30 Nov Henrikh Mkhitaryan feeling the cold in Fantasy Premier League
Winter is sweeping the UK but for one Fantasy Premier League player, the cold snap set in weeks ago.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan started the season in flying form with five assists in Manchester United’s first three games, but a goal against Everton in gameweek five is his only meaningful contribution since for his legion of FPL managers.
At his week-seven peak, the Armenia international featured in around 1.75million fantasy teams – fast forward to week 15, with Mkhitaryan having played just 19 minutes in the last three games, and that number has steadily declined to fewer than 500,000.
Press Association Sport tracks players’ popularity over time, along with their overall selection percentage, to produce a “heat score” ranging from 100 to -100.
Mkhitaryan has been a remarkably consistent presence among the coldest players, appearing among the 10 most out-of-favour for seven straight weeks, and is currently fourth-coldest at -17.14.
Baby it’s cold outside
Elsewhere, David Silva may have just signed a contract extension at Manchester City but he is collecting virtual P45s from a host of fantasy managers.
Back-to-back one-point performances have seen the playmaker slide out of the 10 most-owned players and his heat score stands at -18.03 to leave him third-coldest.
Christian Eriksen (-21.75) has paid the price for Tottenham’s slump but chilliest of all is Mkhitaryan’s United team-mate Romelu Lukaku – who, as predicted a week ago, has now lost his crown as the overall most-selected player to Liverpool’s in-form Mohamed Salah.
The Belgian has also been surpassed by United keeper David De Gea to slip to third and his -33.47 heat score reflects the drop in popularity.
Jamaal Lascelles and Ben Davies, two more players who proved popular early in the season, have also slipped into the cold list as managers move on to the latest in-form defenders.
Feeling hot, hot, hot
Salah, unsurprisingly, is hottest of all with his score of 35.45 just edging out Chelsea frontman Alvaro Morata (33.21).
Seven goals in his last four Premier League games, and 12 for the season to go with three assists, have made him this year’s first 100-point player as well as the top scorer by almost a 20 per cent margin on 108 – Manchester City pair Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne share second place on 87.
Sterling is third in the heat index at 17.78 but De Bruyne’s take-up remains pedestrian, perhaps due to his £10m-plus price tag. The fit-again Paul Pogba has been a popular pick-up and is fourth on 16.01, with scope to threaten the leaders in the coming weeks.
Burnley defenders Stephen Ward and Ben Mee remain on the hot list, with Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta and Sead Kolasinac proving popular in the full-back positions.