Fantasy Premier League

Why Hojlund's arrival has hindered Rashford in Fantasy

4 Oct 2023
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The Scout analyses Man Utd winger's run of three blanks as sales for the season exceed 2.5million

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Sales of Marcus Rashford (£8.8m) in Fantasy Premier League have now surpassed 2.5million this season after his third straight blank in Gameweek 7.

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The Manchester United star is the most-sold player in 2023/24 Fantasy as managers freshen up their midfield to profit from the turn in schedule for a number of clubs.

The underlying statistics across the last three Gameweeks only compound the frustration for Rashford backers.

His 14 shots in that run is a league-leading total, while he places among the top three players for both shots in the box and big chances created.

As a result, Rashford is the second-biggest underperformer in Fantasy over Gameweek 5-7.

He has an xGI Delta of -1.43, showing how many goals and assists he is expected to have compared to his actual total. That is marginally better than the -1.45 of Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze (£6.2m), who is the biggest underperformer against his expected numbers.

Rashford’s last three Gameweeks
  Total Rank
Shots 14 1
Shots in box 10 =3
Big chances created 3 =3
xGI 1.43 =14
xGI Delta -1.43 2

The biggest concern here is that Rashford’s xGI score of 1.43 puts him joint-14th, alongside Manchester City’s Jeromy Doku (£6.5m). 

Despite his large quantity of shots and shots in the box, the Red Devils' winger has clearly suffered from a lack of high-quality scoring opportunities of late. 

Rashford’s lack of output has coincided with the introduction of new forward Rasmus Hojlund (£7.1m) into the Man Utd line-up in Gameweek 5.

This is more apparent when assessing the Red Devils’ displays before and after Hojlund’s first start. 

Man Utd with/without Hojlund starting
  GW1-4 GW 5-7
Big chances 12 4
Goals 5 2

Although they scored only five goals in the first four Gameweeks, Man Utd’s 12 big chances in that period were level with the totals of Liverpool and Aston Villa, while beating the 11 of both Man City and Tottenham Hotspur.

Rashford, Bruno Fernandes (£8.4m) and Casemiro (£5.4m) were the main beneficiaries, each getting three such opportunities.

But since Hojlund made his first start in Gameweek 5, Man Utd have created only four big chances, the same number as AFC Bournemouth.

By contrast, Newcastle United have had 17 in that period - the highest total - while Liverpool, Spurs and Man City have all maintained a consistent pace, producing at least 10.

Obviously, there has to be a human element to Man Utd's downturn here. Bringing in a new centre-forward after a few matches of the season means it will naturally take time for the players to become accustomed to one another's style of play.

But nonetheless, what is particularly notable from a team point of view is that Rashford has not had any of those big chances. Instead, all four have gone to Hojlund. 

Most big chances last three Gameweeks
Player Big chances Goals
Erling Haaland 8 2
Son Heung-min 4 3
Callum Wilson/Alexander Isak 4 2
Darwin Nunez 4 1
Rasmus Hojlund 4 0

Although he has spurned all four of those opportunities, the quality of chances could be good news for the Dane’s prospects in the long-term. 

He ranks joint-second for this statistic since making his first start, bettered only by the eight of Erling Haaland (£14.1m), and he has scored three times in two UEFA Champions League outings for Man Utd.

In terms of the season as a whole, Rashford’s historical record suggests his goal output will improve.

He has converted just 3.7 per cent of his shots this term, compared with 15.7 per cent last season and 18.2 per cent in 2021/22. 

Nonetheless, picking players with both form and fixtures is a fundamental part of playing Fantasy, and Rashford’s premium price tag means he cannot be a passenger in managers’ squads when Son Heung-min (£9.3m) and Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) tick both of those boxes. 

Since being moved to a centre-forward role in Gameweek 4, Son has scored six goals and amassed a league-high 41 points. 

His nine shots on target place joint-top among all players, alongside the tallies of his team-mate James Maddison (£7.9m) and Haaland. 

Son, Salah and Rashford last four Gameweeks
Player Big chances Shots on target Key passes Big chances created
Son 6 9 3 1
Rashford 1 3 5 3
Salah 2 5 11 7

Crucially, Son faces Luton Town in Gameweek 8 and offers the perfect armband alternative to Haaland when Man City visit Arsenal.

Salah, meanwhile, has created a league-high seven big chances over the last four Gameweeks, underlining his strong all-round start to the season. 

Liverpool’s Egyptian has three goals and four assists, blanking just once compared with the five times of Rashford. 

The aforementioned Maddison, along with Villa’s Moussa Diaby (£6.7m) and West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen (£7.2m) are also outperforming Rashford at a lower price and have the schedules to maintain their early-season momentum.

The number of options only highlights why so many managers are opting for a 3-5-2 formation this season. 

But right now, Rashford's role in that five-man midfield has to be reassessed.

Also in this series

Part 1: Should managers sell Alvarez for Watkins in Fantasy?
Part 2: Is Trippier essential to own in Fantasy?
Part 3: FPL experts: Is it a mistake to overlook Trippier?
Part 4: FPL experts: What to do with Brighton players?

View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 8 in Fantasy Premier League

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