Many Fantasy Premier League managers try to squeeze at least one player from each of the top clubs into their squads – but budget constraints mean there is little patience if they are not producing.
Arsenal, and their captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, are a striking example this season as FPL bosses look elsewhere for their top-end options.
By looking at a sample of 1,000 managers with multiple top-10,000 finishes to their names, we can see which big clubs they are shunning and who they are using to balance the books.
What have you done for me lately?
Manchester United and Arsenal may have seen their fortunes take a downturn in the Premier League in recent years but the lack of faith top fantasy managers are currently putting in their players paints an even more desolate picture.
With the Manchester clubs’ Premier League bows delayed by a week, Aubameyang was actually the most-owned player in our sample in gameweek one, appearing in 983 of the 1,000 squads.
Since then, Aubameyang’s popularity has fallen off a cliff and in gameweek six he was picked by just nine elite managers. That is reflective of the Gunners’ overall standing, with just 65 total selections in the sample – the fewest of any club in the league.
That is also fewer than six individual Aston Villa players, including three goalkeepers – one of whom, Orjan Nyland, was recently released by the club. Rob Holding is Arsenal’s most-selected player but the defender appears in only 15 of the 1,000 squads.
Manchester United are not faring much better than their former title rivals in this regard. A meagre 155 places are taken up by Red Devils, 99 of those taken care of by Portuguese penalty specialist Bruno Fernandes.
Manchester City and Chelsea find themselves in the middle of this alternative table, separated by Leicester, with 464 and 634 selections respectively. That is still a long way short of Liverpool’s league-leading 1,920 and Tottenham’s 1,751.
If the traditional big clubs are failing to set pulses racing, then which clubs are taking their place? It is no surprise to see Villa and Everton echoing their top-four positions in the Premier League table but one of the next names on the list is a club in relegation form.
Brighton are one of only two teams who can boast four different players with more than 100 owners in the sample. Breakout star Tariq Lamptey leads the way with 465, followed by budget midfielder Yves Bissouma, affordable keeper Mat Ryan and top goalscorer Neal Maupay.
Things were not looking so good for Southampton after an opening defeat to Crystal Palace and 5-2 loss against Tottenham, but a draw with Chelsea and a surprise win against early pacesetters Everton have propelled them into the top half of the table.
Like Brighton, the Saints have a host of affordable players and the defensive pairing of Alex McCarthy and Kyle Walker-Peters each have well in excess of 200 owners. At the other end of the pitch, Danny Ings and Che Adams have modest followings but will both surely see a rise after their attacking contributions against the Toffees.
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