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FPL Lessons: Time for a five-man midfield?

The Scout 27 Jan 2023
Bruno Fernandes Manchester United, Martin Odegaard Arsenal

The Scout explains why managers should consider moving to a 3-5-2 in second half of the season

The Scout looks at the lessons learned over the opening 21 Gameweeks of 2022/23 Fantasy Premier League.


There is a growing case for managers to move to a 3-5-2 formation in the second half of the season.

Midfield has been the dominant position over the first 21 Gameweeks, supplying seven of the 12 players to surpass the 100-point mark.

By contrast, only one goalkeeper, one defender and three forwards have managed to achieve that feat.

Top-scoring positions this season
Points 100+  80+ 
GKP 1 6
DEF 1 7
MID 7 13
FWD 3 4

Arsenal have proven the most reliable performers in midfield by some margin, with Martin Odegaard (£6.9m), Bukayo Saka (£8.2m) and Gabriel Martinelli (£6.7m) all claiming more than 100 points.

Indeed, the Gunners are the only side to supply more than one of the seven midfielders with a triple-figure total this term. 

Their upcoming schedule, which includes a Double Gameweek 23, suggests doubling up on two of this trio could prove a very productive tactic in Fantasy.

According to the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR), seven of their next nine matches score only two.

Further analysis shows that 13 of the 30 players to deliver at least 80 points this season - or 43 per cent - are midfielders. 

Points weighted towards midfielders

Their potential is boosted by the scoring system in Fantasy.

Midfielders earn five points for scoring a goal, compared to four points for forwards. They are also awarded a point for every clean sheet their side keeps.

Five goals and an assist since domestic action resumed in Gameweek 17 has helped Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (£7.2m) become the most-popular midfielder in Fantasy.

The England star is found in over 49 per cent of squads ahead of his potential Double Gameweek 22.

His team-mate Bruno Fernandes (£9.9m) has the form to prove a major differential for managers willing to spend big in midfield.

The Portuguese is owned by a mere seven per cent of managers, yet has produced returns in five successive outings.

In-form options

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez (£7.6m) has also stepped up his output ahead of their Double Gameweek 23.

Crucially, the Algerian has started five of his side's last six matches since domestic action resumed.

Three of his four goals this season, and four of his five assists, have come since Gameweek 17.

Mahrez's second goal v Spurs

Brighton & Hove Albion's midfielders have emerged as key sources of value under new head coach Roberto De Zerbi.

Solly March (£5.2m) has recorded his three double-figure returns this term in the last five Gameweeks, while Kaoru Mitoma (£5.1m) has only a single blank in seven appearances.

Such budget-friendly options can help free-up cash for big spends elsewhere in attack.

Also in this series

Part 1: Bargain Kepa outperforming Pope
Part 2: Trippier on course for record-breaking campaign
Part 3: James and Chilwell can shake up defences
Part 4: Why Trippier earns so many bonus points
Part 6: Ferguson can unlock Kane and Haaland combo
Part 7: Mitoma the go-to Almiron replacement

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