin to exploit effectively. His heatmap against Burnley demonstrates how far forward he ventured, which allowed him to be in the box when the golden chance arrived his way.

Despite two attacking returns and a clean sheet so far this season, Leicester face a Man City side this weekend who looked razor sharp against Wolves on Monday. His defensive ability will be tested, but don’t rule out more attacking returns as Leicester look to hit City on the break.

Timothy Castagne – £5.6m

Given the lack of impressive defensive performances in gameweek two, we’ve opted for another Leicester full back in the line-up.

Unlike Justin, Castagne looks likely to feature in the long-term line-up and has been impressive since his summer arrival.

Castagne backed up his clean sheet and goal in gameweek one with two assists and a couple of bonus points against Burnley on Sunday. Similarly to Justin, he was able to exploit space down the right channel and provide some decent opportunities for his attacking teammates.

With 23 FPL points from two games, Castagne is currently the highest scoring defender by six points. Obviously we would love our defenders to accumulate regular clean sheets, however owning defenders who pose such an attacking threat is much easier to watch as an FPL manager!

Tariq Lamptey – £4.5m

How unlucky were owners of this guy? (Simon).

Lamptey terrorised the Newcastle defence for most of the first half before a knock ended his involvement on 58 minutes. Had he made it beyond the 59th minute he would have picked up four clean sheet points and may have been in the frame for bonus points too.

Despite missing out on those much craved clean sheet points, he still contributed an FPL assist as he was fouled by Allan Saint-Maximin (“ASM”) in the Newcastle box before Neal Maupay converted the penalty.

It was pretty impressive to watch someone destroy ASM for pace in that fashion! Lamptey was arguably playing OOP (out of position) as Brighton lined up with three centre backs. This allowed him to bomb forward with sufficient defensive cover behind and take up very advanced positions in attack.

If future gameweeks are anything like what we’ve just witnessed, having defenders who can contribute attacking returns will provide that crucial alternative way into FPL points when clean sheets get wiped out. Saying that, Brighton did look very solid throughout the game, and at £4.5m Lamptey is surely one to watch going forward.

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