The first international break of the season gave fantasy managers a well-earned weekend off. Nonetheless, with Gameweek 5 now looming large and a seeming surplus of options out there, those decision headaches will be setting in.
Gameweek 4’s picks fell foul to rotation as Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Miguel Almirón were on bench duty. Up top, however, Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham bagged an assist in his side’s romp against Crystal Palace to reward managers. With only Harry Kane and Ollie Watkins making more attempts on goal than Abraham’s four last week, he remains one to watch too.
Here are three differential punts to keep an eye on for Gameweek 5.
Club: Sheffield United
Sheffield United are taking a hot minute to get going this season, conceding six in their opening four fixtures and not picking up a single clean sheet. Consequently, Chris Wilder’s men sit bottom of the table but the tide could be turning after a better showing against Arsenal.
This week the Blades welcome fellow strugglers Fulham to Bramall Lane who, despite Aleksandar Mitrović’s talismanic presence, have failed to score in three of their four openers. It is in fact only Sheffield United themselves (3%) who have a poorer shot conversion rate than Fulham’s 6.7%.
A bore draw could well be on the cards this weekend then, giving Sheffield United’s back four the perfect chance to return to last campaign’s defensive solidity. George Baldock is one who could benefit. An attacking role is a major appeal too. Baldock picked up the assist to David McGoldrick’s goal last time out and racked up a total of six attacking returns over the 2019/20 campaign. The signing of Rhian Brewster up front adds further potential for Baldock’s plentiful crosses to be profited from.
Club: Crystal Palace
There was a lot of talk about Crystal Palace’s talented summer signing during pre-season. Eberechi Eze’s 14 goals and eight assists for QPR in the Championship last season certainly pointed to a promising prospect. However, the winger has been eased into top-flight action by Roy Hodgson and only started his first match against Chelsea last time out.
In that fixture, despite the side’s 4-0 drubbing, he did play the full 90 minutes and impressed – Squawka naming him “Palace’s best attacking player and it wasn’t really a contest”.
With only one start to his name this season, the stats to back up his fantasy potential are, admittedly, lacking. For those who have seen the tricky winger play, however, all the signs are there. This week’s meeting with a Brighton side who have conceded two or more goals in three of their four matches this campaign provides Eze with the perfect chance to impress again. What’s more, the winger has a say on set pieces and was last week’s most fouled player in the league – assists seem imminent.
During pre-season and before the announcement of Burnley’s Gameweek 1 blank, Chris Wood was a frequent name to see in draft squads. Four Gameweeks in however and he’s dropped in price and sits at a mere 1.7% ownership.
It’s a tantalising price and ownership having notched 14 goals over last season. The talisman is already up and running this campaign too with a goal in the opening week against Leeds. Facing a West Brom side who have conceded the most goals of all Premier League sides with an xGC of 10.07, in Gameweek 5 you’d fancy Wood to build on his tally.
What’s more, the Baggies have conceded a whopping 20 set play chances in the opening weeks, the worst in the league. Perhaps unsurprisingly, no forward scored more set-piece goals than Wood’s six last season. Slaven Bilic’s men could have trouble handling the 6ft 3 striker from plenty dead-ball situations on Monday night.