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sal31
10 May

GW38 Top Five Key Players

By The Editor ()

Headliner - Mohamed Salah (BHA)

The 2017/18 legend that is, Salah, needs no introduction. So, we move straight into the numbers, after all, we do not wish to insult your intelligence here. Liverpool have failed to score in their last two league games but with the Champions League final more than two weeks away we expect them to field a strong team in gameweek 38 in an attempt to build some momentum. Over the last four home league matches Liverpool have matched Man. City’s 10 goals scored and only Crystal Palace, with 11, and Arsenal, with 15, have scored more goals over that period. As you would expect from the Premier League’s top goal scorer, Salah, has been involved in more ‘big (goal scoring) chances’, with 38, than any other player this season and only Kane has had more shots on target, with 74 to 65. The mighty Egyptian has been directly involved in eight goals across his last six league games, scoring seven times and providing one assist over that period. Liverpool will host Brighton in their final game of the season. The Seagulls have conceded nine goals in their last five league games against “top six” opposition, so the prospects look good for Salah. The Reds are predicted to score 2.38 goals according to our Fix algorithm which is only marginally behind top rated, Spurs, who are predicted to score 2.54 goals. Surely the Premier League’s closest equivalent to Messi will finish the season with Fantasy Premier League (FPL) points. Our Fix algorithm certainly believes so, with a prediction of 8.0 points.

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Harry Kane (LEI)

Kane, reminded us that he has not mentally checked out of the season just yet, with a goal in Spurs final game during gameweek 37. This proved to be the match-winner in a narrow 1-0 win over Newcastle. It sees the England international move onto 28 league goals for the season, just three behind Golden Boot front-runner, Salah. Kane has taken 12 shots at goal in his last three matches (versus West Brom, Newcastle and Watford), whish is a huge improvement on the six efforts he managed in his previous three games (against Man. City, Brighton and Stoke). In the last six gameweeks only Lacazette, with five, and Aubameyang, with six, have scored more than Kane’s four goals and his 14 efforts from inside the box is just two behind Arnautovic’s 16. Over the same period, Kane, has matched Salah for ‘big chances’, with four, and produced just one less effort on target, with seven. Tottenham welcome Puel’s Leicester in gameweek 38 and are projected to score the most goals of any team with our Fix algorithm projecting 2.54. The algorithm also forecasts 7.0 points for Kane, the highest across all forwards. We can see gameweek 38 dividing opinion evenly when it comes to Kane or Salah for captaincy. Who will you pick?

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Wilfried Zaha (WBA)

Zaha, looks like a 2018/19 gameweek one must-pick if he stays at Crystal Palace, or is likely to be a regular starter at another Premier League club. The South Londoner has had another stellar season helping guide his team away from relegation trouble. It is also well documented that the Eagles have lost every single league game he has not played in this season – which says a lot about his influence on the pitch. Despite missing a number of games with a knee injury, Zaha, has been directly involved in 15 league goals, scoring eight and assisting seven across just 28 appearances. Almost half of his FPL involvements (goals and FPL assists) have come during the last six gameweeks, weighing in with a mightily impressive return of four goals and three assists. Only Aubameyang and Sterling, with nine each, have been involved in more goals during that period. The Ivory Coast international has produced nine efforts on target during the same period, which is only matched by Arnautovic amongst midfielders, while only Aubameyang and Austin, with 11 each, have registered more across all players. Crystal Palace will face relegation victims, West Brom, at home in their final game of the season and will be in a confident mood given that they have picked up 11 points in their last five league games, losing none. The Eagles have scored 12 goals over those five games and have looked a real threat going forward. Our Fix algorithm predicts that Crystal Palace will be the sixth best goal scoring team in gameweek 38, with 1.65 goals, behind heavyweights; Spurs, Man. City, Liverpool, Man. United and Arsenal, while Zaha himself is predicted to pick up 4.2 points.

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Marcus Rashford (WAT)

With Lukaku suffering from a foot injury, Rashford, is expected to lead the line for Man. United on the final day of the season and he will be looking to finish the season with a late flurry of FPL involvements to add to his total of six goals and five assists, in a bid to book his seat on the plane for this summer’s World Cup in Russia. The Man. United forward has registered nine efforts at goal across his last three league starts and has found the target five times, scoring twice. Eight of Rashford’s 11 FPL involvements have come at Old Trafford this season, which also bodes well for gameweek 38. Amongst Man. United players, only Lukaku, with 76, and Sánchez, with 47, have taken more than Rashford’s 35 shots inside the box this season and the 20-year-old’s total of three shots on target over the last six gameweeks is behind only Pogba and Lukaku, who have six. Watford will travel to Old Trafford for gameweek 38 and our Fix algorithm is predicting 3.9 points for Rashford which is second only to Tosun of the forwards priced 8.5 or under. It has been a case of slim pickings when looking for value in the budget/mid-priced forwards category in recent weeks, but we are hopeful of returns for Rashford in this one, particularly with Man. United also predicted to score 2.35 goals.

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James Milner (BHA)

Milner, makes our “Top Five” grade for the first time this season just in the nick of time. A player that was widely spoken of in FPL social circles during pre-season given his re-classification as a defender for the 2017/18 campaign. Unfortunately, he never really materialised as worthwhile option. Until now. For their final game, we expect Liverpool to utilise Milner once again in an “out of position” central midfield role and with the 32-year-old contributing to 11 assists across all competitions for Liverpool this season, with eight coming in just 10 Champions League appearances the signs are there. Over the last six gameweeks Milner’s 10 attempted assists is more than any other defender, beating Moses and Alexander-Arnold, who have attempted nine and eight respectively. Liverpool have conceded the fewest goals over their last six matches, with four, and only West Brom and Everton have matched their three clean sheets over this period. Liverpool will be up against Brighton at home in gameweek 38 and the underlying numbers look positive for a Reds clean sheet. Brighton have only scored one goal in their last five away games versus the “top six” in the league, and that solitary goal was against a heavily rotated Man. City team just this week. Our Fix algorithm predicts 5.1 points for Milner and a 54% chance of clean sheet for Liverpool, which is second only to Man. United who are projected to have a 58% chance. Milner could be a great final throw of the dice for some.

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The Editor

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