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FPL 2021-22: 7.5m Forwards – Who to choose? 

FPL 2021-22 : 7.5m forwards causing a headache

We are just one week from the GW1 of the Premier League, and as the deadline draws closer finalizing your team can become a headache. The 7.5-8 million bracket is stacked with forwards with high FPL potential. But how do you decide who to go with? 

There is a high possibility that the likes of Mohamed Salah (12.5m), Bruno Fernandes (12.0m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (7.5m), and Luke Shaw (5.5m) are most likely in your team. That makes it tough to fit in the premium forward like Harry Kane (12.5m) or Aubameyang (10.0m). 

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A budget or mid-range forward is much needed to complete your squad. But what are the points you must consider when you compare these players and finalize your pick :

  • Underlying stats
  • Player’s recent form
  • Upcoming fixtures
  • Team recent attacking form

This applies to picking any player on your FPL team. But more so when it comes to an attacking player. With a forward you want maximum goal involvement and consistency. Keeping that in mind let’s take a closer look at the options available. 

Ollie Watkins – Aston Villa 

Watkins might lose the striker role to Ings but will still be in the startin XI and that is great for FPL players

2020-21 stats: 

  • Minutes – 3329
  • Goals – 14
  • Assists: 9
  • Points: 168 

First six fixtures: WAT, NEW, BRE, CHE, EVE, MUN 

2021-22 expected stats: 

  • xG (expected goals) – 14.55 
  • xA (expected assists) – 3.82
  • xGI (expected goal involvement) – 18.37
  • Mins/xGI (minutes per goal involvement) – 181.2
  • High chance of taking penalties 

There are doubts whether Watkins will play up front after the signing of Danny Ings. However, Wakins is a sure starter and will bring returns. The team has sold their talisman Jack Grealish but new signings Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey will fill the void. 

Watkins is currently owned by 25.9% of teams in FPL and that is sure to increase. The opening fixtures look good till GW3 and then it could get difficult. But Aston Villa can pull off surprising results. 

Kelechi Iheanacho – Leicester City 

Iheanacho can become Leicester's main man and FPL point machine

2020-21 stats: 

  • Minutes – 1456
  • Goals – 12
  • Assists: 2
  • Points: 110 

First six fixtures: WOL, WHU, NOR, MCI, BHA, BUR

2021-22 expected stats: 

  • xG (expected goals) – 8.20 
  • xA (expected assists) – 3.28
  • xGI (expected goal involvement) – 11.48
  • Mins/xGI (minutes per goal involvement) – 126.8
  • Will take penalties in the absence of Vardy

The Leicester City frontman numbers may be lower in comparison to the others on the list, but it should be noted that he played only half the amount of minutes. A case can be made that teammate Jamie Vardy is the first choice in the starting XI, but Vardy is now 34 years old. 

Iheanacho’s performance in the second half of the season makes it impossible for Rogers to overlook the striker. New signing Patson Daka will be one to look out for and could make Iheanacho a bench warmer. Currently owned by 13.2% FPL teams, Iheanacho’s ownership will increase if he starts in GW1.

Michail Antonio – West Ham United 

Antonio is an FPL point magnet but is injury prone

2020-21 stats :

  • Minutes – 1983
  • Goals – 10
  • Assists – 5  
  • Points – 118 

First six fixtures: NEW, LEI, CRY, SOU, MUN, LEE

2021-22 expected stats: 

  • xG (expected goals) – 13.59 
  • xA (expected assists) – 1.80
  • xGI (expected goal involvement) – 15.39
  • Mins/xGI (minutes per goal involvement) – 128.8
  • Will take penalties 

Antonio is probably one of the most explosive forwards in FPL on his good days. The Hammers player is injury-prone and has missed a lot of minutes due to this. But he is the first pick in the starting XI when fit. 

FPL players love Antonio and that shows in his 16.3% ownership. The run of fixtures makes it even more tempting to pick him. West Ham has become a tough team to play against under David Moyes and Antonio is key to their performances. 

Callum Wilson – Newcastle United 

Can Callum Wilson bring success to Newcastle this season and bring us FPL points

2020-21 stats :

  • Minutes – 2085
  • Goals – 12
  • Assists – 6  
  • Points – 134 

First six fixtures: WHU, AVL, SOU, MUN, LEE, WAT

2021-22 expected stats: 

  • xG (expected goals) – 12.61 
  • xA (expected assists) – 1.33
  • xGI (expected goal involvement) – 13.94
  • Mins/xGI (minutes per goal involvement) – 149.6
  • Will take penalties

Newcastle is a team that you can not rely on in terms of results. But most of their attacking goes through Callum Wilson. He missed out due to injuries last season but he has been looking quite good during pre-season.

His current ownership is 5.7% and that is mostly because FPL players do not trust Newcastle. If the fixture run is good the Wilson can be a good option.

Richarlison – Everton 

Richarlison might be absent for the initial part of the FPL season due to an Copa America and Olympics duties

2020-21 stats :

  • Minutes – 2867
  • Goals – 7
  • Assists – 3
  • Points – 123 

First six fixtures: SOU, LEE, BHA, BUR, AVL, NOR 

2021-22 expected stats: 

  • xG (expected goals) – 13.59 
  • xA (expected assists) – 1.80
  • xGI (expected goal involvement) – 15.39
  • Mins/xGI (minutes per goal involvement) – 236.9 

Richarlison is a sure starter for Everton, but he might miss the first few game weeks. He played the Copa America and the Olympics in the past months and will be given rest. Nevertheless, his FPL potential is very limited. 

He operates more as a winger and is less preferred to his teammate Dominic Calvert-Lewin (8.0m). He is currently owned by 6.6 teams in FPL and will always be a good choice as a differential. 

Raul Jiminez – Wolves 

Jiminez is one of the most talented strikers in the FPL but is returning from a deadly head injury

The reason I am not presenting any stats for Jiminez is that he missed most of last season due to a fractured skull. His absence made a huge difference to Wolves who struggled a lot last season to score goals. The departures of Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty last summer also added to their struggles. 

But if you look at the seasons prior, his stats are undeniable. 17 goals and 7 assists in the 2019-20 season, and 13 goals and 10 assists in the 2018-19 season. Jiminez is clinical in front of the goal. 

First six fixtures: LEI, TOT, MUN, WAT, BRE, SOU 

The opening fixtures will test Wolves and their new coach Bruno Lage, but from GW4 Jiminez can be a good pick. 

Newcomer – Patson Daka – Leicester 

The Leicester signing comes from the Bundesliga where he scored 58 goals in the past two seasons. If he can hit the ground running, he could possibly become Leicester’s future and a tempting FPL asset. Keep a close eye on this player and move fast if he shows good signs. 

Conclusion: 

Watkins, Iheanacho, Jimenez, and Wilson have all made my FPL drafts in the past few days. And it is most likely that I will pick 2 of the 4 mentioned. But rotation will be key based on form, fixtures, and most importantly player confidence. The early game weeks are usually when these players are very explosive before they hit a slump. But from this, you will be able to eliminate some and find your pick.

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