After each gameweek, Joseph Crilley is going to be writing an article reviewing all the Premier League games from a fantasy perspective. He will be providing some stats and a brief summary on the performances and prospects of a few of the players. This is the fantasy premier league GW34 review. Last year, Joseph finished with an overall rank of 13k.
FANTASY PREMIER LEAGUE GW34 REVIEW
For each game, I will be providing a stats table containing the following: Goals (G), Assists (A), Shots (S), On Target (OT), Key Passes (KP), Bonus points (BP) and fantasy points (FP). Any statistic highlighted in yellow signifies that the player leads that category for his team. Blue highlight shows the players that registered a fantasy return (goal, assist or clean sheet) and green shows any player that scored 10+ points.
The tables also include the Expected Goals and Expected Assists for each individual player. This is in addition to the expected goals for each team in brackets within the scoreline. BBC Sport provided a very useful piece to help explain this statistic. Essentially each shot is given a score between 0 and 1 as to how likely it is to go in the net. For example, suppose a shot taken from inside the box is worth 0.56; this will be added to the xG tally of the player who take the shot and added to the xA of the player who passes the ball to him. All underlying stats are from the brilliant website understat.com. References to average position come from the twitter site 11tegen11.
The stats tables are all available via the following google spreadsheet link and I will speak about a few key players during the gameweek.
The massive FPL disappointment over the weekend was undoubtedly United who gifted the title to their city rivals after a 1-0 loss at home to West Brom. Many managers have invested in 3 of their players for what appeared to be a strong double gameweek, but there has been a severe lack of points after the first match.
The most transferred in player this gameweek was Pogba who was subbed off 58 mins in after being booked which meant he failed to return any points. Sanchez has been backed with the captaincy as a potential explosive differential, but he failed to take a single shot on goal. The best opportunities fell to Lukaku who at least had a header and another effort well saved, but that won’t provide much comfort for those who captained him.
The lack of clean sheet will have hurt the points total of many managers, where the only good news was that De Gea brought home another save point. Bailly was absent from the squad and Mourinho spoke about “future fixtures” which hints towards rotation.
It was an extremely impressive performance from the now-champions at Wembley on Saturday evening which marked their return to form. They played some sensational attacking football at times, especially in the first half, and many managers will be eying up their home fixture against Swansea next week with several other sides blanking.
The main threat throughout was Sterling who converted another close-range effort and also won a penalty to bring home a double-figure haul. Nevertheless, he arguably should have had more returns after an xG score of 1.84 thanks to a number of missed opportunities. His fellow winger Sané had a quieter game as he continues to be positioned wider, but he was able to crash one volley against the post.
The creators were also in impeccable form as De Bruyne and Silva repeatedly found spaces behind the Spurs’ midfield to cause problems. There wasn’t much in goal threat, though the Belgian did send one scorching effort just past the post and also produced an outrageous touch to send Sterling through on goal.
An intriguing option may have also emerged in Gundogan who is seemingly on penalty duties during the absence of Aguero. Priced at just 5.3mil, he was the instigator for many of the City attacks and created a one v one chance for Jesus. The striker was unable to convert that opportunity after finishing a similar one in the first half. He is another option while Aguero is out, but I’m not sure that he provides good value at 10.0mil when compared to his midfield teammates.
At the back, Otamendi failed to start for the first time since GW12; could this be the first of a few well-deserved rests before the season end? He was replaced by Laporte who put in an assured performance and is now priced at just 5.1mil, while Kompany picked up an assist and a couple of bonus points.
Another strong Liverpool performance at Anfield as they comfortably dispatched Bournemouth with the FPL points spread around the team. It’s 6 clean sheets in the last 10 games for a defence that has certainly improved since the arrival of Van Dijk, but the star of the show was Alexander-Arnold here. He created 4 chances for his teammates including an assist to return 12 points and could be a great cheap option for those utilising their free hit next week.
The front 3 all got on the scoresheet to continue their wonderful seasons as Salah bagged his 30th league goal with a wonderful header. It could have been worse for those managers who have decided to sell the FPL star in the past couple of weeks after he fired 6 shots on goal. Firmino showcased his ability to collect bonus points after picking up a couple following his late finish.
Mané is still somewhat a differential in comparison to his teammates with just 10.2% ownership and he returned for the 6th time in 7 games this weekend. This was mainly due to his 6 shots on goal which meant he led the way for his side in terms of xG with 0.93.
A disappointing display from Tottenham which resulted in their first league defeat of 2018 and they failed to ever really lay a glove on City. There were signs that Kane isn’t 100% fit quite yet as he looked a little sluggish and failed to take a single shot. He was a little unlucky to not register an assist after the shot from Eriksen was blocked by a defender before rebounding off the Dane and into the back of the net.
The midfielder was the only positive for Spurs as Alli also had a fairly quiet game and failed to make the most of the couple of chances that fell his way. Meanwhile, Son had to settle for an appearance from the bench as Pochettino preferred Lamela which he often does for matches against the top sides. Owners shouldn’t be too disheartened though because I would expect the Korean to start the easier game against Brighton on Tuesday.
It was a tough 90 minutes for the defence and Davies was a little fortunate to only receive a yellow card for a late challenge. He should start the next game after Rose suffered a recurrence of his calf injury, but I’d expect rotation to continue for the full backs providing full fitness.
It’s not an understatement to say that Chelsea were appalling for the first 65 minutes of their victory over Southampton. However, they did well to galvanise themselves to make a great comeback which was inspired by the introduction of Giroud. The substitute grabbed a brace and it is surely time for him to replace Morata in the starting XI who was poor again.
If this change were to be made for the next game, it would greatly increase the prospects of Willian and Hazard who improved after the substitution was made. The former had 6 key passes again this week and picked up his first assist since GW24. He created the goal for Hazard who finished well after an excellent first touch and I suspect that he will produce more returns with Giroud on the pitch.
There was some shambolic defending in the first half from Chelsea and Alonso was lucky to stay on the pitch following an awful challenge – he could still face retrospective action for this. The wingback then supplied the assist for the first goal with a good delivery into the penalty area. Christensen was back starting this week, but it will be a nervous wait for owners each time the Chelsea team sheet is released.
The theme of Arsenal’s season continued; they are a completely different side away from home compared to in front of their own fans. Wenger also continued with his league rotation – Ozil and Ramsey were among the notable names to miss out here.
Interestingly, Lacazette and Aubameyang both started with the latter shifted to a left-sided role from where he was able to create the goal for his fellow striker. This formation could be a pattern for future matches with Wenger looking to keep Lacazette sharp, so they can maintain their challenge for the Europa League. Aubameyang didn’t have a chance of note and managers who have kept him or looking to pick him up on a free hit for GW35 will be hoping that he can continue to produce returns at the Emirates.
There was only a place on the bench available for Austin again with Mark Hughes seeming to prefer the energy of Long for matches against the top 6 sides.
It was the battle for 7th at Turf Moor and Burnley came out victorious after two early goals sent them on their way. The first was another for Wood after being sent through by Barnes who was denied an assist after the initial effort was saved. 4.0mil Long started again and bagged his 1st PL goal which was a bonus for managers who brought him in to save some cash. His headed effort came from a corner sent in by the returning Gudmundsson who also picked up a bonus point.
Leicester had their chances to get back into that game but the only one that was converted was by Vardy late on in the game. He produced some rare good underlying stats with 5 shots in total for a high xG score of 1.10. His partner in crime Mahrez was also busy and saw a close-range effort well saved and a free-kick hit the post; overall, he was rather unlucky to blank.
There was a lively performance from Jordan Ayew on his return; 0.54 xG and 0.33 xA during his 9-point return prove that he can be a bench boost option in GW37.
Murray may have scored in the M23 derby, but he should have had so much more. I believe that his xG score of 1.17 doesn’t include a wonderful late opportunity that he could only send back towards the touchline.
There were 2 players that really stood out for Palace and many managers using their free hit in GW35 will consider Zaha and Milivojevic. The former scored his first ever Premier League brace and is certainly the key man in his side. Meanwhile, Milivojevic continues to produce returns that far surpass his price tag after a couple of assists here which means it’s 38 points in his last 4 games.
Newcastle picked up a fantastic victory over Arsenal inspired by a goal and an assist from Perez for the second successive. This win takes them to 41 points and we will have to see if there is a drop off in their performances now they are confirmed as safe from relegation.
That concludes the GW34 review. Feel free to post any questions or feedback in the comments section or you can find me on Twitter.
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