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FPL tips: Elite bosses show decisiveness when it comes to premium players

Sheffield United v Manchester City – Premier League – Bramall Lane
(Image credit: Catherine Ivill)

Much of the start of the Fantasy Premier League season is spent working out which high-value players are worth splashing the cash on, and the elite managers among us have certainly nailed their colours to the mast.

By looking at a sample of 1,000 managers with multiple top-10,000 finishes to their names, we can see just who the best bosses have decided to pick after eight gameweeks of action.

The results show that they are acting far more decisively on premium players than the overall managerial population are.

A graphic showing elite FPL managers' ownership of top Premier League players

Aubameyang ousted

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) and Ainsley Maitland-Niles warm up before the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, right, has struggled in front of goal this term (Andy Rain/PA)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s shift to midfield this season had managers salivating at the prospect of his goals being worth five points instead of four, but a goal drought has seen elite managers drop him.

At a starting price of £12m he was always going to need to start quickly, but a return of just two goals has seen his ownership among the elite drop from 98.3 per cent in gameweek one to 1.9 per cent in GW8.

Arsenal’s form has been patchy also, and certainly the team’s Creativity scores within the FPL’s own metrics suggest they are struggling to create chances.

Aubameyang’s overall ownership remains reasonable at 13.1 per cent – the top bosses have been far more decisive as a group.

De Bruyne bounced

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Kevin De Bruyne could yet come good this season (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

At £11.5m Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne is another who has fallen foul of elite managers’ immediate expectations.

KDB’s elite ownership dropped by 81 percentage points between GW4 and GW8 after the Belgian missed the 1-0 defeat of Arsenal and was eased back in with 22 minutes against West Ham.

But have the best managers been right to act swiftly? The midfield maestro has notched assists in his last two games, and has form that suggests he will warm into the season both as a provider and as a goalscorer.

Salah certainty

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (right) celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game from the penalty spot with Roberto Firmino during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Mohamed Salah, right, is in fine form for Liverpool (Shaun Botterill/PA)

But who have the cream of the crop moved in favour of? With eight goals in as many games – as well as an assist – Mohamed Salah has delivered on his original £12m price tag.

The Liverpool star was well backed by elite bosses in GW1, but such has been his consistency – providing attacking returns from midfield in six of his eight games – that his top ownership has risen from 84.8 per cent to 93.9 per cent.

His overall ownership (47.1 per cent) suggests the general population of managers remain to be convinced. Salah is the top-ranked midfielder for Threat and second for Creativity, which begs the question: what are they waiting for?

Son soars

Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley

Son Heung-min has the potential to score big (Lindsey Parnaby/PA)

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min is a player who has taken a little longer to convince the elite, but very few doubt him now.

Perhaps the Spurs man’s hot and cold form is to blame for this lag. Son has blanked in four games this season, but in the other four he has averaged 16.5 points per game.

The elite seem to have decided that those blanks are worth putting up with for the occasions when Son scores four in one game – as he did against Southampton – with 94.6 per cent of them selecting him in GW8.

His overall ownership is catching up too, but one thing is for sure: the managers with pedigree are acting more swiftly and decisively than the rest of us.