Elite FPL managers turned to Arsenal in their attempts to negotiate one of the trickiest gameweeks ever seen.
Only four games went ahead due to a wave of positive Covid cases, leaving just eight teams open for FPL selection – so what did the top bosses do?
By analysing the movements of a group of 1,000 managers with multiple top-10,000 finishes to their names, we can find out what the best of the best did to rescue gameweek 18.
The answer? Arsenal players.
Laca and Saka
Three of the top five transfers in ahead of GW18 among the elite were Arsenal players: Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka.
Lacazette saw an elite ownership increase of more than 400 ahead of the weekend’s game against Leeds – the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left the Frenchman as the only senior striker available.
Lacazette’s form would have played a part too however, a goal and an assist in his two most recent league appearances hinting at a player central to Arsenal’s attack.
At £8.4m and with Norwich and Wolves to come, the chance of further goals over the festive period looks reasonable.
The 30-year-old delivered with an assist and five FPL points in GW18 as Arsenal cruised to a 4-1 win against Leeds – whether top bosses stick with him when the full schedule of Premier League games returns is another question.
Ramsdale, meanwhile, has positioned himself as one of the best Premier League goalkeepers around in recent weeks, and saw an elite ownership increase of 182 ahead of GW18.
However, he was outscored in the end by his opposite number Illan Meslier, who made eight saves for Leeds and – despite conceding four goals – picked up a bonus point.
The top managers had more luck with Saka, who saw his elite ownership rise from 40 to 171 in just a few days.
Saka has looked like one of Arsenal’s best players this season, but had only managed two goals and five assists ahead of the game at Elland Road.
The England forward, however, delivered with a goal and seven FPL points against Marcelo Bielsa’s side, while a Threat score of 88 may convince some bosses to keep him long term.
Best laid plans
While backing Arsenal players generally paid off, two of the top three most popular elite transfers ahead of GW18 did not yield any points.
Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins had scored one and assisted one against Norwich in GW17 for 12 FPL points, and was added by hundreds of elite bosses ahead of his side’s game against Burnley.
Ranked third for Threat among forwards and 10th for Creativity among the same group, the young striker looked a strong addition in a reduced gameweek with four goals in his last eight matches.
However, just hours before kick-off the game was postponed due to Covid-19.
Manchester City’s game against Newcastle did go ahead, meanwhile, but Phil Foden – added by more than 250 elite managers ahead of the fixture – did not feature.
The £8.1m England star had notched a goal and an assist in GW17 but could only watch on as his team tore the Magpies apart, winning 4-0.
Instead, his team-mates cashed in, with Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Riyad Mahrez and Oleksandr Zinchenko all returning double figures points returns.