Analysis

Fantasy Football – Six of the Best: Game Week 4

Written by Tamhas Woods

Chelsea new boy Pedro enjoyed a stellar debut at the Hawthorns in GW3, but there can be no doubt that the standout away performance of the weekend came in East London. Newly promoted Bournemouth emerged victorious in their first (and last) top flight visit to Upton Park with a cohesive display that fully backed the club’s Premier League credentials after a tough start to the season.

Statistically, Callum Wilson is currently the best striker in the league, and he will become a mainstream choice for managers within the next few weeks if he can maintain this level of form. Despite enjoying such a purple patch, Wilson remains an economically sound choice for now, and it is always worth including him if Bournemouth are at home and one of your star strikers is faced with tough opposition on the road.

GW4 is set to be an economically testing gameweek, as the holy quartet of Sterling, Toure, Silva and Aguero appear well set to continue Manchester City’s incredible start to the 2015/16 campaign.

Even the most conservative of pundits are predicting a rugby score for City over Watford at the Etihad Stadium. Certainly, it is of vital importance to include at least two of the aforementioned City players, even if it does mean sacrificing some star names from Spurs, Manchester United and/or Arsenal. All three of these teams face relatively tougher games this weekend.

More than any other game week thus far, GW4 will require you to delve even deeper to find a differential source of points once you have maxed out on City players. Here are some suggestions…

1/2/3.   Simon Mignolet, Joe Gomez & James Milner (vs West Ham)

Mignolet is coming back to form after enduring some chastening days between the sticks in 2014/15. Certainly, his performance at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night was a revelation to the now dwindling number of doubters.

Managers that currently have Romero in goal should consider replacing him with Mignolet, as Swansea are strong in the attack and pose a serious threat to Manchester United’s currently untarnished defensive record this weekend.

Likewise, those with Cech in goal are advised to swap him for Mignolet, as the Arsenal defence looked shaky and under-strength at times in the first half against Liverpool. This weekend they are faced with yet more powerful strikers in the shape of Papiss Cisse and Aleksandar Mitrović – on Monday night’s evidence, an Arsenal clean sheet at St James’ Park is a huge call.

Mignolet aside, the Liverpool defence itself appears to have gained an extra degree of solidarity over the summer – for that reason, it is perhaps worth maxing out on Liverpool’s backline, employing the services of Joe Gomez in addition to the ever-popular Nathan Clyne.

Though not yet surging in value, the Catford-born teenager produced a performance beyond his years at the Emirates Stadium, against Arsenal’s highly skilled attackers.

If you would rather hedge your bets and stick with just Mignolet and Clyne, then you should at least consider James Milner as an efficient addition to the midfield. He has performed consistently in the red jersey, producing mature (yet energetic) performances that have bolstered Liverpool’s steely determination in hard-fought midfield battles.

He is set to make in an impact yet again this weekend.

4/5. Xherdan Shaqiri & Mame Biram Diouf (vs West Brom)

As a club, West Brom remains a force in transition under Tony Pulis. After an inauspicious start to 2015/16, an improved display in the defeat against Chelsea will have given the Baggies some hope for better days in the near future.

That said, the very last thing a ‘work in progress’ needs is a trip to the Britannia Stadium, for a game against a Stoke City side that is set to play to the strengths of marquee signing Xherdan Shaqiri. Big performances are naturally expected from the Swiss star, who should flourish against a Baggies rearguard that has shipped six goals in three games.

The same applies to Mame Biram Diouf, who has been in fine form during the season’s opening month. He is a near-certainty to score in what is (along with Chelsea, City and Liverpool) one of several ‘home bankers’ this weekend.

6. Bacary Sagna (vs Watford)

In the event that you are unable to afford any of City’s key attackers or midfielders, then you should at least consider including a cheaper, yet equally efficient defender such as Bacary Sagna in your squad. His left wing counterpart Aleksandar Kolarov is surging in value, so Sagna is the economic (but equally viable) choice in GW4.

Like Kolarov, Sagna can provide an extra dimension to City’s attack this weekend – an assist is certainly possible. Additionally, the Watford players should not unduly trouble the Citizens’ rearguard, having failed to score against winless Southampton and West Brom in the last two games.

About the author

Tamhas Woods