They say the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and during a Fantasy Premier League campaign such scheming is regularly laid to waste.
Those who brought Watford’s Troy Deeney in after the FA Cup semi-final, only to see the striker receive a red card and a three-game ban against Arsenal, can attest to that.
But what if your big purchase fails to get on the pitch at all?
Below is a list of the top 10 most popular gameweek transfers who went on to play a grand total of zero minutes in their next game, leaving hundreds of thousands of managers disappointed.
But not every disappointing buy is preventable – consider Anthony Martial for example.
More than 275,000 brought the France international in for GW19, and with good reason – the Frenchman had scored in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game in charge, and lowly Huddersfield were next.
But Martial missed the game through illness and failed to cash in as Paul Pogba did, the midfielder scoring a brace in a 3-1 win.
Raheem Sterling meanwhile has been one of the success stories of the season with 215 points so far, but twice in the opening half of the campaign his absence left many reeling.
GW9 saw managers caught out by Pep Guardiola’s rotation policy, and not even Sterling’s meagre three-point return against Liverpool the week before could prevent eyes lighting up at the prospect of a home goalfest against Burnley.
City racked up five in a convincing win, but the England forward did not play a minute of it, rested instead for the 3-0 Champions League win against Shakhtar Donetsk days later.
Elsewhere Callum Wilson blanked after more than 200,000 brought him in following a 12-point haul against Huddersfield in GW15.
Backing the England striker seemed savvy – especially considering he had already notched against Manchester City and Manchester United – but injury put paid to such purchases, a hamstring strain preventing Wilson from taking part in Bournemouth’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool.
And narrowly missing out on the top 10 list, Harry Kane’s season-ending ankle injury also curtailed the end-of-season plans of many FPL managers.
Despite being goalless in the two gameweeks before GW34, managers flocked to the England striker, perhaps viewing his final four fixtures (Brighton, West Ham, Bournemouth and Everton) with relish.
But an ankle injury sustained in Tottenham’s first-leg Champions League quarter-final against Man City meant the 135,000 players who brought him in that week had to look elsewhere for a strong finish.
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