Fantasy Premier League

Is it time to invest in Man Utd in FPL for their strong fixtures?

By The Scout 22 Jan 2024
Garnacho and Hojlund

The Scout assesses Garnacho's impact on Man Utd to help determine their key targets for kind schedule

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It is fair to say that Manchester United have been a major disappointment for managers in the opening 21 Gameweeks of 2023/24 Fantasy Premier League.

Goalkeeper Andre Onana (£4.8m) is both their top-scoring player, on 74 points, and also their most-owned, sat in over 12 per cent of squads.

However, the Red Devils are set to embark on a kind run of opponents that could reward managers at both ends of the pitch.

According to the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR), six of their next eight matches score just two.

Man Utd's next eight matches
22 WOL (A) 2
23 WHU (H) 2
24 AVL (A) 4
25 LUT (A) 2
26 FUL (H) 2
27 MCI (A) 5
28 EVE (H) 2
29 SHU (H) 2

Marcus Rashford (£8.4m) approaches this period in improving form, delivering attacking returns in three successive Gameweeks for the first time this season.

The England international has been involved in a team-high seven goals this season, scoring four and assisting three. 

Alejandro Garnacho (£4.8m) has emerged as a popular budget option since securing a regular role. 

The Argentinian’s average of 3.9 points per start (pps) is second only to the 4pps of Rashford among Man Utd players with 1,000+ minutes in 2023/24.

Since securing a role in the starting XI in Gameweek 11, Garnacho is Man Utd’s top-scoring player in Fantasy, eclipsing Onana by 46 points to 45.

Man Utd's best performers in Fantasy
Player Pts/start G A CS* Bonus pts
Rashford 4.0 4 3 4 0
Garnacho 3.9 3 2 5 2
McTominay 3.8 5 0 5 5
Fernandes 3.5 3 3 5 10
Onana 3.5 0 0 6 5

*Midfielders earn one point per clean sheet compared with the four of defenders

Who has the greatest goal threat?

Assessing the period from Gameweek 11 onwards gives a better indication of how Garnacho fares against his premium-priced team-mates such as Rashford and Bruno Fernandes (£8.2m).

The winger’s 30 shots and 25 shots in the box were both team-leading totals and also ranked among the top four midfielders in Fantasy.

However, he scored only three of those efforts, which equates to a lowly 10 per cent goal conversion rate.

Scott McTominay (£4.7m) has also boasted a better goal threat than Rashford and Fernandes. Despite appearing as a substitute in each of the last three Gameweeks, the Scotland midfielder’s five big chances and eight shots on target both placed top for Man Utd over their last 11 matches.

Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund (£6.8m) take the top two places for goal conversion, scoring with 30 and 22.2 per cent of their attempts respectively.

However, the frequency numbers highlight how few opportunities either player has had. Rashford and Hojlund have averaged 58.8 minutes and 69.9 minutes per shot respectively, compared with the 30 of Garnacho.

Indeed, although Hojlund has scored in back-to-back home matches, it’s worth noting that those were the only two shots he has had in his last three matches. 

Goal threat compared, GW11-21*
Player Shots Shots in box Big chances Goal conversion Mins/shot
Garnacho 30 25 3 10% 30
McTominay 23 17 5 8.7% 35.7
Fernandes 20 6 2 5% 45
Rashford 10 9 2 30% 58.8
Hojlund 9 9 3 22.2% 69.9

*Rotate your mobile device to see full table 

Who has been the most creative?

There’s no surprise to see playmaker Fernandes top the creative standings, with his 26 key passes more than double any team-mate apart from the 16 of Garnacho.

Over the season as a whole, Fernandes’ 55 key passes rank top among all players in Fantasy. What is noticeable, however, is the lack of clear-cut opportunities he is producing. 

At this point last season, Fernandes had produced 50 key passes and created 14 big chances. Essentially, this meant he created a big chance with every 3.6 key passes he made. 

This season, though, only nine of the midfielder’s 55 key passes have been big chances created. Fernandes is now only creating a big chance with every 6.1 key passes he makes. 

Although Rashford fails to make the list for key passes, his three big chances created rank joint-top along with Fernandes and Antony (£6.8m).

However, those were the only chances Rashford created in that entire period. He has averaged a key pass every 196 minutes since Garnacho secured a starting role.

Creativity compared, GW11-21
Player Key passes Big chances created Assists Mins/key pass
Fernandes 26 3 1 35
Garnacho 16 2 2 57
Dalot 11 0 1 82
Antony 8 3 0 66
Hojlund 7 0 1 90
So, who are the best Man Utd players to invest in?

The statistics indicate that Garnacho is the one Man Utd player Fantasy managers should consider for their kind run of matches.

His goal threat is far superior to any team-mate, while he also offers the added potential of assists.

The 19-year-old does remain an inconsistent pick, though, and has only produced returns in four matches this season.

For some managers, his main appeal will be as a budget enabler for their benches, allowing them to plough more funds into their forward lines and move from a 3-5-2 to a 3-4-3 formation.

This could prove particularly effective tactic when planning for Double Gameweek 25, when Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (£13.9m) and Brentford forward Ivan Toney (£8.0m) both play twice. 

At the back, Onana looks the standout option once he returns from international duties with Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, although Man Utd's single clean sheet in their last eight matches should be enough to deter managers for now.

Before investing in Man Utd, however, managers should be aware that their match against Fulham in Gameweek 26 is currently at risk of being postponed due to the latter’s involvement in the EFL Cup.

But the Cottagers do need to overcome a 2-1 deficit when they host Liverpool in the semi-final second leg on Wednesday to clinch a place in the Wembley final and for their meeting with Man Utd to be removed from Gameweek 26.

Should Fulham not make it through to the final, Man Utd players won't blank, but also won't benefit from a Double Gameweek.

View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 22 in Fantasy Premier League

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