FPL GW9 – Mikey’s Musings

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For this article, I will cover several of the talking points in the FPL community and give my views. 

Salah perma-captain?

Earlier this week, there was a debate whether to captain Lukaku home to Norwich or Salah away to Man Utd this gameweek. The debate was rendered mute with Lukaku twisting his ankle in the first half of Chelsea’s Champions League tie with Malmo. Barring a miraculous recovery, Lukaku will be missing for a few games. 

It seems like most FPL managers will now go for the relative safety of Salah (£12.8m) for the armband. Salah recorded an assist and a world class goal in their last PL fixture away to Watford and followed up with two goals in a 3-2 win away to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. 

The debate now is whether FPL managers can simply leave the armband on the Egyptian international and focus decisions elsewhere. He has scored seven goals in eight PL games, scoring in all bar one game with five double digit returns. 

There is a simple argument in favour of keeping the captaincy on Salah; effective ownership. I believe that every gameweek for the foreseeable future, Salah’s effective ownership will be over 100% meaning that if you don’t captain him, you want Salah to blank. Despite Liverpool’s fixtures appearing tough on paper, Salah has scored against Chelsea and Man City this season. 

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Even when looking at alternatives, it is relatively slim pickings. Vardy (£10.6m) has been in great form and is the top scoring forward in FPL, matching Salah with seven PL goals. Leicester also have a good fixtures in the medium term. Man City also have a good fixture run but with a wealth of attacking talent, picking the player that gets a points haul is tricky.

The only viable alternative for the captaincy could be Spurs attackers. Spurs have an excellent fixture run between GW12 and 16 and Son (£10.1) has four goals and two assists whilst Kane (£12.1) scored his first attacking returns in the PL against Newcastle last GW.

I am planning to incorporate Son into my team in the near future and I will likely sacrifice having a premium forward to do so. The alternative is to swap Lukaku for Kane (£12.1m) would be simpler. 

I think you can consider your Spurs attacking assets as genuine captain alternatives to Salah, especially between GW12 and 16. 

Chelsea attack?

With both Lukaku (£11.7m) and Werner (8.6m) ruled out with injury, we will have a new look attack for Chelsea’s game against Norwich. Havertz (£8.1m) now comes into focus and the only attacker with experience playing as a striker. Though not a complete guarantee, I think Havertz will play as a false 9 and I believe he will do well there. Before moving to Chelsea, the German international played for Bayer Leverkusen and often played as the most advanced forward scoring 29 goals in 64 appearances in two seasons.

Against weaker opposition, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chelsea more on the front foot and this could manifest itself in two ways. Tuchel could revert to a back four and have more attacking midfielders. The more likely change would be that the wing backs will be more advanced and looking to get the ball into the box. Either way, I see points for the likes of Mount (£7.4m), Ziyech (£7.3m) and whoever else plays in the attacking positions.

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Antonio: hold or sell?

Antonio (£8.1m) has blanked in three of the last four games and with difficult games to come (West Ham play Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea between GW11 and 15), there is an argument to consider selling the Jamaican striker. 

Looking at the last game though, I believe Antonio is a firm hold. He managed four shots, three inside the box and missed a big chance for 0.88xG. I also don’t see an obvious alternative that I love at a similar price with DCL and Bamford out and Callum Wilson still coming back to full fitness. I am holding for the time being and will reassess in a couple of GWs. 

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GW9 transfer plans

Here is my current squad with 0.4m ITB:

I had originally planned to roll my FT and captain Lukaku. With the Belgian striker injured and seemingly ruled out, I will likely be replacing Lukaku with form striker Vardy (£10.6m). I am also considering getting Havertz (£8.1m) who is likely to play as the most advanced attacker for Chelsea against Norwich and it would be Foden (£8.0m) who would make way.

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