GW5 served us several important reminders including 1) City are still favorites to win the league (even odds) and can be deadly when they click, 2) Palace are really bad, 3) Southampton have no issues keeping a clean sheet but cannot offensively scrap together a goal, 4) Liverpool could use Mane, 5) Burnley are outperforming expectations, and 6) Tottenham are playing away all season.
Heading into GW6, key fixtures that standout are: Man City vs. Crystal Palace (best vs. worst) and Arsenal vs. West Brom (Should be a one-sided affair but given the current state of Arsenal, we can barely tell ourselves #WengerInOut?).
Forwards: Aguero (C), Morata, Kane. Aguero – After delivering a hat-trick against Watford, King Kun reminds us that Aguero is still relevant. Bookies have him as a 4/1 favorite to win the golden boot at this point trailing behind Kane (7/2) and Romelu (3/1). This week’s matchup against Palace should be straight forward. Our only concern is if Pep decides that Palace are so bad, that they are unworthy of City fielding their best XI (note: City have a midweek fixture vs. WBA). Pep has clearly turned the ship in the last two games (with dominant performances over two mid/lower tier teams – yes, Liverpool and Watford). He has also illustrated that a two-up-top strategy followed by a tight Silva/KDB/Sterling is a workable format. The only thing that gives us some solace that Pep will retain much of the same squad is the fact that United managed to draw out a 4-0 win against Everton. United continues to nip at the toes of City, which will require both teams to play their best teams. The metropolitan of Manchester is witnessing some great football.
Morata (Stoke home to Chelsea). We’re including Morata in this week’s squad even in a bogey fixture against Stoke. With Hazard working his way back into the squad, we believe that Chelsea will only look better offensively in weeks to come. In their match against Arsenal, it was evident that Morata continues to work hard despite a relative lack of service. Pedro and Willian are generally unable to provide the same quality of service that is seen at the likes of City but we expect this to improve as Hazard gradually returns. Morata also doesn’t face nearly as much rotation risk as Lacazette while also being priced below top tier Kane/Lukaku/Aguero.
Kane. A disappointing week yet again with Harry unable to find the back of the net. Bookies still have him as second best odds for winning the golden boot but the slow start and high price tag has many FPL managers worrying about production. Tottenham looked distracted and failed to capitalize on bouts of flashiness. Kane & Co. saw their best chances in the second half (Kane struck the crossbar) though failed to deliver and only managed to walk away with a point. Heading into West Ham, we are leaving Harry on the squad. West Ham continue to sit uncomfortably at the bottom of the table but do not look nearly as bad as they did in the first 3 weeks of the season. It could be worse, they could be Palace.
Salah, Mkhitaryan, David Silva, Cork. This week we think Salah (aka Salad), Mkhitaryan, and Silva are poised to outperform. With Mane out, Liverpool’s production as a whole has undoubtedly suffered. Coutinho is back in the side, but he is still on his way to returning to form. We did think Coutinho played considerably better than Firmino, and it is evident that whenever Sturridge is playing in the striker role, Firmino’s fantasy upside suffers. Sitting on the right side is just not conducive to scoring FPL points. On the bright side, Liverpool had 35 attempts on goal, which is a disgusting amount. This is what you want to see in FPL. The flip side is only Salah was able to convert one of those situations. Pundits tend to knock Salah because he takes a lot of shots, many of which are reckless and prayers. This tends to cost him when it comes to BPS, as the scoring system favors accuracy. In our view, it is better that he is selfish and takes these opportunities. You can’t score unless you take a shot.
Mkhitaryan and Silva are our low 8.0 range picks for this week. In the ideal world, everyone would like KDB as he plays as the center piece behind Jesus and Aguero but from a budgeting standpoint it is hard to make him work. Mkhitaryan continues to play in an attacking-midfield position as Fellaini fills the void that Pogba left. The goal that he managed to score over the weekend was a direct result of his positioning and being set in an up top position almost flat to where Lukaku was playing. This will continue to payoff in FPL over time. David Silva should provide some City coverage as they go into the best fixture of the season. You will need Man City players this week if history and bookies are any indication.
Burnley are worth a mention. Cork in this case is just cannon fodder at his low price tag. In reality only real choices are Brady, and/or Wood/Vokes. It’s hard to pick between the strikers because it feels like whoever has the hot hand will start. Wood has scored in two of three matches but failed to do so over the weekend. This may mean he is set to sit on the bench as Vokes returns to his rightful position. As a whole though, Burnley have done extremely well considering their schedule and as they move into an easier fixture list there will be plenty of players to consider (almost like Newcastle’s Atsu/Ritchie).
Defensively – City and Arsenal have the easiest matchups this week and should have a better than 50% chance of keeping a clean. Crystal Palace have yet to score a goal this season and WBA are struggling offensively whilst relying on their defense to win (read: draw) games. A quick glance at how bad Palace are: Palace are without a goal in 450 minutes this season. They have failed to find the back of the net in six consecutive league games (includes last year) for the first since January 1995. It is also worth mentioning that over this time-period, they’ve had three managers – Sam Allardyce, Frank de Boer and Roy Hodgson. City should clean up nicely.