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FPL Panic: Should You Stick with Gabriel Magalhaes or Seek Replacements for GW2?

FPL Panic: Should You Stick with Gabriel Magalhaes or Seek Replacements for GW2?

Traditional managers of the Fantasy Premier League will be accustomed to the idea of predicting Pep Guardiola before most game weeks.

Whilst watching the Spaniard’s team play the game is amongst the prettiest sights in football, his rotational policy in team selections has always deemed him to be a nightmare for FPL.

This season, his friend and professional adversary, another Spaniard looking to triumph and establish his team’s authority at the helm of the Premier League has opted for a similar approach.

Arsenal’s scintillating flow of football last campaign coupled with their easy fixtures start to the season had rightfully prompted many Fantasy managers to start the season with triple Gunners’ assets.

The template formation as is known comprised two attackers and a defender, namely Gabriel.

Disasters happen in life and FPL, and the age-old norm continued five minutes before the opening deadline with team leak news involving Gabriel being out of Mikel Arteta’s first eleven after a string of seventy-two games.

He was the most popular defender from Arsenal owing to his prowess from headers in the opposition box. Many active during the deadline were able to transfer him out.

Most, the majority of the managers failed, no thanks to the official site of Fantasy Premier League crashing down.

Game week 2, now near the corner, one would forgive to see Gabriel owners in a state of flux.

The custom of saving a transfer for game week two might be thrown out of the window if Gabriel continues his starting spot from the bench.

Even a transfer saved here won’t probably make much of a difference with the Brazilian center-back a transfer out waiting to happen.

Defense from the Tactical Perspective:

New signing, Timber’s ACL injury has led to hush hopes of Gabriel now back in the eleven. Injuries are unfortunate, but someone has to replace the fallen man’s place.

Is that the case though concerning a direct correlation between Gabriel and Timber?

Last season, Arteta deployed a formation of Zinchenko inverting from the left-hand side of the defense with Gabriel taking up his place to cover the space as the left-sided center back in the team.

Saliba, the arguably better defender than Gabriel, at least probably in accordance with Arteta’s, the man whose opinions matter the most in regard to Arsenal, was manning the center of the defense.

Zinchenko is injured for the time being, leading to the same tactics deployed but from the right-hand side with Partey operating the Zinchenko role of inverting.

Saliba is manning the center of the defense same as the previous season. In this new tactical style, it is either Tomiyasu or Kwior, likely to take up the position of Gabriel, because otherwise Gabriel starting alongside Saliba would mean Saliba pushing up to cover up the space of the inverting Partey while Gabriel is playing at the heart of the defense. It is unlikely Arteta will be going for that.

So, the only way for Gabriel to start even with Timber being inured is either by Arsenal shifting to a back four defensive formation or Kiwior or Tomiyasu, playing in the center of the field deploying the inverting tactical style of play, the latter is highly unlikely as both Kwior and Tomiyasu are not that comfortable with the ball to play in the middle. 

Some hope for the owners would probably be in the last quarter of the match against Nottingham Forest.

The arrival of Awoniyi did make the Gunners’ defense in the absence of Gabriel look rather lightweight with the Brazilian coming on to sure things up.

Palace’s defense has historically struggled from set pieces. Gabriel’s prowess in that department is well known.

However, these are all conjectures while in reality there is a huge likely chance of Gabriel missing out again.

In such a situation, selling the Arsenal asset is probably the most viable card to play. There is no point in holding a transfer for a defender particularly when there is no other fire to put out in other positions. 

The Replacements:

Reece James/Ben Chilwell:

For managers with cash in the bank to transfer Gabriel to one of the Chelsea defenders will be amongst the most no-brainer decisions to come.

This includes even managers with one of the defenders amongst Chilwell or James in their teams.

The double-up on Chelsea’s defense given Pochettino’s tactics accompanied with Chelsea’s fixtures till game week 9 promises hopes of great many Fantasy points. The Blues sit top of the season fixture ticker. 

Chilwell’s heat map after the first game was reminiscent of a left winger, waiting for many of the crosses James was providing from the other side of the opposition half. It was either Jackson or Chilwell waiting to receive those crosses.

Early signs including that of the pre-season are a clear indication of the license provided by the Argentine to both his fullbacks.

Levi Colwill:

Whilst the prospect of dumping Gabriel for a Reece James or Ben Chilwell is feasting to the heart’s content prospect, there are FPL managers without that cash in the bank to make the transfer in one move. Taking a hit in such a scenario early in the season is not a smart move.

In such a circumstance Colwill presents the best opportunity to tap on the Chelsea defense for even a potential double-up. At half a million cheaper than Gabriel, he is the best asset in his price category and is looking pretty nailed in the team with some great fixtures to come as mentioned.

A double-up with Colwill as the second defender is not a bad option at all.

Rico Henry:

The Brentford full-back has been incredibly attacking off late under Thomas Frank. Henry managed an assist against Spurs on opening day with three touches in the box and two big chances created. At the same price as Colwill, he will run the latter close as the option standing out in the price bracket.

Brentford’s fixtures are great as well both from an attacking and a defensive standpoint with the Bees playing Crystal Palace and Everton and Bournemouth all at home in the next five.