Mohamed Salah: Debacle of the FPL king?

Svar Jain
By Svar Jain
9 Min Read
FPL-Mohamed-Salah-replacements-Fantasy-Premier-League-2022-23

30 days! It took 30 days for Erling Haaland to snatch the seat of Mohamed Salah, reigning FPL king for years, to cement himself as the new Fantasy Premier League king. In only 6 matches, Haaland has 10 goals and an assist taking his points tally to a staggering 67 points. Now the question arises, who should he partner with as a premium option in a team? Mo Salah’s, and for that matter Liverpool’s, performance hasn’t been up to the mark this season. Is now the time for the former king to make way for other premium/premiums?

Mo Salah in Numbers:

Stat 2021/22 2022/23 % Change
xG per 90 0.77 0.43 -44%
xA per 90 0.24 0.26 8%
Shots per 90 4.5 2.8 -38%
Successful dribbles per 90 1.7 1.5 -12%

The stats clearly show a massive decrease in final goal-scoring opportunities for Mohamed Salah. A lot of this is owing to the impact Sadio Mane had on the Liverpool team. His sheer pace, ability to draw players on him, and top-notch final third ball movement made Salah the goal-scoring beast we have witnessed before. Injuries in midfield are also a reason for Liverpool’s sub-par ball progression in the midfield.

Liverpool’s Upcoming Fixtures:

Date Opponent H/A League
8-Sep Napoli Away UCL Group
10-Sep Wolves Home GW7
14-Sep Ajax Home UCL Group
18-Sep Chelsea Away GW8
International Break

Despite the five-sub rule, Mo Salah has never been substituted in any of the 6 Premier League gameweeks. If Salah starts and plays 90 mins in an away game at Napoli, one can expect an early substitute for him for the home game against Wolves – within 2 days Liverpool are expected to fly back from Napoli to start against Wolverhampton at Anfield.

Fatigue can play a big role in his as well as the team’s performance. His minutes against Napoli are something to be monitored. Liverpool’s upcoming Premier League games after Wolves match are against Chelsea (A), Brighton (H), Arsenal (A), and Manchester City (H). Keeping Salah for the next gameweek would have made sense against Wolves if there weren’t any fixture congestion. But all other games are against good defensive teams which would subdue his ability to haul.

Team Dynamics:

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  • Darwin Nunez is back from his suspension and played 80 mins against Everton where he has an xG of 0.54 with 6 shots in the game
  • Jota is back from his injury and made a 10 mins cameo in the end where he had 2 shots, both off-target.
  • Trent Alexander-Arnold was subbed just before 60 and couldn’t register cleansheet points.
  • Andrew Roberson couldn’t get a start and was subbed on at 59 mins.
  • Firmino was subbed on at 46 mins and he and Darwin shared the pitch for most of the second half.

With Jota and Darwin both back in the game and Firmino in a good form, Liverpool looks strong on paper against a weak Wolves side. The lineup against Napoli is going to be crucial for predicting Salah’s playing time. Mohamed Salah was seen twice deep in defense defending counters for Liverpool. The injuries of Henderson, Kieta, and Thiago are a big setback for Liverpool’s gameplay. Liverpool is expected to find form only they are back. Till then they struggle and with them, Salah too.

Final call:

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As said, it’s time for Salah to give his place to other premiums. His ability to haul is a big question in the coming weeks due to the reasons stated above. Gameweek 9 is seen as a favourable time for Wildcard for a lot of managers. Till then, a differential pick can be vital to boost ranks. But taking a hit to replace him can certainly backfire. He is definitely going to drop his price by the end of the week, but in this season, unlike any other season, we have a lot of mid-range options who have been outperforming the premiums. So one can hold onto him this week and sell him in the next week.

Potential replacements:

In this segment, we will be looking at potential Premium options who have the potential to haul in the next three Gameweeks. There is no perfect replacement as each option is team dependent.

Kevin De Bruyne

Stat KDB
xG per 90 0.32
xA per 90 0.47
Shots per 90 3.3
Successful dribbles per 90 1.2
GW7 TOT (H)
GW8 WOL (A)
GW9 MUN (H)
FPL PRICE 12.2M

Simple like-for-like replacement. KDB remains to be an integral part of the Manchester City attack. His goal involvement is evident from the numbers above. His ability to create a big chance out of nothing remains to be his key attribute. He manages to shoot 3.3 shots in every game, most of them being long shots outside the box. Even though KDB is fixture-proof, his upcoming fixtures reduces this ability to haul. Kevin De Bruyne is the best option for someone who is risk averse with only one free transfer and less than 0.5mil in the bank.

Sancho/Gundogan/Sterling + Toney/Mitrovic/Isak

sancho-gundogan-sterling-toney-mitrovic-isak-stat-fpl

This option is for someone having 2 free transfers ideally. If the third striker in your team is a benching option then this option will end up strengthening your bench and weakening your team. There is a very thin line separating the three strikers. Mitrovic has proven he is fixture-proof. His outstanding 0.71 xG combined with 4.5 shots per game makes him a must-have in a team. But Isak and Toney don’t fall much behind him.

Going based on fixtures and inclusion Saint-Maximin soon in the team, makes Isak one to have even above Mitrovic. Among the midfielders, Sterling is a standout option in all parameters. With the inclusion of Aubamayang soon in the team, his numbers are only going to get better. Sterling+Isak is the combination I would go with.

Trossard/Mac Allister/Gross/Rashford + Darwin/Kane

Stat KANE DARWIN
xG per 90 0.72 0.91
xA per 90 0.12 0.12
Shots per 90 3.8 7.7
Successful dribbles per 90 0.5 0.5
 GW7 MCI (A) WOL (H)
GW8 LEI (H) CHE (A)
GW9 ARS (A) BHA (H)
FPL PRICE 11.4M 8.9M

This option is for someone having 2 free transfers ideally. Even if the third striker in your team is a benching option then this option will end up strengthening your bench as well as your team. The selection between Harry Kane and Darwin Nunez is more of a way of playing FPL rather than a logical reason. For risk-averse managers, Kane is the go-to option. Been reliable for years and he can be a great captaincy option in his game against Leicester City at home in GW8.

On the other hand, Darwin has shown excellent numbers and his potential to haul in any game, for risk-takers he is the punt they are looking for. Once deciding this, managers can easily choose between the BHA attackers depending on the funds in the bank. Between Trossard and Rashford, Marcus Rashford is a no-brainer. But Rashford was seen limping before the end of last match that he played. Managers should wait for official team news before getting him in the team. Rashford+Kane is the combination I would go with.

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