Fantasy Premier League

Pogba potential lifted by Matic arrival

The Scout 1 Aug 2017
Paul Pogba, Man Utd

Man Utd's new signing may not be a direct option in FPL but he is set to boost the prospects of Red Devils team-mates

Nemanja Matic's (£5.0m) move to Manchester United from Chelsea could be very significant for Fantasy Premier League managers.

He may not personally offer big Fantasy potential but his impact on his new team-mates – particularly Paul Pogba (£8.0m) – could be huge.

Matic excelled in his defensive-midfield role while playing for current Man Utd manager Jose Mourinho in 2014/15.

In that season he bettered all other Premier League midfielders for tackles won (129), recoveries made (312) and successful clearances made (116).

Those numbers regressed under Antonio Conte.

He was handed more freedom to attack and this impacted on his defensive contribution.

Matic made a tackle every 35.1 minutes in 2016/17. In comparison, he averaged one every 15.3 minutes in Mourinho's final full season at Chelsea.

Matic is set to revert back to his 2014/15 figures, with his remit limited to protecting the Man Utd rearguard.

In Fantasy terms, that could boost their clean-sheet potential but also transform Pogba as an option.

Nemanja Matic, Man Utd
Nemanja Matic will boost Man Utd's FPL potential but managers should avoid the midfielder himself

Defensively, the Frenchman adopted an almost identical role at Man Utd to Matic at Chelsea last season.

There were parallels across a number of key statistics, including minutes per tackle (31 to 34.1), recoveries (11.8 to 11.2) and clearances (59.3 to 55).

But the similarities are likely to end this term, with the installation of Matic set to grant Pogba the freedom to occupy a more attacking position.

Pogba was already a presence in the Man Utd attack last season, receiving more passes (566) in the final third than any other team-mate except striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (569).

But only 37 of Pogba's 92 shots arrived from inside the penalty area.

That restricted him to only five goals, a modest return for an FPL midfielder who ranked sixth for shots over the campaign.

Currently owned by 20.9% of FPL managers, that number could be set to climb.

Man Utd's opening fixtures are extremely promising and, for those unable or unwilling to stretch to Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m) up front, Pogba offers an alternative.

The Pogba option has been made all the more attractive following the arrival of Matic.

Man Utd's start
GW Opponent FDR (1=Low 5=High)
1 West Ham (h) 2
2 Swansea City (a) 2
3 Leicester City (h) 2
4 Stoke City (a) 2
5 Everton (h) 3
6 Southampton (a) 3

The Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 1 deadline is on Friday 11 August at 6.45pm BST

See: Formation unleashes De Bruyne's FPL threat

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