We always come back to the same question again and again, but is it really time to sell Mohamed Salah, the FPL king over the past years, and move to different Fantasy Premier League assets that offer much more value for the money that we spend to buy them? For some context, Almiron has scored 67 points and has bagged five goals in his last 5 matches which is super impressive. Mo Salah meanwhile has scored just a single goal and 3 assists over the past 8 gameweeks. To be the highest-priced player in the game and to score just 3 goals in the season is not a good sign, but should we really sell him over other assets?
What has changed this season?
Sadio Mane, who was playing a creative role in that team, has left for Bayern Munich this season, and with the other midfielders out of form, Salah has been handed the position of the creator, which has forced him to play a little wider and with less touches inside the penalty box. When Mo’s season was not going well, Jurgen Klopp pulled him in and played him as a striker against Rangers in the UCL tie, where he scored a hat-trick in just six minutes. All of the FPL managers who owned Salah at the time would have like to see the same thing happen in the Premier League, but would still have been relieved to see that the King had returned to form. Many managers felt considerably more confident in keeping Mo Salah following his hat-trick, and many of them did bring him in after that game. However, the Fantasy PL gods were unkind to the new managers, as the Egyptian returned only a single goal and a mere 15 points.
Liverpool have clearly not begun where they usually do, and this is due to a variety of factors, including players being out of form and persistent injuries in the midfield regions. They have only scored 22 goals in the league this season, compared to 35 goals at the same point last season. Liverpool has only won four of their first eleven games this season, far from the perfect start that they would have preferred. Salah’s form has been influenced by his team’s play, and this season appears to be an off-season for the former Premier League Golden Boot winner.
Mohamed Salah has had very few touches and his xG per 90 (xG90) has come down to 0.5 this season, from 0.8 last season. Last season, Salah had almost 170% EO, (Effective Ownership) which means having him and not captaining him will still result in a fall in the ranks. But this season, his EO has reduced to almost just 30% so not having him is a genuine option as it will not affect your ranks as much as the previous seasons. Moreover, keeping Salah this season at such a high price has another issue that has to be dealt with – He is not going to be our captain for the majority of the gameweeks due to the rise of the supposedly new FPL King – Erling Haaland who is surely going to end this season with at least 40 goals at this rate. Since we are going to just keep the captaincy on Haaland for most of the season, keeping Salah does not seem to be the right move for the long run into the season.
Kevin De Bruyne (€12.3m)
De Bruyne has scored 70 points and is the highest-scoring midfielder in the game. His xG90 is 0.22 and xA90 (Expected Assists per 90) is 0.62 this season. Comparing this to the previous season, where his xG90 was 0.24 and his xA90 was just 0.46. It is clear that with a recognized number 9 like Haaland playing this season, the assist potential for KDB has increased manifold. He has scored nine assists so far and with Manchester City leading the charts for most goals scored, it is inevitable that KDB will continue to score points. They play Leicester (away) and Fulham and Brentford (Home), in the next three fixtures before the world cup begins next month which can be targeted by the managers.
Harry Kane (€11.5m)
Harry Kane has 82 points this season and has likely gone unnoticed due to the rise of Haaland and other budget forward options like Mitrovic and Toney. There are many managers that have three Man City players in Haaland, Cancelo, and Foden and would be unable to select KDB; in this situation, looking at this Spurs player may be the best option in the long term. In the 13 gameweeks this season, the English striker has returned 11 attacking returns and has only been blanked twice. Harry Kane’s projected goals per 90 minutes is 0.78, up from 0.58 previous season. In the next three weeks, he faces Bournemouth, Liverpool and Leeds, and with few premium midfielder options, managers should rely on Harry Kane.
It is very clear managers are having recency bias with Mo Salah but this season it looks like moving away from Salah is the best decision when there are different assets elsewhere to be looked at. The likes of Sterling, Bruno or even Almiron provide much better results and team value rather than spending it on Salah. With the world cup break coming in 3 weeks, it is important that managers spread the cash around and take brave decisions and attack the ranks before the break gives us time to analyze the FPL season.