Best-laid plans were torn to shreds for many FPL managers when Romelu Lukaku suffered an ankle injury against Malmo in the Champions League.
The Belgian was initially backed by millions to score heavily against newly-promoted Norwich at Stamford Bridge, but now looks set to miss “some matches” according to Thomas Tuchel.
With just two days to go before the gameweek nine deadline, the news gave FPL bosses a dilemma – should they sell the Chelsea forward, and if so, who should replace him?
Hundreds of thousands of managers answered the first question with a resounding ‘yes’.
Lukaku’s ownership had fallen by more than 850,000 as of 10am on Friday, a great number deciding that the £11.6m man was too expensive to carry.
Patience was possibly wearing thin already among his owners – the Chelsea forward had failed to score in his previous four league games despite a promising start to the season.
The Blues have scored seven goals in the league since Lukaku’s last, but plenty held on to the Belgian in the hope that he would steamroll Norwich, Newcastle and Burnley – his team’s next three opponents.
It remains to be seen whether he will miss all three of those, with tougher games against Leicester and Manchester United to follow.
For those who did decide to sell Lukaku, however, finding a replacement was a fairly simple task.
Jamie Vardy has seen his ownership rise by roughly the same number as Lukaku’s dropped – around 850,000 – and it’s not just his availability for selection that has bosses purring.
The Leicester forward is the in-form striker in the Premier League right now, with seven goals in eight games including five in his last four.
Vardy comes in cheaper than Lukaku as well (£10.7m) and is the number two ranked striker for Threat so far this season.
Second only to Mohamed Salah for FPL points – with 56 to the Egyptian’s 83 – the Englishman’s fixture list looks encouraging too, with Brentford, Arsenal and Leeds to come.
Vardy’s club colleague Patson Daka has seen a modest rise in his ownership of 35,000, meanwhile, after making an impression in Europe.
The 23-year-old notched four goals against Spartak Moscow in the Europa League, adding to the goal he scored against Manchester United in the Foxes’ 4-2 win in GW8.
At £7.1m he seems rather expensive for a man who has played only a handful of minutes in the league, but if he breaks into Leicester’s first team he could make a fine team-mate for Vardy.
Elsewhere, Brentford’s Ivan Toney has added around 140,000 managers despite no goals in his last three league games.
Toney has two goals and two assists this term – fair returns for a £6.5m striker – but has blanked in five games so far.
Perhaps his new managers have been encouraged by Brentford’s form as a team, while their upcoming fixture list includes games against Burnley, Norwich and Newcastle.
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