Raucous Romelu, Wolves wanderings and a case of the Blues

If you haven’t heard (as shocking as it sounds, there will be some that still haven’t), Gameweek 32 is a double for 10 Premier League teams. In FPL terms, that means pandemonium: riots, looting, bin-fires – a national state of emergency akin to Brexit or a hose-pipe ban. It also means an awful lot of hits, chips and finger-crossing. But before you dust off your balaclava and head to your local Currys, give this article a glance over.

In a sea of chaos, underlying stats are the island of calm: given us factual, objective statements about player and team form. They and they alone can provide answers to your most burning FPL questions, like “should I captain Aguero or Sterling?” and “why the hell do people still own Ashley Barnes?”

gameweek 32 expected goals

Lukaku back with underlying a vengeance

If you’ve already got 3 Fulham players and can’t fit Ryan Babel into your squad, you may consider a burgeoning alternative who, up until Jose Mourinho, was a firm FPL favourite. I’m referring, of course, to Romelu Lukaku, who leads the xG table over the last 6 gameweeks with a very respectable 4.28.

Unlike previous occasions, the Belgian’s goalscoring form has been on a par with his underlying credentials, with the United man scoring netting 4 times in his last 5 outings. He enjoys a tasty double fixture of Watford at home and Wolves away in GW32, and must surely be one of the most compelling contenders for a Free Hit differential.

Gunners on shooting form

Arsenal may not have a Double Gameweek, but they face one of the weakest away teams as far as defensive sturdiness is concerned. Should Single Gameweek players even be a consideration in a double? Well, in last season’s DGW34, 3 of the top 10 gameweek points scorers were Single Gameweek players, so let’s talk about some here.

Two of the top six players for xG going into GW32 are Arsenal’s two front men: the many-lettered Alexandre Lacazette (3.81) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (3.62). Henrikh Mkhitaryan (thank God this article doesn’t have character limits, eh?) joins them with the 2nd highest xA (2.29) to form a triumvirate of single-fixtured fantasy prospects worthy of any FPL side. Would I include them on a Free Hit? Probably not. Would I get rid of them if I already owned them? Not a chance.

City midfielders under the radar?

Manchester City are so on-the-radar this gameweek that Air Traffic Control at Manchester Airport have had to divert planes after signals of Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero have been picked up in the local airspace. But if the xA table tells us one thing, it’s that the much-fancied Sterling and Aguero are merely the tip of the Man City iceberg.

4 of City’s midfielders – Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan – make it into the top 10 for xA over the past 6 gameweeks; not bad considering they’re usually forced to share minutes. Bernardo Silva – edging his colleagues out with an xA of 2.15 – is probably the most assured of minutes ahead of the DGW and could be an excellent shout for that coveted 3rd Man City spot.

Team Expected Goals (Last 10 Gameweeks)

Team xG
MCI 25.18
LIV 20.12
ARS 18.17
MUN 17.39
LEI 15.05
WOL 14.11
NEW 14.07
TOT 14.02
BUR 13.93
CPL 13.69
BOU 12.47
FUL 12.05
WHU 11.50
CHE 11.10
EVE 11.04
CAR 10.8
SOT 10.73
WAT 10.09
BHA 9.27
HUD 7.92

Team Expected Goals Against (Last 10 Gameweeks)

Team xGA
MCI 4.38
LIV 6.12
MUN 11.14
WOL 11.73
LEI 12.39
CPL 12.56
ARS 12.66
TOT 13.04
CHE 13.41
EVE 13.97
BHA 14.04
SOT 14.55
NEW 14.87
CAR 15.07
BUR 15.30
BOU 15.89
WAT 16.17
HUD 16.66
WHU 19.04
FUL 19.73

Stop wandering about Wolverhampton

Wolves are a team who are somehow still surprising us, despite a season of consistently impressive results and performances against sides of even the highest calibre. They are a high calibre side now, even if their player’s prices try to tell us otherwise. So it comes as little shock that so many FPL managers own Wolves assets. What is a shock, however, is the number of FPL managers looking to oust them from their Free Hit squads.

Whilst the threat of rotation lingers, one thing is certain: Wolves are 4th lowest for xGA and 6th highest for xG. They have defensive resolution and attacking threat, and carry those stats into a double-header against Burnley (who they beat in the reverse fixture) and Man United (who they beat in the FA Cup this month). It’s madness to think the likes of Jimenez, Jota and Doherty could be differentials ahead of GW32.

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Crystal Palace defenders a must?

Did we ever think we’d reach a point where Jeffrey Schlupp has become a template option? I didn’t either, but here we are. Ahead of DGW32, the defender-turned-midfielder has 3 assists and a goal in his last 6 matches, but perhaps more surprisingly, Crystal Palace have the 6th best xGA in the league over the past 10 gameweeks. He and his Crystal Palace colleagues face Huddersfield at home and Spurs away during GW32.

According to clean sheet odds, Palace have the highest likelihood of keeping a clean sheet in the first round of fixtures, which is unsurprising, considering they face the lowest side for xG over the past 10 gameweeks. But less attention is being given to the Spurs match. Despite christening their new stadium against Palace, Spurs come into the fixture with a relatively mediocre xG over the past 10 gameweeks – behind the likes of Newcastle and Leicester. It could bode well for the likes of Schlupp and Wan Bisakka, who are as capable of attacking returns as clean sheets on their day.

Where are Chelsea?

Yes, I know the real answer is the posh-end of London. But where are they on the expected stats tables? Notably, nowhere near the top. Sarri’s outfit are among the most popular assets going into GW32, and with fixtures against Cardiff and Brighton, it’s easy to see why. But the Blues have done little to make a case for themselves as far as their expected stats go.

They are 9th for xGA and, incredibly, 14th for xG over the past 10 gameweeks, which shows that Chelsea defenders might be the way to go ahead of their double fixture (particularly given that Cardiff and Brighton reside within the bottom 5 for xG over the past 10 gameweeks). I’m not saying sell Hazard for Diogo Jota here, but I am saying that doubling – or even trebling, as some managers are planning to do – on Chelsea attack may not be advisable.

Expected Goals GW32 Dream Team

Jamie Reeves

BEST FPL FINISH: 8,872 (17/18)

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