Fantasy Premier League: Foden an issue, Salah makes sense but hold off on Newcastle

Matchday 15 was the penultimate before we split up for the World Cup and it was another action-packed week. We saw 37 goals and plenty of drama.

Arsenal came out on top in a London derby and Manchester City beat Fulham on penalties in the 95th minute despite being reduced to 10 men.

As always, there was a lot to talk about, but I’ll cover the main talking points and how they affect us in Gameweek 16.

Foden and Haaland on the bench

The main talking point was Phil Foden (£8.4m) sitting on the bench for a third straight league game.

Many managers brought him in for Manchester City’s fantastic run of games and it was a good move. Nobody could have predicted that Pep Guardiola would name him among the substitutes for three league games, especially when he was playing so well and considering the fact that he had started him in all 10 previous league games.

Those of us who still own him have a decision to make now though as City have another big game at home to Brentford in Gameweek 16. I just think it’s too risky to keep Foden despite a good game. With just a week to go before the World Cup, we need to be aggressive and I don’t think risking another point from Foden’s bench is worth it.

On top of that, there are plenty of alternatives to him with good games this week.

Wilfried Zaha (£7.5m) scored a goal and made an assist for 12 FPL points and plays Nottingham Forest this week. Steve Cooper’s men have conceded 30 goals (second most) with an expected goals (xGC) of 23.35 (17th).

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Zaha also played as a striker last weekend, is often the most advanced player on the pitch for Palace and will certainly start. He’s also in the penalty shootout, so he’s a good pick for Gameweek 16.

Leandro Trossard (£7.0m), Marcus Rashford (£6.7m) and Bukayo Saka (£8.0m) they are also great potential replacements for Foden. They are sure to start for their clubs and have good matches.

Trossard’s Brighton have a home game against Aston Villa, who look instantly better under new manager Unai Emery. However, Roberto De Gerbi’s side are also in excellent form and have now scored eight goals in their last three games. Trossard has seven goals and three assists this season and is the best option in Brighton’s squad.

Rashford is also having a great game from an attacking point of view — Fulham have conceded the fourth most goals (24) and have the worst xGC in the league (25.99) and although Manchester United weren’t very impressive against Villa yesterday, they have excellent component to return here.

Saka returned again last week with an assist and now has four goals and seven assists. Arsenal were fantastic and they have a good game against Wolves. The England midfielder has a goal and assist threat and is their main penalty taker.

Erling Haaland (£12.1m) he was also benched by Guardiola, but that didn’t stop him from scoring in his 26th minute cameo. He could easily have had a second, with his goal disallowed by VAR for marginal offside.

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He will definitely start against Brentford now he is fit again and if you were one of the managers who got rid of him in the last few weeks I would make him a priority transfer. He will be the match captain’s best choice this week and with Norway out of the World Cup, there are unlikely to be any early replacements or distractions for him.

Liverpool and Salah again in battle

Liverpool pulled off an impressive away win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) and Darwin Nunez (£8.9m) they were both in the points and are fantastic picks for matchday 16 as Southampton head to Anfield having just parted ways with Ralf Hasenhuttle.

I would look at getting at least one of these for this week as they are among the best options.

Harry Kane (£11.6m) he was also on the scoresheet once again for Spurs in that game, scoring his 11th goal of the season. He also has a plum match, against Leeds United at home.

All of the above are options I would support, but can be difficult to get into because of their prices. If you can get them for free I would highly recommend it and those with two free transfers will be in a great position to do so.

A more affordable option that is a great spot for Gameweek 16 is Ivan Perisic (£5.5m).

He is listed as a defender in FPL, but in Son Heung-min’s absence he played in a front two with Kane yesterday. He was unlucky not to score, hitting the woodwork twice. His average position map also showed him to be the most advanced player on the pitch, even ahead of Kane.

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With a full week’s rest, he should also start against Leeds, and is very likely to be used again in that advanced position.

Spurs have a Carabao Cup tie away to Nottingham Forest on Wednesday but I doubt he will play in that and should get the nod for the league game.

Newcastle continue their impressive run

Newcastle were in top form again, beating Southampton 4-1 to close the door on the Hasenhuttl era. However, as good as they were, I would avoid buying their assets this week as they have a game against Chelsea.

If you already have Kieran Trippier (£5.9m), Miguel Almiron (£5.7m) the Callum Wilson (£7.5m), I would keep them but avoid buying any of their teammates. Wilson is one to watch as he was withdrawn at half-time yesterday due to illness, but should be ready to go after another week’s rest.

Newcastle’s options are not a bad pick, but I think there are too many options this week with good matches to pick instead that offer a higher upside.

Make sure you check out The Athletic Football Podcast, hosted by The FPL General, for all the latest tips and tricks. Grab it free on all the usual listening providers and ad-free on The Athletic app.

(Photo: Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)


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