Who are the best replacements for Salah and Son in Fantasy?

By mustafa

Managers in Fantasy Premier League have big decisions to make as they seek to replace Mohamed Salah (£13.2m) and Son Heung-min (£9.8m).

Liverpool’s Salah and Tottenham Hotspur’s Son are the top-scoring players in Fantasy but they are now leaving their clubs to participate in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and Asian Cup respectively. They will miss Gameweek 21 and may not return until Gameweek 25, depending on their nations’ progress in the two tournaments.

Both depart in fine form, further highlighting the major impact their absences will have on Fantasy managers.

Salah has been the top-scoring midfielder over the last six Gameweeks with 45 points, while Son’s three goals and three assists put him joint-second over the same period, just three points behind the Egyptian. 

Encouragingly for Fantasy managers, a trio of midfielders – Chelsea’s Cole Palmer (£5.6m), Spurs’ Richarlison (£6.9m) and Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise (£5.9m) – have all matched the 42 points of Son in that period.

Richarlison’s fortunes have been transformed since being moved up front recently, with his total of five goals ranking top among Fantasy midfielders over the last six Gameweeks.

Palmer has matched Salah’s exact output of four goals, two assists and seven bonus points over the same period.

Meanwhile, Olise has also scored four goals and collected eight bonus, the most of all these players mentioned. He has been ruled out of Thursday’s FA Cup with a hamstring injury but does not play again in the Premier League until Saturday 20 January. 

Top-scoring FPL midfielders last six Gameweeks
PlayerPointsGoalsAssistsBonus pts
Who has the greatest goal threat?

The underlying statistics immediately show how similar Son and Olise have been for goal threat in these last six Gameweeks.

They have each had 18 shots and three big chances, while they are near-identical for both shots in the box and shots on target.

Although Palmer has matched those 18 shots, his goal threat has mainly been from distance, with just five shots in the box compared with the 14 of Olise.

Richarlison’s role up front has helped him to seven big chances, top among all midfielders, while he has matched Son’s 15 shots in the box.

Bukayo Saka (£9.0m) has disappointed his 58 per cent backers with a single goal in this run, but the Arsenal winger’s statistics at least offer encouragement to those owners; his 20 shots in the box are just one fewer than Salah’s.

Manchester United’s Alejandro Garnacho (£4.8m) could appeal to managers looking for a budget enabler to free up funds for a move back to Manchester City forward Erling Haaland (£13.9m).

The Argentinian ranks third for both shots and shots in the box, scoring twice.

Goal threat in last six Gameweeks
PlayerShots Shots in boxBig chancesShots on targetGoal conversion
Salah25 21 15 16.0%
Who is the most creative?

Brighton & Hove Albion’s Pascal Gross (£6.4m) and Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard (£8.4m) have been the top creators in midfield over the last six rounds of matches, each producing 22 key passes. 

Olise once again features among the top five performers here, supplying 17 goalscoring opportunities for his team-mates.

Phil Foden (£7.8m) also catches the eye, matching the three assists and four big chances created of Gross.

The Manchester City star earned his season-high haul of 12 points in the last Gameweek, supplying both assists in the 2-0 win over Sheffield United. Foden is now City’s top-scoring player in home matches this season, earning 61 points in nine appearances.

Son’s team-mates Dejan Kulusevski (£7.1m) and Brennan Johnson (£5.8m) are also viable options, with the latter matching the South Korean’s three assists over the last six Gameweeks.

Johnson is among only six midfielders who have recorded double-figures for both shots in the box and key passes in this period, along with Salah, Son, Saka, Olise and Anthony Elanga (£5.0m).

Elanga has emerged as a crucial figure in Nottingham Forest’s resurgence under new head coach Nuno Espirito Santo.

The winger has produced attacking returns in all three of their fixtures under the Portuguese, earning 22 points thanks to a goal and three assists. 

Most key passes last six Gameweeks
PlayerKey passes
Gross, Odegaard22
Salah, Foden, Diaz13
Son, Johnson12
Palmer, Tavernier, Andreas11
Who has the best fixtures?

Assessing each side’s schedule in the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR) across Gameweeks 21-24 can help managers refine their list of targets.

Brighton, Chelsea, Fulham and Sheff Utd fare the best, with three of their next four matches scoring only two in the FDR.

Man City, meanwhile, host Burnley and Everton, with the fit-again Kevin De Bruyne (£10.2m) sitting in only three per cent of squads.

But Gross has the best immediate schedule. According to the FDR, each of his next three matches against Wolverhampton WanderersLuton Town and Palace score only two.

Meanwhile, West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen (£8.0m) can atone for his disappointing blank against Brighton in midweek. 

The Hammers’ talisman faces Sheff Utd and Bournemouth in the next two Gameweeks – he scored and earned nine points in his meetings with both clubs earlier this season.

While Liverpool’s encounters with Bournemouth and Burnley in the next four Gameweeks could bring Diogo Jota (£7.7m) into contention, the Portuguese is still a somewhat risky pick after only just returning from injury.  

Most fixtures scoring 2 in FDR GW21-24
No. of matchesClub
3 out of 4BHA, CHE, FUL, SHU
2 out of 4ARS, AVL, BUR, MUN, WHU
So, who are the best Salah and Son replacements?

Olise’s all-round statistics are so strong there is a case for looking at him as a long-term pick, providing he recovers from his hamstring complaint. 

Although he doesn’t have the kindest match in Gameweek 21, away to Arsenal, the Eagles star has scored and earned nine points against Man City and Chelsea in each of his last two road trips, underlining his “fixture-proof” appeal.

PalmerBowen and Richarlison are also very appealing picks who can thrive in the short-term and beyond.

Palmer hosts Fulham next on the back of four double-figure hauls in 11 starts since securing a regular role in Gameweek 7, while Bowen visits Sheff Utd as the second top-scoring player in away matches this season. As the focal point of Ange Postecoglou’s attack, Richarlison has one blank in his last five starts.

Elsewhere, Foden’s home form and Gross’s kind run of opponents could also shake up the midfield rankings in the upcoming period, highlighting the many options available for managers on the lookout for Salah and Son replacements.

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