The Wheels, have they come off Ole?
I was particularly bewildered watching the Istambul Basaksehir vs. Manchester United match. Especially the last 10 minutes.
Somehow, Scott McTominay found himself playing in a right wingback role. Harry Maguire was playmaking and Anthony Martial was dropping so deep to try to keep hold of the ball (with decent success to be fair to him), that there was hardly anyone close enough to the Turkish goal to pose any real threat.
I don’t even feel there is any need to comment on the goals conceded by United. The defensive shape of the team before Demba Ba receives the ball and gets a free run at Henderson’s goal tells the whole story:
and the second goal…
Should we completely write off United’s Fantasy assets given the evidence above? Probably not, as some defensive and attacking options could become viable in FPL. But some things needs to change, possibly starting with the manager.
At this point, it is difficult to understand how and why a team that is able to beat last year’s Champions League finalists and semi finalists and then fails to maintain any kind of momentum.
The excuse last season – which I think was fair enough – was the lack of options in attack and virtually no quality on the bench. These days, however, we see the likes of Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood, Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani coming off the bench. It is difficult to predict lineups for each week and I can’t put my finger on the strongest available XI at the moment.
Anyway, back to Fantasy Premier League, I mentioned in a previous article there are options a plenty, while they might be not so high, let’s start off with the safe options. Bruno Fernandes, despite blanking in the last two Premier League weekends, remains as one of the most creative players in the league and is still on penalties. Annoyingly for owners, the Portuguese international was subbed off for van de Beek early against Arsenal, while for some strange reason Paul Pogba remained on the pitch. The argument that Bruno and the Dutchman can’t play together was thrown out of the window by Ole himself on Wednesday, as the Norwegian started both in the Champions League defeat.
Bruno has came out of the two away fixtures this season with double-digit hauls (12pts vs. Brighton & Hove Albion & 11pts vs. Newcastle). His underlying numbers are still worth mentioning – he has created more chances (19) this season than any other Premier League midfielder, despite playing one game less than most.
It is clear as day that Bruno is one of the best midfielders in the league and remains a key player for United. Unfortunately, the manager lets him down by constantly chopping and changing the starting XIs and formations and… Bruno still continues to create chances. Given the abundance of other premium options it is difficult to fit him into our Fantasy teams, but he could certainly prove to be a great differential.
Also, Fernandes’ decision-making has been suspect at times in recent weeks – for example, as presented below, he should have passed the ball to Aaron Wan-Bissaka against Basaksehir:
Speaking of Wan-Bissaka, he looks far more threatening this season compared to the last campaign. Here is his goal against Newcastle, where he made a similar run but on that occasion he was found by Rashford’s delicate pass:
The other assets worth of a mention are Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. Slightly cheaper than Bruno, the Englishman has started upfront in the league in Martial’s absence, but only managed to deliver Fantasy points in one of the three games without the suspended Frenchman in the XI (Newcastle away). However, the fact that United’s number 9 will be back for the Everton game should only increase the MBE award winner’s Fantasy appeal. Rashford and Martial clearly have a good understanding and playing as a left-winger allows the Englishman to effectively use his most deadly skills.
Meanwhile, Martial has been pivotal in our wins in Paris (won the pen) and against Leipzig (goal and assist). The Frenchman also scored a wonderfully-placed header against Istanbul Basaksehir and looks set to start in the next league game against Everton, who conceded over 2.60 xG vs Newcastle and this may be the best time to play Carlo Ancelotti’s men, as Richarlison is still banned.
Other than that, no United players stand out. Perhaps Harry Maguire could get a honourable mention, as the United captain recorded 8 goal attempts from inside of the box in his 6 league appearances so far – more than any other defender in the game.
Personally, I am not going to jump on United assets yet, even with the match against West Brom coming up in Gameweek 9. If anyone fancies a punt, Bruno Fernandes in particular offers high upside. Marcus Rashford is another interesting one as he will move back to his favoured position, while over the season both Maguire and Wan-Bissaka should provide some attacking returns.
The whole perspective could change, however, if United fail to get any points on board against Everton, as rumours about the board replacing the Norwegian manager with Mauricio Pochettino are intensifying.
All stats are taken from the members area of Fantasy Football Scout