Fantasy Premier League

How penalty duties are changing the FPL landscape in midfield

By The Scout 22 Aug 2023
Odegaard penalty

The Scout highlights the recent changes in spot-kick takers at certain clubs and what it means for Fantasy managers

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The recent changes in penalty takers at a number of clubs could have major repercussions for Fantasy Premier League managers’ midfields. 

This was very much in evidence in Gameweek 2, when Martin Odegaard (£8.5m), rather than Bukayo Saka (£8.6m), stepped up to convert Arsenal’s penalty in their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Odegaard's penalty v Crystal Palace

Saka had taken three of his side’s four penalties last season, scoring two and missing one.

But after failing from the spot in pre-season, it seems he is no longer the Gunners’ automatic first-choice taker.

See: Arteta: I didn't know Odegaard was going to take the penalty

Although there’s every chance the pair could now share duties, the appeal of Saka – who is owned by over 66 per cent – is clearly dented by last Monday's turn of events.

Two of his 14 goals last season were converted penalties, whereas both Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli (£8.0m) scored 15 goals without spot-kick duties.

Given that Odegaard was Arsenal’s top-scoring player in Fantasy last season, he could now be their go-to player in 2023/24 if he continues taking their penalties.

Odegaard v Saka attacking stats 2022/23
Player Goals Penalty goals Assists Points
Odegaard 15 0 8 212
Saka 14 2 12 202

You can hear expert advice on how to rethink your midfield in the latest episode of the FPL Pod.

Elsewhere, Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo (£6.7m) is profiting from penalties in the absence of their first-choice taker Ivan Toney (£7.9m).

Mbeumo has scored two of his three goals this season from the spot and is the second top-scoring player in Fantasy on 23 points.

Notably, Toney took seven penalties in the previous campaign, second only to the eight of former Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Most penalties taken 2022/23
Player Penalties taken Penalty goals Goals
Mitrovic 8 4 14
Haaland 7 7 36
Toney 7 6 20

Indeed, six of the forward’s 20 goals in 2022/23 were converted penalties. 

With Toney banned until the start of next year, Mbeumo can continue thriving as a mid-price midfield gem.

Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz (£5.5m) and Chelsea’s Enzo Fernandez (£5.0m) could be appealing budget options.

Luiz looks to have overtaken Ollie Watkins (£8.0m) as his side’s first-choice for spot-kicks.

He took and converted a penalty against Everton in Gameweek 2 and repeated that feat in Villa’s 5-0 win over Hibernian in the UEFA Europa Conference League on Wednesday.

Douglas Luiz's penalty v Hibernian

The Brazilian was the ninth top-scoring midfielder in Fantasy after Unai Emery was appointed head coach in Gameweek 15 of 2022/23.

Luiz claimed 113 points in that run, producing five goals, six assists and 15 bonus points.

Also on free-kicks and corners for Villa, his dominance of dead-ball duties makes Luiz a standout pick in the sub-£6.0m bracket in midfield.

Potential value in Enzo

Enzo, meanwhile, took and missed Chelsea’s first penalty of the Mauricio Pochettino era in their 3-1 loss to West Ham United last weekend.

If he retains those duties, the Argentinian could prove a huge source of value this season at a cost of only £5.0m.

He has also created six chances, twice the total of any team-mate in the first two Gameweeks.

Managers can find out more about each club's set-piece takers here.

Also in this series

Part 1: Best replacements for benched Joao Pedro in Fantasy
Part 2: Whose FPL prospects have improved after Gameweek 2?
Part 3: FPL experts: Lessons learned from first two Gameweeks
Part 4: The Scout’s FPL Gameweek 3 Ones to watch
Part 5: Wissa or Mbeumo: Who is the better Brentford pick in FPL?
Part 6: The Scout’s Gameweek 3 Differentials
Part 7: FPL experts: What to do with Fernandes and Rashford?
Part 8: FPL long view: Be wary of Brighton fixtures from Gameweek 4
Part 9: FPL experts: Is Alvarez or Jackson the better forward to pick?
Part 10: Scout Selection: Best FPL team for Gameweek 3
Part 11: Best alternatives to Haaland as FPL captain in Gameweek 3
Part 13: Best replacements for injured Shaw in Fantasy

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