Two weeks of an international break gives the world a lot of time to settle down and digest the fact that two of England’s biggest sides were thrashed by a combined 13-3 scoreline. For FPL managers, though, the break has added to their problems with injuries, COVID-19 positive tests and more.
There’s just something brewing at Tottenham although nobody is sure exactly what is. Gareth Bale might still be injured but with Harry Kane seemingly back to his best, who cares? The England captain is on absolute fire and it does seem that Jose Mourinho has Gareth Southgate’s ear with the 27-year-old playing 114 minutes over three games. That does include a 90-minute haul against Denmark but there were no signs of a niggle.
Instead, if anything, Kane passed the eye test with flying colours for his country but it’s his club that we actually care about and so far, he’s triumphed. Three goals, six assists and a trip to West Ham around the corner before games against Burnley, Brighton and West Bromwich. Out of those four, only Brighton have put up a decent defensive performance with even Burnley struggling. But Kane’s form and his rumoured back to his best is backed by the stats with his ten shots on target the most by any FPL player.
Add that to the fact that nobody else has created as many as the six big chances he has and the fact that he loves scoring against the Hammers (6 goals in his last five home games) and you’ve got a pick. Naturally, all this is subject to international clearance from Lord and God Jose Mourinho with the Portuguese manager unhappy that international football even exists, but should he play? Expect Kane to do something.
Yes, we know he trounced Liverpool. Yes, it was a one-time thing. Yes, it will never happen again because that’s exactly what a one-time thing means. But even then, even in that absurd night of football, there was simply something majestic about Jack Grealish. Two goals and three assists which means five out of the seven goals he had a direct hand in and the other two he had an indirect hand in. Effectively? Jack Grealish tore Liverpool to shreds and he looked great doing it as he whizzed up and down the field.
It was a masterclass in football from the Englishman and he replicated that a few days later against Wales. Now he never played again after that for his country which means, yet again Grealish has something to prove although he’s got little to do there. Only five players have created more key passes than Grealish so far and all five of them are considered to be world-class players. Want more? Only five players, yet again, have produced more passes into the penalty area with Grealish level with Bruno Fernandes and one behind Kevin De Bruyne.
He’s also into triple figures for touches in the attacking third, scored his three goals from nine shots (only Callum Wilson and Jamie Vardy have managed it in fewer) and is far from the underperformer that many expect him to be. However, there is a caveat and it’s the fact that while Grealish is hot property, he’s also a punt which is mainly because Aston Villa aren’t the greatest side. Consistency has been the midfielder’s problem but it seems like he may have solved it?
Arsenal have a torrid October and it’s already started with games against Liverpool and Sheffield United and the problem was their lack of goals. That was largely evident against West Ham United as well before Liverpool and Sheffield caused them even more problems but the club’s bigger concern is the lack of form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has shown. The superstar forward has managed just the one goal, on the opening day, in his opening four games and for someone worth 11.8m, that’s poor.
A bigger concern has to be the shots that the forward has had with the Gunners shot-shy this season as only West Bromwich have managed to have fewer shots on goal. Aubameyang, according to FBref, has managed a paltry six on goal. He’s put five of them on target and that’s possibly the only positive to take out of that. Everything else, his xG and his xG per 90 is at an all-time low which does point to a slight decline which is a concern.
However, the forward has managed to snap out of his cold streaks in style in the not so near past but given the Gunners fixture list going forward, this is not a chance you want to take. They face Manchester City on Saturday, then Leicester City and Manchester United before things ease up. Maybe re-jig your team then and decide but for now, this forward is cold as ice.
Who to stay away from
Now, this could be a late panic move after that 7-2 thrashing that the champions were handed by Aston Villa and things could change, so don’t take this article’s word for it. But, there seems to be something wrong with Liverpool’s defense this season. They’ve managed a grand total of just the one clean sheet so far, against Chelsea, but have conceded four goals to Arsenal and Leeds United, plus the seven against Villa.
Now their xGA is only 6.7 which tells us that Aston Villa drastically overperformed that night but even then, the eye test showed us something jittery. Add that to the fact that they’ve kept just the four clean sheets since the restart, and we’ve got problems. Plus there’s Virgil Van Dijk making mistakes, their dynamic full-back duo didn’t look their dynamic selves and then there was the goalkeeper. Now there’s their biggest problem because as it stands, Liverpool may have the worst number 2 amongst the ‘Big Six’ sides.
Alisson is injured and out for a while, so it means that Adrian will take center stage and when that has happened, he hasn’t looked good. In the eleven appearances he made last season, Adrian kept just the two clean sheets while conceding at an average of just below a goal per game (10 goals). And it seems that we’re not the only one with concerns as at the time of writing, 1071599 managers have sold Alexander-Arnold, 504696 have dropped Van Dijk and 343738 have sold Robertson. Concerns? Some might have a few.