GW05 – Sports View

Refusing to say No To Mo

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The international break is over halfway done and the absence of Premier League football has given us a chance to reflect on the opening 4 Game Weeks. It’s been a period dominated by attacking full-backs, with Marcos Alonso, Benjamin Mendy and Andy Robertson registering returns in all 4 of their matches- in Mendy’s case it’s impressive to note that his side only recorded one clean sheet in that time. This shift to defensive players has taken up our budget which would normally be pumped into more traditional attacking outlets. Mohamed Salah, a man who recorded more points than anybody last season & provided regular returns in his first 3 matches, has faced the chopping block of many managers after his first blank of the season.

The main reason isn’t that people view him as a bad option, but more they feel the desperation to spread his £13.0m price tag around the squad. It’s easy to be seduced by the premise of something newer, more attractive and cost-efficient- the price rises of Sadio Mane, and the subsequent interest in Chelsea assets like Eden Hazard and Pedro are testament to this. Take players delivering high-scoring returns and the chance to free at least 2m budget which could upgrade a cheap defender into a premium one, it’s easy to understand their logic. But as a Mohamed Salah advocate I feel uncomfortable about the idea of not having him- so I don’t want to discard him without due care. He still remains a highly owned player, and one who will be a default captain pick for many. We know he is capable of regular returns- in some cases big returns. His fixture list is tightening up, but Salah scored against Tottenham, Chelsea and Man City last season- and with 13 chances created this season he remains somebody with the potential to provide a reliable outlet for points.

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Player prices are constantly changing, so the decision to retain or reject Salah for the upcoming Game Weeks will have long lasting consequences for those who make the wrong choice. Selling him for a player who matches or exceeds him will be value well spent, but if he outperforms everybody his price means it suddenly becomes difficult to bring him back in. We still have until Saturday to consider this decision, which affords us plenty of time. I feel it’s the knowledge that this prolongs our decision that ensures the call is more agonising.

Zaha out to punish his sellers?

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I’ve been holding my transfer over the international break until I was more certain about the news over Wilfried Zaha. So it was somewhat of a welcome relief that reports came out suggesting that his groin injury was not serious and that he was expected to be fit to play for Crystal Palace on Saturday. However over 300,000 FPL managers had jettisoned the Ivorian from their squad before this news had come out.

Those on a wildcard will now have the opportunity to bring him into their squads at his original 7.0m price tag. But for those that replaced him that aren’t on a wildcard, only time will tell if this was the correct decision. With Palace’s next 3 matches coming up against supposed easier opposition in the form of Huddersfield, Newcastle and Bournemouth, it seems feasible that these managers could well live to regret jumping the gun on Zaha.

And finally…

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I find it bizarre how short-term some managers can be when it comes to thinking about FPL, particularly when it comes to bringing players in. Take Danny Ings for example: Over 100,000 managers have brought him in so far. On the face of it he has an attractive price-point at 5.6m and his next fixture at home to a Brighton side that have conceded in all of their 4 Premier League matches looks to make him a superb pick. However, Ings is unable to play against his parent club Liverpool in Game Week 6 due to the terms of his loan- meaning that some FPL managers carrying rotation-risk players might find themselves struggling to make up a bench if they haven’t immediately transferred Ings out. Moreover those carrying Ings will then see him have two tricky matches in Wolves (H) and Chelsea (A), further denting his appeal. While his low price means it won’t be too damaging to bench him in this time, the likes of Callum Wilson and Aleksandar Mitrovic have form and fixtures in their favour- while Wilfried Zaha remains a dangerous threat. If you are one of the 51%+ who currently own Aguero, keeping Ings as well will prevent you from owning two of the aforementioned players- and I’d wager it will likely cost you points in the process.

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