FPL Gameweek 16 – Projections

Premier League games are coming thick and fast, with little time to recover from a chaotic Gameweek 15 and prepare for this weekend’s action. Man City just about held off Watford thanks to goals from Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) and Leroy Sane (£9.5m), with a heavily-rotated Liverpool side overcoming a 1-0 deficit to beat Burnley 3-1. Chelsea, meanwhile, lost their lead and slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Wolves.

The midweek action was headlined by a series of shock rests and injuries, with Raheem Sterling (£11.6m), Aymeric Laporte (£6.1m), Mohamed Salah (£13.0m), Michael Keane (£5.0m) and Dele Alli (£8.9m) benched and the likes of Sadio Mane (£9.7m), Andrew Robertson (£6.5m), Jamie Vardy (£8.9m) and Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) deemed unfit. Additionally, Tuesday’s action saw Glenn Murray (£6.7m) injure his shoulder, Lewis Cook (£4.8m) rupture his ACL and bargain forward Marko Arnautovic (£7.1m) leave with a hamstring injury that rules him out for the next month.

Then, after Anthony Martial (£7.6m) limped off during Man United’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal, Joe Gomez (£5.1m) fractured his leg and will miss approximately six weeks of Liverpool games. From an FPL perspective, the fascinating fact is that no team kept a clean sheet and shut-outs were only rewarded to owners of Vincent Kompany (£5.2m) and Kieran Trippier (£6.1m) – both substituted before their sides conceded.

Many managers couldn’t field 11 players and those who did had to reach the back of their proverbial food cupboards in order to put bodies out there. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.3m) sparked ‘Aubamemania’ by achieving the rare feat of price rises on three consecutive nights, although he blanked at Old Trafford. Gameweek 16 sees Man City travel to Chelsea in the weekend’s headline game, whilst all eyes will be on Arsenal and their encouraging home fixture against Huddersfield.

OPTIMUM SQUAD

The TSZ algorithm XI scored a terrible 43 points but with the caveat that it was another victim of team selections – only six started their matches, with Laporte, Alli and Demarai Gray (£5.4m) coming on for one, 11 and 35 minutes respectively. Keane and Sterling didn’t play at all, meaning the captaincy went to Ryan Fraser (£6.3m) and his 12 points.

Defensively, Crystal Palace are heavily-backed to keep a clean sheet despite coming off the back of a 3-1 defeat to ten-man Brighton. Furthermore, opponents West Ham have recorded impressive 3-0 and 3-1 victories in the past week. However, the decision to choose Wayne Hennessey (£4.5m), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.2m) and Patrick van Aanholt (£5.4m) – assuming they play, of course – is influenced by the hamstring injury to Arnautovic that robs West Ham of their main man.

Tuesday’s collapse at Brighton was out-of-character for Palace, whose five clean sheets are only bettered by Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea. AWB has been a revelation this season – priced by FPL as a bargain basement afterthought but progressing to the outskirts of the England team. He has amassed nine bonus points so far, whilst attacking full-back van Aanholt has scored at least five goals in each of his last three seasons.

Lewis Dunk (£4.5m) has bagged two of his own so far this term and watched centre back partner Leon Balogun (£4.2m) – on for the red-carded Shane Duffy (£4.7m) – score against Palace. In fact, no team has more defender goals than Brighton’s six. They travel to 19th-placed Burnley.

Team-mate Solly March (£5.1m) is the surprise name but the midfielder is currently on five assists for the season, setting up both Brighton strikes in last weekend’s win over Huddersfield. Alongside him is the out-of-position Calum Paterson (£5.3m), whose three goals from up front make him a valuable but cheap midfield asset. The Scotland right-back hasn’t scored in his latest three matches but is at home to struggling Southampton, who will be an unknown quantity under new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Jurgen Klopp auditioned to be the next Pep Guardiola with his rotation policy at Burnley. After a brief scare, they just about paid off but the Liverpool boss will take the Saturday lunchtime trip to Bournemouth much more seriously. Salah should return to the starting line-up, especially with doubts over the availability of Mane. The Egyptian may not yet be matching his phenomenal returns of last season but his Expected FPL (xFPL) score is more than any other player.

Richarlison (£7.1m) faces Watford on Monday night, after the Brazilian forward made it seven goals for the season against Newcastle on Wednesday, whilst Sane has four goals and four assists from his last four starts.

One of the main debates in the FPL community revolves around Arsenal’s attack. Whilst Aubameyang has risen £0.4m during the past week, gaining over half a million new owners in the process, perhaps the cheaper Alexandre Lacazette (£9.6m) is just as strong an option. Having only made cameos off the bench against Tottenham and Man United, the former Lyon man is expected to start against Huddersfield. This usually pushes Aubameyang out wide and, in theory, makes Lacazette the main striker. He even outscored him during those 25 minutes, providing an assist for Arsenal’s second.

THE REST – GOALKEEPERS/DEFENDERS

Sergio Rico (£4.4m) seems to currently have the goalkeeping spot at Fulham. Against Leicester, they seemed set to finally keep their first clean sheet of the season until James Maddison’s (£6.8m) equaliser. Their trip to Man United offers little hope apart from save points. Neil Etheridge (£4.5m) and Sol Bamba (£4.5m) have a strong chance of delivering against Southampton, while Matt Doherty (£5.0m) keeps producing for Wolves and faces a Newcastle side with the weak Javi Manquillo (£4.3m) standing in for Paul Dummett (£4.4m) at left-back.

For a top six side, Arsenal don’t keep many clean sheets. They’ve only achieved two so far but will see Huddersfield as a great opportunity to add a third – hence the selection of Bernd Leno (£4.8m) and Hector Bellerin (£5.4m) on the back-up list.

THE REST – MIDFIELDERS/FORWARDS

If Mane is fit enough to start, he’s expected to rack up points at Bournemouth, as is Martial against Fulham. Although Sterling and Mahrez join Sane in the algorithm squad, only two are expected to start against Chelsea. Elsewhere, Maddison followed five games without a goal with a red card and suspension, yet has scored twice in his returning two games. Up next is Spurs and a chance to continue his streak. Finally, Mexican striker Raul Jimenez (£6.0m) has been a consistent source of points for his 16% ownership, with his eight points against Chelsea making it four returns from five games.