Fantasy Premier League: Foden an issue, Salah makes sense but hold off on Newcastle

Gameweek 15 was the penultimate one before we break off for the World Cup and it was another action-packed gameweek. We saw 37 goals scored and plenty of drama.

Arsenal came up trumps in a London derby and Manchester City scraped a win against Fulham via a 95th-minute penalty despite being down to 10 men.

As ever, there was plenty to talk about, but I will cover the main talking points and how they impact us going into Gameweek 16.

Foden and Haaland on the bench

The main talking point was Phil Foden (£8.4million) being benched for the third league game in a row.

Many managers brought him in for Manchester City’s fantastic run of fixtures, and it was a good move. Nobody could have predicted Pep Guardiola would name him among the substitutes for three league games on the trot, especially when he was playing so well and considering the fact he started him in all 10 previous league matches.

Those of us who still own him have a decision to make now, though, as City have another great match-up at home to Brentford in Gameweek 16. I just think it’s way too risky to hold onto Foden despite the kind fixture. With only one gameweek left before the World Cup, we have to be aggressive and I don’t think risking another one-point Foden cameo from the bench is worth it.

On top of that, there are plenty of alternatives for him with good fixtures this week.

Wilfried Zaha (£7.5million) scored a goal and made an assist for 12 FPL points and he plays Nottingham Forest this week. Steve Cooper’s men have conceded 30 goals (second most) with an expected goals conceded (xGC) of 23.35 (17th).

Zaha was also played as a forward last gameweek, is frequently the most advanced player on the pitch for Palace and is sure to start. He is also on penalties, so is a fine option for Gameweek 16.

Leandro Trossard (£7.0million), Marcus Rashford (£6.7million) and Bukayo Saka (£8.0million) are also great potential replacements for Foden. They are all certain to start for their clubs and have good fixtures.

Trossard’s Brighton have a home game against Aston Villa, who immediately look a better side under new head coach Unai Emery. However, Roberto De Zerbi’s side have also been in great form and have now scored eight goals in their last three games. Trossard has seven goals and three assists this season and is the best option among the Brighton squad.

Rashford also has a great fixture from an attacking perspective — Fulham have conceded the fourth-most goals (24) and have the worst xGC in the league (25.99) and although Manchester United weren’t too impressive against Villa yesterday, they have a great fixture to bounce back here.

Saka provided a return again last gameweek with an assist and now has four goals and seven assists. Arsenal have been fantastic and have a good fixture against Wolves. The England player has both goal and assist and is their primary penalty taker.

Erling Haaland (£12.1million) was also benched by Guardiola but that didn’t stop him from scoring in his 26-minute cameo. He could have easily had a second, too, with his goal getting ruled out by VAR for a marginalized offside.

He will surely start against Brentford now he is fit again and if you were one of the managers who got rid of him in the past few weeks, I would make him the priority transfer. He will be the game’s best captaincy choice this week and with Norway not involved in the World Cup there are unlikely to be any early substitutions or distractions for him.

Liverpool and Salah back in contention

Liverpool pulled off an impressive away win over Tottenham on Sunday. Mohamed Salah (£12.7million) and Darwin Nunez (£8.9million) were both in the points and are fantastic options for Gameweek 16 as Southampton head to Anfield having just parted ways with Ralph Hasenhuttl.

I would look to get at least one of them in for this week as they are among the best options.

Harry Kane (£11.6million) was also on the scoresheet once again for Spurs in that match, notching his 11th goal of the season. He also has a plum fixture, against Leeds United at home.

All the above are options I would advocate, but they could be awkward to bring in due to their price points. If you can get them for free I would highly recommend it and those with two free transfers will be in a prime position to do so.

A more affordable option who is a great punt for Gameweek 16 is Ivan Perisic (£5.5million).

He is classed as a defender in FPL but in Son Heung-min’s absence played in a front two with Kane yesterday. He was unfortunate not to score, hitting the woodwork twice. His average position map also showed him to be the most advanced player on the pitch, even ahead of Kane.

With a full week’s rest, he should start against Leeds too, and it is very possible he will be used in that advanced position again.

Spurs do have a Carabao Cup tie away to Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, but I doubt he will play in that and should get the nod for the league game instead.

Newcastle continue impressive run

Newcastle were on top form again, thumping Southampton 4-1 to close the door on the Hasenhuttl era. However, as good as they have been, I would still avoid buying their assets this week as they have a game against Chelsea.

If you already own Kieran Trippier (£5.9million), Miguel Almiron (£5.7million) or Callum Wilson (£7.5million), I would keep them but would avoid buying any of their team-mates. Wilson is one to keep an eye on as he was taken off at half-time yesterday due to illness, but he should be good to go after another week’s rest.

Newcastle options aren’t a bad pick but I think there are too many options this week with good fixtures we can opt for instead who offer a higher upside.

Make sure to check out The Athletic Football Podcast, hosted by The FPL General, for all the latest tips and tricks. Catch that for free on all the usual listening providers and ad-free on The Athletic app.

(Photo: Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)


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