After a disappointing start in Gameweek 1, we’re back on track having tipped Timothy Castagne (£5.6m) and Raheem Sterling (11.5m) last week.
This time, we’ve selected three differentials who are already off the mark this season, including two forwards who hit double figures last term, and a midfielder who we think is a viable alternative to community favourites Daniel Podence (£5.6m) and Phil Foden (£6.5m), without the rotation worries.
As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.
- FPL ownership: 3.0%
- Price: £9.5m
- GW3-7 fixtures: LEI | lee | ARS | whu | shu
With Sergio Agüero (£10.4m) still recovering from a knee injury, Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m) looks set for an extended run in Manchester City’s starting XI, which hands FPL managers a potentially explosive differential option.
Having undergone knee surgery back in June, Pep Guardiola confirmed last week that Agüero is yet to train with his team-mates and will require longer than other players to get back up to speed – potentially up to two months.
In his absence, Jesus will most likely be tasked with leading the line, and his statistics from last season highlight just how influential he can be.
His 101 shots, 92 of which arrived inside the box, and 34 big chances ranked second amongst all forwards, while of those who played a significant number of minutes, only Agüero could improve on his 0.78 expected goals (xG) per90. Despite, at times, being wasteful in front of goal, it demonstrates his ability to consistently get into good shooting positions.
Jesus was on the scoresheet in Manchester City’s first match of the season in Gameweek 2, as he returned deep into injury time in a 3-1 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Interestingly, Guardiola paired Rodri (5.5m) and Fernandinho (5.5m) up at the base of his midfield, with Foden, Kevin De Bruyne (£11.6m), Sterling and Jesus in front in a flexible 4-2-3-1, and it worked rather well. The Brazilian’s link up play, work rate and physicality stood out, while his two shots in the box matched that of Foden and De Bruyne.
Currently owned by just 3.0% of FPL managers, Jesus is a big differential who can provide a medium-term solution till Agüero returns from injury.
- FPL ownership: 2.5%
- Price: £6.0m
- GW3-7 fixtures: CHE | sou | BUR | bha | ful
Matheus Pereira (£6.0m) lit up the Championship last season, and finished the campaign with a total of eight goals and 16 assists.
116 chances created – more than any other player – and 111 shots over 42 appearances highlights his importance, but how will he fare in the Premier League?
Well, so far, pretty well, and it’s been a testing couple of weeks for newcomers West Bromwich Albion.
Already, Pereira has been involved in both of his side’s goals. He provided an assist for Grady Diangana’s (£5.5m) opener against Everton and also scored a superb free-kick in the same match. He also leads the way amongst team-mates for shots, chances created, final-third touches and take-ons, while offering multiple routes to points via set-pieces.
Last season, as the standout player in Albion’s attack, Pereira operated either as a number 10 in a 4-2-3-1 or out wide in a 4-3-3. However, this season, manager Slaven Bilić has mainly, and somewhat surprisingly, opted to use a back three system, which has seen the playmaker drift infield from his starting position on the right, with wing-back Daniel Furlong (£4.5m) offering width down that side. Whether or not this is a long-term solution, or simply to combat tough opposition, time will tell.
A Gameweek 3 home encounter at home to Chelsea is followed by a promising run of fixtures which sees the Baggies take on Southampton, Burnley, Brighton and Hove Albion and Fulham, and while this weekend’s matchup isn’t ideal, it’s worth pointing out the Blues have given up more chances down their left-side than any other zone in the opening two Gameweeks.
The likelihood is that West Brom will struggle this season, but if they can get Pereira on the ball often enough, they’re sure to create chances and score goals.
- FPL ownership: 2.2%
- Price: £6.5m
- GW3-7 fixtures: SOU | new | wba | TOT | CHE
2019/20 was the third season in a row that Chris Wood (£6.5m) has scored double figures in the Premier League.
The focal point of Burnley’s attack hit 14 goals in 29 starts, while only three forwards in the entire division registered more than his 31 big chances.
What’s particularly impressive is that he accumulated those numbers off of a modest 65 shots on goal, of which 41 arrived at Turf Moor, where he thrived and scored 64% of his goals.
Having finished the season strongly with goals in each of his last three appearances, Wood has continued from where he left off, as he found the back of the net in The Clarets’ first match of the season at Leicester City, logging three shots in the box and a further two big chances.
Burnley’s tenth placed finish last term possibly hasn’t been talked about enough. After a run of four defeats around the New Year, they lost just twice in 16 games, one of which was against Manchester City, and the other on the final day of the season.
Looking ahead to the weekend, Wood could find some joy against Southampton if they continue with their high defensive line. The 28-year-old loves to operate on the shoulder of the last man in an attempt to stretch the game. It resulted him in being caught offside more times than any other player last season, which is something he discussed in a recent interview with The Athletic: “It really doesn’t bother me, getting caught offside, because I know that the one time that I don’t, I’ll be in on goal.”
The closer Wood is to goal, the more dangerous he becomes, and ahead of a home tie against a vulnerable Saints defence, is a tempting differential.
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