In this weekly series, @connect_nate will compare enticing players and project how they will perform over the coming gameweeks in FPL. Here, ahead of Gameweek 8, he previews Foden and Grealish.
Foden vs. Grealish GWs8-12
In preparation for this article, I asked the Twitter FPL community to make requests about the decisions they’re struggling with most…
This week’s quiz slightly took me aback as I expected a lot of interest in forwards ahead of wildcards, but in the end the City midfielders won out. We’ve seen so much value in budget midfield this season, but unsatisfied with this, it seems the community are calling out for their mid-price options to be that little bit more explosive – no doubt at least partly spurred on by the City fixture swing, starting with a mouth-watering home game against City’s favourite punching bag, Burnley.
Comparison to rivals (GWs1-7)
City’s midfielders sit in a highly competitive price bracket, surrounded by great options around and even below them and crucially, a lot of these options are much more nailed for minutes.
That said, the above graphic underscores why there is so much interest in City’s players. Torres has the best per 90 numbers of the selection when it comes to goal threat, posting 7.97 touches in the box per 90, 0.89 Big Chances per 90, 0.59 xG per 90 and 0.59 goals per 90.
Just behind Torres is Foden, who records an impressive 0.46 goals per 90 and 0.92 Big Chances per 90, and just behind Foden is Grealish with 0.27 xG 90 and 0.46 Big Chances per 90. In fact, very little separates Foden and Grealish in creativity either with both posting over 2 chances per 90 and around 0.25 xA 90. Despite Grealish edging on number of chances, Foden has been more successful at creating Big Chances (0.46 vs. Grealish’s 0.15).
Overall, it is hard to really see what the City midfielders are doing to justify their price tag when you consider Raphinha’s continued success. He’s nailed on for minutes and matching many key metrics. Likewise, Mount’s immense creativity means that he should see returns at a similar rate to City players. The only notable reason that would bring me back to Foden is that he’s been involved in Big Chances much more often (1.38 per 90). This is highly encouraging and suggestive of better output in future, but may also be down to the very small sample size of Foden’s 195 minutes.
Foden and Grealish xMins
Grealish’s minutes at Villa last season are hardly relevant, but apart from his injury and the two substitute appearances that followed, Grealish started and completed every game for Villa last season. His minutes for City have been very similar this season so far, but now Foden and KDB are back from injury, Grealish may be rotated more, especially with UCL games increasingly clogging up the schedule.
Meanwhile, Foden started less than half of the 38 games available to him, and that was before City splashed the cash on Grealish who plays in the same central and wide positions Foden does. It’s also possible that KDB will spend less time on the treatment table. Every year, people make Foden minute projections and every year, they fall short. I can imagine Foden seeing a lot of minutes in the short term as he returns to match sharpness, but in the medium term with Pep’s tendency to play Foden in all UCL games, Foden will probably continue to be heavily rotated.
Fixtures – GWs8-12
The next 3 fixtures are highly tempting – Burnley in particular have been more than willing to help the City goal difference cause. Brighton and United away are less attractive prospects from an attacking point of view, but overall, these are fixtures begging to be attacked.
Projections for GWs8-12
Finally, we move to the crunch of the matter – using bookies odds and historic career numbers weighted with the most recent run of games, I have projected Foden’s and Grealish’s point totals over the next 5 GWs.
Historic numbers appear to have guided projections into familiar territory with Grealish edging the assist projections and Foden edging the goal projections. In the end, there is surprisingly little in it, but as always xMins plays a huge part in the final projections, and calculating xMins accurately is challenging at the best of times, let alone for City midfielders.
Overall, there can be no doubt that Grealish is the safer and Foden the more explosive option. Having a player come off the bench when Foden doesn’t play does mean that for a short term punt like the next 5 GWs, Foden looks the better option because he is much more likely to haul given his Big Chance involvement.
However, medium to long term, Grealish remains an excellent City option if you want a set and forget player who will looks likely to play most games and be heavily involved. From watching Grealish play last season and this, I’m also expecting Grealish to push on another level in goal involvements before the end of the season. He gets even more time in the box than he used to, and with that his decision-making will improve, which may not see his shot count rise, but should see those shots move closer to goal and further from opponent’s blocks.
Thank you for reading!
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If you like this week’s article, feel free to check out the rest of the series. The information and analysis remain relevant and you can decide for yourself how accurate my projections have been.
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