We assume you all play FPL so we don’t need to spend too much time on telling you that Gameweek 28 has been a bit of a disaster. Chances are you are one of the 7.5 million of FPL managers who have recorded an average of less than 3 FPL points per player in your squad this week. If that’s the case, find comfort in this week’s points average of 26, or 2.3 points per player. Instead, we are just going to post a few facts about GW28 below to help you put your results in perspective. FPL is after all many peoples’ favourite Fantasy Premier League game and played without much financial committment just like low stakes roulette, if online casino is what attracts you. Let’s take a quick look at last weekend’s action from an FPL point of view and show that if you had a high score you were far from the norm.
Lowest average this season
With an average of just 26 points, gameweek 28 has been the lowest-scoring round so far this campaign. Prior to last weekend, the lowest average was recorded in gameweek 8 (36 points), meaning that GW28’s average is a full 10 points or almost 30% lower. It’s bad, but look at this way: at least it was bad for (almost) everyone.
In the build-up to gameweek 28, Jamie Vardy, Mo Salah and Sadio Mané were the three most-selected captains. The Norwich striker was up against Norwich at Carrow Road, while the Liverpool duo visited Vicarage Road to try for a record-breaking nineteenth consecutive Premier League victory. Vardy turned out to not be in the squad due to a calf injury and the Liverpool aces recorded 2 FPL points each from their 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Watford.
Rule of the differentials
Perhaps the most illustrative statistic from gameweek 28 is that only two players with an ownership of more than 10% recorded double-digit hauls, namely Bruno Fernandes and Nick Pope. What’s more, the average ownership of last weekend’s Dream Team sits at 3.1%, with Fernandes the only player with a double-digit ownership (12%) on the roster. By excluding him, the average ownership of the Dream Team falls to 2.22% per player. Seven players of the team boast an ownership of 2% or less, and of those seven, three are even owned by less than 1% of FPL managers.
Now, onto last weekend’s action and some of the conclusions that can be made.
First of all, if last week has shown us anything, it’s that Liverpool are actually not an invincible team sent from another planet to dominate world football for a few years. After a disappointing result in the Champions League Round of 16 against Atletico in Madrid, it was Watford manager Nigel Pearson who confirmed that even the Reds have their vulnerabilities and their off-days by leading his Hornets to a resounding 3-0 home victory. With a return at Anfield in the Champions League still on the menu and a 22-point lead in the Premier League (Man City have a game in hand), it will still be far from a crisis at Melwood. A week like last one, in which the inevitable extra pressure of breaking records was relieved after riding the wave of success non-stop for so long, might actually do Jurgen Klopp’s men some good for the season’s final stretch.
The other “most favourable” fixture last weekend was Leicester’s visit to Norwich on Friday night. Many FPL managers were confident that the Foxes had this one in the pocket, albeit news broke on the FISO FPL forum about a couple of hours before kick-off that Vardy was not in the squad, and that it was the perfect opportunity for Jamie Vardy to get another goal-scoring streak going. Well, the FPL gods had other plans. All credit to Norwich for an outstanding display, beating one of this season’s best teams 1-0 at home, but the Foxes are still a very good side. They’ve got a kind run of fixtures coming up over the medium-term as well, but they will need Vardy to provide the finishing. The ongoing injury niggles of the 33-year old striker are a concern, as Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted as well.
On the English south coast, it took two Bournemouth goals in five minutes to cause another upset this weekend. The Cherries had lost their last two games, away to Sheffield United and Burnley, so their draw with Chelsea last Saturday was more than welcome. The Blues, on the other hand, showed once again how defensively fragile their set-up can be. Only four teams have scored less than Bournemouth’s 28 goals this season, but Eddie Howe’s men still managed to record 7 attempts on goal (4 on target, 3 off target) against the Blues, despite just 27% of ball possession. Fortunately for Frank Lampard’s team, direct rivals for a top-4 finish Man United and Spurs dropped points as well, making Wolves the only outfit to come 2 points closer this weekend.
By mentioning Wolves, we have also come to one of the most in-form teams of the moment. Nuno Espirito Santo’s team is one of those teams that seems to be capable of displaying extremely high levels of tactical discipline week on week, with their current joint-fifth spot in the Premier League and a place in the Europa League Round of 16 as very tangible results at this point. In the 2-3 away victory over Spurs on Sunday, the two goals Spurs scored against them were actually the first goals conceded by Wolves since gameweek 24, as they are now unbeaten in four games. With Brighton (home), West Ham (a), Bournemouth (home) and Villa (away) up next, Wolves can set themselves up nicely for an impressive finish to the 2019/20 campaign.
We’re finishing this piece with yet another pretty surprising result from gameweek 28, though not as earth-shattering as the Norwich and Watford victories. West Ham were starting to look as a serious candidate for relegation, but their 3-1 home victory over Southampton saw them bag their first three points since gameweek 21. This lifted the Hammers out of the relegation zone for now, but it looks like David Moyes and his men have their work cut out for them for the final ten gameweeks of the seasons. With the likes of Haller, Snodgrass and Antonio, just to name a few players, their squad boosts too much quality to excuse relegation or even a relegation battle, but that’s what it is now for West Ham. Up next are Arsenal (away), Wolves (home), Spurs (away) and Chelsea (home), so the upcoming weeks are going to be tough Hammers fans. After that, fixture skies clear up for West Ham, but this does mean that they might be in the thick of the relegation until the very end of the season.