Not sure who to bring in for Gameweeek 14? Here are:
The Statistics Pick: Darwin Nunez (£8.8m)
Any discussions around Darwin Nunez must be prefaced by acknowledging he is managing an injury. However, if he is available to play Leeds, then statistically he should be your number one target. When it comes to expected goals and assists per ninety minutes, Nunez is outperforming Erling Haaland for both – 1.17 to 1.13 for expected goals and 0.28 to 0.26 for expected assists. Now, Haaland has played almost 600 minutes more, but with Liverpool second for expected goals in the Premier League – 23.46 expected goals in eleven games, one fewer than many teams in the division – if Nunez takes the field, then goals will surely follow.
Adding to the appeal of Nunez is the opponents he faces. Of the teams who have played eleven matches, only two teams have a worse expected goals conceded figure than Leeds. In their last four fixtures, Leeds have conceded eight goals. In the two fixtures at Anfield since Leeds were promoted, Liverpool have scored ten goals. When it comes to high-risk, high-reward gambles, there are few players statistically more appealing than Darwin Nunez.
The Form Pick: Miguel Almiron (£5.3m)
Over the last five gameweeks, only Erling Haaland has outscored Miguel Almiron, who has scored five goals and secured 45 points from games against Fulham, Brentford, Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham. That record in itself is impressive, but even more so is the manner he has scored, with several goal of the season contenders among those goals. With Isak and Saint-Maximin injured, Almiron has no real competition for his place, with Murphy, Fraser and Joelinton battling to start on the opposite flank. The reason behind Almiron’s success is simple: Newcastle are the best team in the league at recovering the ball high up the pitch, meaning Almiron is closer to the goal when he receives the ball, and with fewer opponents to stop him.
Though Aston Villa rebounded from Steven Gerrard’s sacking with a 4-0 win over Brentford, and they have since appointed Unai Emery – Newcastle’s first-choice to replace Steve Bruce, before the job went to Eddie Howe – this fixture promises to be a baptism of fire for the Spaniard, with Newcastle having the fourth-best expected goals in the league and the best defensive record so far this season, and Almiron is the favourite to deliver the sermon. With his price only £5.3m at the time of writing, the question is not whether you can afford a player with three double-figure hauls in five gameweeks, but whether you will pay the price of overlooking him again.
The One Gameweek Punt: Bukayo Saka (£7.9m)
If you have a transfer to burn and fancy a one-gameweek punt on an exciting player with high points potential, you simply must consider Bukayo Saka. He has four goals and two assists in his last six games, including three goals against Liverpool and Manchester United. He plays Nottingham Forest at home, who will be buoyed by their shock win over Liverpool in Gameweek 13 but who remain one of the worst defences in the league, having the second-highest expected goals conceded and the second-most actual goals conceded in the division. Last season, Saka produced eleven goals and nine assists from just shy of 3,000 minutes; so far this season, he is on course to surpass those figures, with four goals and five assists from less than a thousand minutes. Indeed, Arsenal’s improvement has coincided with the maturation of Saka, who has become a talismanic figure for the Gunners. Should you wish to sell him in Gameweek 15 ahead of the game away at Chelsea, he is also at a great price to bring in a quality replacement – Foden against Fulham, Bowen against Palace, or Almiron or Antony at Southampton and Aston Villa respectively - without disrupting your squad structure.
The popularity of teammates Jesus and Martinelli means his ownership is still under 16%, and with him having taken three of Arsenal’s last four penalties, Saka could be just the man to give you the edge in your mini-league and overall ranking battles.
The Long-Term Fixtures Pick: Antony (£7.6m)
Though many FPL managers are refusing to look past the Gameweek 17 blank slate, if there is a choice between two players, it’s still worth getting the one with the better long-term fixtures, because you can benefit from their price rises. If you look at things from that perspective, it is hard to look past Manchester United’s Antony. Since his debut in English football, the Brazilian has three goals in six games, only blanking against Newcastle, Tottenham and Chelsea. With his next six fixtures having a difficulty rating of 2 on the FDR system, he has high potential to add to that tally, especially when you consider how Manchester United continue to improve, with their only loss in their last nine fixtures being to Manchester City.
When you look at his underlying numbers, the case for Antony grows stronger. His next six opponents have conceded a combined 70 goals from open play so far this season. The first of those six – West Ham – have conceded the highest percentage of shots from their left side in the league, with 25% of their chances conceded coming from Antony’s area. Antony has averaged 3.61 shots per 90 minutes in English football, despite having played all of the current top five in his first six appearances. At £7.6m and with only 4.8% ownership, Antony is a differential option who is cheaper than his alternatives. Expect him to be priced more at their level by the end of his delightful run of fixtures.
The Narrative Pick: Leandro Trossard (£6.8m)
If there is one thing consistently overlooked in FPL, it is the power of the narrative. For proof it exists, you only have to look at Gameweek 13, where Taiwo Awoniyi, who spent six years on Liverpool’s books without playing a minute, scored the only goal of the game to give Forest a massive upset victory. There are some compelling ones in Gameweek 14, not least Unai Emery’s first Aston Villa match being at the ground of the club he turned down last year and Marco Silva facing off against Everton for the first time since his unceremonious sacking. However, the narrative pick for Gameweek 14 has to be Leandro Trossard, who is playing against the club who are strongly rumoured to be attempting to sign him in January. Adding to the narrative is it being Graham Potter’s first return to the Amex stadium since taking the Chelsea job, while Trossard may well be playing in the position vacated by Marc Cucurella, who also moved from Brighton to West London. Though the left wing-back role is not seen as ideal, it is one from which Trossard scored against West Ham, Leicester and Manchester City, and Chelsea are missing their first-choice right wing-back, Reece James, through injury, which aids Trossard’s chances considerably.
Adding to the power of the narrative is the fact Brighton have never beaten Chelsea in league football. Upon their return to the Premier League, Brighton lost their first five fixtures to Chelsea. Of their last five, however, they have achieved four draws in those games. They are getting closer to that elusive victory, and it would be fitting for them to achieve that against the manager who gave them their identity. Chelsea will be tough opposition, but Trossard has four goals from two games against Manchester City and Liverpool; if anyone in the Brighton ranks can rise to the challenge, it is him. Half a million FPL managers have sold Trossard since Gameweek 12; it would be classic FPL for him to continue to add to their misery.
The Gut Feeling Pick: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m)
If you were to ask me to punt on a player based on little evidence, it would have to be Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, despite Everton being away from home. Though I would tend to lean towards home fixtures for punts, Fulham average 2.1 expected goals against in home fixtures, the worst in the league, and no team has conceded more goals in their own stadium. Adding to that is that Everton have scored in every away game not against a current top four team this season, and in Calvert-Lewin’s second start of the season in Gameweek 13, they recorded their best victory of the season, a 3-0 win against Crystal Palace. In Everton’s midfield, Alex Iwobi is growing in influence in a central role, with five assists in his last eight games and two against Crystal Palace, so Calvert-Lewin has a creative force to provide him with chances. With Richarlison sold and Townsend injured, Calvert-Lewin is also the only Everton player available who has taken a penalty since the start of the 2021/22 season, further adding to his appeal.
With only three gameweeks remaining before the World Cup, time is running out for Calvert-Lewin to stake a claim. Given the quality of his rivals for the position, he will have to do something special to earn his place in the squad, and this feels like the sort of game he will thrive in. With the barnstorming Mitrovic up front, Fulham are likely to score, so Everton will need to attack. This also feels like a fixture Frank Lampard will be targeting three points from, so Everton must be expected to attack. There may be other players with better form, statistics and fixtures, but it feels like the perfect storm for a Calvert-Lewin haul. With three decent fixtures after the Fulham match, he could well be the man to send you flying up the rankings ahead of the winter break.
Whoever you decide to go for ahead of Gameweek 14, I hope all your transfers are successes, all your arrows are green, and the FPL Gods are in your favour. All the best.
* Defenders over £6m, attackers over £10m and players with over 30% ownership are excluded from selection. *
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