Fantasy Premier League

Mata offering alternative to Ibrahimovic

The Scout 21 Nov 2016
Manchester United v Arsenal

Ten-point return in draw with Arsenal puts Spaniard on radar ahead of promising fixtures

The Bonus Points

Juan Mata's (£7.4m) superbly taken goal for Manchester United against Arsenal saw him claim the maximum Fantasy Premier League bonus points for a second occasion this season.

His strike in the 1-1 draw took him to 32 in the Bonus Point System (BPS) as he completed 86% of 36 attempted passes and three dribbles.

Olivier Giroud's (£8.8m) towering header for Arsenal’s equaliser earned him two bonus points as he recorded 27 in the BPS from a 17-minute appearance from the bench.

Three players got a single bonus point, with Arsenal's Francis Coquelin (£4.3m) and United pair Marcos Rojo (£5.2m) and Ander Herrera (£6.3m) all scoring BPS totals of 22.

Man Utd v Arsenal
Olivier Giroud's two bonus points came from just 17 minutes on the pitch

Coquelin won five tackles, while Rojo contributed 17 clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI) and 13 recoveries.

Herrera assisted Mata's goal and completed 89% of his 67 passes.

The ICT Index

Mata also topped the ICT Index, with his strike being one of three efforts on goal, all of which hit the target, helping him to a Threat score of 29.

Giroud bettered that to earn 50 Threat and rank second in the Index overall, underlining Arsenal's struggle until his introduction.

Alexis Sanchez (£11.3m) was Arsenal's only other player to fire an effort on goal from inside the penalty box.

Herrera ranked third in the Index, producing the highest Creativity score on show, with 41, having laid on three chances for team-mates.

Man Utd v Arsenal
Ander Herrera (left) showed his FPL potential with an assist and one bonus point

The Scout Notes

Mata's performance reinforced his status as a regular starter for Jose Mourinho, while 10 FPL points demonstrated a renewed potential as a mid-price option.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£11.1m) returns from suspension for Gameweek 13's visit of West Ham United, but, with the Swede fading as a top candidate for FPL forward lines, Mata offers a new option to cover United's potential ahead of an improving fixture list.

From Gameweek 16 to 20, all their five matches register two or lower in the Fixture Difficulty Rankings.

At the back, Phil Jones (£4.7m) continues to present the cheapest route into Mourinho's defence, having earned two successive starts.

Antonio Valencia's (£5.4m) impressive return after a fractured arm was also of note, although United have kept just two clean sheets in nine Gameweeks.

Man Utd v Arsenal
Valued at £4.7m, Phil Jones is the cheapest option in Man Utd's starting line-up

Arsenal's attacking FPL assets endured a flat and ineffective afternoon, with Carl Jenkinson's (£5.0m) inclusion at right-back for the injured Hector Bellerin (£6.5m) their main point of interest for managers.

Jenkinson offers a cheap short-term route into an Arsenal defence who face AFC Bournemouth and Stoke City in their next two home encounters.

Giroud's contribution from the bench is another factor to consider.

It remains to be seen if Arsene Wenger can continue to keep the Frenchman as an impact substitute or will eventually offer him starts, shifting Sanchez to the flank.

That could impact on Sanchez's output while adding more competition in wide areas.

Alex Iwobi (£5.8m) gave way to Aaron Ramsey (£7.6m) as Wenger shuffled his pack.

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