Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku underlined their Fantasy Premier League credentials last week as both players netted a brace each in their respective teams’ wins. In the midweek, the duo scored their teams’ only goals to further establish themselves as FPL must-haves this season.
Another player who has been going about his business without creating the same amount of buzz as Ronaldo or Lukaku is Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. The FPL great scored his 100th Premier League goal last week and also netted in the Champions League in midweek. Such has been Salah’s consistency that his current form is what is expected of him.
An average score of 57 meant it was a good scoring session in FPL last week. But GW5 where Liverpool and Manchester City, the league’s biggest hitters, have really good home fixtures could mean a high-scoring one. Manchester United and West Ham United, two attack-minded teams go head-to-head while Chelsea face a tricky trip to Tottenham. Everton who have started well under Rafael Benitez travel to struggling Aston Villa.
So there is a lot of potential in GW5 to bag a big score if you pick the right players.
Four out of the bottom half sides – Norwich, Wolves, Watford, Burnley and Newcastle – have the best fixtures in the coming weeks. And a lot of the big guns, except Leicester and Liverpool have tough games coming up. It’s an opportunity for FPL managers to pick some differential players from these lower-ranked sides who could provide them cheap points to balance their teams as the number of expensive must-have players have gone up in number in recent weeks.
FPL managers trying to accommodate Salah, Ronaldo, and Lukaku, will need to look at some of these teams for cheap options to complete their sides.
Fixture Difficulty index
|Team||Combined Difficulty rating for GW 5-7||GW5 opponents||GW6 opponents||GW7 opponents|
|Arsenal||8 (2, 3, 3)||BUR(A)||TOT(H)||BHA(A)|
|Aston Villa||12 (4, 4, 4)||EVE(H)||MUN(A)||TOT(A)|
|Brentford||11 (3, 4, 4)||WOL(A)||LIV(H)||WHU(A)|
|Brighton||9 (4, 2, 3)||LEI(H)||CRY(A)||ARS(H)|
|Burnley||8 (3, 3, 2)||ARS(H)||LEI(A)||NOR(H)|
|Chelsea||10 (4, 4, 2)||TOT(A)||MCI(H)||SOU(H)|
|Crystal Palace||10 (4, 2, 4)||LIV(A)||BHA(H)||LEI(H)|
|Everton||9 (3, 2, 4)||AVL(A)||NOR(H)||MUN(A)|
|Leeds||7 (2, 3, 2)||NEW(A)||WHU(H)||WAT(H)|
|Leicester||7 (3, 2, 2)||BHA(A)||BUR(H)||CRY(A)|
|Liverpool||8 (2, 2, 4)||CRY(H)||BRE(A)||MCI(H)|
|Man City||10 (2, 4, 4)||SOU(H)||CHE(A)||LIV(A)|
|Man Utd||10 (4, 2, 4)||WHU(A)||AVL(H)||EVE(H)|
|Newcastle||8 (3, 2, 3)||LEE(H)||WAT(A)||WOL(A)|
|Norwich City||7 (2, 3, 2)||WAT(H)||EVE(A)||BUR(A)|
|Southampton||11 (5, 2, 4)||MCI(A)||WOL(H)||CHE(A)|
|Spurs||9 (4, 3, 2)||CHE(H)||ARS(A)||AVL(H)|
|Watford||7 (2, 2, 3)||NOR(A)||NEW(H)||LEE(A)|
|West Ham||9 (4, 3, 2)||MUN(H)||LEE(A)||BRE(H)|
|Wolves||6 (2, 2, 2)||BRE(H)||SOU(A)||NEW(H)|
The big ins and outs
As expected, Ronaldo and Lukaku lead the purchases ahead of GW5. The two have emerged as the best short-term and long-term options in FPL this season. Budget midfielder Demarai Gray, who has now scored in three straight gameweeks, is third in the list ahead of Patrick Bamford and Wolves defender Marcal.
Most transferred (in) players ahead of GW5
Antonio, who is suspended for GW5, leads the exits followed by Dominic Calvert-Lewin who is injured. Bruno Fernandes continues to lose ownership as FPL managers shift to Ronaldo. Tottenham’s Son Heung-min who is an injury doubt and Aston Villa’s Danny Ings continue to exit teams too.
Most transferred (out) players ahead of GW5
Top picks for Gameweek 5
Whether you bring them in through transfers or (luckily enough) have them in your squad already, these are the five hottest selections for GW5:
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool): The Liverpool man features on this list almost every week and for good reason. This week his prospects appear even higher as the Reds face Crystal Palace. In the nine games against the south Londoners, Salah has scored six times and has provided five assists. In the current form that sees him sit fourth in the xG(Expected Goals) charts and third in shots inside the penalty area table in the Premier League this season, he must be in your team ahead of the visit by Palace.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United): The Red Devils have a tricky fixture against West Ham, but does it even matter when it comes to Ronaldo? Three goals in two matches mean it’s a huge risk to go without Ronaldo. The Portuguese finished as the top goalscorer in Serie A last season and his hunger for goals seemed to have only gone up. Supported by an attack full of creative players, Ronaldo is certain to get many chances throughout the season and when he gets a chance, he usually scores. West Ham aren’t the best defensively and will have to cope with the difficulties of their European commitments.
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City): City’s only recognised centre-forward has made a quiet impact this season and has started their last three matches in the Premier League. Having been rested in midweek, Jesus is likely to start against Southampton at the weekend. In City’s three home games so far, Jesus has three assists and two goals to his name. With just 7.8% ownership, he is a great differential option too.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool): The Reds full-back is the third-highest scoring FPL player so far this season, only behind Salah and Antonio. Liverpool are back to their defensive best and Alexander-Arnold is slowly starting to deliver attacking returns. The Englishman already has two assists to his name and also scored in midweek. He is also a bonus magnet and has 8 bonus points to his name, the joint-most by any player. Palace have found some form in recent weeks but are still not a very potent attacking force. So having Alexander-Arnold in your team this week is pretty much a must.
Jack Grealish (Manchester City): City’s big-money signing is slowly finding his feet. He scored one and assisted another in the Champions League and seems to be one player that Guardiola hasn’t rotated so far. He was substituted early in midweek, thus enhancing his chances of starting. Against a Southampton side, City would get plenty of joy and could continue their scoring spree. Grealish could be the man to haul big.
Top differential picks for GW5:
Teemu Pukki (Norwich City): There is little statistical evidence why you should pick Puuki in your team but such have been Norwich’s fixtures so far, that you can ignore the numbers. Their upcoming fixtures starting with Watford at the weekend are quite good and Pukki, a proven scorer in English football, could be a top differential option to have. With less than 6% ownership, he could be a cheap difference maker in your team.
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City): The Belgian returned to the City line-up in midweek. Although he didn’t complete the game, Guardiola would like to hand him more minutes in the Premier League to get him up to speed. It’s rare that De Bruyne is owned by less than 2% of owners and it’s time for FPL managers to make the most of the situation. KdB. as he has proven over the seasons, is an excellent long-term option.
Sadio Mane (Liverpool): Another heavyweight who has fallen out of favour due to inconsistent form last season, Mane appears to be hitting his stride. With returns in each of the last three Premier League games, Mane faces one of his favourite opponents this weekend. He has scored in each of his last eight appearances against Palace and after a midweek rest, must be raring to go. Owned by less than 3% of FPL managers, he is a big differential option for GW5.
The captain’s armband this week must go to either a Liverpool or Man City player. But with Guardiola you are never really certain who will start, so picking either Salah or Mane for the armband will be a wise choice. Salah gets the edge thanks to his consistency but Mane could be a differential captain.
The likes of Ronaldo and Lukaku will always be in the equation, with the former having better prospects this week. FPL managers in mood for some differential options can look at Leeds players in Bamford or Raphinha but Leeds’ form is a bit of a concern at the moment.
Sticking with the consistent Salah is the best option as FPL managers will be better playing safe in a week of such potential.
The Field’s FPL team
Gameweek 4 points: 56
After another not-so-great showing, we have decided to wildcard. Our attempt to build a Galacticos team didn’t quite succeed but we managed to squeeze Salah, Ronaldo and Lukaku into our team. We tried getting in Grealish but our budget only permitted getting Ferran Torres. We have sneaked in a few budget options in Dennis, Pablo Fornals, Connor Gallagher and Demarai Gray to balance the team.
Our focus was also on having all 15 players who play regularly so that we could avoid hits by rotating our team. For captaincy, we were spoilt for choices, probably the first time this season, but have decided to play safe and go with Salah, even though Ronaldo and Lukaku were tempting alternatives.
FPL Deadline for GW5: Saturday Fri 17 Sep 23:00
(Stats Courtesy: FPL website, Understat.com and WhoScored.com. Ownership % figures as of Friday afternoon)