In this weekly article , we answer the most asked questions ahead of Gameweek 22
Q1) Keep or sell Richarlison?
With 97 FPL points the Brazilian forward Richarlison is the second highest scorer for the Toffees. However for his owners he has been frustrating throughout December with only 1 goal and 1 assist in a 5 game period scoring just 16 points. Let’s not forget that Everton have faced Tottenham, Man City and a resurgent Leicester over the last 5 GWs. and he only appeared for 23 minutes in the 5-1 thrashing of Burnley at Turf Moor.
What we need to remember though is that Richarlison costs just £6.9m. Only Bournemouth’s Fraser and Pereyra of Watford have outscored him from the midfielders who are in the same price bracket. Yes, his days may be numbered in many FPL teams with almost 100,000 manager’s having already lost patience and sold him this game week and maybe more to follow.
One of the important factors to consider when answering this question is to look at the upcoming fixtures for Everton.
GW 22 – Bournemouth (H)
GW 23 - Southampton (A)
GW 24 – Huddersfield (A)
GW 25 – Wolves (H)
GW 26 – Watford (A)
On paper these seem to be a really nice run of fixtures, especially the first 3. I think that FPL Manager’s need to show a little patience in the former Watford man, it seems ridiculous to me to consider selling Richarlison with the run of fixtures to follow.
Looking at the statistics can we see any reason why Richarlison won’t be back in the goals sooner rather than later?
The above statistics over the separate 5 game week periods are very similar which don’t give us any indication that Richarlison’s attacking involvement in games has deteriorated. That being said the statistics don’t look good. 8 shots on target in 10 GWs is not exactly clinical neither is 3 key passes and 0 big chances created over the same period.
In conclusion to answer the question I think that Richarlison needs to be closely monitored closely on a game-by-game basis. Keep for now and re-assess after the Bournemouth game. If he doesn’t offer at least 2 attacking returns in the next three games then I think you need to consider transferring him out.
Q2) Is it time to go again with 3 premium strikers?
I think with so many attractive midfield options scoring well in the game it isn’t necessary to go with 3 premium attacking options. I would even suggest that 2 is too many. If we look at the top 20 scoring players in the game it is split as below.
Clearly midfielders are outscoring the forward players and I would expect this to continue throughout the rest of the season.
If you decided to go forward with a team of Aubameyang (£11.4m), Kane (£12.6m) and Aguero (£11.2m) this would cost you 35.2m on 3 players. £64.8m on the remaining 12 players would give you an average spend of £5.4m for each player. It is simply a poor distribution of funds and you would need to be extremely lucky to be successful in my opinion.
I think 1 of the above premium strikers is a must and I expect them to score similarly between now and the end of the season as all 3 will have one eye on the golden boot. You may consider 2 but if you were to go this way then surely one of Salah, Sterling or Hazard would need to be sacrificed to accommodate 2 premium attackers. I am not convinced this would be a wise move.
Q3) For non-Salah owners, is it time to sell Aubameyang and get the Egyptian striker?
As I mentioned above 2/3 premium assets is probably what is required to see us through to the end of the season. You may decide to have both. If funds or squad balance prevent you from doing this then I think we need to look at both fixtures and statistics to decide who the better option is. We know that both players have form. Let’s look firstly at both players over the last 7 game weeks.
Salah vs Aubameyang
In General Salah’s statistics read more favourably., especially with the numbers that really matter – Goals, Assists and FPL points.
What about fixtures then?
Salah - brighton, CRYSTAL PALACE, LEICESTER, west ham, BOURNEMOUTH, man utd and WATFORD.
With 4 out of the next 7 fixtures at home and only a rejuvenated Manchester United to play from the top sides the fixtures look favourable for Liverpool who are fighting for their first ever Premier League title.
Aubameyang – west ham, CHELSEA, CARDIFF, man city, huddersfield, SOUTHAMPTON and BOURNEMOUTH.
Although Arsenal also play 4 of their next 7 matches at home I think they have slightly tougher games with matches against Chelsea and Man City in the next 4 GWs.
From a rotation/risk point of view and don’t expect either player to miss substantial game time (barring injury).
Nobody can doubt either player’s form or returns but I think Salah Is the better option as he receives 1 extra point per goal scored and has the potential to pick up CS points in a solid Liverpool back line.
Q4)Sell Hazard after Chelsea’s recent form or give him one last chance Vs Newcastle?
My thoughts on Hazard mirror those of Richarlison which have been answered in Q1. The recent form of Chelsea over the last 5 game weeks from a scoring point of view has been worrying. They have only lost one of their last 5 games but they have only scored 5 goals in that period. Luckily for Hazard owners he has scored 3 of those 5 goals. But is it a worry that Chelsea aren’t scoring freely? Let’s have a look at Chelsea’s stats over the last 10 game weeks in 5 GW blocks
Chelsea Form :
As you can see from the stats above, Chelsea haven’t really been free scoring since GW 11. Only 11 goals in 10 GWs. Compare this to league leaders Liverpool who have scored 28 goals in the same period. Bottom of the league strugglers Huddersfield have scored 8 goals over the 10 GW period which is only 3 less than Chelsea. So is it Chelsea and not so much Hazard that we have to worry about? Have they had really tricky fixtures?
You could argue that the upcoming fixtures are similar to what they have just had or may be even slightly more difficult.
So we have established that as a team Chelsea haven’t really been firing which in turn as obviously affected Hazard. But how does his personal stats compare over the same period?
Hazard's Form :
As you can see the stats are relatively similar when it comes to starts and shots. What is notably different though is the number of penalty area touches the Belgian has Hazard over the last 5 GWs – double the amount he had in the previous 5 GWs. Is this because of the change of formation by Sarri playing without a recognized striker in 3 of the last 5 with Hazard playing as a false nine?
If this is the case I think what is most interesting is that Hazard seems more likely to score in his new role than he is to assist. But will Sarri continue with this front three of Hazard, Pedro and Willian or will Morata and Giroud get recalled? Only time will tell.
So after evaluating all the stats I would say there is a very strong argument in favour of transferring Hazard out for a Sane/Sterling/Salah for a like for like swap or maybe upgrading your forward line to get maybe one of the premiums - Aubameyang/Kane/Aguero. Either way I think we STILL need to show a little patience in both Sarri and Hazard. With Newcastle, Bournemouth and Huddersfield to play in the next 4 game weeks now isn’t the time to call it a day with Hazard. If after the Huddersfield game his returns have been poor then definitely look at selling him.