Many FPL managers, including myself, will be reassessing their strategy for Gameweek Six and beyond. This is largely down to the injury of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk.
Van Dijk’s injury is sure to force the hand of multiple players. Wildcards, squad construction and formation could all change following an injury to one of the most influential players in the division.
In previous weeks, this FPL piece has focused on players to keep an eye on. This week, it is worth taking a look at some potential strategies for teams going forward.
Undoubtedly, van Dijk’s injury has created holes in multiple squads. For anybody requiring surgery in other areas of their squad, it is probably the perfect time to wildcard.
There are plenty of options for reconstructing a squad. The major trend so far this season across the league is the obscene number of goals.
At 3.58 goals per game, the league is seeing an unprecedented number in the modern era. This is making defenders in the game unreliable. Therefore, the way to go is to free up cash in defence to spend on premium attackers.
At this stage, it is surely impossible to draft a wildcard team without the exceptional double-up of Heung Min Son and Harry Kane.
Between them, they have scored 118 points in just five games this season. Tottenham’s next three fixtures are inviting and with their world-class duo in red-hot form, having both Son and Kane in the squad would provide a solid foundation to build the rest of a team around.
The other premium attacker who appears to be a must-have is Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian superstar’s stats jump off the page. He has six goals in five games while mustering an incredible five shots per game on average so far.
Salah has scored well over 200 points in each of the past three seasons and doesn’t appear to be letting up in form. Selecting a team around an axis of Son, Kane and Salah may appear expensive.
However, their form and consistent supply of points ensure that this is a reliable approach going forward.
With premium attackers at the heart of any wildcard squad, the bones of that are the budget defenders who will need to contribute. Defenders valued around the £4.5m mark are low in price but high in value, particularly this season.
Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey is valued at £4.7m and looks an excellent value option. Lamptey has recorded one assist (plus two penalties won) and has therefore returned points in three out of five games thus far.
The youngster has started all five games in the league and passes the eye test with flying colours. Lamptey was touted in Gameweek Two’s five-to-watch and looks to have continued his form since then. He is certainly a defender to have.
Aston Villa have defied the rulebook this season in defensive terms. With only two goals conceded in four games, plus a favourable upcoming fixture list, a double-up option of Emiliano Martinez and a Villa defender is certainly a good call.
Martinez has outperformed his xGA by 2.2 goals already, with an outstanding save percentage of 86.7%. The Argentine signed from Arsenal is impressing. Of Villa’s defenders, Ezri Konsa could be the best long-term option.
Priced at £4.6m, Konsa has one goal in the first four while his 5.5 clearances per game highlight an impressive defender. Konsa’s lower price and extra goal threat make him the best Villa defender in the game in terms of value.
Finally, Max Kilman of Wolves and Pascal Struijk of Leeds could provide short-term leverage in defence. Kilman has started Wolves’ last two matches, with Wolves notching two clean sheets in those games.
The youngster is valued at £4.1m and, assuming he maintains his place in upcoming weeks, is likely to justify his price in a team who do not concede many goals.
In the case of Struijk from Leeds, he looks likely to replace Kalvin Phillips in Leeds’ midfield while the England international recovers from injury. Struijk is unlikely to be on many radars, with two unremarkable appearances in Leeds’ five games to date. However, with Marcelo Bielsa earmarking him to replace Phillips, this could open doors to unlikely attacking points from a defender. Unlikely to be a heavy scorer, any additional returns Struijk brings could well justify his low cost of 4.0m.
Gameweek Six could be the week in which FPL managers make their first major moves of the season. Virgil van Dijk’s absence has changed the outlook of the game. Some of the suggestions in above could be more appealing than others but either way, the undoubted change of strategy could see teams constructed in a vastly different way to how they were envisaged in week one.