What a time for an international break to spoil the fun.
The Premier League went full throttle with crazy scorelines and it caused implosions from Liverpool and Manchester United and even went so bonkers a pay-per-view service has been introduced for games not selected by one of the main UK broadcasters.
Broadly speaking for Fantasy Football, goals are good. But with so many backing Liverpool defenders – specifically Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson – their 7-2 mauling at Aston Villa presented a very real stick-or-twist scenario.
Aston Villa produced the result of the season so far as they put on a 7-2 win over Liverpool
Tottenham pulled off a stunning result of their own as they went to Man United and won 6-1
For now, I’m sticking and believe you should too. Treat Alexander-Arnold and Robertson are wingers and given their season output from 2019-20 – and their likelihood of huge attacking returns in this campaign – clean sheets are a bonus more than a necessity.
The same cannot be said for Manchester United and after their 6-1 collapse to Tottenham, it came as no surprise to see a huge spike in demand for Spurs attackers and a major fire-sale for any United player outside of Bruno Fernandes.
As always, in this weekly column I’ll be breaking down what we learned from the latest round of games, how best to utilise the free transfer for our squads and the differentials that can make the biggest difference week-to-week.
Biggest takeaways from GW4
There were LOADS of them and for FPL managers, it was much welcomed after a largely horrendous Gameweek 3. Harry Kane owners were happy. Son Heung-min owners were happy. Even facing a 7-2 scoreline, Mohamed Salah’s owners were satisfied.
Credit this week goes to manager Josh McCarthy of ‘MNSTRs Minions’ as he was the most successful manager of the gameweek finishing with 160 points. He took an eight-point hit for making three transfers – two more than his allocated freebie – but it didn’t matter.
Liverpool’s defence was blown to smithereens at Villa Park by Dean Smith’s in-form side
His decision to triple-captain Jack Grealish produced 72 points – some nice symmetry there – and now looks inspired. It remains one of the boldest selections we are likely to see where it actually pays off.
Manchester City are still yet to explode and tripped up again at Leeds.
Sergio Aguero has recommenced training and his return cannot come soon enough for them. He is likely to free up Raheem Sterling , especially with Kevin de Bruyne out. West Ham’s mini-revival has been very impressive but I would expect it to be short-lived.
David Moyes will be back on the touchlines this time round and it will be interesting to see if he can continue the form his side showed while he managed via video chat platform Zoom.
Things went from bad to worse for Manchester United in a record-equalling defeat to Spurs
Manchester United remain in a real state of flux after a hammering by Spurs and Harry Maguire’s form for England won’t have helped the mood. Neither will the form of Victor Lindelof for Sweden, who were beat 3-0 by Portugal in thee UEFA Nations League.
Newcastle can be hit and miss but once again looked good against a Burnley side that continues to look a shell of the one that has become synonymous under Sean Dyche.
And Chelsea. Well, there is the ongoing Timo Werner dilemma.
He netted and got an assist in his last outing for Germany and I have so far kept faith in him for fear of being burned when he explodes. It really is a when rather than an if and with Hakim Ziyech fit again, hopefully big returns are round the corner for Werner and his (very) loyal owners.
Best use of the free transfer this week
Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle) – £5.3m
There always seems to be injury risk attached to the Toon winger but with a vulnerable Manchester United arriving in town, there is no way Steve Bruce goes out without his biggest attacking threat in his arsenal.
Newcastle have won just once without him in 15 Premier League games since his £16.5million arrival from Nice.
Couple that with the fact he put pen-to-paper on a new six-year deal this week and he is heading into the weekend full of confidence.
That is in stark contrast to who he is facing and his pace is what will frighten United’s defenders most.
Saint-Maximin was sold by 698,170 managers ahead of a home game against Burnley last time out and they were left to rue that decision after his 12-point haul.
Callum Wilson has proven a popular way into this Newcastle team but given I already own Saint-Maximin, I will keep faith in him to cap off his fine week from a personal point of view with a big-time performance against United.
Allan Saint-Maximin is a threat and could prove lethal against Manchester United’s defence
Saturday October 17
Everton v Liverpool
Chelsea v Southampton
Man City v Arsenal
Newcastle v Man United
Sunday October 18
Sheffield United v Fulham
Crystal Palace v Brighton
Tottenham v West Ham
Leicester City v Aston Villa
Monday October 19
West Brom v Burnley
Leeds v Wolves
Three differentials that caught my eye
Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United) – £4.5m [Selected by 6.3%]
This one is something of a gamble, particularly given the Blades’ upcoming fixtures, but I expect him to hit the ground running this weekend and at the price point he is at, there are few options that will feature as much as Brewster.
Chris Wilder’s side have been a shell of the one that drew lots of praise last season and they head into GW5 sat second bottom with just one goal scored so far in the league.
Thankfully for Wilder his side face Fulham, the only side below them, this weekend.
Brewster has had the international break to get himself ready after completing his move from Liverpool and he may well be thrown right in given his new side’s sheer lack of goals so far.
The 23-year-old arrived for a club-record fee and the five-year deal shows their belief in him.
Fulham is a kind opener and could be worth it to keep options open for more attacking partners in the front-line.
Ross Barkley (Aston Villa) – £5.9m [Selected by 1%]
Feels rude of me not to find a route into this Villa team following their demolition of Liverpool and Ross Barkley could be the differential to choose going forward.
The English midfielder is currently owned by one per cent of Fantasy bosses but another points-laden display away at Leicester would likely change that.
He generated seven points for his goal against Liverpool and while rivals may have plumped early for Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins, a happy Barkley could prove a bargain in the sub-£6m category.
Ross Barkley impressed against Liverpool and is a differential with just one per cent ownership
Back-to-back home games against Leeds and Southampton bode well with Villa currently unbeaten in three matches.
Dean Smith seems to have assembled a squad that can far and away do better than the incarnation that survived on the final day last season and that makes Villa a more attractive FPL option.
Goals and assists will be a key part of the reason Barkley will be in the side and once he builds up a rapport with team-mates his points returns should build up also.
One to watch for sure but if a Villa differential is what you need for the weekend, I prefer Barkley than, say, John McGinn.
Mateusz Klich (Leeds) – £5.6m [Selected by 7.8%]
Leeds have been great fun in the opening games of the season and something about Mateusz Klich has caught my eye.
He has produced two nine-point hauls and with Wolves, Aston Villa, Leicester and Crystal Palace in the next four games, Marcelo Bielsa’s side will expect plenty of chances – and therefore plenty of points.
Klich taking penalties is a real boost to Fantasy managers and aiming to have as many set-piece takers as possible in a side proved sensible for Jorginho owners in the last weekend as he bagged twice from the spot (much to the annoyance of team-mate Tammy Abraham.
Leeds are always busy and while they have a number of players who could shine, Klich has started every league game so far in their tried and tested 4-1-4-1 formation. A good budget option in the middle of the park.
Mateusz Klich takes penalties and given he is a regular starter he represents very good value
Son Heung-min (Tottenham) – £9.1m
I held my nerve after he was hooked at half-time and boy did it pay off at Old Trafford.
The South Korean continues to be a breath of fresh air and is thriving right now under Jose Mourinho.
His brace against Manchester United was brilliant and his confidence, even returning from a hamstring issue, summed up his fine start to the campaign.
Son is the highest scoring player in Fantasy so far this season. Along with his 18-point haul at Old Trafford, he hit four in that ruthless display against Southampton last month, finishing with 24 points.
Son Heung-min’s performance at Manchester United got tongues wagging across Fantasy
So to see it announced that he is the most-bought player by Fantasy managers this week is no real surprise.
More than one million have moved heaven and earth to place him in their midfield ahead of the weekend.
Those that are steering clear I can understand. West Ham have picked up, impressive wins over Wolves and Leicester should not be brushed aside lightly, but Son is bordering on purple patch territory if he picks up where he left off.
The Hammers are a particularly good match-up for Son and that has played into my thinking for my own captaincy selection.
He has four goals and four assists in the last six games against them.
Harry Kane has impressed and makes another good option but with Gareth Bale preparing to enter the fold now he is up to fitness, Son is where the armband is going for my team this week and I would strongly advise you to follow suit.
Son looks in fine form and his record against West Ham is very interesting for Fantasy bosses
Team of the Week
Aston Villa again proved they are not in the mood to pump the brakes on their fast start to the season and they produced the big hitters in the Team of the Week.
Grealish and Watkins were the two top performing players of the round of games and managers who possessed both were left boasting about a combined points return of 43 which, against champions Liverpool, seemed unimaginable.
Chelsea finished with three players in the TOTW – the most for any one team – while Tottenham had Kane and Son make the cut.
Alex McCarthy got the nod in goal following his shut-out in Southampton’s 2-0 win over West Brom.