Another four-match run of blanks and Fantasy Premier League managers are shipping Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) in their droves.
The question we must ask is whether these sellers are making a mistake or gifted visionaries improving their team ahead of the curve.
That’s what I’m here to investigate.
303, 259 and 233. These are Salah’s points totals from the past three seasons. He was the top FPL scorer for the first two, pipped only by Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m) in year three.
In a year where so much was uncertain, one thing managers could rely on was handing the Egyptian the armband in a home fixture for Liverpool against bottom six opposition. This theory started well, with a hat-trick against Leeds on the opening day.
However, the injury to Virgil van Dijk (£6.3m) in Gameweek 5 was something of a turning point in Liverpool’s season, especially as other centre-backs dropped out and forced some of their key possession-sustaining midfielders in defence.
The Reds did have some success in the early winter months, including a 7-0 win at Crystal Palace in Gameweek 14 but things have gone south very quickly since then.
Salah accumulated a total of 13 points from the following six fixtures (Gameweeks 15 to 20) with the Reds failing to score in four of them. Just when most of us were about to lose patience, he reminded us of his pedigree with a brace against West Ham in Gameweek 21.
In the subsequent seven Gameweeks, he has notched 25 points with just a solitary goal from open play. Ignoring the West Ham haul, he has amassed a paltry total of 38 points in 13 matches, that’s an average of below three per match for the most expensive asset in FPL.
We all know that’s not good enough but the decision to move Salah on is often harder than with other Fantasy assets based on his pedigree.
The best way to assess his credentials moving forward is to have a look at the Egyptian’s numbers in comparison to other midfielders in the league over the last six matches.
THE FIXTURES DILEMMA
Once the Wolves fixture in Gameweek 28, Blank Gameweek 29 and the trip to Arsenal in Gameweek 30 are out of the way, Liverpool play only one side (Manchester United) from the so-called ‘big six’.
There can be a case made for selling Salah short term but with that schedule I would want him back in my side in Gameweek 31 for sure.
LACK OF REPLACEMENTS
Further to this problem, there is a distinct lack of players I think who could replace Salah in my team. I want to bring in a captaincy option rather than a budget midfielder so the list of replacements is thin.
He has not looked very sharp since return from injury and I think two defenders and Ilkay Gundogan (£6.2m) remains the value play. City aren’t exactly free scoring either like previous years.
Arsenal’s premium midfielder has posted decent numbers of late but the Europa League remains a major concern for me.
He started and played 90 minutes against Burnley and you would expect him to start both the Europa League ties with Olympiakos.
The Gunners’ league position is hardly promising in terms of achieving a top four finish so Mikel Arteta might prioritise his minutes in European competition.
This could perhaps be the play, especially with Spurs featuring in Blank Gameweek 29. If you don’t own Son Heung-min (£9.6m) or the in-form Gareth Bale (£9.4m), the switch appeals.
However it must be said that Son’s goal threat has dipped considerably recently, Jose Mourinho opting to use him more as a creator. Not necessarily a reason to avoid, but something to understand before signing him.
Meanwhile, I still have some doubts at the back of my mind about Bale’s minutes/fitness. It’s not that I don’t think he’s a great option, I just wonder at what point Mourinho starts managing his game-time. Like Arsenal, Spurs also need to pay attention to progress in the Europa League.
Move the money into forwards
If you don’t own Harry Kane (£11.2m), then I would definitely prioritise selling Salah over someone like Fernandes.
The England international is arguably the most in-form heavy hitter around at the moment and plays in Blank Gameweek 29.
Apart from Harry though, there isn’t much out there in terms of captainable premium forwards.
It feels surreal that I have written almost a 1,000 words on the merits of selling the highest-scoring FPL asset of two of the last three seasons. I am a die-hard Salah loyalist and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t own him while fit and at Liverpool.
However, the Reds are simply unrecognisable at the moment from the team that stormed to the title the last year. A lack of passionate support at Anfield, injuries in key areas and a slump in confidence have caused many of us to lose patience.
Personally, I am giving Salah the Wolves match in Gameweek 28 and will decide in Blank Gameweek 29 if I am going to shift him to Aubameyang, depending on Arsenal’s Europa League results and how the Reds fare in the Champions League/against Wolves.
As Fernandes showed us on a weekend where he was sold by 300,000 managers, losing faith in proven FPL assets can be perilous. Especially those on penalties. I still believe in Mohamed Salah. For now.
Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles
Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99. A FREE trial is now available during December.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.
#FPL #managers #hold #sell #Salah #poor #Liverpool #form