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The FPL line-up lessons we learned from Gameweek 4

We take our regular look back at the Premier League line-ups from the weekend just gone, analysing the systems and personnel used by the 20 top-flight clubs and seeing what lessons could be learned ahead of Gameweek 5.

All the starting XI changes are based on alterations from the previous Premier League matches.

ARSENAL

Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac, Torreira (Ceballos 63′), Xhaka, Guendouzi, Pepe, Lacazette (Mkhitaryan 66′), Aubameyang.


Starting XI changes made: 3 (1 unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 8
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 0/3
Ever-present starters: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Guendouzi, Aubameyang.


Alexandre Lacazette, Lucas Torreira and Sead Kolasinac returned to Unai Emery’s starting XI, while Joe Willock and Dani Ceballos were dropped to the bench.

Kolasinac was brought in at left-back to replace Nacho Monreal, who had departed the club for Real Sociedad.

This was the fourth match in a row that Emery has gone with a back four, although there have been formation tweaks further forward.

The 4-4-2 diamond that Emery used at Liverpool became a 4-3-3 here, with three defensive-minded central midfielders deployed behind a front three of Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe.

Lacazette was the central striker, with Aubemeyang on the left flank and Pepe on the opposite wing.

If Emery wants to play that potent front three in tougher matches, then there will perhaps be no room for the likes of Ceballos or Mesut Ozil.

The 4-3-3 can easily become a 4-2-3-1 in ‘easier’ fixtures (of which Arsenal have plenty in the coming months), so we may see someone like Torreira make way in order for the more creative Ceballos or Ozil to return to the side.

ASTON VILLA

Aston Villa XI (4-1-4-1): Heaton; Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Taylor; Douglas Luiz (Hourihane 75′); McGinn, Grealish, Jota (Davis 59′), Trezeguet; Wesley (Lansbury 85′).


Starting XI changes made: 0
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 3
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 1/3
Ever-present starters: Heaton, Taylor, Mings, Engels, McGinn, Grealish, Trezeguet, Wesley.


After the Gameweek 3 victory over Everton, Dean Smith named an unchanged side for the trip to Selhurst Park.

Smith will be forced into at least one alteration in Gameweek 5, with Trezeguet having been sent off for two bookable offences.

The Egyptian’s dismissal saw Jota sacrificed for striker Keinan Davis, as Smith reorganised his troops into a 4-3-2.

Anwar El Ghazi would be the obvious replacement for Trezeguet on the left flank against West Ham.

BOURNEMOUTH

Bournemouth XI (4-4-2): Ramsdale; Aké, S Cook, Mepham, A Smith (Ibe 64′); Fraser, Lerma, Billing, H Wilson (Solanke 64′); C Wilson, J King (Surman 79′).


Starting XI changes made: 1 (enforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 4
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 0/3
Ever-present starters: Ramsdale, Aké, S Cook, A Smith, Fraser, Billing, Lerma, King, C Wilson.


Harry Wilson came in for the sidelined Charlie Daniels in the only change from the starting XI that lined up against Manchester City.

Wilson’s promotion to the team meant that the Cherries were back in a 4-4-2 as expected, with the former Liverpool winger and Ryan Fraser providing the width behind a front two of Josh King and Callum Wilson.

With Daniels and Lloyd Kelly both injured, Nathan Ake was moved over to left-back and Chris Mepham partnered Steve Cook at the heart of the defence.

That was a considerable snub to Diego Rico, who was only among the substitutes, and perhaps sums up where the budget FPL defender lies in Eddie Howe’s plans.

There is a possibility that Howe would plump for an attack-minded full-back like Rico in more ‘winnable’ home fixtures (an away match against Leicester is a real test these days) but Kelly’s injury isn’t too serious and the summer signing from Bristol City should be back in the reckoning soon.

BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION

Brighton XI (3-4-3): Ryan; Webster, Dunk, Burn; Montoya, Propper, Stephens, Bernardo (Murray 67′); Maupay (Connolly 67′), March, Trossard (Gross 74′).


Starting XI changes made: 2 (1 unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 5
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 0/3
Ever-present starters: Ryan, Burn, Dunk, March, Stephens, Pröpper, Montoya.


Graham Potter made two intriguing changes for the trip to the Etihad.

Summer signing Adam Webster was brought in at centre-half in place of the benched Shane Duffy, while the suspended – and now loaned-out – Florin Andone was replaced by Bernardo.

Bernardo was brought in at left wing-back, which meant that Solly March was pushed further forward into the right of a front three alongside left-winger Leandro Trossard and central striker Neal Maupay.

Bernardo, a more orthodox full-back than March, may well be used on the left flank in more difficult games ahead.

Webster is perhaps more comfortable in possession than the old-school Duffy and, as Potter wants his centre-backs to be able to play out from defence, the Irish international’s starts suddenly don’t look so secure – although he may well be back in the reckoning for the more agricultural test against Burnley in Gameweek 5.

With Andone and Locadia now having departed the club on loan, Maupay and Trossard have less competition up top – but Glenn Murray and Pascal Gross are, of course, still alternatives in attack.

BURNLEY

Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Barnes (Rodriguez 72′), Wood.


Starting XI changes made: 1 (enforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 1
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 2/3
Ever-present starters: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Barnes, Wood.


Sean Dyche’s first starting XI change of the season was an enforced one, with Aaron Lennon replacing the injured Johann Berg Gudmundsson on the right flank.

Burnley were otherwise unchanged for the fourth game running, with Dyche again rolling out a 4-4-2 despite the calibre of the opposition.

Gudmundsson is still touch-and-go for Gameweek 5, while Dwight McNeil has since pulled out of the England under-21 squad with a minor injury.

CHELSEA

Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Tomori, Zouma, Emerson; Kovacic (Batshuayi 83′), Jorginho; Pulisic, Barkley (Willian 60′), Mount; Abraham (Gilmour 83′).


Starting XI changes made: 1 (unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 7
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 0/3
Ever-present starters: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Emerson, Jorginho, Mount


Frank Lampard’s only change saw Fikayo Tomori replace Andreas Christensen at centre-half.

That meant that Ross Barkley again featured in ‘the hole’, with Mason Mount again stationed on the left flank and Cristian Pulisic deputising for the injured Pedro on the right of a 4-2-3-1 – the same system the Blues’ boss has used in the league all season.

Competition could be fierce after the international break with Pedro, Antonio Rudiger, N’Golo Kante, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi all closing in on a return after injury.

Cesar Azpilicueta hasn’t impressed this season and could be a medium-term risk at right-back with James almost fit, while Barkley looks in danger too given that Mount – a clear favourite of Lampard’s – can be moved inside to the number ten role to accommodate the likes of Pedro, Hudson-Odoi or Willian out wide.

The commencement of the Champions League group stage after Gameweek 5 also adds to the uncertainty in west London.

Tammy Abraham scored another brace and now looks to have established himself as his manager’s first-choice striker.

CRYSTAL PALACE

Crystal Palace XI (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Kelly (Sakho 79′), Cahill, Van Aanholt; McArthur, Kouyate, Milivojevic; Schlupp (Townsend 84′), Zaha, Ayew (Benteke 86′).


Starting XI changes made: 0
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 5
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 1/3
Ever-present starters: Guaita, Ward, Kelly, van Aanholt, Milivojevic, McArthur.


Roy Hodgson named the same starting XI that beat Manchester United in Gameweek 3, with Jordan Ayew again leading a three-man attack and Wilfried Zaha stationed on the right wing.

While Hodgson will be tempted to stick with the same back four that has conceded fewer goals than any other Premier League side, he may have a welcome selection headache in defence.

Mamadou Sakho got his first competitive minutes of 2019/20 as a substitute for budget FPL defender Martin Kelly, who limped from the field of play with an as yet undiagnosed problem.

James Tomkins is set for a return soon, too, while Gary Cahill had a fine game on his second Palace start.

Kelly’s run in the first team, then, may soon be coming to an end.

EVERTON

Everton XI (4-2-3-1): Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, André Gomes, Delph, Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Iwobi (Bernard 76′), Kean (Calvert-Lewin 76′).


Starting XI changes made: 3 (all unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 5
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 0/3
Ever-present starters: Pickford, Digne, Mina, Keane, Coleman, Gomes, Sigurdsson, Richarlison.


Marco Silva handed full league debuts to three of his summer signings, with Moise Kean, Alex Iwobi and Fabian Delph replacing the benched Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Bernard and Morgan Schneiderlin.

Delph and Iwobi both impressed and their respective roles may be theirs to lose now, although Kean – understandably – still looked a little rusty up front.

Everton’s back four appear relatively settled and are all still ever-presents, with Djibril Sidibe not yet tasting a single minute of Premier League football.

LEICESTER CITY

Leicester City XI (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Chilwell, Söyüncü, Evans, Pereira; Ndidi; Barnes (Choudhury 71′), Maddison (Fuchs 86′), Tielemans, Albrighton (Gray 64′); Vardy.


Starting XI changes made: 4 (all unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 6
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 0/3
Ever-present starters: Schmeichel, Pereira, Soyuncu, Evans, Tielemans, Vardy, Maddison.


Brendan Rodgers made four changes to the Leicester side that unconvincingly beat Sheffield United, with Wilfred Ndidi, Marc Albrighton, Harvey Barnes and the fit-again Ben Chilwell replacing the benched Hamza Choudhury, Dennis Praet, Ayoze Perez and Christian Fuchs.

Those changes saw Albrighton and Barnes take over on the right and left flanks respectively, with James Maddison moving infield alongside Youri Tielemans in Rodgers’ now-familiar a 4-1-4-1.

With Manchester United and Spurs up next, we can perhaps expect to see Choudhury return alongside Ndidi in central midfield; Rodgers has used two defensive midfielders in all of the games against ‘big six’ sides since he took over at Leicester.

Barnes would perhaps make way in that scenario, with Maddison reverting to a left-wing position to accommodate Choudhury’s return in the centre.

Perez failed to even make it off the bench against Bournemouth so there are no guarantees of his return at Old Trafford, although his impressive record for making recoveries, interceptions and tackles (the most of each among FPL forwards in 2018/19) could seem him reinstated in tough away games.

LIVERPOOL

Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson (Oxlade-Chamberlain 70′), Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino (Shaqiri 84′), Mane (Origi 84′).


Starting XI changes made: 0
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 7
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 1/3
Ever-present starters: Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Firmino, Salah.


For the first time this season, Jurgen Klopp named an unchanged starting XI as the Reds visited Turf Moor.

The Reds’ familiar 4-3-3 system was again used and looks as settled as ever.

This could be the calm before the storm, though, with the Champions League getting underway after the international break.

Speaking before Gameweek 5, Klopp said of his squad:

We need them all, we need them all 100%. It is the very first part of the season, the first four Premier League games, and we had a busier schedule than other teams but still not that busy during the week.

That will all come afterwards, so no reason for resting players at the moment. It is about finding rhythm, finding the mood again, that we do the right things in the right moment. It is not the moment for a lot of changes.

After this international break, that will change completely. In the moment, the defensive set-up or whatever, as always, it is about who is in the best shape.

We have had a full week to train and when the boys won the last game and showed me then that they are still in their best possible shape, then we will only think about a couple of really small changes.

MANCHESTER CITY

Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte (Fernandinho 37′), Zinchenko; De Bruyne (Gundogan 70′), Rodrigo, David Silva (Bernardo Silva 79′); Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling.


Starting XI changes made: 2 (unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 7
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 0/3
Ever-present starters: Ederson, Zinchenko, Laporte, Walker, De Bruyne, Sterling.


Pep Guardiola made two changes to his starting XI, with Rodri and Riyad Mahrez replacing Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva in like-for-like swaps in central midfield and on the right flank.

Bernardo has now been benched twice in the league this season, with Mahrez deputising on both occasions.

Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are the only ever-present midfielders or forwards after four Gameweeks, although there were match-fitness issues behind Aguero’s benching on the opening weekend.

A serious injury to Aymeric Laporte saw Fernandinho brought on to play alongside Nicolas Otamendi at centre-half, with John Stones himself sidelined because of a thigh problem.

We discuss the implications of Laporte’s injury in a separate article here.

Oleksandr Zinchenko and Kyle Walker are ever-presents in the full-back positions but Benjamin Mendy is nearing a return and Pep Guardiola said ahead of Gameweek 4 that Joao Cancelo will play more of a part after the international break, so Walker and Zinchenko will perhaps soon face the threat of rotation.

Guardiola said of Cancelo:

When we come back from the international break, we have Norwich, after three days, we have to travel to Ukraine, after three days we have a game here, then Carabao Cup. Start the real season in terms of a lot of games.

Joao, we’re delighted what we have seen but arrived late so was not in pre-season. Joao started to understand what to do. And now, maybe tomorrow, maybe after the international break, he start to play. He has to be ready.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Young, Lindelof, Maguire; McTominay (Greenwood 82′), Pogba; Periera (Lingard 68′), Mata (Matic 68′), James; Rashford.


Starting XI changes made: 3 (1 unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 4
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 1/3
Ever-present starters: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Pogba, McTominay, Rashford.


Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw were ruled out of Gameweek 4 through injury, while Jesse Lingard was demoted to the bench.

Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira and Ashley Young took their places.

Young was a direct replacement for Shaw at left-back but Martial’s absence saw Marcus Rashford move from the left flank to the centre-forward role.

Pereira (right) and Mata (centre) joined Daniel James (left) in the three attacking midfield positions behind Rashford, with James switching flanks from where he started against Crystal Palace.

James has now scored twice in as many Gameweeks from the left wing, having moved there halfway through the defeat to the Eagles.

As we anticipated before the season started, changes look the likeliest in the midfield trident behind the striker – James, Pereira, Mata and Lingard have all been on bench duty at least once this season, although it’s probably fair to say that the in-form James has the upper hand over his positional rivals currently.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hasn’t made one unenforced change to the seven positions behind the front four, with Young for the injured Shaw his first alteration in defence.

Ahead of Saturday’s game, Solskjaer said Mason Greenwood would be one of his striking options this season:

I’m trusting Anthony, Marcus and Mason to be our centre-forwards. We’ve got wingers in Chongy, Dan James and Pereira, we’ve got loads of options.

Mason is not used to playing as little as he is at the moment. He’s used to playing every week for the reserves or under-18s. He won’t be expected to play five games on the bounce, he’s a covering option behind Anthony and Marcus.

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Newcastle United XI (5-4-1): Dúbravka; Willems, Dummett, Lascelles, Schär (Fernández 85′), Krafth (Manquillo 78′); Atsu (Muto 82′), S Longstaff, Hayden, Almirón; Joelinton.


Starting XI changes made: 2 (both enforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 6
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 0/3
Ever-present starters: Dúbravka, Dummett, Lascelles, Schär, Hayden, Almirón, Joelinton.


Steve Bruce made two changes to the team that beat Spurs, both of which were enforced: Jetro Willems and Christian Atsu replacing the injured Matt Ritchie and Allan Saint-Maximin in like-for-like swaps.

The 3-5-2 that Bruce had initially started the season with has now given way to the 5-4-1/3-4-3 that Rafael Benitez favoured in 2018/19, with Atsu and Miguel Almiron on the left and right flanks respectively and Joelinton leading the line himself.

With Ritchie out for two months, United’s back five looks relatively settled for the time being. Emil Krafth appears to be the first choice over Javier Manquillo at right wing-back.

NORWICH CITY

Norwich City XI (4-2-3-1): Krul; Lewis, Godfrey, Zimmermann (Amadou 36′), Aarons; Leitner, Trybull; Cantwell (McLean 78′), Stiepermann (Drmic 77′), Buendía; Pukki.


Starting XI changes made: 1 (enforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 2
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 1/3
Ever-present starters: Krul, Aarons, Godfrey, Lewis, Trybull, Cantwell, Stiepermann, Buendia, Pukki.


Daniel Farke has used a 4-2-3-1 in all four games this season and his two changes have both been enforced.

Gameweek 2 saw Moritz Leitner come in for Kenny McLean in the double-pivot, with the Scot – who had a back problem – only fit enough for a place on the bench.

Last Saturday, centre-half Christoph Zimmermann returned to action at the expense of the injured Grant Hanley but lasted only 36 minutes of his comeback before limping off with a foot problem.

Ibrahim Amadou, a defensive midfielder by trade, was forced to play alongside Ben Godfrey at centre-back for the remainder of the game.

Amadou will be on standby to deputise against Manchester City in Gameweek 5 but Farke is hoping to have two of his stoppers back by then.

On Saturday, he said:

Christoph needs a scan, and I hope it’s not too bad. Grant Hanley has a slight muscle injury and a question of maybe two or three weeks or even less until he’s back. Timm Klose is probably out for the season.

The break is coming at a good time, and we can hope there are no injuries while with their international teams. It’s also a chance to hopefully bring Christoph and Grant back in to team training but we have to wait and see.

Defensive midfielder Tom Trybull has since been ruled out for six weeks with an ankle injury, so Amadou – if not needed at centre-half – or Alex Tettey will likely fill in against Pep Guardiola’s troops.

SHEFFIELD UNITED

Sheffield United XI (3-5-2): Henderson; Basham (Osborn 84′), Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Freeman (Mousset 79′), Stevens; McBurnie (McGoldrick 63′), Robinson.


Starting XI changes made: 1 (unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 2
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 1/3
Ever-present starters: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Stevens, Robinson.


Chris Wilder made just one change to the United team that lost to Leicester City in Gameweek 3, with Oli McBurnie replacing David McGoldrick up front.

‘Out of position’ FPL midfielder Callum Robinson started his fourth successive league match as part of the two-man strike force.

On the subject of ‘OOP’ assets, FPL defender John Lundstram again lined up in his usual central midfield role, while Luke Freeman kept his place with John Fleck still not fit to return.

Wilder stuck with his usual 3-5-2.

The Blades’ manager’s comments in his pre-match presser last Thursday hinted that changes would fairly regular in attack but less so elsewhere:

Goalkeeper and defenders you really want to keep that settled and organised and maybe not so much in the middle of the park but especially at the top of the pitch, it’s important that you have different options. We have to look at different ways of playing.

SOUTHAMPTON

Southampton XI (4-2-2-2): Gunn; Cedric, Danso, Vestergaard, Bednarek; Romeu, Hojbjerg, Romeu; Ward-Prowse, Boufal (Armstrong 71′); Ings (Yoshida 77′), Adams (Long 62′).


Starting XI changes made: 2 (1 unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 6
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 0/3
Ever-present starters: Gunn, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Adams.


Ralph Hasenhuttl made two changes to the Saints team that defeated Brighton, with Sofiane Boufal and Cedric Soares replacing Yan Valery and the injured Nathan Redmond.

Centre-half Kevin Danso was again used as a left-back as Hasenhuttl rolled out a 4-2-2-2 formation for the second week running.

Ryan Bertrand‘s two-game absence has perhaps forced his hand, with no real deputy to play as a left wing-back – although the system is one Hasenhuttl favoured in his previous managerial role and is one that was trialled in pre-season.

With Redmond and Moussa Djenepo injured, Boufal was the man promoted to the starting XI to play alongside James Ward-Prowse in the two attacking midfield spots behind Danny Ings and Che Adams.

Danso’s dismissal means he will be suspended for Gameweek 5 and, if Bertrand hasn’t recovered, we could be treated to the sight of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg at left-back against Sheffield United – as happened in the EFL Cup last week.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1/4-2-2-2): Lloris, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Rose, Sissoko, Winks, Lamela (Alli 59′), Eriksen, Son (Lo Celso 79′), Kane.


Starting XI changes made: 2 (1 unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 5
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 0/3
Ever-present starters: Lloris, Rose, Sánchez, Alderweireld, Winks, Sissoko, Lamela, Kane.


Mauricio Pochettino made two changes from the side that were beaten 1-0 at home to Newcastle.

Christian Eriksen started in place of the benched Lucas Moura, while the injured Kyle Walker-Peters was replaced by Jan Vertonghen – meaning that Davinson Sanchez moved over to right-back.

Pochettino, like Emery, again eschewed a wing-back system for the fourth straight match and stuck with a back four.

The 4-2-3-1 looked more like 4-2-2-2 in possession, with Erik Lamela (right) and Eriksen (left) playing fairly narrow.

Son Heung-min got well forward to support Harry Kane in attack and was often in advance of the premium Spurs striker.

Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso got more minutes under their belt as substitutes and there will be plenty of competition for places in the Lilywhites’ midfield come Gameweek 5, with Lucas not even making it off the bench at the Emirates.

WATFORD

Watford XI (3-4-2-1): Foster; Cathcart, Kabasele, Dawson; Femenia, Cleverley, Doucouré (Chalobah 71′), Janmaat; Pereyra, Hughes (Success 71′); Gray (Deulofeu 82′).


Starting XI changes made: 3 (2 unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 6
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 0/3
Ever-present starters: Foster, Cathcart, Dawson, Femenia, Hughes, Doucouré.


Javi Gracia makes three changes to the side that lost at home to West Ham, with Daryl Janmaat, Christian Kabasele and Roberto Pereyra brought in at the expense of Gerard Deulofeu, Etienne Capoue and Jose Holebas.

Capoue was ill and unavailable but Deulofeu was benched for the first time this season and Holebas was omitted for what the Hornets called “tactical reasons”.

The personnel changes also led to a formation tweak with the 4-2-2-2/4-4-2 canned in favour of a wing-back system.

Watford themselves presented the line-up in a 3-5-2 upon the release of the teamsheets but the shape resembled more of a 3-4-2-1, with Will Hughes and Pereyra supporting Andre Gray in attack.

Kiko Femenia and Daryl Janmaat were the wing-backs in this set-up, with Femenia playing on the left flank.

Kabasele joined Craig Dawson and Craig Cathcart in a back three, meanwhile.

Gracia could easily continue with this shape in Gameweek 5, with Capoue perhaps replacing Tom Cleverley in central midfield.

Ismaila Sarr and Danny Welbeck – both unused substitutes on Tyneside – will be edging closer towards starts, however, while Gerard Deulofeu will be clamouring for a recall, too.

It remains to be seen, then, if Gracia will stick with a wing-back system or if last Saturday’s changes were merely rolled out to combat Newcastle’s similar shape and/or to tighten up at the back in away games: Watford are without a clean sheet in 16 Premier League matches.

WEST HAM UNITED

West Ham XI (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Masuaku, Ogbonna, Diop, Fredericks; Noble (C Sánchez 85′), Rice; Anderson (Fornals 88′), Lanzini, Yarmolenko (Snodgrass 71′); Haller.


Starting XI changes made: 0
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 9
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 1/3
Ever-present starters: Fabianski, Diop, Fredericks, Rice, Lanzini.


Manuel Pellegrini’s team selection was nice and straightforward last weekend, with the Chilean keeping the same starting XI that won at Watford.

Competition for places in attack has slightly eased over the last week, with Michail Antonio ruled out for up to four months with a hamstring problem and Javier Hernandez having left the club.

Jack Wilshere was absent from the bench again but not for fitness issues.

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

Wolves XI (3-5-2): Rui Patrício, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Traoré, Dendoncker, Neves (Neto 84′), Saïss (Moutinho 59′), Vinagre, Jiménez, Cutrone (Jota 68′).


Starting XI changes made: 5 (4 unenforced)
Total starting XI changes in 2019/20: 6
Unchanged starting XIs in 2019/20: 1/3
Ever-present starters: Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Neves, Jimenez


Following the benching of Leander Dendoncker in Gameweek 3, more popular Fantasy assets were the victims of Europa League-influenced rotation at Goodison Park.

Diogo Jota, Jonny and Joao Moutinho dropped to the bench along with Morgan Gibbs-White, while the injured Matt Doherty was absent and now faces a spell on the sidelines after having knee surgery.

Patrick Cutrone made his first Premier League start up front, while Romain Saiss, Leander Dendoncker, Adama Traore and Ruben Vinagre were all recalled.

Adama appears set for a run in the side with Doherty now unavailable, while Jesus Vallejo will likely replace the suspended Willy Boly in Gameweek 5.

Should Wolves progress to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, they will now play two games a week from now until 2020 (except during international breaks) – so rotation looks an ongoing threat.

Europa League group games precede Gameweeks 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 17.


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687 Comments Post a Comment
  1. The Overthinker
    • 2 Years
    9 days, 19 hours ago

    Kane to auba is so tempting

    1. Eat my goal!
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      9 days, 19 hours ago

      Pukki to Barnes is tempting

    2. Gregor
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 9 Years
      9 days, 19 hours ago

      Do it.

      1. The Overthinker
        • 2 Years
        9 days, 19 hours ago

        I'll try to hold.

        If Kane against palace fails, then will probably try hokey kokey with auba.

        Don't want to take any hits this week

        1. Gregor
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 9 Years
          9 days, 19 hours ago

          Ah, yeah probably not for a hit.

    3. Amey
      9 days, 19 hours ago

      Can't believe you're saying this 🙂
      One of the most vocal Kane admirer !

      1. The Overthinker
        • 2 Years
        9 days, 19 hours ago

        If it had been Kane the striker, I wouldn't have said this.

        But it's Kane the midfielder which is a big concern.

        1. Eat my goal!
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          9 days, 19 hours ago

          How is that different to last year?

          1. The Overthinker
            • 2 Years
            9 days, 19 hours ago

            Last year he was injured half the time. Never recovered.

            Plus after December, he was brilliant

            1. Eat my goal!
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              9 days, 19 hours ago

              True but he also played deep

              Despite that he was great over Christmas

              Kinda playing devils advocate here. You knew his positional play had adjusted yet you still brought him in so you must have confidence in his ability to return and his fixtures are still good?

              1. The Overthinker
                • 2 Years
                9 days, 19 hours ago

                Yup. And this is why I am holding him for next 3/4 weeks.

                Team almost back to full strength ( Alli, Eriksen will probably get more minutes)

                Would definitely not captain him , but yeah will hold and hope for the best

        2. Amey
          9 days, 19 hours ago

          Yep
          Auba till gw 8 then Vardy party 😉

          1. The Overthinker
            • 2 Years
            9 days, 19 hours ago

            Vardy is at a really good value even now.
            He loves these difficult fixtures

            1. Amey
              9 days, 19 hours ago

              Agreed.
              But Auba fixtures near fixtures are great imo
              Vardy's fixtures turn very well after gw 9.
              I have marked Haller to Vardy in that gw 🙂

    4. AndyCook
      • 2 Years
      9 days, 19 hours ago

      He’s just so wide so often, never feel like he is going to get a huge haul

  2. Robin Van Persie (C)
    • 1 Year
    9 days, 19 hours ago

    Thoughts on my Wildcard team?

    Pope Button
    TAA Otamendi Masuaku Lundstram Kelly
    Salah KDB Iwobi Cantwell Guendouzi
    Aguero Aubameyang Wood

    1. AndyCook
      • 2 Years
      9 days, 19 hours ago

      For me, your 11th player is too weak. I’d do Aubameyang to Vardy/Haller and out money into that player

  3. New post
  4. AnzhiBabakin (AKA: FC Akhma…
    • 3 Years
    9 days, 19 hours ago

    Jumped the gun too early to get TAA but fingers crossed it won't bite. What's the best play next week (after gw5) ?
    A. Dendoncker to Ceballos. Risk weak bench.
    B. Build fringe by Dendoncker to Cantwell (would be followed by Rico to Soyuncu soon).
    C. Look to hold.

    Pope
    TAA Digne Zinc Lundstram
    Mount Salah Sterling Kdb
    Haller Pukki
    Bench: Heaton Dendoncker Greenwood Rico (1.2itb)

    1. AndyCook
      • 2 Years
      9 days, 19 hours ago

      A if he shows anything in the next game (and plays)

  5. Chelsea91
    9 days, 19 hours ago

    Pope
    Lund,Matip,Zinc
    Salah,Sterling,Mane,Cantwell,KDB
    Pukki,Barnes

    How was the team? Any suggestion?