Belfast Telegraph

Paul Pogba transfer woe for armchair managers

Be careful not to jump the gun.

That was the lesson learned by over 119,000 premierleague.com fantasy football players this week, as they transferred in Manchester United's in-form midfielder Paul Pogba only to see him suffer a hamstring injury in Champions League action on Tuesday.

Pogba has the second-most fantasy points of any Premier League player, just one point behind Tottenham full-back Ben Davies, and was named United captain against Basle but lasted just 19 minutes.

That resulted in almost 174,000 transfers out as armchair managers were forced to quickly change their plans - perhaps contributing to a boost in ownership for one of his team-mates...

WHO'S HOT?

Press Association Sport has combined data on each player's overall selection percentage with how his popularity is changing over time to produce a "heat score" - ranging from 100 to -100 - and United winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan is this week's top man on 59.7.

The Armenian now features in a quarter of fantasy league teams, nudging him ahead of long-time leader Ahmed Hegazi (51.1) in the heat index.

Davies is third at 49.1 while Alvaro Morata is also quickly climbing the charts - the Chelsea striker is fourth with a heat score of 44.7.

WHO'S NOT?

Sadio Mane was fourth in last week's hot list but the Liverpool forward's red card against Manchester City provided another example of how quickly things can change - his heat score has flipped almost exactly from 46.9 to -45.8, leaving him suddenly coldest in the league.

The Senegal international had briefly been the fifth-most popular selection, appearing in 29.6 per cent of teams, but is back down to 20.9 per cent and 15th place after his three-match suspension was upheld.

He has displaced Wilfried Zaha from the top of the cold list, though the injured Crystal Palace winger's ownership continues to dwindle, while Kevin De Bruyne still features despite his superb performance in City's 5-0 win.

WHERE IS THE VALUE?

Tottenham's upcoming fixtures - Swansea, West Ham, Huddersfield and Bournemouth are next on their agenda - has perhaps aided Christian Eriksen's popularity, and suggests the north London side could be a useful resource for managers.

The first three of those games are covered by Press Association Sport's simulations based on bookmakers' odds, which average out to an expected points haul of 6.46 - only Manchester United, with 6.75 from games against Everton, Southampton and Crystal Palace, rank higher.

Spurs' upcoming schedule and a return to goalscoring form have seen the previously ice-cold Harry Kane thaw somewhat, though his heat score remains at -5.70. A slight price drop to £12.4m could tempt more managers to jump on board, but you may need to pair him with a cheaper option.

Press Association Sport groups players in price brackets and Newcastle's Rob Elliot has performed well in the cheapest bracket among goalkeepers, while Watford defender Kiko Femenia and midfielders Abdoulaye Doucoure and Richarlison are all leading the way in their respective price brackets at their positions.

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