FPL tips: Liverpool duo for captaincy, Chelsea's Morata is one to watch

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Each week, Sport360 will bring you tips for the English Premier League’s official fantasy football game. Fancy pitting your wits against us? You can join “Sport360 Fans League” using the code 2326997-532303.

Raheem Sterling was the star of Gameweek 11, scoring a whopping 21 points with two goals and two assists in Manchester City‘s 6-1 drubbing of Southampton at the Etihad Stadium.

Not many Fantasy Premier League managers own the England international (still only around eight per cent) but those that did, especially ones who captained him, flew up the rankings.

This week though, the Citizens play the Manchester derby, discouraging FPL managers from bringing in Sterling just yet. Liverpool however face Fulham at Anfield in a very appealing fixture while Chelsea and Arsenal are both at home to Everton and Wolves respectively.

Here are a few tips ahead of Gameweek 12.

CAPTAIN – MOHAMED SALAH | LIVERPOOL | 13.0M

Sergio Aguero was our captain pick last week and he unsurprisingly delivered big with two assists and a goal, taking his scoring to 13, doubling to 26.

However, with Manchester United his next opponents, the armband goes back to Mohamed Salah who was our pick in GW10 and delivered with 15 points at home to Cardiff City.

Liverpool face Fulham at Anfield this time around and will be looking for a strong response following a shock 2-0 defeat away to Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League.

Even with the team under-performing, Salah still hit the crossbar and had two shots on target as well.

Fulham have the worst defence in the league, conceding 29 goals so far and are rooted to the bottom of the table. A real goalfest could be on the cards and Salah seems certain to get in on the act.

Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah

ALTERNATIVES

SADIO MANE (9.8m) had a terrible outing against Red Star but is still a candidate for the armband. He’s largely matched Salah this season, scoring just two points less than the Egyptian in this campaign. With Fulham to play at home, he’s a prime alternative.

EDEN HAZARD (11.3m) returned to action with an appearance off the bench last week and immediately bagged an assist. He should’ve had another as well but Alvaro Morata failed to convert after the Belgian sent him clean through. Chelsea play Everton at Stamford Bridge and Hazard has averaged an FPL point every 8.75 minutes this season.

BOLD CHOICE

JAMES MADDISON (6.9m) owners can feel a bit aggrieved by his blanks over the last four GWs. The midfielder consistently creates goal-scoring chances, particularly from set-pieces. Against Cardiff away, he created four chances, no other player managed more in GW11.

James-Maddison

TWO TO WATCH

ALVARO MORATA  | CHELSEA | 8.7M

After being the subject of ridicule for some time, Morata has now forced himself into serious contention for FPL managers. The Spaniard looks more like himself of late, scoring four goals in the last four GWs. He nearly had a hat-trick against Crystal Palace last week and will be hoping for more returns going forward.

Alvaro Morata

BEN CHILWELL | LEICESTER CITY | 5.0M

Quite a few FPL managers have clamoured to get Hector Bellerin in their sides following Arsenal’s good run of form but Ben Chilwell, at 0.4m cheaper, has managed to match the Spaniard for points (38). The Leicester City left-back has two assists and two clean sheets over the last five GWs. He’s managed as many key passes (13) as Andy Robertson this season and the Foxes have good fixtures over the next four GWs.

Ben Chilwell

TWO TO AVOID

ROBERTO FIRMINO | LIVERPOOL | 9.2M

Roberto Firmino may offer a lot to Liverpool’s play with his intelligent movement but that means nothing in the FPL universe. The Brazilian has blanked in each of the last six GWs and at his price, that’s unacceptable. He’s still owned by over 18 per cent of teams but if he doesn’t deliver against Fulham, he should be moved out.

Roberto Firmino

ALEKSANDAR MITROVIC | FULHAM | 6.7M

He started the season in great form but has tailed off a bit recently. Aleksandar Mitrovic is still owned by over 20 per cent of teams but only has one assist in the last five GWs and no goals. Fulham’s immediate fixtures aren’t promising either as they face three of the top six sides in the next five GWs.

Aleksandar Mitrovic

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Manchester United's David De Gea or Tottenham's Hugo Lloris? Who is the better goalkeeper?

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Hugo Lloris

The goalkeeping quality in the Premier League is phenomenal. With teams outside the “big six” also boasting of incredible shot-stoppers in Jordan Pickford, Martin Dubravka, Rui Patricio and so on, the Premier League can claim to host the best of goalkeepers.

We attempt to analyse some of the top goalkeepers and help you decide who’s the best in the business.

First up is David De Gea and Hugo Lloris who are definitely among the top goalkeepers in the world. The Spaniard has performed at the top level for about five years now and the Frenchman is a World Cup winner.

Liverpool’s Alisson and Manchester City’s Ederson will feature next but first, let’s look at De Gea and Lloris.

WHAT THE STATS SAY

This is an area where both De Gea and Lloris excel. De Gea has played all 11 games for Manchester United in the league and has kept just one cleansheet. Many would argue that Manchester United’s defence is fragile and easy to tear open, which makes De Gea’s task between the posts even harder. But the xGA (expected goals against) stats will be taking this into consideration

Lloris missed four games due to injury and Michael Vorm had to step in to take charge of the posts. In the seven games that Lloris featured, he kept a cleansheet on four occasions.

The Frenchman’s saves per goal ratio of 0.71 is more than three times that of the Spaniard (0.22). The quality of the defence influences the quality of the chances the opponents are provided with and the xGA should normalise every factor and provide a common platform to compare the shot-stopping ability of the players.

The xGA/GA (goals against) ratio should give a good reading of how the keeper is performing, taking into comparison the quality of the shots he faces. De Gea has an xGA/GA of 0.955 and Hugo Lloris has an incredible ratio of about 2.03.

The loop-hole in this approach is that it does not take into consideration the quality of the players who takes the shot. However, the deviation is unlikely to be so much as to tilt this statistic in De Gea’s favour.

There are absolutely no questions about the Spaniard’s quality, but the fact remains that he’s had a rough patch since the World Cup and loses out to his French compatriot.

SHOT STOPPING RATING:

De Gea: 8/10

Lloris: 9/10

David De Gea of Man Utd

DISTRIBUTION

De Gea’s distribution for Spain under Julen Lopetegui was solid enough. However, he plays for a team where playing the ball out from the back is not in line with the philosophy of the manager.

The 28-year-old passes the ball about 26 times per game with an accuracy of 53.5 percent. Most of De Gea’s passes are long, cross-field balls which explains the unimpressive passing accuracy.

On the other hand, Lloris has an accuracy of 69.7 percent for his 33 passes every game. This has more to do with Tottenham’s style of play than Lloris’ distribution ability.

Both the players are clearly not great with their feet when they are compared to the likes of Ederson, Alisson, Bernd Leno and Kepa Arrizabalaga. But the Frenchman gets a marginal victory here.

DISTRIBUTION RATING: 

De Gea: 6.5/10

Lloris: 7/10

COMPOSURE

Of the two players, one has played a World Cup final and the other has had to deal with having one of the worst defences his club has fielded for over a decade. The composure of such players cannot be questioned.

In the first match of the season, De Gea put In a stellar performance to provide United a 2-1 win over Leicester City. There were more than just murmurs in the media about the Spaniard’s apparent decline after a forgettable World Cup.

But De Geas has stepped up big to provide his team a win on the opener, amid all the negativity around him. He made two incredible saves in that game, including a spectacular effort to deny Damian Gray from close range.

Jamie Vardy was left in space and had his half-volley saved by the Spanish international. The game would surely have ended in Leicester City’s favour had it been any normal keeper.

There isn’t much to talk about the composure of someone who’s performed on the biggest stage of world football. However, Lloris did have his nervy-moments in the game and begged Mario Mandzukic to score Croatia’s second goal.

Hugo Lloris sees red in Eindhoven.

Hugo Lloris sees red in Eindhoven.

The 31-year-old’s moment of the season came against West Ham when his fingertips denied Marco Arnautovic’s header from entering the top-corner.

Lloris was given his marching orders for a harsh, last-man tackle on Hirving Lozano when Tottenham met PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League.

Spurs went on to drop two points after conceding in the death. One might argue that he was left with no choice, but although Lloris can boast of a host of virtues, composure is not particularly one of his best traits.

COMPOSURE RATING

De Gea: 8/10

Lloris: 7/10

VERDICT

Both the keepers are two of the finest and David De Gea has performed consistently for the past few years behind a horrendous United defence that’s probably getting worse every season.

Lloris has had some of the best centre-halves in the league in front of him and has managed to out-perform his Spanish compatriot this season.

However, numbers can’t do justice to the performances these custodians put on display every weekend. Lloris (23/30) edges De Gea (22.5/30) but these numbers are for reference and not inference.

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Premier League Stock Exchange: Man United, Man City and Newcastle are biggest movers

Alex Rea 6/11/2018
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Scintillating football and a week of firsts were the main narratives from Gameweek 11 in the Premier League.

Keeping tabs on all 20 Premier League teams is the Sport360 Stock Exchange (360SE), our season-long measurement for top flight sides as we track each club throughout the campaign and take into account their results to assign positions.

We initially used reputation and squad worth to determine the starting price but from Gameweek 2 onward, we’ve examined their output to create a new value.

The total points gained for the season are used as a tiebreaker but sides which have produced big wins against strong opposition get a big boost and vice versa.

Without further ado, here’s the rankings after GW11.

1. Manchester City: 551 / 560 / +9

Total for 2018/19: +65

Raheem Sterling was one of the stars of Gameweek as he scored twice and grabbed tw assists as City thrashed Southampton 6-1. A side scoring six goals would usually be met with amazement but to City, this is an incredibly high standard they are setting. Relentless and ruthless, it’s difficult to look past Pep Guardiola’s champions and they are pulling away at the top of the table and in our rankings. The Catalan’s assessment of a fine Sterling display tells you why they’re in the position they are. “He is a top player but still so young to consider [being] the world’s best,” he said. “Still he can lose simple balls.”

2. Liverpool: 535 / 539 / +4

Total for 2018/19: +64

The better chances fell to Liverpool, the better play was from Arsenal. An electric clash at the Emirates Stadium ended with a 1-1 draw thanks to Alexandre Lacazette’s sumptuous late strike after James Milner‘s 50th Premier League goal. Virgil van Dijk was monstrous at both ends and genuinely should have bagged a hat-trick. But a point at enterprising Arsenal is excellent and is enough for a stock bump.

3. Chelsea: 478 / 484 / +6

Total for 2018/19: +54

Maurizio Sarri will claim contrary but the Premier League is far from a two-team race. Chelsea maintained their unbeaten start by sweeping aside Crystal Palace 3-2. They sit third in our rankings but that gap will continue to close with the results being produced. Again, Chelsea are susceptible unlike Liverpool and they’re not assaulting teams quite like City, but they do remain right in it. Alvaro Morata scored twice, and should have had his hat-trick, Pedro scored the other. It’s hard to believe this side finished 30 points off City last season, that won’t be the case this term.

4. Arsenal: 451 / 456 / +5

Total for 2018/19: +26

The draw with Liverpool was real evidence of progress under Unai Emery. The intensity, bravery and enthusiasm was matched by tactical prowess from the Spaniard. We knew he inherited a stock of talent and now Emery is coaxing the very best from them. Lucas Torreira was a terrier in midfield and hallmarked a fine Arsenal display.

5. Manchester United: 449 / 451 / +2

Total for 2018/19: -9

United are notorious for their lethargic starts and they required another comeback to secure three points at Bournemouth. Brimming with belief and confidence, the hosts repeatedly carved open opportunities and deservedly took the lead through a Callum Wilson tap in. Anthony Martial responded with a crisp finish after a fine United pattern of play and Marcus Rashford scrambled home an injury-time winner. The contrast is startling but a bright mark was Alexis Sanchez’s bright display as the spearhead.

6. Tottenham Hotspur: 442 / 444 / +2

Total for 2018/19: +24

In the end, Tottenham’s victory over Wolves was far tighter than it needed to be after going 3-0 up. Eric Lamela and Lucas Moura struck within minutes of each other inside the first half hour, Harry Kane netted his sixth Premier League goal of the season, but then came a late collapse. Juan Foyth marked his Premier League debut by giving away two penalties which Ruben Neves and then Raul Jimenez dispatched. Spurs avoided being bitten again, though, and a sixth away win of the season is enough for a small stock rise.

7. Everton: 369 / 374 / +4

Total for 2018/19: +3

First there was a flicker, then Everton proceeded to pour water on the flame. Now, though, they’re showing signs of blazing. Their £40m summer signing Richarlison produced two superb finishes against Brighton while Seamus Coleman cupped his ear in celebration after silencing his own home critics with their second. Everton passed with purpose, moved between the lines intelligently and crucially, possessed players who demanded the ball and wanted to play with quality. It’s four wins out of the last five and another stock rise.

Richarlison of Everton

Richarlison of Everton

8. Leicester City: 353 / 358 / +5

Total for 2018/19: +8

Leicester’s visit to Cardiff was always going to be a difficult day. The tragic death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was of course at the forefront of the minds of everyone involved in the club. And after a harrowing week, Demarai Gray’s emotionally-charged winner was a fitting salute to their owner. The passionate scenes between away fans and the players was an outpouring rarely seen in football.

9. West Ham: 355 / 358 / +3

Total for 2018/19: -5

West Ham are an odd team. Both bold and brittle, they are bit like a hammer made of glass at the moment. A 4-2 win over Burnley is justification of their fearlessness going forward and a soft centre. Marko Arnautovic, a Felipe Anderson brace and Javier Hernandez late strike secure the three points, but only after twice letting a lead slip. A thrilling and crazy game, rather emblematic of Manuel Pellegrini’s side. It’s enough for a small stock increase, though.

10. Bournemouth: 334 / 334 / 0

Total for 2018/19: +54

Bournemouth’s attacking play is free-flowing and fluid and for much of the first-half, they drowned Manchester United with their brilliance going forward. The second-half introductions of Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford made the difference, though, as the visitors began to dominate the ball at 1-1. It was a tough defeat for Eddie Howe’s team to take and that’s why their stock value doesn’t take a hit.

11. Wolves: 334 / 334 / 0

Total for 2018/19: +36

Good game, bad result was the affable Nuno Espirit Santo’s assessment of his side’s 3-2 defeat against Spurs. Two goals on the counter-attack cut out their heat after early ambition but they recovered well in the second half. Wolves have a way of playing and Santo is correct in not deviating away from that despite a disappointing result like this. Keep an eye on 18-year-old midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White who looks a real find after his dazzling substitute appearance.

12. Watford: 300 / 298 / -2

Total for 2018/19: +48

Javi Gracia’s side had their chances, plenty of them at that, to come away from Newcastle with all three points but were guilty of ineptitude in front of goal. Ultimately, it was all pretty and no punch as the hosts showed the grit and determination to claim all three points.

13. Crystal Palace: 296 / 296 / 0

Total for 2018/19: +6

Palace really challenged Chelsea at times and the 3-1 scoreline was a little harsh on them. Still, they have not won in six Premier League fixtures, a run stretching back to mid-September and with Manchester United and Spurs next, the run is grim. Roy Hodgson refuses to panic and is adamant they’ll be safe after 38 games. They remain high in our rankings and won’t take a hit after a positive performance, if not the result.

14. Brighton: 290 / 290 / 0

Total for 2018/19: +40

Resolute and confident, Brighton arrived at Everton on the back of three straight top-flight victories for the first time since 1981. All three were achieved with clean sheets but they collapsed at Goodison Park. Lewis Dunk soared to head home an equaliser, yet that was as good as it got and a 3-1 defeat was inflicted. No stock hit, however, as Everton are a top side and anything other than a defeat for Brighton would have been viewed as a bonus.

15. Newcastle United: 275 / 280 / +5

Total for 2018/19: -10

Sound the alarm, Newcastle have a first league win of the season. They were incredibly fortunate at times because Watford on another day could have been well clear. But two substitutes combined to secure a 1-0 triumph for the hosts. Ki Sung-yueng fizzed in a fierce free-kick which Ayoze Perez was able to flick home via his head at the near post. It was a sweet moment after a sustained period of bitterness and it could be a potentially season-transforming result.

Rafael Benitez celebrates with defender DeAndre Yedlin

Rafael Benitez celebrates with defender DeAndre Yedlin

16. Burnley: 275 / 272 / -2

Total for 2018/19: -17

Sean Dyche’s team are chronically struggling to create the same consistency which impressed last season. That’s not even uniformity in collecting points, but just performances. Indeed, Burnley swing wildly from characteristic defensive strength to an uncharacteristic erroneous streak. They look hopeless right now – conceding 13 goals in their last three games – even despite twice equalising through smart finishes from Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Chris Wood.

17. Fulham: 270 / 262 / -8

Total for 2018/19: -28

Fulham are hurtling towards disaster and Slavisa Jokanovic’s reputation is being torn apart in the process. Their worst start to a top-flight season is deteriorating further after Huddersfield claimed a 1-0 win at home. “It is outside of my control,” the Serb said when asked about his job security. His side are bit out of control as well, pressing the self destruct button having conceded 29 goals in 11 games. They’re bottom of the league, and deserve to be as well.

18. Southampton: 262 / 256 / -6

Total for 2018/19: -14

Southampton are just meh. Ironically, they actually ended their goal drought through Danny Ings penalty and at the same time brought to a close City’s clean sheet streak which stretched to September 1. That goal was a massive consolation, though, as they were beaten and battered 6-1. How long will Mark Hughes remain at the helm because the Saints are really not this bad.

19. Huddersfield Town: 211 / 217 / +6

Total for 2018/19: -3

A Gameweek of firsts. David Wagner has waited patiently for a first league win of the season and it happened to arrive just as fellow relegation fodder Newcastle did likewise. That it arrived through an own goal as Timothy Fosu-Mensah inadvertently diverted through his net won’t bother Huddersfield one bit. They deserved their good fortune having not been rewarded in previous games and were more than worthy winners anyway.

David Wagner

David Wagner

20. Cardiff City: 208 / 208 / 0

Total for 2018/19: +8

Neil Warnock described the visit of Leicester as a surreal experience after the tragic events over the last week. His players dealt with the game reasonably well and dominated the first half. But a game in which Cardiff desperately needed points, they ultimately claimed nothing. However, as a club, they deserve respect for how they met this fixture with complete class and grace.

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