This week in FPL – GW3

Every week, we’ll be recapping the weekend’s action by highlighting some of our star performers, rehashing the highs (and of course, the lows) of the FPL slate, and underlining some key things to look out for heading into the following Gameweek…

The Bulletin Board

Aguerö banished…

Splinters

Guardiola’s unpredictability may be renowned in fantasy circles, but even so – I don’t think many of us saw this coming. One week on from pulling strike partner Gabriel Jesus at halftime, Pep’s favour swung back towards the Brazilian at the expense of Sergio “Kun” Aguerö. Kun’s place among the substitutes was a grim sight for his 600,000 owners – worse still, a single point off the bench meant that Aguero’s captainers were denied the opportunity to be salvaged by an automatic armband switch.

After scoring in Manchester City’s season opener, that is now two straight blanks for the Argentinean forward. Tough as it may seem to acknowledge (particularly given City’s appealing slate of fixtures over the next month), Aguerö’s fantasy relevance seems to be extremely limited moving forward.

Captaincy fails abound…

We didn’t see this

With a single point, Aguerö’s somehow still managed to outscore his crosstown captaincy rival. Backed by over a million FPL managers with the armband following successive scoring games to open the campaign, Romelu Lukaku blanked – and missed a penalty – in Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over Leicester. A bitterly disappointing 0 points was the result.

At Wembley, meanwhile, those of us who captained Harry Kane were treated to an equally exasperating afternoon. Though the Englishman racked up 10 shots on goal (bringing his tally to an unbelievable 24 for the year; 10 more than his nearest competitor), it was a third successive game without attacking returns for the forward.

With tough Gameweek 4 fixtures for Manchester City, Liverpool, and Spurs, promising captaincy options seem thin on the ground. Last week’s showing has done nothing for our confidence in making the right call on this ever-important decision.

Rampant Liverpool…

Salol @ sellers

A 4-0 demolition of Arsenal will surely have delighted Liverpool fans, but it would seem that the real winners here are fantasy managers. Attacking returns from each of the side’s attacking trio – Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané, and Mohamed Salah – highlighted Liverpool as a budding source of FPL points in the coming weeks. Salah’s performance (1 goal, 1 assist) stung a little in WGTA headquarters, however – Tom, Matt & I all waved farewell to the Egyptian after he had dropped to the bench in Gameweek 2, only to be burned one week on. Nick (plus our web designer Marco) was able to gloat readily, as he did on the pod with Tom this week. What odds that we find ourselves backtracking in advance of Gameweek 4?

The transfer window…

Oh boy

Despite promising much, the transfer window actually delivered very little to excite FPL managers, with the key stories being very much more about who didn’t move than who did, with Alexis Sanchez, Phil Coutinho and Virgil Van Dijk all remaining at their respective clubs.

Arsenal and Liverpool’s retention of their South American stars ensures that they will probably come back into contention before long, with a strong trio of fixtures from GW6 in the shape of WBA BHA wat for Sanchez and, for Liverpool, the rampancy surely to be complemented by Coutinho’s return. The bevvy of options available to FPL managers widens yet more…

For Van Dijk, the picture is interesting because of the knock-on impact it has on other defensive assets in Pellegrino’s side. One of Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens, who were the favoured pair last season in the big Dutchman’s absence, will surely be supplanted by the return of Van Dijk to the side if/when he is reintegrated, with new signing Wesley Hoedt also looking to make his mark after joining from Lazio. Could it be that Pellegrino eventually goes double Dutch in defence, leaving our two budget heroes from last season on the bench?

The Hero

Sadio Mané. That’s three goals in as many games now for Mané, whose consistent returns have made him a much sought-after fantasy asset. The Senegalese international has risen in price once already this week (from 9.5 to 9.6), and may do so again before the GW4 deadline. The underlying numbers appear strong, too – Mané has registered 10 shots in the box already this season, trailing only his teammate Salah (11) among midfielders. With figures like those, Liverpool assets are surely too good to be ignored.

The Zero

Harry Kane. Again? Really? It’s back to the naughty step once more for Harry Kane, whose mind-boggling run of blanks continues. As we’ve touched on already, Kane’s shot volume dwarfs all PL competition – he has taken almost twice as many shots as second-ranked Romelu Lukaku through three games. One positive note for his long-suffering owners – Kane’s fixtures during Gameweeks 5-8 are spectacular, with road trips to West Ham and Huddersfield sandwiched between home stands against Swansea and Bournemouth. We can only hope that Kane is able to find his feet in time to take full advantage of such a slate…

Next week’s one to watch

Jumping out at us

With Premier League football having abandoned us for the first international break of the season, the countdown to Gameweek 4 already feels eternal.

I’ve been filling my time rewatching West Brom’s opening matches (because who wouldn’t, if given the chance?) and have come away impressed with the form of Jay Rodriguez. The Englishman opened his account for the Baggies in Gameweek 3 with a strike against Stoke City.

Though Rodriguez has often found himself occupying wider spaces, his predatory instincts have nonetheless come to the fore. With 7 shots in the box through three weeks, Rodriguez is tied for third among FPL forwards; and given an attractive matchup against Brighton in Gameweek 4, J-Rod could find him in among the points once more.

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