Last updated on October 26th, 2023
Who should be your priority players for the next Gameweek, position by position. Written by Keiran Trotter (@fpl_del)
It’s fair to say that I have a renewed passion for FPL this week. After a quiet international break, I bounced back joining the century club, despite, and in part because of, taking a hit for a defender! 106(-4) for 102 points was one of the most pleasing weeks for me in a long time and rocketed me 2 million places up to 1.9 million and I’m hoping this is now the kickstart for my season. The team is in good shape and I may even have the luxury of rolling a transfer this week despite an extension to Sven Botman’s injury recovery timeframes. But that’s enough about my actual team, let’s have a look at how my, and hopefully your, picks got on last week.
Week 9 Review
7 points from Nick Pope was a great start to the gameweek. Only Alisson at Liverpool pipped him to be the top-scoring goalkeeper last week as he added 2 bonus points to his clean sheet. The choice of Trent Alexander Arnold over Trippier cost me 4 points as, despite both keeping
clean sheets, Trippier continued his scintillating form adding another assist and a bonus point. 6 points for Trent was ok though and there were only 6 defenders who beat him with Diogo Dalot registering a goal and 3 bonus points as United edged out Sheffield United 2-1. A 16-point haul from main man Mohammed Salah was super pleasing, especially given I put the armband on him in my actual team. It wasn’t looking great with 20 minutes to go but that’s the advantage of captaining a penalty taker, they can get a goal from nothing, and when he did that opened the game up. Only Jacob Murphy at Newcastle topped him with a goal, 2 assists and 3 bonus points.
Now, initially, my forward pick of the week was Alexander Isak at Newcastle, however, I did caveat this with it depending on his fitness. Fortunately, thanks to @premierfantasytools press conference roundup, I was able to identify that Isak hadn’t trained and was unlikely to start, so my second choice was Ollie Watkins. Isak came off the bench for a 1-pointer and Watkins delivered a goal, an assist and 2 bonus points for an 11-point haul. That score was only bettered by Chris Wood’s 13 points for Forest but that gave me a total of 40 points from 4 players. This was my best score of the season so far and a very pleasing outcome.
When trying to find the best option for a clean sheet I always look at 2 things. The first is the bookies odds for a clean sheet. There is a lot of statistical analysis that goes into their odds calculations and they are risking profit and loss when they publish them. The second thing I look at is the statistical matchup between attack versus defence in terms of expected goals, actual goals and big chances. I try to identify if there are any anomalies in the bookies odds and any potential for getting one over on them.
This week, it is fair to say the bookies aren’t wrong with their favourite for a clean sheet. Arsenal rank 2nd for expected goals conceded, 3rd for actual goals conceded and 4th for big chances conceded. They welcome Sheffield United to the Emirates this week who are currently ranked 20th for expected goals, 19th for actual goals and 19th for big chances created. So the bookies analysis of a 56% chance of a clean sheet is a little light, if anything and on that basis, I think David Raya (£4.8m) is a no-brainer this week and he will be my goalkeeping pick of the week.
With Aston Villa (46% chance of a clean sheet) welcoming Luton, Emiliano Martinez (£4.9m) is also an option but Villa don’t rank in the top 5 for any of my key defensive metrics whilst Luton are improving and no longer rank in the bottom 5 for any of my key attacking metrics. Liverpool host Forest and likewise, Liverpool rank 4th for goals conceded and Forest 15th for expected goals, but it’s nothing like the clear matchup of the Arsenal vs Sheffield United matchup.
Newcastle and Manchester City are 2 of the best defences currently but both travel away from home this week and whilst Newcastle face a Wolves side not blessed with attacking threat, at home they are certainly more of a threat than Sheffield United are on the road. City face off against Manchester rivals United where there are usually plenty of goals.
Kieran Trippier (£7.0m) continued his form last week and now has 6 assists in 5 gameweeks. Newcastle travel to Wolves which isn’t the worst fixture and with him in this sort of form, with Newcastle as free-scoring as they are at the minute (ranked 1st for goals, expected goals and big chances) he has to be a strong option this week and those to come.
With Aston Villa hosting Luton this week, there should be good point potential at both ends for their defenders, especially Matty Cash ( £5.1m) and Lucas Digne (£4.7m). Cash tops the expected goal involvement charts this season and has 2 goals and an assist. Digne has crept up on him recently and now has 3 assists for the season. Both could be argued as options this week. I am starting to favour Digne though who is matching Cash’s advanced positioning and is also on set pieced duty.
Someone who is quietly compiling a decent FPL season is Vladimir Coufal. He already has 4 assists this season, all coming in his last 5 games and with a home time vs Everton he may well get opportunities for more. That said, West Ham’s inability to keep a clean sheet (only 1 so far in 9 games) is holding his points totals back.
Given Arsenal have a high percentage of a clean sheet this week Ben White (£5.6m) should definitely come into our thoughts. He has a goal and an assist so far this season and is easily the Arsenal defender with the most attacking threat. He has expected goal involvement of nearly double any other defender and has played every minute for them so far this season. As per last week, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.9m) should be in our thoughts. That said, he has only created 2 big chances in 7 appearances and is yet to get on the scoresheet so far this season. It was a bit of an error on my part to go with him over Trippier last week and so I don’t want to make the same mistake again this week. So based on that, Kieran Trippier has to be my defensive pick of the week this week.
It feels like the key midfielders are really starting to separate themselves from the pack now and there are some clear and obvious choices (a template, if you will) establishing themselves. We now have Mohammed Salah (£12.8m) on 7 goals and 4 assists for the season, Heung-Min Son (£9.5m) on 7 goals plus 1 assist. Jarrod Bowen (£7.4m) has 6 goals and an assist while Bukayo Saka (£8.5m) has 4 goals and 4 assists. James Maddison (£8.1m) completes the top 5 of current midfielders this season with 3 goals and 5 assists.
Saka clearly has the plumb fixture this week with Sheffield United at home. There is still a slight doubt over his fitness but given he completed 81 minutes on Tuesday night I think we should be ok on that front. My only drawback for him this week is that with Martinelli and Jesus both back fit now there is the possibility that any attacking returns will be spread around. Sheffield United concede lots of chances though and it would be hard to back against Saka being amongst the points.
With West Ham at home to Everton, I definitely like Bowen as an option this week. Everton are bottom half for defensive stats away from home but it’s just not in the same league as Saka’s matchup vs Sheffield United. Spurs are away at Palace this week. Palace are comfortably top
half for their defensive stats at home so whilst Maddison and Son are good options, they definitely aren’t the #1 shout this week.
Looking outside the top 5 scoring midfielders, Douglas Luiz (£5.5m) is the one that stands out. He’s Villa’s penalty taker which accounts for 3 of his 5 goals and he hasn’t contributed any assists yet. But with a home tie against Luton, he should get more opportunities this week. This week’s midfielder pick of the week really comes down to the consistency of Salah in a home fixture vs Forest, who aren’t the worst by any stretch defensively away from home, against Saka against Sheffield United. I just can’t look past that fixture so Bukayo Saka will be my midfield pick of the week.
Forwards (minus Haaland)
The big Norwegian was back amongst the goals last weekend and again on Wednesday night so he maintains his position as undroppable for me. I will continue to select the best forward I think to line up alongside him.
As with the midfield section, Arsenal players have to be considered here and Gabriel Jesus (£7.9m) has to be considered. Injury has prevented him from getting into full swing so far this season. He only has a single goal and assist in 4 starts but he was on the scoresheet Tuesday night and Sheffield United are likely his best chance all season.
We have the same old conundrum at Newcastle. With Isak dropping to the bench for them last week Callum Wilson came back in and duly got on the scoresheet. Isak was back in for the UCL fixture midweek but there is just too much risk picking one or the other at the minute. Gametime is limited for both.
Likewise at Liverpool, it’s hard to work out who their preferred Striker(s) are at the minute with Gakpo, Nunez and Jota all sharing gametime. The potential for a benching puts me off going down that route, even though I like the fixture versus Forest.
Ollie Watkins (£8.3m) continued his fine form last week as he added another goal and assist to make it 5 goals and 8 assists in total this season. He tops the forward ranks so far this season ahead of Haaland and with a home tie against Luton, it’s hard to see him not adding to that this gameweek.
The only possible challenge to the Watkins/Jesus decision this week is Julian Alvarez (7.1m). Another goal last week made it 4 goals and 5 assists for the season, however, I much prefer Watkins and Jesus’ fixture this week given City face United.
So it comes down to consistency vs fixture again. Jesus vs Sheffield United is the best fixture but in this instance, I am going to opt for the consistency of Ollie Watkins in a Villa side who should create plenty versus Luton.
Picks of the Week
David Raya (Arsenal GK £4.8m)
Kieran Trippier (Newcastle DF £7.0m)
Bukayo Saka (Arsenal MF £8.5m)
Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa FW £8.3m)
Best of luck for the week ahead and I’ll see you next week for another review and set of Picks of the Week.