Few people will have placed a bet on Liverpool not only beating Manchester City but also keeping a clean sheet against Haaland and friends, but those who did have been rewarded handsomely. In the main clash of gameweek 11, the Reds played a good game against Pep Guardiola’s men and managed their first win against the Cityzens in six direct encounters. It was Mo Salah who clinched the only goal of the game from a long Alisson assist in the 75th minute after the Egyptian, who had not scored in the Premier League since the end of August, missed a one-on-one with Ederson just twenty minutes earlier thanks to an outstanding save. Exactly the news many an FPL manager was hoping for in the build-up to gameweek 12.
Why? Because GW12 is the second blank gameweek of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign and even though it’s a small one, it’s a significant one. Why? Because the only two teams that are blanking are Manchester City and Arsenal. This means, for starters, that the two highest-owned players of the official game will not see any action this week (Erling Haaland and Gabriel Jesus), but that’s far from it. Looking at the current top-ten of fantasy assets in terms of total ownership, the list features no less than six players from one of City or Arsenal (Cancelo, Martinelli, De Bruyne and Saliba are also on there). Combine that with a turn-around time of about 48 hours between gameweeks and with Liverpool getting one of the stand-out fixtures in GW12 (at home versus West Ham), and you get a great recipe for another rollercoaster gameweek. Another recipe for success with online entertainment could be bingo Australia.
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 12 is set at 18h00 (UK time) on Friday, October 18th.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per October 17th, 2022)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Ederson (MCI), Mendy (CHE), Henderson (NFO)||Sá (WOL), Kepa (CHE), Pope (NEW)|
|DEF||James (CHE), Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Cancelo (MCI)||Trippier (NEW), Dier (TOT), Van Dijk (LIV)||James injury, Cancelo blank in GW12|
|MID||Maddison (LEI), De Bruyne (MCI), Luis Diaz (LIV)||Salah (LIV), Mount (CHE), Trossard (BRI)||Maddison yellow card suspension, Salah goal vs MCI, Diaz injury, KDB blank in GW12|
|FOR||Jesus (ARS), Haaland (MCI), Mitrovic (FUL)||Toney (BRE), Firmino (LIV), Kane (TOT)||Jesus + Haaland blank in GW12, Toney form, Kane form|
As we wrote in the intro for this piece, Mo Salah’s (£12.7m) first attacking return since his assist against Brighton in gameweek 9 and first league goal since netting at Old Trafford all the way back in gameweek 3 has come at just the right time, from a fantasy perspective. Even though the Egyptian star currently sits on a decent 3 goals and 4 assists this season, he has not (yet) hit the extremely high standard he has set for himself over the past few seasons, much like Liverpool as a whole. The victory over Man City will surely have done their confidence a world of good and it could lead to them finally starting to perform according to their underlying stats. Despite being in 11th place in the Prem at the moment, Liverpool are still ranked third for attempts in the box (and fourth for total attempts), while Salah himself ranks in the top-five for both touches in the opponent’s penalty area and chances created. We also should not forget that Mo scored the quickest hattrick in Champions League history last week against Rangers just last week. Despite Liverpool’s GW12 opponents West Ham being far from push-overs, the stand-out captaincy choice for the upcoming mid-week round looks to have picked up some decisive form right on time.
We had prepared this slot for James Maddison, but of course, in peak FPL fashion, he picked up a very useless 92nd-minute yellow card for diving in GW11 against Crystal Palace. That yellow being the fifth of his 2022-23 PL campaign already means that the England international is now missing blank gameweek 12 due to yellow card suspension. A disappointment for many FPL managers, surely, but perhaps it ends up being a blessing in disguise as it brings Leandro Trossard (£6.7m) to the forefront or better said, even more to the forefront. The Brighton attacker has had a great start to the season with 5 goals and 2 assists, though it should be noted that three of those goals were scored back in the GW9 away game at Anfield. Then again, the Belgian has been directly involved in exactly half of all of his side’s goals and up next are Nottingham Forest. No team in the league has conceded more than Forest’s 23 goals from ten games and only five teams have conceded more than their 14 big chances so far. After that it’s Man City away, Chelsea at home and Wolves away for Brighton, so Trossard would very likely be a one-game punt, but a very appealing one at that.
The budget enabler
Our budget-enabling fantasy pick for gameweek 12 plays on the right side of the league’s leakiest defence at the moment of writing. Allow us to elaborate though, because there is more to our consideration of Timothy Castagne (£4.4m) as budget enabler. First of all, obviously, his price. At £4.4m, Castagne is amongst the cheaper guaranteed starters in the official game right now. Second of all, he has now recorded three returns in a row: 8 FPL points versus Forest at home in GW9, 7 points against Bournemouth away and 6 points versus Palace at home last weekend. Third of all, the Belgian gets considerable freedom from manager Brendan Rodgers to join in attack when possible, which helped him to accrue 3 bonus points over the last three games. As far as his side goes, after a horrid start to the season, Leicester seem to have turned something of a corner in terms of results in general and defending in particular. They now have Leeds at home coming up on Thursdays, followed by Wolves away on Sunday, Man City at home in GW14 and Everton away in GW15. Bar the visit of the reigning champions, those are all fixtures in which we would have no problem lining up budget enabler Castagne.
For gameweek 12, we’re moving Philipp Billing (£5.3m) from the budget enabler category to the differential category. For GW11, we included the Bournemouth midfielder as an ideal budget enabler and he delivered nicely a day later by providing the assist for the Cherries’ first goal against Fulham. He would eventually end up with 5 FPL points, which is not bad for a player with his price tag and ownership level (1.4%). That assist puts the Danish international on 3 goals and 1 assist for the league season so far, and all of those attacking returns were recorded over the last five games. As a matter of fact, Billing has collected a total of 34 FPL points from that run, which comes down at just over 6.4 FPL points per game. In blank gameweek 12, the Bournemouth man, who often plays like a secondary striker around Dominic Solanke, is facing Southampton at home. The Saints have conceded 18 goals so far this season, while Bournemouth has been on a bit of a run, not losing a game since the 9-0 thrashing at Anfield back in gameweek 4. Two wins and four draws since then have filled interim manager Gary O’Neil’s team with confidence and we feel like they could very well make it seven league games without a loss on Wednesday.
We mentioned our preferred FPL GW12 captain earlier in this article already, as Mo Salah stands out in a gameweek in which Arsenal and Man City are blanking. He scored his first league goal since gameweek 3 last weekend and in the Champions League, the Egyptian talisman bagged a hattrick on Wednesday against Rangers FC after netting against them and Ajax in the two preceding group matches as well. Our armband is for Liverpool’s talisman as they take on West Ham at Anfield on Wednesday.
Not convinced by Salah? No problem, gameweek 12 offers a few decent (though more differential) captaincy alternatives. Leandro Trossard at home to Nottingham Forest looks good, as does Mason Mount away at Brentford after his brace against Aston Villa in GW11. Kieran Trippier at home to Everton could deliver if you have what it takes to captain a defender, while Dominic Solanke and Philipp Billing at home to Southampton take us to serious differential captain territory. Our final mention is Wilfried Zaha as the Palace talisman (who is on penalties) is facing Wolves at home on Wednesday.