With the International break now firmly behind us, club football returns this weekend. That means that after two weeks of tinkering for fantasy football managers, it’s now time to make some final decisions ahead of Game week 5. Dave Black looks at five players you might consider.
It seems an absolute age since a pulsating North London derby brought the curtain down on GW4. Amazingly, Raheem Sterling was the only active player valued over £9.5m that didn’t contribute a goal or assist. Typically, he was also one of the most captained. Whilst that will have set many rankings back, it’s hardly a reason to panic.
The good news is, the International break seems to have claimed very few casualties with Giovani Lo Celso probably the highest profile so far, though he is owned by 0.4% of all players. The bad news is the Champions League is about to return which will further complicate Pep Guardiola’s rotation system.
Hopefully that won’t be a factor just yet as there are some familiar names in this week’s selection, starting with a man in tremendous form.
1) Kevin De Bruyne (Man City, Midfield, £9.8m)
Manchester City are off to Norwich this weekend and given the Canaries’ attacking intent so far this season, it’s fair to say they won’t try and hold the champions for a 0-0. You can take your pick from Man City’s attacking options – Aguero and Sterling are the obvious (but most expensive) two but I’ve opted to highlight Kevin De Bruyne who is cheaper at £9.8mEmbed from Getty Images
The Belgian has just one less point than Sterling so far this season and is in the form of his life. Any doubts about him recapturing his best form following an injury plagued season have been well and truly put to bed. His performance against Scotland on Monday was sensational – a goal and three assists would be worth a fortune in FPL if he can even come close to repeating that this weekend. It is nearly impossible to squeeze all three of Man City’s aces into a fully functioning team but with prizes rising all the time it’s decision to be made sooner rather than later.
2) Sadio Mane (Liverpool, Midfield, £11.5m)
Liverpool will get the weekend underway with a home game against Newcastle. It’s hard to see past the Reds maintaining their 100% start with their formidable home record and once again you can expect the front three to be causing mayhem. Firmino was superb against Burnley but my selection this week is Sadio Mane.Embed from Getty Images
A lot was made of Mane’s tantrum after being subbed against Burnley, with the media speculating this was down to Mo Salah’s greed and not passing to Mane. Wouldn’t it just be typical if those two combine in this game to win Liverpool the points? You almost feel it is written. Of course, even without predicting the future, Mane is becoming every bit as much of a threat as Salah as shown by them sharing the golden boot last season.
3) Son Heung-Min (Tottenham, Midfield, £9.5m)
Tottenham Hotspur have a relatively kind run of fixtures after a tough start. They play host to Crystal Palace this weekend but I’ve opted for an alternative to Harry Kane. Once bitten, twice shy – call it what you want, Tottenham have struggled to break down Crystal Palace at home for a number of seasons now. Kane has actually never scored a home goal against the Eagles so I’ve opted for Son instead, who has managed that – three times.Embed from Getty Images
Son missed the opening two games of the season due to suspension but looked electric against Arsenal in the previous game. There’s no doubt his presence makes Tottenham a better team and his useful record against Palace tips the scales in his favour this week. Palace have recovered well from a slow start but Tottenham will be keen to get their season up and running here.
4) Ashley Barnes (Burnley, Forward, £6.7m)
It’s very hard to ignore Ashley Barnes. Not just because of his playing style, but in FPL terms he is looking better value by the week. Having already collected points against Arsenal, Wolves and Southampton, Barnes and Burnley now have a clearer fixture list. That starts this weekend with a trip to Brighton.Embed from Getty Images
Barnes of course is a former Brighton player which will doubtless be an extra spur for him this weekend but he is a striker in the form of his life. Brighton seemed to have stalled after a bright start and Burnley will look to take advantage on Saturday..
5) James Maddison (Leicester. Midfield, £7.1m)
Everybody is wondering how James Maddison didn’t get minutes for England this International break and the Leicester man can count himself unlucky to have sat on the bench for two games. He’s enjoyed a good start to the season, collecting two assists so far. He’s a bit of a punt this week as Leicester are at Man Utd but I think he will be fired up by his lack of International minutes.Embed from Getty Images
Old Trafford doesn’t bring the fear factor it used to and I think we might see a similar game to when Leicester played away at Chelsea in August. Leicester are brilliant on the counter attack and I can see Maddison playing a key part in that, especially if Vardy can get isolated with Maguire. It’s not the best run of fixtures for the Foxes but if they are as good on the counter attack as I think they are then they could be fixture proof.
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The variety of scores in the top 10 summarises what a feast or famine sort of week it was. We have a new leader as John Ted Ng’ong’a scored 77 points to overhaul Saleem. 32 of that haul came from Sergio Aguero, who was certainly the man to have. Whether this is a settled top 10 for the season remains to be seen!
That’s all for this week. The deadline for game week 5 is Saturday 14th September at 11.30am so remember to get your teams sorted by then. I’ll be back next week with more – good luck!
You can follow Dave on Twitter @CM9798