In Blank Gameweek 32, Arsenal have a strong home match versus Southampton. Whether you’ll Free Hit or not, here are their strongest assets.
Unlike a lot of the popular Free Hit 32 players, managers likely already have at least one or two Arsenal selections. Therefore, looking at their best picks is relevant to everyone, although their post-Southampton fixture list looks tricky.
According to Fantasy Football Scout’s Season Ticker, only Brentford have it worse. Still, the league leaders will be confident of scoring past everyone, making it dangerous to overlook such highly-owned options.
GABRIEL MARTINELLI (£6.9m)
The Brazilian began the season at just £6.0m and is now on the joint-third-most points with 180. Recently overtaking Bukayo Saka for penalty area touches, only Mohamed Salah has had more.
There was a time shortly after Leandro Trossard‘s (£6.7m) January arrival when it was assumed that out-of-form Martinelli was due a rest that would begin a general rotation until the end. That benching finally came at Aston Villa in Gameweek 24 – he came on, scored and has started all eight matches since, with a superb six goals and three assists.
Arsenal are in no other competitions, without a double gameweek coming up. Martinelli is firmly in Mikel Arteta’s starting XI for the run-in, so he’s a fantastic FPL pick.
GABRIEL JESUS (£8.2m)
Part of Martinelli’s resurgence has coincided with Jesus’ eventual return from a World Cup knee injury. Fellow forward Eddie Nketiah (£6.4m) wasn’t quite the same, so it’s been great for Gunners supporters to see Jesus start the last three matches and score four times.
Over these three, his 3.70 expected goals (xG) are far ahead of teammates, with six of seven shots labelled as a ‘big chance’. It makes him an appealing differential, currently owned by just 1.57% of the top 100k.
Not that bottom-placed Southampton should be completely dismissed. Surprisingly, they are sixth-best over the season for conceding shots on target (115). Although they only have four clean sheets, two were kept in recent trips to Chelsea and Man United.
BUKAYO SAKA (£8.6m)
The one Arsenal attacker not in form is Saka. A strong rate of returns from Gameweek 4 ended in Gameweek 25, blanking in five of the last six matches.
Not only that, he missed a penalty at West Ham last Sunday. Not that Arteta plans on removing that responsibility.
In these last six, he only ranks fourth for xGI amongst Arsenal players but has been their number one for penalty area touches. For a player of such quality, it’s right to assume Saka will soon return to his devastating ways. However, for those planning to buy Salah, combining form plus fixtures makes Saka a good route to him.
MARTIN ODEGAARD (£6.7m)
One point behind Saka overall is Odegaard, sold by over one million managers since Gameweek 25. Such is FPL, he’s since punished them by netting against Fulham and West Ham.
The Norwegian has the most Arsenal attempts and shots on target over the last six outings, mostly because of the last time they hosted a south coast side. Against Bournemouth in Gameweek 26, Odegaard somehow found a way to have 11 shots combine for just a 0.56 xG and no actual returns.
Not only have clean sheets recently dried up for the Gunners but they’re also often conceding multiple times. Five of their last ten have either brought two or three opposition goals.
Furthermore, only three of their 12 clean sheets are from home games. It’s a statistical quirk because Arsenal’s underlying stats for conceding attempts, big chances and expected goals (xGC) are all better at home, yet they often find a way to concede.
For those still wanting coverage of their back line, Arteta’s press conference gave updates on injured duo William Saliba (£5.0m) and Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.2m).
“We have to wait a little bit more. He’s not progressing as quick as we hoped.” – on Saliba
“It’s a muscular injury and he needs some time to heal. We are not there yet.” – on Zinchenko
Therefore, it’s likely that playing in front of Aaron Ramsdale (£4.9m) will be Ben White (£5.0m), Rob Holding (£4.2m), Gabriel (£5.3m) and Kieran Tierney (£4.6m).
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