Fantasy Premier League – Key Notes & Lessons Going Into GW8
Written by: FPLijah
With yet another quick turn-around, Gameweek 6 arrived very shortly after Gameweek 5 ended, and it was a gameweek that saw the template team in Fantasy Premier League get absolutely demolished, as seen in the image below of the Team of the Week. Now is time for the GW8, and a lot of people are talking about Wild Card!
This article will highlight the key notes and lessons taken from the previous gameweek to help us decide on transfers, likely captaincy, and strategy. The information below will have a combination of the ‘eye-test’ as well as statistics, which encompasses the best of both worlds in the debate of ‘Grass FC’ vs. ‘Analytics FC.’
Before we jump straight in, it has been confirmed that Queen Elizabeth II passed away on the 8th of September 2022 at the age of 96. Due to her passing, this had a significant impact on sporting events within England, which saw Gameweek 7 in the Premier League (and thus Fantasy Premier League) completely postponed, with no matches taking place. With the unexpected pause in the Premier League, FPL managers decided it was the perfect time to get to know their families and loved ones, as it felt like an early International Break.
Proceeding the postponed GW7 fixtures, Arsenal vs. PSV in the Europa League was postponed, resulting in a confirmed Blank Gameweek 12 for both Arsenal and Manchester City, where Arsenal’s postponed Europa League fixture will take place. As we approach Gameweek 8, three fixtures are postponed, namely Manchester United vs. Leeds, Chelsea vs. Liverpool, and Brighton vs. Crystal Palace, hence blanks for players amongst these six teams. Many FPL managers have already activated their wildcards due to these unforeseen circumstances, with too many players blanking in GW8 from their teams, with some opting to take hits, with either GW9 or GW12 in mind for the perfect time to activate the chip (an article by myself, FPLijah, will be released regarding this).
Now that you’re up to speed with everything going on in terms of the fixtures let’s jump into the article, going through the Key Notes and Lessons Taken from the last playing gameweek, Gameweek 6.
Everton 0 – 0 Liverpool
Up first was the Merseyside Derby, which is typically won by Liverpool regardless of where the fixture is played – however, going into this game, Liverpool fans were a bit nervous compared to their usual ‘chest out’ approach when going to Goodison Park, seeing as Liverpool started the season off with two draws and a loss, followed by thrashing Bournemouth and narrowly beating Newcastle. Maybe the team had their wake-up call and are now back to their best right?
xG: 1.72 vs. 2.19
Shots: 14 vs. 23
Shots on Target (SoT): 3 vs. 8
Big Chances (BC): 1 vs. 1
Wrong! The game was fairly even, with both teams having their chances to score. Statistically, Liverpool were the better team, with Jordan Pickford having a blinder of a game. If you had double Liverpool defense with Trent and Robertson, I’m pretty sure that you (like me) said to yourself, “I will give them one more chance. It’s a weak Everton side.” How’d that work out for you? Robertson started on the bench and was substituted into the game, playing just 31 minutes, ensuring just 1 point. Trent was substituted off after 58 minutes, with under 2 minutes to go until he would’ve been awarded cleansheet points, but instead finished with a single point. A total of points for the Liverpool double-up is becoming too consistent, and they are far too expensive for this to be a regular occurrence.
The Liverpool attack wasn’t far behind the poor performance from the Liverpool defense, FPL-wise, with Salah, Nunez, Diaz, and Jota all blanking. Salah has now become a problem, being the most expensive player in the game at £13.0m. To put it to you in terms of expected goal involvement, Salah was ranked 6th in the match with a 0.43 xGI, which was even behind Andy Robertson with an xGI of 0.56. Salah hasn’t been passing the eye-test either in terms of goal scoring (hence he isn’t a captaincy option for me heading into GW7, despite a decent fixture against Wolves).
Everton had a strong game, and their new signing Neil Maupay had the highest xGI in the match with 1.09, taking five shots in the box and missing one big chance.
GW6 saw the return of Diogo Jota into the Liverpool team, and despite playing just 18 minutes of football, he had the highest xGI amongst all Liverpool players with 0.66 (2nd overall in the match only behind Maupay), missing one big chance and taking two shots in the box.
What to do with our Liverpool assets?
Liverpool played a midweek game immediately after playing Everton, and it was a huge one against Napoli in the UEFA Champions League, which saw them lose 4-1. It was 3-0 at half-time, whilst Napoli also struck the post and missed a penalty, which was saved by Alisson. The defense was all over the place, and in attack, Diaz seemed like the only one truly trying (he scored Liverpool’s goal, and it was pretty much a solo goal as well).
Liverpool then played another UEFA Champions League game against Ajax after the postponed GW7 in the Premier League (allowing Liverpool to have more time to train and figure out what’s gone wrong thus far on the season). It was a massively improved performance, which saw Thiago, Matip and Jota all getting starts. It was quite clear the huge impact these three players have for Liverpool. Thiago was voted man of the match, and rightfully so, as he pulled the strings for everything going forward. Jota was a man on fire. To sum it up, he had 100% tackles won, 100% dribbles completed, 100% crosses completed, 100% duels won, three fouls won, two chances created and one assist (to Mohamed Salah, who needed this goal for his own confidence). Matip scored the winner late in the game from a Tsimikas cross from the corner. Liverpool won 2-1. All that mattered was the 3 points and massive confidence boost that this victory will give to the players, which will inevitably affect us when it comes to FPL.
Heading into GW8, Liverpool is blank, so what should we actually do?
- If you’ve got no other issues and on double defense, I’d sell Robertson (I’ve personally made a move already to Trippier heading into GW7).
- If you own just Trent, I may be willing to keep him. His attacking potential is far too high. In the game against Ajax, Virgil van Dijk launched a cross-upfield, to the furthest player forward, in the center of the field, and that player was Trent. Do with that information, whatever you will.
- Salah scored in the UCL and could be back to his best. He looked much better going forward and not hugging the touchline – however, with a blank in GW8, moving him to De Bruyne or a punt on Son (especially if there’s enough money in the bank to bring him back with one move), it may be worth it.
- If you own Nunez on a punt, well, he’s taking every shot that he can take, playing just for himself, but with Jota back, who knows who will actually start?
Brentford 5 – 2 Leeds United
This game was the Ivan Toney show, after scoring a hat trick! If you were one of the people that was surprised by this, why were you? This is just a snippet from my recent article:
“Toney had the highest xGI in the match with 0.82, yet is the 2nd most sold player heading into Gameweek 6, which I find crazy! His upcoming fixture is brilliant as well, so I’m not entirely sure why the mass amount of casual FPL players are selling him. His fixtures can be seen below, and if you do already have him in, I suggest KEEPING.”
xG: 2.43 vs. 1.92
Shots: 14 vs. 17
Shots on Target (SoT): 8 vs. 6
Big Chances (BC): 6 vs. 4
Beyond Toney scoring a hattrick, other goal scorers include Mbeumo and Wissa from Brentford, with Sinisterra and Roca scoring for Leeds.
This game was fairly even, although the score suggests otherwise. Both teams went all-out attack, and it’s evident in the underlying numbers, as seen above by xG, shots, SoT, and BC.
Toney grabbed the headlines due to his goal output, but Roca was neck-and-neck with him in terms of underlying attacking statistics, both taking six shots, three shots in the box, and had two big chances each. Roca however, played 10 minutes less than Toney, so who knows what could’ve happened in that time.
Although ranking 6th for shots at goal in this fixture, Bamford was ranked 2nd for xGI with 0.92 after taking two shots, both shots being in the box, and both shots being big chances missed. Sininterra and Roca look to be a great like-for-like replacement for the injured Rodrigo if you still own him.
Chelsea 2 – 1 West Ham
Despite the win, Chelsea still looks like a team out of form and ideas. Their win was controversial, to say the least, but a comeback nonetheless to grab all 3 points.
xG: 0.87 vs. 1.10
Shots: 8 vs. 6
Shots on Target (SoT): 3 vs. 3
Big Chances (BC): 2 vs. 2
Antonio opened the scoring, with Chelsea hitting back via a Ben Chilwell goal (reminiscing about what a great FPL asset Chilwell is when he’s guaranteed to start). It seems like Cucurella and Chilwell will rotate, and having either asset is risky. Chilwell played just 24 minutes. Chelsea then scored the winner in the 88th minute through Kai Havertz. Then begins the controversy as West Ham scored late in injury time, which was ruled out after VAR checks were completed. Post-match, it was then said from officials and retired referees that the goal should have stood. Chelsea definitely got away with one here. West Ham were incredibly unlucky.
Fast-forward to the midweek Champions League fixture, and we saw yet another out-of-form performance from Chelsea, which saw them lose 1-0 to Dinamo Zagreb, hence the shocking news that Chelsea sacked Thomas Tuchel as Chelsea manager.
One could say that this was a tad rash from the Chelsea owners and board after backing Tuchel in the transfer market, yet not giving him enough time to work with the new assets, but we’re used to this Chelsea.
We now know that Graham Potter has since been announced as the new Chelsea manager after doing an incredible job as Brighton manager (Brighton currently sits in 4th position in the Premier League). This truly could result in a new manager bounce at Chelsea, or it could take a little time for players to adjust to a new style and system. Nonetheless, FPL managers can rejoice as we will likely not see Reece James playing at RCB again! Remember that Chelsea will blank in GW8, and benching Reece James is definitely the right play, in my opinion.
Newcastle 0 – 0 Crystal Palace
An exciting 0-0, to be honest, as the xG and shots suggest, as seen below. Personally didn’t watch the game but managed to catch some highlights, and Isak looks incredible value going forward.
xG: 2.83 vs. 1.01
Shots: 23 vs. 19
Shots on Target (SoT): 5 vs. 9
Big Chances (BC): 5 vs. 0
Isak took three shots, all three inside the box (2 on target), and had two big chances. I’m sure many own Trippier in FPL (or will likely own him soon), but I want to throw another name into the ring, and that is Schar. Schar plays in the defense, yet took three shots, all of which were in the box (just like Isak, who is playing striker), and also had one big chance.
A Newcastle triple-up is a viable option going forward, as they have both the form and fixtures to back it up. Newcastle’s upcoming fixtures can be seen in the image below.
Doucoure and Mateta lead the match in terms of shots taken, both taking four each, closely followed by Zaha and Schlupp with three each amongst Crystal Palace players. Zaha in particular, always looks exciting and can be a bit of an FPL troll, however, in this season, he looks to have added a bit of consistency to his FPL attacking returns. Palace have an incredible run of fixtures coming up (as seen below). The blank in GW8 was due to a possible train strike in Brighton, which we now know has been postponed due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
Nottingham Forest 2 – 3 Bournemouth
After winning in GW1, Bournemouth did not win a single Premier League game and was desperate for some strong points, which came about in GW6 when they faced Nottingham Forest. Despite the inferior xG of just 0.78, Bournemouth racked up three goals to win the match.
xG: 1.90 vs. 0.78
Shots: 11 vs. 8
Shots on Target (SoT): 3 vs. 3
Big Chances (BC): 1 vs. 1
Nottingham Forest went into the first half, securing a 2-0 lead, with goals scored by Kouyate and Johnson. Bournemouth hit back with quite an incredible comeback, scoring three goals in the second half, which were scored by Billing, Solanke, and a late winner in the 87th minute by Anthony.
The FPL favorite from this fixture, Neco Williams, grabbed himself an assist, to the delight of many FPL managers, including myself, as he was autosubbed in for me, as I’m sure he was for many of you as well.
Spurs 2 – 1 Fulham
Spurs continue to tick along quite nicely in the Premier League, and in classic Mitrovic style, he ensured the opposing team does not leave with their cleansheet intact.
xG: 2.98 vs. 0.73
Shots: 23 vs. 9
Shots on Target (SoT): 10 vs. 3
Big Chances (BC): 3 vs. 0
Hojberg opened the scoring for Spurs, with the ever-consistent Harry Kane scoring as well. Surprisingly, the player that stood out was Ryan Sessegnon, taking six shots (the most of any player in the match), 4 of which were in the box, also missing one big chance! This is a defender! If his minutes were secure, he’d definitely be an option in FPL.
Son, although on a really dry patch, took four shots, with three being inside the box. Son is definitely a punty option going into GW8, as he doesn’t have any form to go by, but rather has the fixture to bounce back, especially after being substituted off early in the UEFA Champions League. Son has a higher xGI than Mitrovic, with 0.74.
Mitrovic continued in incredible form, scoring a goal, whilst also taking five shots at goal. Mitrovic left the match with an xGI of 0.49.
Kane stood out in terms of xGI, racking up a 1.32 expected goal involvement, followed by the impressive Richarlison with 0.85. In Spurs’ first UCL fixture following GW6, Richarlison scored both of Spurs goals to win the game. Richarlison broke down when celebrating with his dad, and we could only imagine that this is the beginning for the young Brazilian. Following a great win in the UCL and a postponed GW7, Tottenham then played again in the Champions League away to Sporting, however, Spurs conceded two late goals, scored in the 90th and 93rd minute. Son was also subbed off early. What could that mean for Son? Well, he may be lacking in output, but I think it guarantees his start in GW8 against Leicester and may be worth a punt. I say he may be worth the punt, as I’ll be selling Salah for one gameweek (since he blanks) and will be bringing Son in before activating my Wildcard for GW9.
Wolves 1 – 0 Southampton
Fantasy Premier League wise, this wasn’t a game that affected many, yet still an intriguing one for the neutral.
xG: 0.80 vs. 1.20
Shots: 7 vs. 12
Shots on Target (SoT): 2 vs. 1
Big Chances (BC): 2 vs. 1
Southampton with the better underlying stats, but the Wolves took two shots on target, both of which were big chances! An FPL troll from last season, Che Adams, took just one shot, but was taken in the box and was also a big chance missed. He finished with an xGI of 0.75, which was the highest in the match amongst all players.
Wolves kept a handy cleansheet, with the only goal scorer of the match being Podence. Podence was in many FPL teams from GW1, but surely you’ve got rid by now right?
Aston Villa 1 – 1 Manchester City
One of the most unexpected results of the gameweek saw Aston Villa draw with Manchester City!
xG: 0.34 vs. 2.10
Shots: 3 vs. 13
Shots on Target (SoT): 1 vs. 4
Big Chances (BC): 0 vs. 4
Despite their pure domination in attack, Manchester City found it extremely difficult to break down a Villa side that has been struggling in the 2022/23 Premier League Season. As usual, one man managed to find a breakthrough, and before I even mention who it was, you’ve already said “Haaland” aloud, didn’t you? Yes, it was the lethal striker, indeed! Nobody seems capable of stopping him from finding the back of the net, regardless of how few touches he has in a game. In Manchester City’s most recent UCL fixture, Haaland scored a wonder goal! Just stick the captaincy on him in GW8 and don’t even think twice, as his effective ownership should be quite close or even surpass 190%.
Aston Villa hit back with a man that has trolled FPL managers this season, Bailey. I think I’ve seen him in one team on my social media timeline, and even with that, he was on their bench! Villa players are still an avoid for me personally.
Brighton 5 – 2 Leicester
In what we now know was Potter’s last game as manager of the team sitting in 4th place in the Premier League, Brighton absolutely demolished Leicester.
xG: 2.76 vs. 1.45
Shots: 23 vs. 6
Shots on Target (SoT): 11 vs. 4
Big Chances (BC): 4 vs. 2
My boy ‘Bossard’ came through for me with a goal and an assist. Mac Allister scored 2, with Pascal Gross just getting himself one assist. Solly March, although just getting one assist in the game led for shots, taking 6 in total (4 in the box), and one big chance missed. From a Leicester perspective, Daka was the standout performer, scoring one and assisting another.
The big question now is how will Brighton perform without Potter. I guess we’re going to have to wait an additional week as Brighton will blank in GW8, followed by a tough encounter against a Liverpool side that is hungry for a comeback, which will be played at Anfield.
Manchester United 3 – 1 Arsenal
Ending off what was the final match for two gameweeks in FPL, Manchester United took on Arsenal. For a really long period of the game, Arsenal were far the better side, but just couldn’t get the output required.
xG: 1.55 vs. 1.32
Shots: 10 vs. 16
Shots on Target (SoT): 6 vs. 3
Big Chances (BC): 4 vs. 3
Martinelli looked dangerous and scored early on; however, the goal was ruled out for a foul leading up to the goal. This was debated for a long time by the commentators, in the studio, and amongst fans proceeding to the final whistle. Nonetheless, all the debate in the world will not change the outcome, which was not a goal.
Antony opened the scoring. The game went back level after a goal scored by Saka (final! I know).
That wasn’t enough as Marcus Rashford hit twice in 9 minutes to grab himself not just the two goals, but an assist and three bonus points. If you took the punt on Rashford, he undoubtedly ensured you had a green arrow in what was quite a low scoring gameweek.
A reminder that Manchester United do not play in GW8.
That rounds up the Key Notes and Lessons Going into Gameweek 8. I hope it was informative and helpful. When making transfers or using your chips, keep in mind all the postponed fixtures, team value that you’ve built up on certain players, and flexibility in your squad to be able to get to certain assets, like a Mohamed Salah in 1 transfer if you fancy getting him back.
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