With the Carbao Cup taking centre stage this midweek, it’s back to the Premier League this weekend. Arsenal vs Liverpool takes the spotlight but what does it all mean from an FPL perspective? Here are our five to watch for the weekend ahead.
After an unusually high success rate last weekend, the shadow over this weekend is the fitness of Eden Hazard, Pep’s continuing rotation policy and of course that aforementioned clash of the titans leaving a lot of FPL assets going up against each other. Where are the points this weekend?
1) Raheem Sterling (Man City, Midfield, £11.1m)
Let’s be quite fair here, Man City are at home to Southampton and will be overwhelming favourties to win. Sergio Aguero will be the first name on the teamsheet for a lot of people and that’s fine – if you have him, hold him. However he tends to get withdrawn on or around the hour mark when a Champions League tie is looming. In fact, in the last 6 gameweeks Aguero hasn’t managed more than 70 minutes. Sterling is of course a rotation risk but he has started 8 of 10 league games this season so he is obviously a favourite of Pep.Embed from Getty Images
4 goals and 3 assists (including one at Wembley on Monday) suggest Sterling is in good form and there’s the added bonus of more points per goal for a midfield player. For that reason, I’m throwing my weight behind Raheem for this week.
2) Willian (Chelsea, Midfield, £7.4m)
If Eden Hazard wasn’t a doubt I imagine he would be scoring pretty highly in any captaincy polls for this week. Unfortunately I have to write this before that information is revealed, so I’m playing safe and putting forward Willian. After initially starting the season behind Pedro in the pecking order, the Brazilian has started the last 5 and netted in last weeks win at Burnley. A home game against Crystal Palace is a good opportunity for further returns. Ross Barkley is the form man in the Chelsea squad with a goal in each of his last three gameweeks as well as 3 assists. He’s only £5.8m if you want to get aboard the Barkley express.Embed from Getty Images
3) Marko Arnautovic (West Ham, Forward, £7m)
Arnautovic has been West Ham’s talisman at times this season and has found the back of the net on 4 occasions already. He missed last week’s game with illness but his appearance from the bench in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday would suggest he’ll be ok as West Ham welcome Burnley. Sean Dyche’s men have struggled to find the defensive solidity of last season and West Ham must see this as an opportunity to pick up a home win. The Hammers’ form at the London Stadium has been patchy at best but if Arnautovic is in the mood then that will surely help them turn that around.Embed from Getty Images
4) Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton, Midfield, £7.4m)
Four goals in four gameweeks brings Gylfi Sigurdsson into my thinking. Well known for his set piece expertise, Sigurdsson is on penalty duty for Everton who will fancy their chances at home to Brighton who are not traditionally good travellers. Richarlison is a £6.8m midfielder playing up front which also makes him a viable option but Sigurdsson is the man in form and he seems to be at the epicentre of Everton’s best work in recent weeks.Embed from Getty Images
5) Benjamin Mendy (Man City, Defender, £6.3m)
TWO Man City players? Pep Guardiola’s men are well renowned for their attacking prowess so it is easy to overlook the fact they have kept 6 consecutive cleansheets in the league. Ederson at £5.8m is the safest bet as he has minimal competition for his place thanks to Claudio Bravo’s injury, however he is also a spectator in many of their home games and doesn’t accrue any save points. With shot-shy Southampton the visitors this weekend, I’ve opted for Mendy for the additional benefits he can offer going forwards. He already has 6 assists to his name this season which I think makes him worth the rotation risk. Again, I’ve had to write this before Man City play their Carabao Cup game tonight against Fulham which may well give us some clues for Sunday’s team but right now I think Mendy deserves a spot. Just hope he doesn’t miss the bus!Embed from Getty Images
The OffsideRulePod FPL league has as many twists and turn as the Championship. Another week, another new name at the top as Derek Smith’s Celtic ToEnhanceEPL have had a wonderful week. It was actually an incredible piece of luck as his captain Robertson took no part in Liverpool’s game against Cardiff which meant vice captain Mane netted 30 points. That also lead to Ryan Fraser being subbed in for a further 11 points but you really have to commend the selection of Kiko Femenia (12 points) as well as Alonso (11 points), Ederson (8 points) and Mendy (6 points). I know I’ve been saying it’s a marathon not a sprint but the marathon is a quarter of the way through so it might be time to pick up the pace!
That’s all for this week but I’ll be back next week with another set of suggestions. Good luck!
You can follow Dave on Twitter @CM9798