Southampton sit top of our Season Ticker for the next seven Gameweeks, enjoying home matches against Everton, Crystal Palace, Cardiff City and Fulham as well as making trips to Leicester City, Burnley and Arsenal.
For those Fantasy managers that place appealing fixtures towards the top of their priority list, then the Saints command attention from now until the end of February.
The eye-catching Fantasy assets on the Saints’ books are few and far between, however.
Danny Ings (£5.6m) is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury, while potential replacement Charlie Austin (£5.5m) was charged by the Football Association over an “abusive or insulting gesture” allegedly made during the defeat to Manchester City.
Austin and Shane Long (£4.7m) are far from convincing FPL options in attack regardless, with their ineffectual showings in the 2-2 draw with Derby County on Saturday yet more fuel to the argument that the pair aren’t quite at Premier League level.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.4m) has been a semi-popular bench fodder option in FPL this season and is another Saints player who is currently unavailable, having incurred a four-match ban following his dismissal in Gameweek 20.
The good news on that front is that Southampton’s hastily arranged third-round replay against Derby County on Wednesday week serves as one of the matches in which Hojbjerg will be sidelined for, meaning he will return for the Gameweek 23 visit of Everton.
Jan Bednarek (£3.9m) looks a decent budget punt in defence, having nailed down a starting spot and is seemingly secure of a centre-back berth in whatever system Ralph Hasenhuttl deploys in the coming weeks: the Polish defender has started all six Premier League fixtures under the new Saints boss and the unconvincing performance of Jack Stephens (£4.2m) on Saturday, coupled with the departure of Maya Yoshida (£4.1m) to the Asian Cup, means that viable alternatives are thin on the ground at centre-half.
It should be said, of course, that Gameweek 21’s unexpected clean sheet at Stamford Bridge was Southampton’s first shut-out in 11 matches: no Premier League side had hitherto been on a worse run since Gameweek 11.
It remains to be seen if that impressive rearguard display in west London was a flash in the pan or the start of something altogether more promising.
Chelsea didn’t create a single “big chance” in that goalless draw, though the subsequent departure of Yoshida could be a significant one to Southampton’s clean sheet prospects in the coming weeks.
The focus of this article is on attacking assets, however, and more specifically on two differential budget midfield options.
Ings aside, Stuart Armstrong (£5.1m) and Nathan Redmond (£5.2m) are perhaps the stand-out names in this Southampton side from an offensive perspective.
Having not registered a single attacking return all season until Mark Hughes’ dismissal, Redmond has two Premier League goals and as many assists since Hasenhuttl took charge, also registering a brace in the 2-2 draw with Derby on Saturday.
Armstrong missed that FA Cup third round tie with an ankle problem, though his manager talked in terms of “a rest” so it is assumed the Scottish midfielder’s injury isn’t serious.
Armstrong has yet to register an attacking return under Hasenhuttl but has played a key role since the Austrian took charge, starting in five of the six matches that the ex-RB Leipzig head coach has overseen (being rested for the visit of Manchester City with one eye on the Chelsea fixture).
The former Celtic player did hit a purple patch just before Hughes’ sacking, though, scoring three goals in two games against Fulham and Manchester United.
Members can read on for our analysis of both players from a Fantasy perspective.
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