Anthony O'Shea

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Stag’s Take - Gameweek 4

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Stag’s Take – Gameweek 4

 

 

Are you feeling refreshed after the international break? I can resolutely state that I, for one, certainly am. FPL can be a thought vacuum if you let it, and I believe that letting it overconsume your thoughts leads to more rash decisions - but of course everyone’s different, maybe you’re different. Instead, I become a full-time Ireland supporter for the international break, slowly putting pins into my eyes as we self-destruct when World Cup qualification was almost in our grasp. I digress, back to FPL…

 

 

Liverpool’s front three

 

Gameweek 3 was the first weekend where my own personal side was derailed a little, mostly due to my lack of cover from Liverpool’s attacking trident of Firmino, Mané, and especially Mo Salah. Just a few short weeks ago, I preached restraint with Salah – he has already shown enough to cause a U-turn. The Reds’ clear cut victory over Arsenal was a joy to behold and the margin of victory could well have been even larger - that’s how dreadful Wenger’s men were. If I were to pick one of the three I now, I would edge towards Salah. Klopp has hopefully come to the same conclusion as me after benching the Egyptian in Gameweek 2 – it’s not a good idea (at least before Coutinho is back 100% and Ox settles) – and thus I’m pretty confident he will get game time. However more importantly, the former Chelsea and Fiorentina man’s underlying stats highlight his high ceiling relative to his teammates.

 

Salah and Mané are Liverpool’s true goal threats from open play, not Firmino as is the misconception due to his classification as a forward. Salah and Mané have both had more shots and shots on target than the Brazilian (Shots: 12 v 10 v 9 SoT: 8 v 7 v 4), with Firmino being asked to drop back and set up the two wingers. This is one of the main reasons why Salah has completed just 13 passes in the final third, he is receiving and not creating. In comparison, Firmino has 29 and Mané surprisingly leads with 45. The reason I don’t fancy Mané is that much of his time in possession is spent contributing to the build-up or out wide, thus he has the most crosses of the trio with 7 (Salah 4 and Firmino just 2) and has just had three attempted assists thus far. Firmino’s playmaking role is again underlined by the fact that he has the most attempted assists of all three (6). For the record, Salah has had just 2.

 

Firmino is a great third striker option if you have the budget to afford him, though we may be deluded to expect a huge amount of goals from open play from him – spot-kick duty is his saving grace. Meanwhile Mané is being asked to contribute in many ways by Klopp. With Salah’s primary role in the attacking trio being to score goals and because he is 0.6 cheaper than Mané at the time of writing, I now favour him.

 

 

Further Gameweek 3 thoughts

 

Manchester United continued their superb start to the season against Leicester, this time winning ugly thanks to the contribution of substitutes rather than just stupendous attacking. Destructing a parked bus like Shakespeare’s at Old Trafford bodes well for José’s men’s upcoming campaign and will be a major confidence boost after their home struggles last season.  Chelsea showed their steel in brushing aside Everton too with Morata playing a starring role.

 

Man City’s unfathomable struggles continued against Bournemouth. Aguero and Jesus are yet to hit form this campaign and KdB’s irritatingly deep position has seen his fire-sale continue. The adjective unfathomable could also describe Spurs’ continued malaise at home – hopefully Harry Kane’s international break brace against Malta once the calendar ticked into September will give Pochettino confidence that his talisman’s struggles are left behind in August. Kane has had more efforts on goal and shots on target that any other PL player thus far in 2017/18.

 

Looking at the “lesser” teams, Newcastle finally got their season up and running at home to hapless West Ham. 4.0m defensive favourite Chancel Mbemba romped home with 9 points while Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu finally rewarded their faithful owners with assists. Mbemba was hauled off after scoring on international duty with the Congo and is sidelined for GW4 and beyond. If you’re wildcarding, unfortunately the wheels have already detached from this bandwagon.

 

Huddersfield and Southampton’s scoreless draw was not easy viewing for Saints fans. The Terriers had the best of the chances on the day though the upside to that is that Southampton’s defence held firm. Manolo Gabbiadini has just one more week in my team before he faces the axe, probably to permit me to do a double transfer to get in Liverpool attacking cover. Perhaps I’ll also pick up Joselu, who scored his first for Newcastle in their win over the Hammers. He looks to be a good low-value enabler. I like what I’ve seen in the PL so far and he had a solid pre-season before he departed Stoke. The Magpies have one of the kindest fixture sets on the horizon, as do West Ham and Swansea.

 

As for final moves of the transfer window, I recommend a boring “wait and see” approach with all of them. In my opinion, the greatest headache of all was created by Gibbs joining West Brom – who will start in the long run? Is Dawson’s right-back slot under threat? Don’t be rash, just hang tight!

 

 

 

Captaincy Corner

 

 

The Safe Bet

 

Romelu Lukaku (Stoke City A)

 

The repetition of Lukaku as first pick is getting a bit ridiculous, I know, but United’s fixtures, Rom’s form and the abundance of opportunities which continue to be afforded to him mean that he can’t be ignored. There’s also the small matter that the vast majority of teams that have him (58.1%) will captain him away to Stoke City even though their defence has given a good account of itself so far this season.

 

The Gameweek 3 blip against Leicester, where Lukaku missed a penalty, may see the Belgian stripped of spot-kick duties should another chance arise however that shouldn’t deter you from giving him the armband – he still has three goals in three games this term. His recent international break gives cause for optimism too, with a hat-trick against Gibraltar followed up by a strike against Greece in Athens.

 

 

The low-risk alternative

 

Alvaro Morata (Leicester A)

 

Morata has ghosted his way to being the second highest scoring forward in FPL thus far. He has completed a goal and assist combo on two occasions already in just 188 minutes of play, sprinkled with 5 bonus points to boot. The fact that all these attacking returns have come using his head is actually encouraging for GW4, given that Craig Shakespeare described set-plays as his side’s Achilles Heel in the wake of the Man Utd defeat.

 

Like Lukaku, Morata also had a fruitful international break, stomping on minnows Luxembourg with a brace and a couple of assists while also getting on the scoresheet against titans Italy.

 

 

The “screw it I’m too far behind already” choice

 

Alexandre Lacazette (Bournemouth H)

 

Yes, yes, Arsenal’s record transfer striker isn’t the usual budget option I provide here but I have chosen the Frenchman as an option for all those deploying their Wildcard at the moment.

 

Lacazette has looked sharp in his appearances for the fumbling Gunners thus far, scoring just once but getting in good positions. Perhaps he should try his luck a bit more and fire in more shots.

 

Regardless, the return of Alexis and the continued operation of the Mesut Ozil key pass factory means that “Laca” should get plenty of chances to get on the scoresheet.

 

 

 

Follow the entire Rotoworld Premier League team on Twitter: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag (me) | Ben | Galin | Nik |

 

Stag has been providing #FPL Tips since July 2015 and has been a contributor for Rotoworld.com since August 2016. He is a self-proclaimed wannabe fantasy football genius, a student, and die-hard tea enthusiast.

 

 






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