Up next in our ‘What to do’ series, we look at Arsenal’s defence. Specifically, should FPL managers keep or sell these players?
What to do?
At the end of Gameweek 30, Arsenal looked very likely to secure fourth place and Champions League football. Three and four points ahead of Spurs and Man United, with a game-in-hand over both, things were looking good for Mikel Arteta’s side.
FPL managers are all-in on Arsenal, with midfielder Bukayo Saka in over 86% of top 10k squads and a back line that has kept 13 clean sheets. According to LiveFPL’s stats on top 10k ownership, only Liverpool and Spurs have more effective ownership (EO) than the Gunners.
Suddenly, Gameweek 30 feels like a long time ago. Arsenal has lost their three games since, versus Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton. Their loss of form has come at a terrible time.
Yet the underlying stats show unluckiness. Accumulate the expected goals (xG) of these three defeats and Arsenal actually win 4.56 – 3.64. Plus, their defence hasn’t allowed too many chances to occur.
It’s just that the shots that do happen are usually of good quality. Aaron Ramsdale is the game’s most-selected goalkeeper, with centre-back Ben White also on high ownership. Perhaps the season-ending injury to Kieran Tierney is part of the problem, with Nuno Tavares and Granit Xhaka filling in for the left-back.
Their final run of fixtures is neither good nor bad. Home matches against Leeds and Everton, yet trips to Tottenham, West Ham and Newcastle. Double Gameweek 36 will likely keep Arsenal assets popular, as does the benefit of still having something to play for.
Managers looking to grab a Chelsea defender in time for Double Gameweeks 34 and 36 could take this route to Reece James or Antonio Rudiger. Crystal Palace’s 3-0 win over the Gunners was one of three clean sheets in a row, so a good replacement for Ramsdale could be Vicente Guaita.
The Eagles have a sea of blue fixtures from now until the season’s finish. It’s also an attractive schedule for Aston Villa, who have two Double Gameweeks that follow a home clash with Norwich. Names like Matty Cash and Tyrone Mings can come in.
Thoughts from the FPL community
There are opposing views online as to how difficult Arsenal’s remaining fixtures are. FPL Mihir is undecided on what he’ll do with Ramsdale.