FPL is back! We have been starved of football for the last few months. The German farmers league got us warmed up for the main event and the Premier League is now back in action. At the time of writing we currently have one game left in the gameweek as Manchester City play Burnley. But as always in FPL you need to plan ahead. This post will take a closer look at Manchester United and who to own from their pool of players. With favourable fixtures owning at least two of their players seems like a good move. All eyes are on Bruno Fernandes, I’ve seen one of the flappy shiney head accounts moot it as a hipster move. He is owned by 18.8% of managers and probably in most active teams. Not sure how it can be considered hipster but what the fuck do I know I am only the greatest mind to play FPL behind FPL SID (stop sending me nudes mate don’t wanna see your mushroom cock anymore). I think the hipster move is the opposite and not owning Fernandes but going for Pogba.
If you’re an avid fantasy football addict like myself you will have taken advantage of the unlimited transfers and hopefully done some damage this week. I know certain sections FPL twitter get their period if you post anything positive about your team but fuck them its my site. I have scored 119 points this week and risen from 36k to 12k and I am going to wank on the rooftops tonight when KDB bags again and takes me into the top 10k. If you did well this week fuck the haters and shout it loud. Its been a strange old season for me, feels an eternity ago that I was hacked. Been just averaging out but after this gameweek who know s what can happen, lets just hope I haven’t peaked too soon (story of my life)
Bruno Fernandes – Stick or Twist
There is a really obvious answer to this, stick! but let’s examine why. United lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation which has become a staple under Solskjaer (although some variation in this especially in how they defend). As you can see from the passmap below United have a high defensive line and are compact but as the highest pass combinations are between the centre backs there is still work to be done on how this attack functions as a unit.
Personally when I watch United it has been the same problem since LVG got there. They have a lot of possession but do not do a lot with it most of the time. However there has been some slight tweaks as the season has gone on and since the arrival of Fernandes. United have looked much better, pre-Fernandes (although improved somewhat this season) the problem was everything was in front of the defence, or pass down the sides and cross it, although United where deadly on the counter (bit simplistic this view but needs to be for the sake of this article).
United now have two excellent midfielders who are both deadly with the ball. They both have different attributes and I think they will compliment each other very well. Ole has one of the headaches you want as a manager trying to fit them both in the team together. I have seen people saying its one or the other I strongly disagree with that line of thought. If you want United to be an attacking force and enjoy watching them you have to play both.
Tottenham vs United Musings
Looking at the numbers most where in United favour except the one that counted, the scoreline. United drew this game despite having more chances and amassing greater xG. Even if you take off the xG generated by the penalty United still win in that department. I am not here to talk about Spurs as such but I thought they were dire. Few sniffs on the counter attack but nothing to write home about.
Although to be fair to Tottenham they did restrict United to only scraps and it was not until the introduction of Pogba that they really seemed to crank things up a notch. They had six shots amassing 0.32 xG before the introduction of Pogba in the 63rd minute, and amassed 1.14 after that although this did include a penalty.
When Pogba was introduced it appeared that he was playing in a deeper role. Looking to get him on the ball and start spraying the ball around but to also get into to the box were possible. Fernandes stayed in the 10 role if you like although he still would come deep at times. But he was looking to affect things as high up the pitch as possible.
Pogba and Fernandes a Dreamboat?
Pogba and Fernandes passed to each other 7 times, Fernandes was actually the player Pogba interacted with the most when he came on to the pitch. I have included two of the passes below. 1 of them illustrates that they need some time to get to know each other as they were playing in the same space. The other shows a bit more promise from an attacking perspective, take a look.
In the second pass you saw how Pogba got forward and joined the attack after giving it to Fernandes. It is not much to go on but the little we have is encouraging in my opinion. The fixtures United have are really favourable too, with non of the established top 6 sides to play and only Leicester in the last game of the season and a depleted Sheff Utd next from the sides currently fighting for European Qualification.
Fernandes is a bit of a stats monster though and my advice is bet with him carrying on his form. He is a must own at this point and I would think he is in plenty of active teams. Against Tottenham alone he amassed 0.86 xG (0.75 came from the penalty however), Had 5 shots at goal with 3 on target, created 0.22 xA, which resulted in 2 shot assists are the important take homes.
FPL Strategy With United Going Forward
I think the triple up is a good option with United, especially if you are saving your free hit for the end of the season. I think over the next 3 games you should be targeting United players. They currently play Sheff Utd who are missing some key players for the match, 2 defenders and Dean Henderson cannot play against his parent club, Then they also play Brighton and Bournemouth.
I think you should definitely be targeting their players over these fixtures. I have Maguire I think that him or AWB give you good coverage in their defence, even with De Gea’s supposed loss of form I still expect some clean sheet points. I personally prefer Maguire because of the aerial threat from set-pieces.
I also have Fernandes, the hard part is who should be the third body. I currently only have two United players and I am struggling with this decision. It comes down to Pogba, Rashford and Martial in my opinion. I think that Martial is a good option, he is out of position in FPL terms and has decent numbers. he is slightly overperforming his xG right now, he is currently averaging 0.37 xG from 2.53 shots per game and averages 0.52 goals per game.
I have been really impressed with Rashford this season and I think I am edging transferring him in. He is performing slightly above his xG amassing 0.55 over the course of the season with a an average goal return of 0.68. Have to be aware that Rashford also has penalties included in this metric. It appears that he will be sharing them with Bruno from here. Fernandes took the first one against Spurs and it was confirmed after the match that Rashford was going to take the next one had it been given.
Again it is a roll of the dice but what isn’t at this point in the season when things have been paused for so long. Since he has switched to playing from the left Rashford is like a different player and one I am very much interested in.
Pogba has not done much this season because of injury 0 goals and averaging 0.18 assists this season. But he looked lively and fit in his 30 minute cameo against Spurs. I would only be mentioning historic stats at this point because his numbers this season are pretty irrelevant but if you want to go against ownership and someone who will be selected by a large quantity
It is only early and teams are still gonna need a few games to get going. However Villa and Norwich looked bang in trouble. I am transferring in DCL this week just because they play Norwich and I am considering captaining him. Also is my reasoning for keeping Aubameyang beyond this week for GW32.
The end of the season is going to be so difficult some teams are going to lose interest and players probably won’t be hitting match fitness peak till at least GW36/GW37. If you are going to look at stats I suggest having a look at the early season stats and look who hit the ground running. Other than that it is really difficult and just going to have to use the eye test to see who is closest to attaining match fitness.
Elsewhere I am seeing a lot of fake In The Know accounts popping up on twitter. My advice is ignore them you will end up getting hurt. There is only a couple of accounts who we can trust when it comes to early teams news and you should know who they are (@FPLRockstar). If someone has just joined up to twitter in June 2020 odds are they are a shill and a massive virgin and you should ignore them.
Hope you enjoyed my ramblings my fellow FPL Hipsters! Thanks for reading!