1 month ago
The international break is now behind us and we don’t have to worry about that until March, thankfully! The hectic Christmas schedule is right around the corner and things are starting to get exciting. In this article, I recap the key points from GW9 and have a sneak peek into GW10 in a new and easy-to-read format.
It only took Calvert-Lewin 45 seconds to get his GW9 started with a simple tap in against Fulham. He added a second, knocking in a Digne cross to help him collect all 3 bonus points for a 13 point haul, his second double-digit return of the season. He had 3 shots in the match with 2 of them being in the box and the pair of them being big chances, giving him a match-high expected goal involvement of 1.43. Only Firminho bettered this xGI in GW9.
His xGI of 7.05 for the season can only be bettered by the premium assets of Vardy and Kane in the forwards department. However, he betters the duo when it comes to non-penalty xG. With an attack-minded and leaky Leeds at home next, I expect him to get in on the act once again.
A quarter of the way into this season, the usually explosive Manchester City sit 13th having only scored 10 goals from 9 games. This weekend, they faltered to typical Jose Mourinho master-class of sitting deeper and pouncing on the counter. Empathized by their 2-0 win when the xG data suggest a scoreline of 0.71 v 1.47 in favour of City.
This season, City look out of sorts. They may have played a game less than most, but their xG of 10.78 puts them 12th in the league, which even Fulham can better! Dismal for a team renowned for their premium attacking assets. They are dominating possession and shooting freely, with their 125 shots being 3rd best in the league. Yet they are not creating many clear-cut opportunities, having only 16 big chances for the season, putting them joint 9th with Brighton and behind teams such as Palace. City are clearly lacking their usual bite and perhaps teams are adapting better when facing them. Regardless, there are more than enough reasons to be concerned.
However, City have a phenomenal run of fixtures through December and January. Jesus and Aguero have also returned from injury. So what do we do? Personally, I can’t look past the attacking history of this team and their fixtures, and going without them will be a mistake. Against Spurs, De Bruyne (£11.6m, £12.2m) had 6 shots with 4 being in the box, creating 3 chances of which 2 were big chances. While Cancelo (£5.5m, £5.0m), who is excelling at left-back, also created 4 chances against Spurs. As the result, they were first and second in the expected goal involvement charts in this match with 0.8 and 0.45 respectively.
So, although the form is not with this team, I would still be targeting these two players ahead of this fixture run, particularly de Bruyne. But you would be well within reason to look past them for now. Just make sure you watch the next 2 games from behind the couch if you do so!
Liverpool’s xG against Leicester was 3.38. This is the 2nd highest open play xG in a Premier League game this season. This was a weakened Liverpool side which many thought would struggle due to their extensive injury list. They were also playing a strong defence in Leicester, who had an xGC of only 7.9 in the previous 6 gameweeks, which put them 6th best in the league prior to the weekend game.
It is still unclear whether Salah (£12.2m, £12.4m) will be back next weekend although the news looks positive. Nevertheless, Liverpool’s attack is proving to be one of the most fruitful in the league. Jota (£6.6m, £6.6) is proving to be an absolute bargain. Their fixtures look brilliant as well over the Christmas break, up until GW19. They are hot favourites to retain the league and with their main competition Manchester City languishing, a double-up in their attack, at minimum, is a smart move going forward. With Jota making this possible for our budgets, of course.
Most Shots (Player) – 6, Mane & Firminho
Most Shots (Team) – 24, Liverpool
Most Chances Created (Player) – 6, Bruno
Most Chances Created (Team) – 19, Manchester City
As always, best of luck to everyone and if you want to reach out to me with any questions DM me on Twitter or create a thread on the website.
Sports fan and FPL addict from Ireland (still has not forgiven Thierry Henry). Loves numbers in both studies & profession and has incorporated this into FPL in recent seasons. Has played FPL for 8 seasons, finishing in the top 40k 5 times, with the best finish of 8k. Find on Twitter @FplPup if you have any questions