Marko Arnautovic

Marko Arnautovic was the two-goal star of Stoke City’s win against Manchester City on the Saturday of Gameweek 15 in the 2015-16 Premier League season. He delivered 16 points for the 1.5 per cent of Fantasy Premier League managers who have him in their squads and took his points tally for the season to 70, moving him up to tenth overall among midfielders.

Arnautovic, who is nicely priced for a fourth midfielder at 6m, linked up well with team mates Xherdan Shaqiri (6.6m) and Bojan Krkic (5.1m) to take Manchester City apart at the Britannia Stadium. Although they were also aided in part by poor defending from the 2013-14 champions, the fluid interplay between the attacking trio helped create some great chances for Arnautovic and he hit the woodwork twice as well as scoring twice.

Marko Arnautovic GW1-15 2015-16

Looking at Arnautovic’s statistics, his ratio of shots to shots in the box and shots on target looks very healthy. However, his shots on target conversion rate is too high at 71 per cent for long-term sustainability. The winger’s assist numbers are also where we would expect them to be given the number of chances he has created.

While Arnautovic is creating at least one chance most weeks, his shooting stats are more boom and bust. He has had good weeks, like Gameweek 15, but in some other matches he simply doesn’t register in these metrics. The Austrian has shown signs that he could be a bit frustrating to own; his goals have come against Tottenham, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Manchester City, and at least two of those fixtures are games where an FPL manager may have benched him if they thought their fifth midfielder was facing weaker opposition.

Embed from Getty Images

Stoke have been quietly moving up the Premier League table since the start of October thanks to six clean sheets in the last eight games. In that period, they have recorded five wins and a draw, but today was the first time they have scored more than once during that run. The Potters’ upcoming fixtures are mixed (whm, CPL, MUN, eve, wba, NOR) and I think they remain a team to monitor at the minute.

Given his low ownership, Arnautovic could be an interesting differential – particularly if Stoke pick up their scoring rate – but it may need a committed FPL manager, who is prepared to play him week in and week out, to harvest the benefit. Furthermore, most managers probably won’t have space for Arnautovic at present with Riyad Mahrez, who many bought for a lot less than his current 6.8m price tag, reminding us of his talent with a hat-trick on the same day as the Austrian scored his brace.

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4 thoughts on “Marko Arnautovic

  1. pacmanjones3 says:

    Very timely. I’m considering him very heavily right now. However I would argue that his returns have not been as erratic as they may seem.

    While few would have predicted such an outburst against City, it was proven by recent form that City have a lousy defence when Kompany isn’t around to marshal them. Villa have both been defensively poor all year round. Chelsea routinely underestimate the mediocre teams and only bring their defensive game against the top clubs. Tottenham have been very impressive of late but remember that they started the year quite poorly, only winning their first match in week 5.

    I might not have started Arnie in every one of those matches but for at least three I would have. If I buy in I’m probably giving myself a headache as Alli is my 5th mid, but I think this week was a sign of things to come.

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  2. Ruth_NZ says:

    There seems to be more of a problem right now in finding a reliable premium midfielder but there are so many good options to compete with Arnautovic in the 6.0 to 7.0 range. Personally I already have Mahrez (since GW2) and Bolasie and I expect to keep both long-term. But I also expect to revert to a 4-4-2 structure after Xmas and Bojan will be vying with Deeney for my 1st bench attacker spot then I think.

    I wrote about Hazard last week and as I was at the Bournemouth game maybe some after-comments are in order. Chelsea were unlucky to lose whilst Bournemouth ran their socks off (I have never seen such pressing for 90 minutes) and deserved their result. If both are possible at the same time?

    Hazard had opportunities, Boruc made one particularly fine save from him and he could have had a penalty (maybe should have). Chelsea dominated the 2nd half completely (which suggests that having an actual striker on the pitch was helpful) but are still struggling to score. I still believe that Hazard has big potential over the next weeks but I’m also not disappointed that I took the pragmatic route and brought in Özil for Sanchez instead.

    This is the weirdest season, both in real terms and in FPL. City have had some atrocious results and performances and the same can be said of Arsenal. United seem to be trying to win the PL with the lowest goals scored and lowest goals conceded on record. Chelsea’s woes have stolen the headlines but I don’t see a single “big” club that is performing to expectations (apart from maybe Spurs if you include them).

    I put a lot of it down to the TV money – the big uplift this season means that the team that finishes 20th and is relegated will receive as much as Chelsea earned last season as champions (about £100m). That puts better players in reach at “lesser” clubs – Shaquiri at Stoke, Payet at West Ham, Wijnaldum at Newcastle, Cabaye at Palace… It has also enabled a team like Everton to refuse £40m for Stones, something they could never have done even a couple of seasons ago. As a result the quality gap is smaller than it has ever been I think.

    To me, that suggests that the ‘unusual’ and somewhat unpredictable nature of this season may be here to stay – that ‘normal service’ may actually not be resumed. I am starting to think that for FPL you should aim to get good in-form players and trust them, irrespective of fixtures. This weekend I removed Glenn Johnson for Alderweireld for a hit. I just couldn’t see a Stoke clean sheet against City. But they got one.

    If the nature of the PL has changed then I guess my strategy will need to be adjusted accordingly. 😕

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    • PaulH says:

      Whilst there have been some unpredictable results the table is largely unchanged from last season. Utd, City and Arsenal occupy 3 of the top 4. Spurs, Liverpool in top 8, it’s Chelsea that are underperforming along with Swansea.

      TV money has undoubtedly made the lower teams more competitive but the parachute payment for relegation doesn’t put QPR or Burnely in the same league or the same financial position as a team in the top 4 who have Champions League revenue

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      • Ruth_NZ says:

        Champions League revenue is relatively insignificant compared to the PL money now actually. Check out the numbers if you want.

        That Leicester are top after 14 games is a clear measure of how bad last season’s top 4 have been. All of them have under-performed but not as badly as Chelsea.

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