FPL: Lessons learnt from GW30

Gameweek 30 was a nightmare for many as the week opened with Salah blanking against a tactical United defence.

More was added on Sunday when Kane came on to deliver a single point after getting injured mid-game. In this piece, we look at some lessons learnt from Gameweek 30 and some important points that would help us plan for the upcoming double Gameweek.

1. Clinical United silence Salah.

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A stifling display from Manchester United earned them a 2-1 win over Liverpool as Mohamed Salah blanked for only the third time in 21 Gameweek starts. United had just two shots on target all match and both of them led to Marcus Rashford goals. The first came when Romelu Lukaku’s header sent the Englishman through to beat Trent Alexander-Arnold and finish with aplomb.

Rashford then doubled the advantage before the break, with Liverpool getting a goal when Eric Bailly sliced Sadio Mane’s cross into his own net. The Senegal international earned two bonus points with this assist, four dribbles and three chances created, while Rashford earned maximum bonus points.

The Reds made 14 attempts for an equaliser but only one came from Salah. The Egyptian could manage just three touches in the box and one chance created.

The 41.6% owned Roberto Firmino was more productive having three attempts and creating one chance. The market in the Reds’ front three is undoubtedly going to remain busy ahead of their Gameweek 31 fixture at home to Watford. Investment elsewhere in the side is indeed difficult to justify.

In central midfield, the gaffer made changes by bringing in James Milner for Jordan Henderson. Also, this week’s partner for Virgil van Dijk was Dejan Lovren once again at centre-half, for the second Gameweek in a row.

Alexander-Arnold made a fifth successive start at right-back, although his position is in danger considering the ease with which he was beaten by Rashford. Also, Joe Gomez has returned to full fitness and Nathaniel Clyne is close to a return. 

Van Dijk could possibly be the strongest inclusion for Gameweek 31 outside the attacking trio, whose two attempts from set-pieces reminded us of his attacking potential.

2. Kane injury blow for managers.

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Harry Kane’s injury derailed the captaincy plans of a whopping 27% of FPL managers, but Son Heung-Min scored a brace in his as Spurs comfortably beat Bournemouth 4-1.

It was a conflicting few seconds for Kane’s 46.3% ownership. He had just equalised for Spurs, only for the goal to be ruled out offside and a problem with his ankle becoming apparent. News of Aguero’s knee injury, coupled with the return of Gabriel Jesus, makes Kane’s issue quite crucial with many Wildcards set to be played in the next few Gameweeks.

Erik Lamela came on as Kane limped off, with Son moving into the lone striker role. Son was the second top transfer target for Gameweek 30 and banishing his poor away form, he showed fantasy managers that he could be the man to profit upfront in Kane’s potential absence. Taking maximum bonus points at the weekend, Son has now overtaken Christian Eriksen as the top scoring midfielder for Spurs in fantasy.

The Cherries only took seven minutes to take the lead when Junior Stanislas scored his third goal in six Gameweeks after being set up by Adam Smith. Dele Alli equalised from a Serge Aurier cross before Son gave Spurs the lead before the break with Alli providing the assist.  The South Korean scored his second when put through by Eriksen, while substitute Kieran Trippier’s miss-hit cross led to Aurier which made it 4 for Spurs.

Along with the Kane issue, both Alli and Danny Rose went off early. Rose’s presence was a huge blow to Davies owners. He had started the previous nine matches and was brought in by more than 660,000 managers over the last four Gameweeks. Aurier, on the other hand, made his third straight league start and made it 26 points earned over that period.

3. Spaniard Silva scores a brace for scintillating City.

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Manchester City won once again at the weekend and moved to just two victories of securing the Premier League title. Gameweek 33’s Manchester Derby could be the entirely fitting fixture that would win City the league. This fact will certainly trouble United fans and might also leave FPL managers a bit uneasy.

City strolled past Stoke City at the weekend with a double from David Silva. The midfielder opened the scoring in the first half after being set up by returning Raheem Sterling, before clinching the points just after the break from Gabriel Jesus’ assist.

That makes it three goals and an assist from the last three Gameweeks for the Spaniard. He now has six of his eight goals and three of his four double-digit scores in away fixtures this season. Sterling returned to the pitch from injury for his first start since Gameweek 27 to produce a fifth haul (2 goals, 4 assists) from his last seven starts.

Jesus was another returner who started in place of Sergio Aguero, who is expected to be out for two weeks with a knee injury. The Brazilian striker completed 90 minutes on the pitch for just the third time this season and now has eight goals and five assists from just 13 starts this season. Bernardo Silva was unfortunate to drop to the bench due to the above changes, despite delivering two goals and an assist in three of the last four Gameweeks.

City’s third straight clean sheet also involved different defensive personnel, with Vincent Kompany coming in place of Aymeric Laporte as Nicolas Otamendi’s partner at centre-half. The Blues registered just one clean sheet in six matches from Gameweek 22, but with the backline moving to 15 shut-outs of the season, they are now level at the top with United.

This has also put Ederson just seven points behind David De Gea in FPL’s goalkeeper standings. Elsewhere, Otamendi got two bonus points moving him to 18 this season, just one behind Cesar Azpilicueta as the top-ranked defender for that metric. The Argentine has lost 162,000 owners over the last six Gameweeks and has registered four clean sheets and scored 29 points over that period.

That is all from my end this week. We now enter the most important part of the season with blank and double Gameweeks coming ahead. Many chips will be played, many matches will be in action and it is going to be  tricky but also fun for FPL managers. I hope that you have green arrows from now until the end of the season, and wish you all the very best for the upcoming blank Gameweek. 

Written by Nekzad Bajan. (@nekzaDd)

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