After a slow start for last week’s trio of differentials, we’re back ahead of Gameweek 2 on the lookout for the next low-owned bandwagon.
Several intriguing differential options emerged over the opening weekend.
The likes of Tariq Lamptey (£4.5m), Daniel Podence (£5.5m) and Jack Harrison (£5.5m) all impressed, but this week we’re turning to assets at Manchester City, Newcastle United and Leicester City.
As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.
- FPL ownership: 4.6%
- Price: £11.5m
- GW2-6 fixtures: wol | LEI | lee | ARS | whu
It feels strange to include a player like Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) in this section of our coverage, but the numbers don’t lie.
Despite registering an FPL score of 204 points in 2019/20, the England international comes into Gameweek 2 currently sitting in just 4.6% of squads. Let that sink in.
During Project Restart, Sterling led the way for goals (nine), which included a hat-trick at Brighton and Hove Albion, and expected goals (xG) per90 amongst midfielders, while his 10 big chances was only bettered by Michail Antonio (£6.5m). Five of his nine double-digit hauls arrived following the resumption, which ensured he outscored teammate Kevin De Bruyne (£11.5m) by 86 FPL points to 73. In comparison, his Belgian colleague is now in 30.9% of squads.
Ahead of a run of four away matches in their opening six fixtures, it’s also worth flagging Man City’s, and specifically Sterling’s form on the road last season. The Citizens scored 45 goals, which is six more than second placed Chelsea, and 12 more than Liverpool in third. Sterling also thrived on his travels – 70% of his league goals arrived during away games, while his 26 big chances in such matches was comfortably more than any other player.
Man City’s season begins at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, as they attempt to reclaim the Premier League title, before games against Leicester and Leeds United. Despite some tricky looking match-ups during that run, Sterling’s attacking output is up there with the best, and early investors could be rewarded with some huge differential hauls.
- FPL ownership: 1.0%
- Price: £6.0m
- GW2-6 fixtures: BHA | tot | BUR | MUN | wol
Ryan Fraser (£6.0m) didn’t enjoy the best of seasons on the South Coast last year. An underwhelming campaign saw him finish the season with a solitary goal, but I think it’s worth trying to understand why he struggled, while also casting our minds back to the season before last when Fraser was one of the most creative players in the league.
Last season’s issues aren’t easy to sum up. Back in January, he admitted “I didn’t play for the team” during the early part of the season, no doubt distracted by transfer speculation linking him with a move away. He also failed to play any part in Project Restart having declined a short-term contract extension.
Despite this, his expected assists (xA) per90 was still comfortably above that of any Bournemouth team-mate.
Now settled into a new, more positive environment, Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce will be hoping he can get return to the levels set in 2018/19, when he scored seven goals and provided 14 assists.
Encouragingly, and despite not playing much since March, Fraser made an instant impact on his debut on Wednesday night, when he scored the winning goal against Blackburn Rovers that helped send his team through to the next round of the Carabao Cup. 58 minutes were banked, and it’s now a question of when he’ll make his Premier League debut. This week might come too soon, so this is a move which does carry some risk, but he’s certainly in contention.
On Sunday, the Magpies entertain Brighton, full of confidence having beaten West Ham United in their opener. Their setup looked more balanced, we saw improvements at both ends, while in Callum Wilson (£6.5m) they finally have a fit forward who is capable of running in behind.
Fraser is an exciting footballer, who will be a genuine threat for Newcastle once up to speed, and could be a nice pick-up for those on the lookout for a midfield differential.
FPL ownership: 4.0%
GW2-6 fixtures: BUR | mci | WHU | AVL | ars
Timothy Castagne (£5.5m) showed some serious promise in his side’s 3-0 win at West Bromwich Albion in Gameweek 1.
The versatile full-back headed in Leicester City’s opener in a man of the match performance which saw him supply of all of the Foxes’ width down their right-side, and combine well with Spanish forward Ayoze Pérez (£6.5m).
Given they were without first-teamers Jonny Evans (£5.5m) and Ricardo Pereira (£6.0m), plus the recently departed Ben Chilwell (£5.5m), the Foxes’ defensive performance at the Hawthorns should be applauded, as they restricted West Brom to just three shots in the box, and an expected goal (xG) tally of 0.42.
Interestingly for FPL managers, Castagne has since suggested his full-back on the opposite flank, James Justin (£4.5m), was told not to advance so often to ensure there was enough defensive cover to allow him to join the attack at every opportunity. If that specific instruction from Brendan Rodgers were to continue, it would certainly make the Belgian a more enticing prospect, despite his £5.5m price tag.
Leicester’s fixtures between now and Gameweek 5 offers promise, with three home games against Burnley, West Ham and Aston Villa in the next four, while they also embark on a nice run from Gameweek 10 – 13.
Regardless of which side he’s deployed on, Castagne will be a threat whenever he goes forward, and owned by just 4.0% of squads, could help propel his owners up the FPL ranks.