Producing a column on the subject of Pedro Neto (MID, £5.6M) might seem like something of a luxury in what promises to be one of the most unpredictable and tricky gameweeks of the season so far. Indeed, Gameweek 11 has already been blighted by the postponement of Aston Villa’s tie with Newcastle, and we’re seeing a wave of yellow flags appear as the delayed deadline draws near.
But in Neto, we might just have the answer to some of the most taxing FPL questions of the moment.
It’s official: a playing bench is essential
This is now the third week on the bounce that my squad has been heavily hit by a COVID-related absence. First, it was Mohamed Salah (MID, £12.2M). Next, it was Wilfred Zaha (MID, £7.3M). And now, it’s Jack Grealish (MID, £7.7M) and Emi Martinez (GK, £4.8M).
Reacting to fresh COVID-19 cases week-by-week is an unsustainable and costly way of navigating the FPL season, and recent events have laid bare the importance of establishing a strong playing bench. Though the likes of Rhian Brewster (FWD, £4.5M) and Tyrick Mitchell (DEF, £4.1M) may have been excellent enablers in years gone by, the rigours of 2020/21 demand something different – even if that means making one or two sacrifices in the first XI.
In Brewster, we were promised a nailed-on £4.5M forward with the potential for some significant upside. But with just 8 points in five games, what we’ve been given is a fringe player, making up the numbers on the worst attacking team in the league.
For me, the experiment has failed – relying on Brewster simply makes playing my favoured 3-5-2 formation too risky this term. And it’s for this reason that I’m considering bringing in Neto alongside a forward like Patrick Bamford (FWD, £6.1M) to give me greater flexibility and added security.
Neto, by the numbers
For a few weeks now, Neto has been quietly posting some of the most impressive numbers in the league. In terms of FPL points, he’s outscoring Sadio Mane (MID, £12M), James Rodriguez (MID, £7.8M), Riyad Mahrez (MID, £8.3M), and Kevin de Bruyne (MID, £11.7M).
All told, Neto ranks 8th among midfielders for total FPL points and 8th for xGI Delta (+1.3). He also boasts an xGI per 90 of 0.36, matching Marcus Rashford (MID, £9.5M), and surpassing teammate, Daniel Podence (MID, £5.4) and premium midfielder, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (MID, £11.6M).
For just £5.6M, Neto has been quietly ticking away, notching up 3 goals and 2 assists so far this season. And with the deeply unfortunate absence of Raul Jimenez, Neto’s place in Wolve’s starting eleven should now be nailed.
How will I bring in Neto?
As things stand, Neto will likely come in for Hakim Ziyech (MID, £8.3M), freeing up a cool £2.7M to play with. This would be just enough for me to upgrade Rashford to Salah ahead of Liverpool’s Gameweek 12 fixture against lowly Fulham.
The restructure will be complete in Gameweek 13 when Harry Kane (FWD, £10.9M) is downgraded to Danny Ings (FWD, £8.3), and Brewster is upgraded to Bamford.
That’s the plan anyway…
Good luck out there.