Note: This article was published on 2 October before the news that Liverpool star Sadio Mane has tested positive for coronavirus. He will not feature this weekend as he undergoes self-isolation.
Despite any amount of research, Fantasy Premier League can make you look like a complete fool at times. Gameweek 3 was one such occasion. Bold predictions and in-depth analysis went into vain as most big hitters misfired.
Wolves lost 4-0 to West Ham, hat-trick hero Jamie Vardy helped Leicester City stun Manchester City 5-2 at the Etihad while Aston Villa scored three at Fulham as Tottenham only managed a draw at home against Newcastle.
Bruno Fernandes who was among the most transferred out players out was back among the points, adding to the frustrations of FPL managers.
Frustration was mostly the theme of GW3 as more managers took the plunge and decided to use the wildcard ahead of GW4.
As per the early trends after three gameweeks, Liverpool once again look like the team to beat and demand at least two players from their side in your FPL team. Everton and Leicester have surprised everyone with their start and their players are slowly finding a place in most managers’ FPL teams.
As GW4 approaches, FPL managers are slowly starting to solidify their strategies and inching towards a more settled team for the longer run.
|Teams||GW 4 Fixture||*Difficulty level of next three GWs|
|Arsenal||Sheffield United (H)||5, 3, 4 - 15|
|Aston Villa||Liverpool (H)||4, 2, 3 - 14|
|Brighton and Hove Albion||Everton (A)||2, 2, 4 - 12|
|Burnley||Newcastle United (A)||2, 3, 3 - 11|
|Chelsea||Crystal Palace (H)||3, 4, 3 - 12|
|Crystal Palace||Chelsea (A)||2, 2, 3 - 11|
|Everton||Brighton and Hove Albion (H)||4, 2, 3 - 11|
|Fulham||Wolves (A)||4, 2, 2 - 12|
|Leeds United||Manchester City (H)||3, 2, 3 - 13|
|Leicester City||West Ham United (H)||2, 4, 2 - 10|
|Liverpool||Aston Villa (A)||3, 3, 2 - 10|
|Manchester City||Leeds United (A)||3, 2, 3 - 10|
|Manchester United||Tottenham Hotspur (H)||3, 3, 3 - 13|
|Newcastle United||Burnley (H)||4, 3, 2 - 12|
|Sheffield United||Arsenal (A)||2, 5, 4 - 15|
|Southampton||West Bromwich Albion (H)||4, 2, 2 - 10|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Manchester United (A)||2, 3, 2 - 11|
|West Bromwich Albion||Southampton (A)||3, 2, 2 - 10|
|West Ham United||Leicester City (A)||4, 4, 4 - 17|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||Fulham (H)||4, 2, 2 - 10|
Wolves, Leicester City, Liverpool and Manchester City have the easiest next few fixtures in the Premier League, as do Southampton, Tottenham and Everton. Crystal Palace too have a decent runs of games in the coming weeks.
West Ham, Sheffield United, Aston Villa and Arsenal have a tough run of games in the coming weeks.
The big ins and outs
Player sales and purchases are good indicators of the likely top performers in the coming gameweeks but this parameter also tends to be volatile.
For the second week running Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the most transferred player in. A midweek hat-trick in the Carabao Cup has only enhanced his credentials. Everton teammate James Rodriguez is also high on FPL managers’ wishlist and so is Foxes hero Vardy. Leicester full-back Timothy Castagne is the second-most transferred player thanks to his attacking contributions.
Most transferred in players ahead of GW4
Son Heung-min’s injury means he is the most sold player this week, followed by Chelsea’s Timo Werner who blanked last week before going on to score against Tottenham in the League Cup midweek.
Most transferred out players ahead of GW4
Top picks for GW4
Sadio Mane (Liverpool): The Senegalese has emerged from Mohamed Salah’s shadows in the last two weeks scoring three goals. He is third in the xG (Expected goals) charts in the Premier League only behind Calvert-Lewin and Vardy. He’s had eight shots from inside the penalty area and that’s without being on penalty duties.
Mane has a stellar record against Aston Villa scoring six goals in as many games that includes goals in his last three matches against the Villains. Owner only by 12.4%, it’s a great time to jump onto the Mane bandwagon. Given he did not feature midweek against Arsenal while Salah played an hour, even more so.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton): The English forward is the hot property in FPL now and for good reason. The man with the highest xG in the Premier League has scored five goals in the competition so far apart from three in midweek in the Carabao Cup.
He has five shots from inside the six-yard box in the Premier League this season, the most for any player. The Toffees have the second-highest xG in the Premier League this season and facing a Brighton side that are prone to leaking goals, Calvert-Lewin is a must-have.
Danny Ings (Southampton): The Saints’ Mr Consistent has lived up to the expectations this season as well scoring three goals in as many matches. Up against the worst defensive side in the division in West Brom (lowest xGA — Expected Goals Against — in the division), Southampton will be looking to kick-on after last week’s 1-0 win over Burnley.
Southampton have been unlucky in front of goal this season but against the Baggies’ leaky defence they should be able to make amends. And when Southampton score, it’s usually Danny Ings.
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City): The king of FPL and one of the most consistent performers in the league, de Bruyne could be among the points against a flamboyant Leeds United side. City are usually good when they have lost their previous game in the league and can be expected to put a few goals past Marcelo Bielsa’s men.
Leeds have conceded three penalties so far this season and with de Bruyne on spot-kicks for City, his prospects are even better. The Championship winners concede a lot of chances and are only behind West Brom on that front in the Premier League.
Tammy Abraham (Chelsea): FPL managers grew tried of Werner with the Chelsea forward being played on the left-wing instead of upfront. That’s because Tammy Abraham has been the preferred man up top for Frank Lampard in two out of the three games. Abraham has scored twice in his last two starts for Chelsea. He was also in a position to score had Callum-Hudson-Odoi passed to him in their Carabao Cup defeat to Tottenham.
He has the highest xG per 90 mins in the Premier League this season along with Calvert-Lewin. Owned by only 2.7%, Abraham could be a game-changer for FPL owners this week as Chelsea are at home again.
James Maddison (Leicester City): Remember him? At this point last season, Maddison was an FPL favourite but an injury forced him out for long parts after that. However, he’s back and primed for a start especially having scored one (sensationally) and assisted one in the Foxes’ 5-2 win over City.
West Ham leak goals especially away from home and Maddison might be a top differential for this week.
Ruben Vinagre (Wolves): Wolves have had a mixed start to the season but are now facing a favourable run of fixtures starting with a home meeting against bottom club Fulham who have failed to score in two out of the three matches so far.
Injury to left wing-back Marcal means Vinagre is set to play a large chunk of Wolves’ upcoming fixtures. A highly attacking full-back, Vinagre could return with more than just a clean sheet. At just £4.4 million, he could be a steal. He is owned only by 5.3% of the teams.
Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal): A regular feature in this category, Lacazette has gone unnoticed in the first three games despite scoring in each one of it. He could have added to his tally had scored an easy chance against Liverpool but his prospects have looked great this season.
Lacazette is third in the charts for non-penalty xG (Expected goals other than penalties) in the Premier League this season and could be in for a big return against struggling Sheffield United. Owned only by 5.4% of teams, Lacazette deserves more consideration by FPL managers than what he’s getting.
No more penalty points galore?
There was a lot of emphasis on packing the team with as many penalty takers as possible ahead of GW3 considering the high number of spot-kicks awarded. However, from GW4, the FA has agreed to be more subjective in the interpretation of the handball rule and that could see the number of penalties conceded fall starting from GW4.
While it’s always an advantage to have a penalty taker in your team, it may no longer be as beneficial.
The captain’s armband will always have the usual suspects - Salah, de Bruyne, Mane - as candidates. And this week it’s no different.
Mane’s record against Villa and de Bruyne’s prospects against a leaky Leeds defence with City desperately needing to win make them the prime candidates for the captain’s armband. However, the Everton attackers Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and James Rodriguez are good candidates against a Brighton side that likes to play an attacking brand of football.
Wolves’ Raul Jimenez who missed a penalty last week would be looking to make amends against Fulham and is a good differential captain for this week. Another one in this category is Ings who faces a West Brom defence that is letting in goals for fun at the moment.
For a safer bet, handing the armband to de Bruyne could result in a healthy return. But for more differential options, Jimenez or Mane would be good choices with the former just edging out the Liverpool man on consistency.
FPL Deadline for GW4: 3:30 PM IST, Saturday, October 3, 2020
(Stats Courtesy: Fantasy Premier League website, WhoScored.com)