Crystal drop

FPL advice: elite bosses abandon Salah but stay with other Reds

Elite FPL managers seem to have decided to give up Mohamed salah a few matches before the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

By analyzing the movements of a group of 1,000 managers with several top 10,000 to their credit, we can find out what the best of the best have done with the Egyptian star.

And after Liverpool’s GW19 fixture was postponed, many of the top managers opted to ditch Salah ahead of the games against Leicester and Chelsea.

A graph showing the most popular players among elite FPL managers ahead of the 20th week of play

The FPL midfielder belonged to 988 top GW18 bosses out of our sample of 1,000, before dropping to 215 in GW19.

And while it has rebounded to 483 elite managers in GW20, that’s a net loss of over 500 managers in two games.

At £ 13million, the sale of Salah frees up a lot of funds that could be used to bring in any other premium assets while the Egyptian plays for his country.

Afcon is clearly the deciding factor in this case – Salah’s teammates Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota also saw the property fall before GW19, but both returned to roughly the same property.

In fact, the two most popular players among the crème de la crème of the FPL are the defenders: Alexander-Arnold and Manchester City’s João Cancelo.

Manchester City's Joao Cancelo during the UEFA Champions League Group A match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.  Picture date: Wednesday November 3, 2021

(Zac Goodwin / AP)

Cancelo has been supported by over 90 percent of our elite sample for three straight playing weeks now.

At £ 6.9million, the Portuguese is good value for money compared to Liverpool’s right-back’s £ 8.3million price tag as he ranks first for the threat among the defenders.

One goal, seven assists and 11 clean sheets paint the picture of a player who offers value on both ends of the pitch, and his team’s form won’t hurt his property either.

City have clearly established themselves in the title chase after winning 10 straight games, scoring 31 and keeping six clean sheets during that time.

They will then face Arsenal and Chelsea in what could prove to be a pivotal month at the top.

One player who could fill Salah’s FPL boots is Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, whose elite ownership increased from 37 in GW18 to 526 in GW20.

Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London.  Picture date: Sunday December 26, 2021

(John Walton / AP)

The £ 10.5million FPL midfielder ranks fifth for creativity and seventh for threat among midfielders, and has won many managers with four goals in the four game weeks leading up to GW20.

He rewarded his supporters with an assist against Southampton and has now registered 42 points in his last five games.

However, the most popular elite addition of the week – with the owner count increasing to 347 – is the Manchester United goalkeeper. David De Gea.

The Spaniard is in the midst of a favorable festive game led by a new manager, with Ralf Rangnick’s side facing Crystal Palace, Norwich, Newcastle and Burnley over Christmas.

At £ 5.2million, the United stopper has kept two clean sheets during that time and could add more with the games against Wolves and Aston Villa afterwards.

United are now undefeated in six games and appear poised to fight for a top-four spot, but FPL fans will need to see more than the four clean sheets De Gea has achieved so far this quarter.

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