Elite FPL bosses have made it clear that Mohamed Salah is their absolute must-have of the 2021-22 Premier League season.
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 do to prepare their sides.
And it is clear that Liverpool’s Egyptian forward is the first name on almost all of their team sheets.
Yes, Salah is owned by 97.1 per cent of our elite sample despite his status as the game’s most expensive player at £12.7m.
That’s because Jurgen Klopp’s star man is worth every penny – just take a look at the numbers.
Salah has scored six goals and notched four assists in seven games this season, earning 70 FPL points at 10 per game in that period – 21 more than his nearest competitor.
He has returned double figures for FPL points on four occasions already, has played 630 out of 630 minutes in the league, ranks first out of every player in the league for Threat, and has blanked just once this season.
With 101 goals and 44 FPL assists since the start of the 2017-18 season meanwhile, Salah is the closest to a sure-thing that exists in the FPL sphere right now, and the elite know it.
The 29-year-old has been owned by more than 90 per cent of our elite sample all season, his lowest ownership among them being 92.9 per cent in gameweek three.
Such has been the strength of Michail Antonio’s performances this season, the West Ham striker was comfortably more popular among the elite than Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku in GW7.
Sure, he comes in a great deal cheaper at £8m to Ronaldo’s £12.6m and Lukaku’s £11.7m, but ultimately he is a more promising FPL prospect on the pitch.
Antonio is currently scoring at more than eight FPL points per game (PPG) – Ronaldo meanwhile is going at 5.5 PPG and Lukaku at around 4.8 PPG.
He also ranked top among forwards for Threat and third for Creativity – Ronaldo, who has played four games to Antonio and Lukaku’s six – is fourth for Threat, with the Chelsea frontman third.
All three blanked however in GW7, and top managers could flock to Lukaku in the weeks to come, with the Blues facing four games rated two out of five for difficulty next.
Back to Blues
Still at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Rudiger rocketed from 9.2 per cent elite ownership to 72.5 per cent in one gameweek, becoming the most popular defender among the top managers in GW7.
The Chelsea defender’s popularity is undoubtedly due to the club’s favourable fixture list, while he is cheaper than team-mates Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta at £5.8m.
The Blues’ next four opponents will be Brentford, Norwich, Newcastle and Burnley – bosses will hope Rudiger can add to the impressive four clean sheets and one goal he has already accrued.
Elsewhere, Southampton’s Tino Livramento is on track to become this season’s John Lundstram, with an elite ownership of 63.7 per cent in GW7.
At just £4.2m from a £4m starting price, Livramento has played 625 out of 630 minutes, contributing two clean sheets and an assist so far.
With Leeds, Burnley, Watford, Aston Villa and Norwich next up, elite managers can’t get enough of this season’s diamond in the rough.
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