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FPL tips: Top managers spend big in the engine room

Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring
(Image credit: Carl Recine)

If you are struggling to navigate the Fantasy Premier League transfer market, you could do worse than take pointers from some of the game’s most consistent managers.

By looking at a sample of 1,000 managers with multiple top-10,000 finishes to their names, we can see which players were the most popular with elite bosses at the start of Gameweek 17.

Go massive in midfield

Graphic showing the FPL players most owned by top managers

If we build a squad using the players with the highest ownership among our 1,000 top managers, one area stands out where there is almost unanimous agreement.

Both Bruno Fernandes and Mohamed Salah are owned by more than 94%, while Son Heung-min’s ownership falls just short of three-quarters.

The majority of top bosses will therefore own all three of these premium midfielders, giving them an enviable array of captain choices each week.

Double trouble

Mo Salah playing for Liverpool

Liverpool’s Mo Salah is set to play twice in gameweek 19 (Peter Powell/PA)

Both Manchester United and Liverpool play twice in GW19, which confers additional appeal to Fernandes and Salah in the short term.

In fact, apart from Son and his team-mate Harry Kane, every player in the most-owned squad has a double gameweek coming up.

This suggests that the elite bosses have been planning for GW19 for some time now, using their free transfers to move towards a squad with at least 11 players having the potential to play twice.

As most clubs who play twice in the double gameweek will not have a fixture in GW18, it stands to reason that most top managers will be activating their Free Hit chip to ensure that they can field a full team.

Bamford’s a bargain

Patrick Bamford is fouled by Nick Pope

Patrick Bamford is owned by more than 90% of top managers (Nigel French/PA)

With so much money being spent in midfield, bargains elsewhere are a necessity and one in particular has proved popular.

The only player with a comparable level of ownership to the aforementioned midfield superstars is Leeds striker Patrick Bamford, who was in more than nine out of every 10 elite squads this week.

Marcelo Bielsa’s newly-promoted side have been one of this season’s surprise packages and the same can be said of Bamford, who already has 15 attacking returns and over 100 points to his name.

Time to hit the Claret

West Ham United’s Tomas Soucek celebrates with team-mate Vladimir Coufal

Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal are proving popular choices (Jan Kruger/PA)

There are only three other players who are owned by at least half of the top managers in our sample and they all play in similar colours.

West Ham’s Vladimir Coufal is the only defender who surpasses 50% ownership at present and his team-mate Thomas Soucek is the fourth majority-owned midfielder.

The Hammers have excellent prospects for the double gameweek as they face the struggling duo of Burnley and West Brom with both matches on home soil.

The final member of this exclusive club is Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, whose status as the elite’s most popular goalkeeper will surely be further cemented in the wake of nearest rival Alex McCarthy’s absence.