My “no Salah” FPL decision and strategy behind the move

Fantasy Football Scout member Obay Eid, aka FPL Milanistais currently ranked 34th in the world in Fantasy Premier League (FPL), having finished 473rd in 2020/21.

With three other top 10k ranks to his name, he sits 12th in our Live Hall of Fame.

Obay also posted finishes of 141st in last season’s UCL Fantasy and 668th in Euro 2020 Fantasy, having finished second in the world in the 2016 edition of that tournament.

Here he discusses his decision to overlook Mohamed Salah and whether or not he’ll be bringing the Egyptian back in.

On the day of completion of Gameweek 31, I would like to shed some thoughts on my bravest move this season – if we can call it that – and how I think I will tackle the next few weeks.

Two of my key strategy principles that I have spoken of earlier are being a forward-looking manager as well as being flexible to adjust/adapt. It is fair to say that those two need to be done interchangeably to reap the best rewards, and to put that into context, let me briefly go through the thoughts and ideas that I had over the last few weeks.

As someone who opted to go for Son Heung-min (£10.9m) in Gameweek 26 as my Spurs attacker, it wasn’t the best experience watching Harry Kane (£12.5m) outscore him in each and every week from Gameweeks 26-29. Kane was absolutely killing it and the urge to move for the England captain was immensely high, yet I trusted my instincts to stick with the South Korean star as I simply know what he is capable of. From the eye test, it was clear that chances were falling to him but that he was possibly low in confidence (something we will discuss later on).

Hence, a decision was made that any further move involving Spurs attackers would need to wait and be bridged via Gameweek 30 as I wanted to benefit from having both players in that big Blank Gameweek – a great differential combination and a privilege that mostly only those on a Free Hit would benefit from.

As Gameweek 30 approached, I was pretty determined to move on Mohamed Salah (£13.3m), who had a minor injury problem and a couple of World Cup qualification matches, for a minus four points hit, a move that was questionable to many. However, this was the original plan and allowed me to get the best Gameweek 30 captain choice on paper (Kane) while also losing my most frustrating asset this season, Joshua King (£5.7m). Again, this also meant that I was doubling up on Spurs’ two most explosive assets in a home derby game in a week that had very few upsides to chase.

Luckily, this move paid off and I managed to improve my global 68th rank to reach 44th, despite taking the hit. This is basically explaining the “be a forward-looking manager” approach, whereby you analyze the fixtures beforehand and plan your moves weeks ahead. So although I missed some Kane hauls early on, the fact that I doubled up on both Spurs attackers for Gameweek 30-31 paid off massively and compensated for any lost points.

Now we move on to the other principle that is too judgmental and in fact more difficult to implement, that is “being flexible to adjust/adapt”. As previously explained, my intentions in Gameweek 30 were to bridge the switch from Son to Kane while fully utilizing the few games taking place during that week. We can conclude that a Salah return to my team for Watford (h) was imminent, yet the international scene and the dramatic loss of Egypt to Senegal was strong enough to sway me against it. Leaked line-ups suggested that Salah was starting but I stayed firm on my “adapted decision” as I was very convinced that even if the Egyptian king was physically fit to play, he wouldn’t be mentally ready after the shootout disappointment.

Added to that was the fact that Aaron Ramsdale (£5.1m) was a major doubt for the week (although he did play eventually), so I just felt that a free swap to Nick Pope (£5.4m) is more beneficial than another hit to remove Son (who plays at home to Newcastle and had scored a brace in his last game) for Salah.

Eventually, sticking with Son rewarded me an extra 13 points (his 12 compared to Salah’s 3 and no -4 hit), and moved me in the global leaderboard to 34th.

I will not deny that I had to go through a nervy 60-minutes watching Liverpool playing Watford at Anfield being in the “no Salah” camp, especially after knowing that his effective ownership is 190% in the top 100 places. However, this decision was made for a purpose and that is to potentially lessen the gap with the top 10 places as well as keeping my options of moving to a Manchester United player in their Ganeweek 33 double wide open. Salah plays against Manchester City in a supposedly tight affair next Gameweek, and with the way he played against both Watford and Benfica, I don’t see myself rushing to get him back before the top-of-the-table clash next Sunday.


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