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FPL tips: Manchester City’s defeat does not tell the whole story

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
(Image credit: Clive Rose)

Tottenham’s 2-0 win on Saturday kept Manchester City in the bottom half of the Premier League table but, according to the Threat metric found on the FPL website, this match could easily have gone the other way.

Threat points are awarded for each attempt on goal, proportional to the likelihood of scoring, and City’s tally of 339 this weekend was their best of the season so far.

With a goal having been scored for roughly every 100 points of Threat on average in recent Premier League history, a blank for Pep Guardiola’s side looks a lot like bad luck.

A graphic showing Premier League teams' total Threat scores in gameweek nine

Meanwhile, Spurs’ two strikes were generated from just 56 Threat points, their lowest total of the campaign.

Any managers considering bringing in Manchester City players ahead of their favourable run of fixtures – or selling a Tottenham asset – should not make a decision based on this game alone.

No Mo? No problem

File photo dated 03-03-2020 of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah was not missed by Liverpool against Leicester (John Walton/PA)

Only one team outscored Manchester City for Threat this weekend: a Liverpool side expected to struggle without the isolating Mohamed Salah and the majority of their first-choice defenders.

The much-maligned Roberto Firmino led the way, silencing his critics with a goal that his personal tally of 110 Threat points – the best of any player this gameweek – deserved.

Managers looking to invest in the Reds’ forward line have seen their choices expand from three players to four thanks to Diogo Jota’s impressive start at Anfield. With only one of their next nine fixtures rated higher than three on the game’s fixture difficulty scale, expect their collective stock to rise in the near future.

Devils in defence?

Manchester United’s David de Gea celebrates during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool

David De Gea could be a safe choice between the sticks (Carl Recine/PA)

The FPL site also has a Creativity score, which correlates with assists as Threat does to goals. The standout player by this metric was Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes: a popular captain choice who rewarded his owners with a sparkling performance.

Despite registering a respectable amount of Threat this week, it’s in defence where the Red Devils have impressed the most recently. This was the fourth match on the bounce in which David De Gea has had less than 100 points worth of Threat to deal with, suggesting that United’s defensive assets are also worthy of consideration.

The ever-present Harry Maguire is the pick of the bunch with his season tally of 153 Threat points the highest of any Premier League defender – could he bring goals as well as clean sheets?

Villains could still be heroes

Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring his side’s third goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London

Ollie Watkins has impressed for Aston Villa (Alastair Grant/PA)

Brighton inflicted Aston Villa’s third defeat in four matches but the underlying data suggests that the wheels have not come off Dean Smith’s side just yet.

The Seagulls have one of the division’s best-performing defences, having allowed less than 100 Threat points in five of their eight previous matches this season, but Villa comfortably outscored them on Saturday by 195 to 101.

Any managers tempted to move on the likes of Jack Grealish and Emiliano Martinez – both among the 10 most popular players overall – would be advised to hold fire for now. Villa’s next six fixtures all have an FDR of two or three, so selling them based on the weekend’s scoreline alone could prove to be premature.