Having already assessed the best goalkeepers and defenders on offer, our position-by-position analysis of the stand-out Fantasy Premier League (FPL) options for a Gameweek 4 Wildcard continues as we take a look at the midfielders.
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BEST PREMIUM MIDFIELDERS
Having already combined two goals and two assists this season, Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) is the standout premium midfielder on offer.
The Egyptians 13 goal attempts ranks top amongst all midfielders, while he has also supplied three big chances for his team-mates. His immediate fixtures suggest that he can be a key captaincy pick, too:
While the fixtures are good, they perhaps don’t have enough appeal to warrant a Liverpool double-up, which in all likelihood rules Sadio Mane (£11.9m) out, though it is worth noting that he sits joint-top with Salah for shots in the box this season, with 11.
Elsewhere, Bruno Fernandes (£12.0m) remains one of the most popular FPL picks, though it is harder to make a case for him following back-to-back blanks, plus the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m).
Last season, Fernandes was Manchester United’s talisman, finishing with an excellent 244 FPL points. However, with Ronaldo now in the team, it may well reduce his Fantasy appeal, especially if he were to take on penalty-taking duties.
Son Heung-min (£10.1m) has produced two double-digit hauls already this season, via two goals and four bonus points, though it is worth noting that Tottenham Hotspur’s fixtures do take a turn for the worse following Gameweek 4.
And unfortunately, it’s a bit too early to consider Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m), despite a possible return to the Manchester City bench at Leicester City in Gameweek 4.
BEST MID-PRICE MIDFIELDERS
From Gameweeks 5 to 10, Leeds United sit top of our season ticker for ease of fixture, which promotes Raphinha (£6.5m) in our thinking.
The Brazilian has already delivered a goal at home to Everton in Gameweek 2, with set-pieces giving him the edge over team-mate Jack Harrison (£5.9m). There has also been talk of a possible no. 10 role in light of Daniel James’ (£6.0m) arrival, which is something to monitor moving forward.
However, at the time of writing, there is uncertainty surrounding his availability in Gameweek 4, with possible FIFA sanctions hanging over several Brazilian Premier League players.
Diogo Jota (£7.6m) is likely to earn significant interest if Roberto Firmino (£8.8m) is sidelined with a hamstring injury. The Brazilian limped off shortly before half-time during the 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea in Gameweek 3, and was expected to undergo further tests.
We’re still awaiting an update on that, but if he were to miss a spell, Jota could well become one of the very best midfield options in the game, given his impressive per 90 minutes stats in 2020/21.
Meanwhile, Wolverhampton Wanderers’ fixtures are about as good as it gets between Gameweeks 4 and 9.
Despite losing three in a row, Bruno Lage’s side have faced three tough opponents in Leicester City, Spurs and Man Utd, and for those eying up their assets, the underlying numbers do point to a change of fortunes.
In his new left-wing role, Adama Traore (£6.0m) has attempted 12 shots and created nine chances for his team-mates so far. How his performances stack up against weaker opposition who will naturally sit a bit deeper remains to be seen, but his goal threat numbers are encouraging.
Francisco Trincao (£5.9m) also deserves a mention, though the fact he was hooked after 69 minutes in Gameweek 3 is a slight concern, especially with Daniel Podence (£5.5m) lurking.
Adama Traore (left) v Francisco Trincao (right) goal threat statistics 2021/22
Mason Greenwood (£7.7m) is more appealing than team-mate Paul Pogba (£7.7m) right now, given the Frenchman’s deeper role at Molineux in Gameweek 3, though his position in the starting XI isn’t 100% clear following the arrival of Ronaldo.
Ismaila Sarr (£6.0m) has produced eight shots and created eight chances so far, with a particularly appealing set of fixtures coming up – Wolves (h), Norwich City (a) and Newcastle United (h).
However, if you are focusing on longer-term picks, Mason Mount (£7.5m) is a solid investment given Chelsea’s fixture swing in Gameweek 7. The Blues midfielder has claimed two assists in the first three Gameweeks, and should benefit from Romelu Lukaku’s (£11.5m) excellent hold-up play in the final-third.
Like Salah, Said Benrahma (£6.4m) has combined two goals with two assists so far, though his underlying numbers (see below) do suggest that he might struggle to continue delivering at his current rate in the coming weeks.
Midfielders ranked by expected goal involvement (xGI) delta 2021/22
Finally, we should also touch on Man City’s midfielders, with the usual rotation risk caveats.
Ferran Torres (£7.1m) has thrived up front for Pep Guardiola’s side this season, returning 18 FPL points in Gameweek 3 alone. For some, a run of out-of-position starts for the champions is tempting, but with De Bruyne and Phil Foden (£7.9m) back in training, how many minutes he can get beyond Gameweek 4 is still a bit of an unknown.
BEST BUDGET MIDFIELDERS
Demarai Gray (£5.6m) has impressed for Everton in his three league games for the club, scoring his first Toffees’ goal against Leeds United and following it up by giving Rafa Benitez’s side the lead at Brighton and Hove Albion in Gameweek 3. Now the challenge for the winger is to perform consistently week-in, week-out, something he was often criticised for not doing while at Leicester City.
Emile Smile Rowe (£5.4m) is an alternative option, if you believe Arsenal can kick-on with several key players returning of course.
From the bargain options, Billy Gilmour (£4.5m) has been taking set-pieces at Norwich City, while Moussa Sissoko (£4.5m), Allan (£4.5m), Yves Bissouma (£4.6m) and James McArthur (£4.5m) should at least offer appearance points each week.
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