The gameweek straight after an international break is always highly anticipated by FPL managers but many of them — including myself — will be looking to the next one after a very low-scoring Gameweek 5.
With one game to play, the average score is 40. Popular buys, such as Son Heung-min (£9.1m) against Sheffield United at home, drew blanks while assets sold in their droves — including Richarlison (£6.8m), who grabbed a goal and an assist — thrived against the odds. It was just one of those weeks.
As usual, we will cover the main talking points of the weekend’s action from an FPL perspective.
Mohamed Salah’s consistency
He just continues to perform. Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) has provided a return in each of Liverpool’s league games and sits as the second-highest-scoring midfielder in the game. He has two goals and four assists, and they aren’t a fluke — he is registering an expected goal involvement (xGI, the addition of expected goals and expected assists) of 1.0 per game, which is higher than last season’s 0.94.
If you don’t own him, Liverpool’s fixtures become really favourable from Gameweek 9, but bring him in now if you need a hit. With West Ham United (H), Tottenham Hotspur (A), Brighton & Hove Albion (A) and Everton (H) in the next four, I don’t think these games are too bad from an attacking point of view.
Brighton look great, Manchester United are poor again
It was another clinical attacking display from Brighton as they put Manchester United to the sword at Old Trafford. What was even more impressive was the number of first-team players who didn’t start — Solly March (£6.6m) and Pervis Estupinan (£5.3m) were left out of the squad. Estupinan was rested after helping Ecuador beat Uruguay on Tuesday, and March was carrying a minor injury. Evan Ferguson (£6.0m) was also only fit enough for the bench.
With so many great attacking options competing for places, Brighton’s excellent form is tricky to turn into FPL points. Kaoru Mitoma (£6.5m) and Estupinan are the best picks for now.
However, given their next four league fixtures, hold steady. United will play Burnley (A), Crystal Palace (H), Brentford (H) and Sheffield United (A) and new signing Sofyan Amrabat (£5.0m) should be fit for the next game. United should improve when he is introduced, as highlighted in last week’s piece.
Spurs leave it late
Tottenham pulled off a late win against Sheffield United. They scored two goals deep into the 12 minutes of stoppage time.
Son was the most transferred-in player last week. More than 1.5 million managers acquired him after his hat-trick against Burnley in Gameweek 4. But the South Korean blanked in one of the most favourable fixtures of the season.
He started as the No 9 again, as expected, but Richarlison ended up with the points after coming on in the 80th minute. The result leaves Son’s role as the central striker in doubt, as Ange Postecoglou could give Richarlison another chance.
If he is shifted to the left wing, he becomes a much less attractive prospect in FPL. If you did bring him in, then keep him and hope for long-term rewards when Spurs play Luton Town (A), Fulham (H) and Crystal Palace (A) from Gameweek 8.
Alvarez becoming hard to ignore
Manchester City maintained their 100 per cent record with a 3-1 win over West Ham. Julian Alvarez (£6.8m) is showing his value — he registered two more assists to bring his total returns tally to two goals and five assists.
He has also started and played 90 minutes in four of his five league games. He was subbed in the 89th minute against Fulham in Gameweek 4 and has actually played the most minutes (449) from the City attackers.
The signs are looking good for the Argentinian, especially with Nottingham Forest (H) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (A) up next.
However, with the Champions League resuming this week, his minutes may start to reduce. He might still be worth bringing in but we all know what we get with City assets — rotation. Tread carefully, but he is worth the risk.
Chelsea’s assets frustrate again
FPL players with Nicolas Jackson (£7.1m) will be looking to move him on for Alvarez — and rightly so. The forward and Chelsea frustrated again with a 0-0 draw to Bournemouth and he has now picked up four yellow cards, making him one booking away from a suspension. His underlying stats are encouraging — he is averaging an xGI of 0.78 — but he only has one goal to show for it.
Chelsea’s next three games (Aston Villa, Fulham, and Burnley) are favourable but with the possibility of suspension looming and Alvarez staking a claim, it might be time to move him on.
Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) was surprisingly benched. Mauricio Pochettino said: “We’re going to play Mykhailo Mudryk in the position Chilwell has been playing. We wanted to play with a more offensive player and keep the same lineup in the back four.”
The fact Chilwell’s benching was tactical rather than a knock should be worrying for owners. On the left wing, he will be competing with Mudryk (£6.4m) and at left-back, he has Levi Colwill (£4.5m) as competition.
There are enough signs there to ditch Chilwell but he is not a must-sell just now, given their fixtures. Pochettino was also quite critical of Mudryk after the match, saying, “He is improving. He still needs to learn. The Premier League is very fast, the speed of the game is so fast.
“It’s about understanding the game better, trying to be more connected sometimes with the team.”
Mudryk’s steep learning curve may mean Chilwell comes in for the next game at least.
Newcastle United on the up
Eddie Howe’s defenders will be popular this week and very viable Chilwell replacements.
Kieran Trippier (£6.5m), Fabian Schar (£5.0m) and Sven Botman (£4.5m) are all great value options.
Newcastle have one of the best defences in the league, and even though they have only kept one clean sheet so far, their underlying stats suggest that figure will improve — their xG conceded of 5.45 is the league’s fourth-best. And that is despite playing Liverpool, Brighton and Manchester City.
Newcastle now embark on a much kinder run of fixtures, with Sheffield United (A), Burnley (H), West Ham (A), Crystal Palace (H) and Wolves (A) in the next five.
Fantasy Premier League Q&A: FPL GW6 advice from Abdul Rehman
If you want to ask me any questions about Gameweek 6, please leave them in the comments section. We will answer the best ones on Friday before the deadline.
(Top photos: Getty Images)