Gameweek 4 saw one of our differential picks, Leandro Trossard (£6.0m), deliver for his owners, while former column favourites Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) and Ryan Fraser (£5.9m) also registered attacking returns.
There’s no shortage of candidates to consider this week, either.
This time, we’ve selected differentials from Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Manchester United, who we like the look of for Gameweek 5 and beyond.
As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.
- FPL ownership: 3.5%
- Price: £5.9m
- GW5-9 fixtures: lei | LEE | SOU | ars | BHA
Ollie Watkins (£5.9m) has got off to a flying start at Aston Villa, having arrived in Birmingham last month for a club-record fee of £28m.
After scoring in a pre-season friendly against Manchester United, he has since bagged a goal on his debut against Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup and hit a hat-trick in the 7-2 win over Liverpool. It’s now five goals in six games in all competitions, and you get the feeling he’s just getting started.
The 24-year-old, who scored 26 goals in the Championship last term, has very few weaknesses to his game. He is a quick, strong and extremely hard-working forward, who is equally comfortable holding up the ball or offering a threat in behind. The breakdown of last season’s goals also backs up his all-rounder tag: 16 were scored from inside the penalty area, eight from inside the six-yard box, with two coming from long-range. He is also capable with both feet – he netted 10 with his right foot, seven with his left foot and eight with his head.
Since making his debut in Gameweek 2, Watkins ranks joint-fourth for shots in the box, joint-second for big chances and third for chances created amongst forwards, which suggests points will arrive from both goals and assists.
He now faces a Leicester City defence that has conceded seven goals in their last three league outings, and may be without key centre-back Çaglar Söyüncü (£5.5m). The real appeal, however, lies in what’s to come, with an appealing schedule that runs right up until Gameweek 15.
Priced at just £5.9m, Watkins was recently labelled “undefendable” by Jürgen Klopp. If he can now kick on and build on that performance against Liverpool, he may well be the pick of the budget FPL forwards.
- FPL ownership: 4.6%
- Price: £5.0m
- GW5-9 fixtures: BHA | ful | wol | LEE | bur
After arriving from Getafe in summer 2018, Vicente Guaita (£5.0m) has gone on to establish himself as one of Crystal Palace’s most influential players.
The 33-year-old was the Eagles’ stand-out performer last season, combining 10 clean sheets with 16 bonus points and 27 save points. As a result, his total of 137 points was bettered by only six goalkeepers.
Although far from the most attacking of teams, Roy Hodgson has done a good job making Palace one of the most organised sides around. His players are well drilled and understand their roles, which has ensured a steady stream of clean sheets over the years.
This season, a win against Southampton on the opening day was followed by another victory at Manchester United, which showcased their defensive qualities and threat on the counter-attack. Even in the defeat at Everton there were positives. However, their 4-0 defeat at Chelsea last time out felt like a throwback to their terrible form during Project Restart. Still, six points on the board, considering their schedule, is a good enough start.
Palace welcome Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend. The M23 derby is usually a tight affair, with the last three league meetings separated by one goal or fewer. After that, their fixture run looks promising, with a decent-looking sequence of matches right up until mid-December.
Guaita’s numbers consistently rank amongst the best goalkeepers in the league, and with his outstanding shot-stopping ability, he could be a nice differential for those on the lookout for a new keeper.
- FPL ownership: 5.0%
- Price: £7.3m
- GW5-9 fixtures: new | CHE | ARS | eve | WBA
Having made a huge impact towards the end of the 2019/20 season, Mason Greenwood’s (£7.3m) reclassification to a midfielder by FPL was met with widespread enthusiasm in the community, and understandably so.
He netted five times in just eight league starts post-lockdown, helping Manchester United secure a top-three finish and Champions League football.
However, so far this season, things haven’t quite gone to plan.
Greenwood, a product of United’s academy, has made four appearances for the Red Devils, with his only goal contributions arriving in the Carabao Cup. Playing out on the right wing, he has often looked isolated, leading him to snatch at shots when he has had an opportunity.
An error of judgement with England resulted in Gareth Southgate leaving him out of his latest squad, which has meant he has been able to rest these last couple of weeks, and the hope is now that the break will have done him good, providing the physical and mental respite needed.
This weekend, a trip to Newcastle United gives United the chance to get back on track, and with Anthony Martial (£8.8m) and Edinson Cavani (£8.0m) unavailable, we could see Greenwood leading the line as a central striker. Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) and Odion Ighalo (£6.3m) are other options but it would seem to make sense that Greenwood is moved to play in his natural position with either Daniel James (£6.4m) or Juan Mata (£5.9m) playing from the right.
A skilful forward who has excellent finishing abilities, Greenwood can become a top number nine in years to come, and if given an opportunity to put forward his credentials this weekend, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him get on the scoresheet.
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