Skip to Content

Is Illia Zabarnyi Worth a Spot on Your FPL Team After Unexpected GW28 Haul?

Is Illia Zabarnyi Worth a Spot on Your FPL Team After Unexpected GW28 Haul?

Bournemouth played out one of the best games of the 2023/24 Premier League season with a thrilling 4-3 win over Luton Town. The Cherries came from being 3-0 down at half-time to pull off a miraculous comeback and even centre-back Illia Zabarnyi got in on the act with a cheeky goal.

It marked the Ukrainian’s first goal in the Premier League since joining Bournemouth last year. Not only were the Cherries’ faithful delighted with his strike, but also the 3.2% of Fantasy Premier League fanatics with him on their team. With the game-week 28 being a double game week, expectations were rife that picking Bournemouth players could bring big results.

Dominic Solanke, Bournemouth’s most clinical player, was captained by millions because of juicy home games against Sheffield United and Luton. He ended up missing a penalty and only scoring once in two games, resulting in eight points. Antoine Semenyo’s brace against Luton bagged him some nice points, while Dango Ouattara also got a decent return. The one who surprised most with his return was Zabarnyi, despite not even getting a clean sheet.

Illia Zabarnyi Surprises With DGW FPL Haul

Zabarnyi, a regular starter for Andoni Iraol’s side, was a widespread pick because of his cheap price (4.5) and juicy fixtures. Bournemouth failed to meet the expectations of keeping at least one clean sheet against the relegation contenders.

They were given a 62% chance of getting a clean sheet return, a prediction which failed miserably. But the 21-year-old Ukraine defender made his (FPL) fans happy with a decent return in the second game.

Despite conceding six goals in two games, Zabarnyi’s instinctive goal helped him bag six points from it alone. Those who picked him didn’t really expect any goals considering the 21-year-old didn’t have a single-goal contribution in 26 Premier League games before the double-game week.

What is rather funny and shocking about Zabarnyi’s goal is that he isn’t your go-to goal-scoring centre-back. This was his second goal in professional football, and he only scored once in 84 matches for Dynamo Kyiv.

So his scoring was definitely a unique day for the Ukranian centre-back, and the FPL managers who selected him can consider themselves lucky for getting that eight-point return.

Should You Have Zabarnyi In Your FPL Team?

At 4.5M, Zabarnyi is a pretty reasonable pick for an FPL team. After having witnessed bag an impressive return recently, some fans have started contemplating drafting him into the team. Doing so for the next game week is a bit illogical (Bournemouth have a blank GW), but most are eyeing a long-term investment for the Ukrainian.

A major reason for this is Bournemouth’s next few fixtures. After the March international break, they face Everton (H), Crystal Palace (H) and Luton Town (A). In fact, the only top-6 teams Bournemouth face in their last 10 games of the season are against Aston Villa (A), Manchester United (H) and Arsenal (A).

The other matches are against teams nearby them or below them in the table. There is anticipation and hope that the Ukrainian defender continues his goal contributions and wracks up more clean sheets in this final stretch.

However, as the double game-week itself proved, there are no easy games for Bournemouth. In fact, they seem to suffer against teams ‘weaker’ or lower than them in the Premier League table. The Cherries have kept six clean sheets in 28 league games this season, their pattern in recent months have become worrying.

They only have one clean sheet in their last 10 league games and conceded 20 goals. Zabarnyi himself has had an FPL return of over two points or under in seven out of the previous eight games before the double game-week fixtures. He actually only gave a one point return from the Sheffield United draw. If not for his goal, the 21-year-old would’ve had a 2-point return for the double game week.

It’d be quite foolish to rely on him consistently delivering goals either. Zabarnyi only has four career goals as a professional, three at club level and once in 32 games for Ukraine. He might’ve scored four goals in six matches for Ukraine U-17 in the past, but the difference in competitiveness from that level is staggering.

Zabarnyi isn’t the kind to wrack up bonus points with his performances either. He’s only picked up one bonus point in his 63 accumulated points so far in FPL, which came in the 3-0 win over Fulham earlier this season. The centre-back isn’t creative enough to get the assists nor does he score often. He doesn’t really stand out in making a ton of clearances or tackles in matches to compel FPL to give him extra points either.

There are better defender options available for the 4.5 price or under. Fulham man Antonee Robison (who has five assists this season) guarantees a better return with his creativity. A 4.2-rated Malo Gusto is a smart pick for that price after picking up two assists in his last four appearances for Chelsea and becoming a regular starter. Arsenal defender Jakub Kiwior, who appears to have displaced Oleksandr Zinchenko from the left-back role, is a solid pick at 4.4 because of how defensively reliable the Gunners are.

The secret to success in Fantasy Premier League is never getting tempted by a surprising return from one game-week. Zabarnyi might’ve been a standout this time around, but his lack of goal-scoring ability and Bournemouth’s leaky backline indicate that it’d be foolish to keep him in one’s FPL team for the long run.