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FPL tips: How did elite bosses approach the double gameweek?

Manchester City v Leeds United – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Elite FPL managers focused their transfer efforts on adding players with two games in the recent double gameweek, but did not move heaven and earth to alter their squads.

By analysing the movements of a group of 1,000 managers with multiple top-10,000 finishes to their names, we can find out what the best of the best did when the DGW was announced.

With West Ham, Everton and Brentford all playing twice, the seven most popular transfers among our sample were from the Hammers or the Toffees.

West Ham United manager David Moyes (centre) and Everton manager Rafael Benitez shake hands after the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture date: Sunday October 17, 2021

(Peter Byrne/PA)

However, while the cream of the crop targeted additions with two games to play, only 53 used their wildcard and another 53 used their free hit.

Of the 1,000-strong sample, 883 ignored their chips entirely, relying solely on free transfers or points deductions to set their sides.

With West Ham facing Crystal Palace and Norwich in the bumper gameweek, four of their players featured in the transfer movements of the best bosses: Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio, Craig Dawson and Vladimir Coufal.

Bowen saw an elite ownership increase of 532 ahead of GW21, the £6.7m midfielder’s form making him something of a must-have.

The Englishman leads the league for assists after notching four in the two games leading up to the double gameweek.

Bowen also ranks fourth for Threat among midfielders, and rewarded his new owners with an assist in West Ham’s 3-2 win against Crystal Palace.

Antonio, meanwhile, was the third most popular elite addition, his ownership among our sample increasing by 287.

West Ham United manager David Moyes shakes hands with Michail Antonio after the Premier League match at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton. Picture date: Saturday November 20, 2021

(Tim Goode/PA)

The 31-year-old forward has been unable to replicate the form that saw him score four and assist four in the first three games of the season, but added a goal and an assist ahead of GW21.

Like Bowen, he rewarded those who put their faith in him with a goal against Patrick Vieira’s side.

West Ham defenders Dawson and Coufal also saw ownership increases of around 200 among the cream of the crop, with a clean sheet against bottom-side Norwich a real possibility.

While Everton’s form this season has been abysmal, the lure of a double gameweek including fixtures against Brighton and Leicester was too strong even for our elite bosses to ignore.

Demarai Gray was the second most popular addition ahead of GW21 for example, the £5.5m man seeing his top ownership rise by 369.

Gray is one of the most affordable decent midfielders out there – with five goals and three assists this season, those blank gameweeks come cheap.

Everton’s Demarai Gray during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture date: Wednesday December 1, 2021

(Peter Byrne/PA)

The midfielder also managed goals in GW14 and GW15 against Liverpool and Arsenal respectively, but managed just two points against Brighton in a 3-2 defeat for the Toffees.

Defender Michael Keane‘s elite ownership increased by around 200 despite just three clean sheets to his name this season, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin also enjoyed a surge.

The England forward scored three goals in the first three games of the season before a toe injury kept him out until this week.

The 24-year-old’s goals will return at some stage, and elite bosses may have added him in the hope he will stamp his mark on the season, but a missed penalty against Brighton saw him return zero points.

Did your GW21 tactics match those of the elite, or did you use your chips to maximise your point-scoring chances?

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