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Mahrez influence growing in Fantasy

The Scout 10 May 2017
Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez

Last season's top-scoring FPL player has impressive numbers under Craig Shakespeare but is still owned by less than 9%

Although last season's top-scoring Fantasy Premier League player has struggled to mirror his 2015/16 output, Riyad Mahrez (£8.9m) could yet have his say in our FPL campaigns.

A goal and nine-point return in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Watford was the latest indication that the Algerian is edging back to his best.

His tally of 11 touches inside the box in that match was more than any Leicester City player has managed in a fixture this term.

Combined with two Gameweek 37 matches and an end-of-season home meeting with AFC Bournemouth, Mahrez has the credentials of a powerful differential.

By his standards, the winger has endured a disappointing campaign.

He has totalled six goals and four assists after delivering 17 goals and 11 assists in 2015/16 to reach 240 points.

But like so many of his Leicester City team-mates, Mahrez has recently thrived under the guidance of manager Craig Shakespeare

Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City
Riyad Mahrez tops Leicester's ranks for shots, shots on target and chances created since GW27

He has averaged 5.4 points per match (ppm) over his last eight Gameweek starts, compared with 3.1 ppm prior to Shakespeare’s appointment.

That improvement is also reflected in his underlying statistics. 

Since Gameweek 27, Mahrez has registered more shots (20) and shots in the box (12) than any Foxes player.

He also leads the way for shots on target (11), while he has created 13 chances over that period – four more than any team-mate.

Mahrez since Gameweek 27
  Total Leicester City rank
Touches in opp. box 30 2nd
Shots 20 1st
Shots in the box 12 1st
Shots on target 11 1st
Chances created 13 1st

In Gameweek 37 Leicester City make a trip to Manchester City before a home meeting with Tottenham Hotspur. While testing fixtures, they will not be daunting encounters for a confident Mahrez.

He has produced a goal and two assists in his last two matches against Man City and, with Leicester averaging 2.6 goals per match at home under Shakespeare, even a resilient Spurs defence will do well to silence Mahrez and the Foxes attack.

He will end his campaign with a home encounter against AFC Bournemouth – a side who have conceded 37 goals on their travels, only Hull City (41) have allowed more.

FPL managers have widely overlooked the potential of the 8.2%-owned Mahrez. 

Only just over 1,300 managers have invested since Friday’s deadline, with team-mates Jamie Vardy (£9.9m and 12,000+) and Marc Albrighton (£4.9m and 9,000+) proving far more popular acquisitions.

But with recent statistics highlighting his growing influence, Mahrez may be ready for a late season flourish that could richly reward Fantasy investors.

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