3 months ago

Key Matchups Analysis for FanTeam's €30K Monster [GW31]

As this is my first piece for Draftgym, I’d just like to introduce myself. I am @FPL_JianBatra and I have been producing Fantasy Football content for just over a year now, and I take a more tactical approach to my writing and decision making. You can find me on Twitter with the handle mentioned above. Enjoy!

This article will look at specific matchups which provide logical, high-ceiling options for FanTeam's GW31 Weekly Monster.


Chelsea vs Brentford

This is my favourite fixture for this monster, and a double up is a must amongst the Chelsea assets.

There are many indicators which highlight the potential for Chelsea’s defensive assets in this fixture. The manner in which Chelsea operate ensures they consistently have central numeric advantages over the opposition, specifically when playing against more defensive sides. Brentford’s normal outlets through one of their number 8’s dropping in to help form somewhat of a double pivot will struggle as many of the passing lanes will be blocked.

Naturally the ball will be shifted wider throughout their attacks and the game. The wide areas in general cause Chelsea much less of a problem. This is due to numerous factors including: lack of passing angles, how easily Chelsea’s structure may shift and press the ball carrier, and then the fact Brentford don’t’ have particularly high quality or explosive players out wide.

Since Gameweek 25 Chelsea have recorded the best xGC of any team by some stretch (2.5), whereas Brentford are ranked 10th for xG (8.83). The 10th ranking is slightly flattering as it includes more penalties than any other team and the difference in xG is much smaller when comparing the sides ranked below them, in comparison to sides ranked better for this statistic.

Read more: GW31 Set-piece Analysis

Whilst Reece James is priced at 12.2m, given the evidence above, combined with his brilliant attacking output, I think he must be the asset to go for. In weekly monsters every point carries so much weight and having a squad of high ceiling players is essential. Looking at it from a slightly different perspective, given the close matchups in terms of fixtures this week, I imagine he will have a high ownership. Hence, it almost acts as some form of a safety net should he haul.

I would also go for another Chelsea defender in the form of either Antonio Rudiger (11.0m) or Thiago Silva (10.9m), both have high ceilings and attacking potential, and there isn’t a better fixture for defensive assets.

Kai Havertz (13.5m) is the other Chelsea player I would select. Brentford’s switch to the 4-3-3 still hasn’t fixed their problems of being able to pick up the oppositions most central player who drops in between the last two lines of defence. Of all players, Havertz is one of the best to exploit this. His movement and intelligence can prompt one of the now only two Centre Back’s to be dragged out, should Chelsea shift the ball sideways fast enough to displace the Number 6, there will be a lot of space in behind to make a second movement. Somewhat similarly to his goal against Newcastle, just not as difficult.

With four goals and one assist in his last three Premier League games, he’s one of the most inform players in the world right now. He also scored on international duty for Germany.


Leeds vs Southampton

Leeds implementing a somewhat chaotic press against Southampton’s well structed aggressive counter press screams for a game full of chances and goals.

Mohamed Elyounoussi (9.1m) is the player I particularly like from this fixture. Based off the eye test, he has been absolutely fantastic recently. In a 4-4-2 which Southampton employ you would expect the wide midfielder to have less of an impact on the game and rather operate as a system player. However, his ability to drive with the ball, good finishing, and spacial awareness means not only does he receive the ball a lot but just as importantly it’s the progressive areas in which he receives it. He’s consistently in the half spaces, and it’s in these areas that it’s much easier to return attacking points.

Che Adams (9.5m) is consistent but doesn’t really seem to have the involvement which would likely lead to a big haul, as such he is omitted. The inconsistencies of Raphinha and James Ward-Prowse in terms of Fantasy returns mean I wouldn’t go for either of those assets. Whilst both often perform fantastically, they suffer from somewhat of an overreliance to create in initial phases of play. Ward-Prowse specifically caters to a role which is both creative and defensive and helps the team transition into more attacking phases from deeper areas of the field, reducing his attacking output. Raphinha’s seeming inability to return big and consistently, is what puts me off him.

Read more: GW31 Captaincy

Phillipe Coutinho (9.1m) against Wolves

The final matchup is Coutinho against a Wolves side who showed signs of mass vulnerability after going down to 10 men against Leeds.

What I like most about Coutinho is the freedom that he is given in this system. He has two forwards who press consistently for him in order to cut initial passing lanes and force the ball wider. Also the more defensive Central Midfielders will collectively cover his areas of the pitch to an extent, which allows him to be positioned higher up the pitch more often. Not only is he positioned higher up but the flexibility of the role allows him to use his intelligence to exploit areas of weakness in the opposition’s system.

Wolves specifically may struggle to pick Coutinho up in the right half space specifically, this is mainly due to personnel. Coutinho should be able to have a few consistent tries at infiltrating this space and as such attacking returns are always on the cards. Combine this with the volume of set pieces he delivers, and his floor point level is relatively high always.


I’d be careful about Manchester United and Arsenal this week.

Leicester’s pace and ability to play through United’s press with the quality they possess could see them struggle more than is anticipated by most.

In regards to Arsenal, going to Selhurst Park under the light on a Monday night is always a difficult task, especially if Ramsdale is out as that causes them all sorts of problems.



A fantasy footbal enthusiast with a special love for tactical analysis.