Welcome to AM's Players To Watch for Gameweek 5 of the 2019/2020 Premier League season. As long-time readers of my columns will know, the advice in seasons' gone by had revolved around games that would allow you to make unlimited transfers each gameweek, selecting an entirely new 11 players if you so wished. Unfortunately Yahoo Fantasy Premier League is a glorious but distant memory, as is Togga's Perfect XI game which inspired my previous Rotoworld column.
Starting in August 2018 I made a point of mixing things up by generalising the player recommendations given each week. So now, whether you're playing Official FPL, FPL/Fantrax Draft, Fantrax Salary Cap, Sky Sports, The Sun, The Telegraph or any number of other the fantasy games available to fans each season, I'll now be offering my top picks for the week ahead, mixing "must-haves" with hunch picks and players flying under the radar. Hopefully this will offer something for everyone, whether you're considering captain options, looking to make a transfer or picking up a free agent in draft.
It's certainly great to be back after the international break but before we look ahead let's take a quick look back on how we did in Gameweek 4. The recommendations were:
- Jamie Vardy (FW - Leicester v Bournemouth)
- Oleksandr Zinchenko (DF - Manchester City v Brighton)
- Mason Mount (MF - Chelsea v Sheffield United)
- Sébastien Haller (FW - West Ham v Norwich)
- Sadio Mané (MF - Liverpool @ Burnley)
- Captain Choice: Raheem Sterling (MF - Manchester City v Brighton)
Vardy bagged a brace, assist and maximum bonus points, while there were goals and BPS for Haller and Mane, while Zinchenko helped his side to a clean sheer. The only disappointment was a rare and unexpected blank for captain Sterling but overall it was a good week for the column. Let's keep the momentum going as we move in to Gameweek 5 ...
Saturday 14 September 2019
Liverpool v Newcastle
Brighton v Burnley
Man Utd v Leicester
Sheffield Utd v Southampton
Spurs v Crystal Palace
Wolves v Chelsea
Norwich v Man City
Sunday 15 September 2019
Bournemouth v Everton
Watford v Arsenal
Monday 16 September 2019
Aston Villa v West Ham
Gameweek 5 brings us another regulation 11:30am BST (British Summer Time) Saturday FPL deadline as Liverpool host Newcastle in the early kick off. As always we should focus on players from the teams that look set for comfortable wins, with goals and potential clean sheet points on the cards .... and so that first game will be the key one for GW5 with Liverpool assets across all positions worth considering. Manchester City will be expected to pick up three points from their trip to Norwich while Tottenham players will know they really have to beat Crystal Palace at home to avoid falling further behind the Top 4. The remaining fixtures should all be tightly contested affairs but we'll look to pick out a player or two who could act as a decent differential and help lift us up the rankings.
With that in mind, here are the players to keep in your thoughts ahead of Gameweek 5....
John McGinn (MF - Aston Villa v West Ham) - Villa may be sitting in the relegation zone but if you've watched them play this season there is no reason for Dean Smith and his players to panic. They were outstanding against Everton, the better side for much of the game against Spurs and were denied a deserved point at Palace despite playing for 40 minutes with 10 men. Jack Grealish has taken many of the media plaudits for these positive performances but John McGinn has been the man standing out for many observers. The Scottish international has a goal and assist to his name already and manager Smith has described him as "our most-potent goal threat". McGinn remains well priced in FPL at £5.6m and should play a pivotal role against West Ham on Monday night.
Ashley Barnes (FW - Burnley @ Brighton) - Nobody is saying Ashley Barnes will keep up his current form over 38 gameweeks but it perhaps flew slightly under the radar that the striker had a more-than decent 2018/19 campaign, ending it as Burnley's top goalscorer with a career-best 12 Premier League goals alongside three assists. Four goals in four games this season is a proper purple patch and has delighted all those fantasy managers smart enough to jump on the bandwagon early. The good news is it's not too late to join the ride for the next few weeks at least, as the Clarets face Brighton in Gameweek 5 followed by Norwich and Aston Villa in GW6 and GW7.
Lucas Digne (DF - Everton @ Bournemouth) - Liverpool's Andrew Robertson was close to nabbing the column's defensive spot this week but he's been pipped to the post by Merseyside rival Lucas Digne. Everton's attacking left-back already tops the charts for shots by defenders, has two assists in the league and scored a glorious free kick in the Carabao Cup two weeks' back. A trip to Bournemouth may look tricky on paper but the Cherries are once again struggling with their defensive discipline, conceding eight goals in their opening four games, and so Everton should be set for plenty of openings in attack including set piece opportunities. This is where Digne can prosper, to such an extent that it's doesn't matter too much that the Toffees are unlikely to keep a clean sheet.
Bernardo Silva (MF - Manchester City @ Norwich) - You don't need me to tell you that Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero are the optimal premium picks if you have the transfer funds, but I reckon there's a way to get in on the Manchester City attacking fantasy returns in GW5 without breaking the bank. Uncertainty regarding the starting status of Bernado Silva has seen the Portuguese midfielder's price drop to £7.8million in FPL but I'm convinced he'll get the start here after he was restricted to a run-out from the bench before the international break. B.Silva helped himself to 11 goals and eight assists in all competitions last season and is one of Pep Guardiola's most trusted men for games on the road so could prove a good value differential.
Harry Kane (FW - Tottenham v Crystal Palace) - Harry Kane is a player who thrives on confidence and the England captain will be feeling pretty good after his performances over the international break, notching a hattrick against Bulgaria last Saturday and a goal against Kosovo in midweek. One of the traits that makes Kane such a prolific striker is his pure selfishness in front of goal and after his blank in the disappointing home defeat to Newcastle in GW3 he'll be desperate to score in front of the home fans to keep the pressure on his rivals at the top of the scoring charts. With Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son all back in the fold to supply the chances it could prove a bumper weekend for Harry & Co.
Captain Choice: Mohamed Salah (MF - Liverpool v Newcastle) - I own Salah, Sterling and Aguero in FPL right now and so it came down to straight shootout between the three of them for the armband. A case could certainly be made for captaining a Man City attacker at Norwich but as is often the case, home advantage has tipped the scales in Salah's favour. The Egyptian’s explosive performance against Arsenal in GW3 was the perfect demonstration of what he can do when his tail is up in front of a raucous Anfield crowd and I expect him to add to his three goals and two assists racked up in the four Premier League matches so far.
That's it for Gameweek 5's Players to Watch. Check out the Rotoworld Features page to access a host of fantastic content to get you ready for the weekend. If you have any questions about a specific player or your own fantasy team then feel free to post them in the comments below or hit me on Twitter (@nikarg) and I will get back to you.
Thanks for reading - good luck to all managers this weekend and for the rest of the season!