It’s been a while since I did the Burning Question format so I thought it would be a good time to revisit it. I asked the community to send me some questions and I’ll be answering a few here. Let’s get stuck right in.
Q1) What is the ideal front three if no budget constraints? @pras_fpl
Hi Pras, thank you so much for the question. Hope you are doing well. The injury to Harry Kane (£11.3m) and the lack of form of Patrick Bamford (£6.7m) has opened up the striker positions. Just a small note on Patrick Bamford, in the last four matches, he sits outside the top 30 players in the league for expected goals (xG). It’s easy to forget that he is still fairly cheap and offers value but he has a mixed bag of fixtures in the next five Gameweeks and doesn’t make my list for the ideal front three. So who does make my list?
First up, it’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m). Yes he has had four blanks in a row but it is worth mentioning that his merry men are back and as noted by Tom Freeman in his excellent article, Everton are a different beast when all their main players are playing together. Here is what Tom cited:
“Everton are a different proposition when they can get Lucas Digne (£6.0m), James Rodríguez (£7.7m), Richarlison (£7.8m) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all on the pitch at the same time. In fact, in the six league games they’ve started together this season, the Toffees have scored a massive 17 goals.”
That is an average of 2.83 goals per game. In the next four Gameweeks, Everton face Newcastle (home), Leeds (away), Manchester United (away) and Fulham (home). Three of those teams are in the bottom six of the league for expected goals conceded (xGC) in the last six matches. Fixtures and the calibre of opposition when they have all their main attackers fit are the reasons why DCL is top of my list of strikers at the moment.
The next two forwards who make up the ideal strikeforce for me are Michail Antonio (£6.4m) and Ollie Watkins (£6.2m). Antonio just makes West Ham better as an attacking outfit and owners were extremely unlucky to come away with just an assist against Crystal Palace.
He should have had a lot more from the game but he looks very sharp on the eye-test, has good underlying numbers, and has a fairly decent fixture run as well. Also worth noting that in the last four matches, West Ham are in the top five in the league for Big Chance Threat (BCT) and for attempts in the box which further justifies the presence of Antonio making the Hammers a much better attacking unit.
The same can be said about Aston Villa who also find themselves in the top five in the league for big chances and shots in the box in the last four matches. They also look like an excellent outfit in attack and are capable of scoring goals against any opposition. Watkins has great underlying numbers as well. He is second among all strikers for BCT in the last four matches and sits third in the league for shots in the box in the same period.
Q2) If someone wanted to take a punt on Chelsea now, with good fixtures and a possible manager bounce, which two or three Chelsea assets would you suggest? (@PierreM80702057)
Hi Pierre. My fellow Pro-Pundit and co-host Zophar always says it is better to be late to the party rather than arriving early and realising it is a dud. As you already know, I’ve been guilty of this crime quite a few times this season and it’s one of the big reasons I’m having a poor campaign.
When it comes to Tuchel’s Chelsea, simply put we just don’t know anything about them right now. I would suggest keenly monitoring them for the next two-to-three games before jumping in because the manager is just getting to know his players right now. Let me quote from this excellent piece on Tuchel on FFScout:
“Whatever system and style Tuchel chooses to deploy at Chelsea, he always tailors it to the players he has at his disposal.”
“My role is that of a service provider, I’m here to help and support the players.”
It’s very early to tell who is going to benefit from having Tuchel as a manager but I’ll just say that the first game against Wolves looked really encouraging for Kai Havertz (£8.2m) who played a lot closer to goal than under Frank Lampard. That said it is very early to draw any conclusions and I’d urge FPL managers to keenly observe for some time before jumping in.
Q3) Is Man City double defence a risk now with Laporte back and raring to go? (@fpl_saffer)
Hi Kevin, thank you so much for the question and first up huge congratulations for the season you’re having. I know you’re currently in the top 50 Overall Ranking at the moment so you definitely don’t need to be taking any advice from me.
With regards to the Manchester City centre-backs, I see no reason for Pep to change the partnership he has at his disposal right now which is why both remain good picks. I think he’ll persist with the same two in defence and you’ll probably only see a little bit of rotation due to fixture congestion and that’s about it. I wouldn’t worry about them until Pep actually makes some changes.
Q4) Who are the second best premium defensive assets (with some attacking output) behind the City boys? Liverpool, Leicester, United, Chelsea, Spurs? Or just go budget? (@FPLAlternative)
If you’re looking for a defender to pick outside of the Manchester City names, the one I’d like to recommend is Lucas Digne.
Like I mentioned earlier in the article, Everton have a great bunch of fixtures coming up. It is worth noting he was played as a left-winger in the previous game which makes him a very enticing option and even if he isn’t out-of-position (OOP), his numbers this season have been really good.
He’s top of the league for assists per 90 (0.49 assists per 90mins) and especially with James Rodriguez back in the team and in form, I think it increases his points potential a lot. Ben Godfrey’s (£5.0m) form also means that he could potentially still be OOP for a while. Only two teams have conceded fewer goals and big chances than Everton in the last six matches so that is very promising as well.
That’s it from me for this week and I hope you enjoyed this article. Our latest episode of The FPL Wire has some more detailed information as well which you can view below in case you fancy it.
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