Spot the Differential

Fit-again Watkins can return to top FPL form in Villa’s new-look 3-5-2 formation

Gameweek 7 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) is almost upon us, which gives us an opportunity to have a look at some more differential options.

This time, we’ve selected low-owned picks at Aston Villa, Arsenal and Chelsea who we think have the potential to make an impact.

As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.

OLLIE WATKINS

  • FPL ownership: 1.5%
  • Price: £7.3m
  • GW7-11 fixtures: tot | WOL | ars | WHU | sou

Ollie Watkins (£7.3m) was a key reason behind Aston Villa’s successful 2020/21 season, as he netted 16 goals and provided five assists in all competitions.

Ahead of the current campaign, he enjoyed a productive pre-season, but then suffered an injury which kept him out of the opening two Gameweeks. However, after a brief cameo against former club Brentford in Gameweek 3, he has now started and completed 90 minutes in every match since, and despite not scoring, has impressed.

Key to Watkins’ appeal has been a recent change of formation at Villa, which has seen Dean Smith’s troops line-up in a 3-5-2 shape. The new system enables Watkins and Danny Ings (£7.9m) to play in their favoured central roles, while also adding more stability at the back. 

At Old Trafford last weekend, Watkins forced David de Gea (£5.0m) into a couple of smart stops, with his six shots at Chelsea in Gameweek 4 highlighting his ability to trouble even the division’s best defences. A total of 10 goal attempts – including two big chances – in 281 minutes this season is encouraging, too, given the opposition.

Up next for Villa is a trip to Tottenham Hotspur, who rank 16th for xGC and 18th for shots in the box conceded since Nuno Espirito Santo took charge. To follow the fixtures detailed above, it’s also worth noting that they take on Brighton and Hove Albion (h) and Crystal Palace (a) before the end of November, so longer-term, the prospects look good.

Villa’s recent performances suggest that they are building some momentum, and as Watkins improves his match sharpness, could become a smart forward differential for our FPL squads.

EMILE SMITH ROWE

  • FPL ownership: 4.2%
  • Price: £5.3m
  • GW7-11 fixtures: bha | CRY | AVL | lei | WAT

After a challenging start to the season, Arsenal have now taken nine points from their last three games against Norwich City, Burnley and north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, with the latter performance particularly impressive.

During the match, Emile Smith Rowe (£5.3m) provided a season-high haul of 12 points – via a goal, assist and two bonus – which coincided with him playing in arguably his best position.

With Martin Ødegaard (£5.5m) installed as a no. 10 in Mikel Arteta’s 4-2-3-1 formation, Smith Rowe featured off the left, but would often drift infield into more central areas where he could affect the game, with Kieran Tierney (£4.9m) supplying the width down that side. The duo combined excellently with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£9.9m) throughout, with Smith Rowe offering balance to the attack by making runs in behind, but also coming shorter to link-play.

The big question for Arsenal is: can they keep it going? Lateriser and three Gunners’ fans had a go at answering that in his recent column, which is well worth a read, and the general consensus seems to be that they can. Key to that confidence is their forthcoming schedule, which includes a run of back-to-back home matches against Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Watford, Newcastle United and Southampton before Christmas.

Buying a cheap Arsenal option makes a lot of sense right now, and with fixtures easing, Smith Rowe could be an effective midfield enabler.

CESAR AZPILICUETA

  • FPL ownership: 4.1%
  • Price: £6.0m
  • GW7-11 fixtures: SOU | bre | NOR | new | BUR

With uncertainty around Marcos Alonso’s (£5.9m) minutes, investing in one of Chelsea’s more secure backline options may be the sensible move for FPL managers.

Since Thomas Tuchel’s appointment back in January, Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.0m) has started 22 of the Blues’ 25 Premier League matches – more than any other defender – and having played for just over an hour against Juventus on Wednesday night, should feature again in Gameweek 7. His ability to play as both a right-sided centre-half and wing-back is another appealing factor, too.

Across Chelsea’s opening six matches, they have conceded just two goals – a Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) penalty and a deflected Gabriel Jesus (£8.6m) shot – with clean sheets produced against Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Crystal Palace.

Azpilicueta’s defensive numbers are solid during that run, as he leads the way amongst team-mates for tackles won and clearances, and while you aren’t buying him for his attacking threat, he could chip in with the odd assist, especially if handed a wing-back role.

With Chelsea sitting top of our Season Ticker for ease of fixture between Gameweeks 7 and 14, there is real potential for multiple clean sheets, and as one of the most nailed-on options in the Blues’ backline, Azpilicueta could thrive as a defensive differential.

avfc82 https://fantasy.premierleague.com/entry/818/history”

584 Comments Post a Comment
  1. DavidBadWillie
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    2 months, 16 hours ago

    Lukaku is flopping this GW. But I’m still getting him

    1. Dynamic Duos
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      I'm still (c) him

    2. Salahlulijah
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 15 hours ago

      Cheers mystic Meg

  2. Dynamic Duos
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 16 hours ago

    Aston Villa 2 up top , will be looking at one as my Jimenez replacement in the near future

    1. Ask Yourself
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Watkins looks cool

  3. Alisson WondHaaland
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 16 hours ago

    Who do you think the best medium - long term (10+GWs) mid below 6m is?

    I was initially thinking Gallagher but Milivojevic taking set pieces off him is a bit of a bummer. Atm Im thinking Mbeumo, beautiful fixtures and playing striker in a side growing in confidence.

    Thoughts?

    1. bitm2007
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      I'm on Mbeumo as well

    2. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Doucoure I think will tick along nicely.

      Mbuemo also a good shout.

      Or could go with Odegaard or ESR at Arsenal

  4. Merlinsnose
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 16 hours ago

    Some advise please on my wildcard.

    Would you bring in Sarr, given he is nailed for 90 minutes, or Raphina who is a doubt next week and may come off early this game week?

    Much obliged.

    1. Alisson WondHaaland
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Raph, not even close imo

    2. Dynamic Duos
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Raph

    3. bitm2007
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Raph but make sure you have a decent 1st sub for GW8.

    4. F4L
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Raph

    5. Salahlulijah
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 15 hours ago

      Neither. Sarr only good for 1 more week, Raph likely won’t play gwk 8

  5. Joey Tribbiani
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 16 hours ago

    Antonio starts tonight 😮

    1. F4L
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Benrahma starting with Fornals and Bowen being given rests.

  6. gomez123
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 16 hours ago

    How did i get here??... Traore to start this gw?? Y/N

  7. BooYaKasha
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    2 months, 16 hours ago

    Who to drop for Raphinha?

    a. Greenwood
    b. Jota

    Tnx

    1. Tonyawesome69
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      B

    2. F4L
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Jota

    3. Bob Vrabkab
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Jota

  8. Tonyawesome69
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 16 hours ago

    Best defender for this GW only

    1. OLEgend
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Azpi

    2. F4L
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Firpo/Semedo 😛

      Probably one of the Chelsea boys

    3. fricky_
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        I'm honestly liking Semedo vs Newcastle a lot

      • Salahlulijah
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 15 hours ago

        A starting Chelsea fullback

    4. Steve The Spud
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Imagine an Antonio hammy tonight

      Talk about a cat amongst the pigeons

      1. Dynamic Duos
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        We spoke about this earlier, stop lol

      2. Scots Gooner
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        Why would you even say such a thing?

      3. Super Saints
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        He will score in stoppage time and get 3 BAPS in every game now I've sold him so don't worry

        1. FOO FIGHTER
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 16 hours ago

          Why did you sell Antonio???

          1. Super Saints
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 16 hours ago

            Had enough ITB for Lukaku when he got his RC, of course he has blanked in every game since I brought him in

      4. Ógie
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        Antonio and Benramha high speed collision would be chaos.

      5. Crunchie
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 15 hours ago

        WC lol

      6. Pep bites Kun
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 15 hours ago

        That would be a wc button press for me - Teetering on a cliff, with one hand on a loose rock and the other hand, hovering over what you know, is a loose thistle .. just wondering, is it worth it? .. 🙂

    5. Kay317
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Get Sarr for one week on wild card then switch to Saka week after...or just go straight for Saka?
      Saka defo has the tougher fixture this week so tempted to go for sarr then switch after.

      1. Dynamic Duos
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        Saka

      2. mojoindojo
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        Saka

      3. Salahlulijah
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 15 hours ago

        Saka

    6. TB303
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Would you keep TAA on a WC?

      1. Dynamic Duos
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        Yes

      2. Lindelol
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        I am not keeping but could bring him in next GW

      3. Maeki2
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 15 hours ago

        No would wait untill gw 12

    7. Ronnies
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Ditch which 1 for Raphinha ?

      A) Jota
      B) Greenwood

      Cheers.

      1. OLEgend
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        Both will be benched is what I am guessing.. Jota maybe as they are facing City

      2. AC/DC AFC
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 15 hours ago

        A

    8. PLerix
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Sanchez
      TAA*, Rudiger, Semedo, Williams
      Salah, Greenwood, Sarr
      Lukaku (c), Antonio, Jimenez
      Steer, Jota, Allan, Livramento

      Already did Shaw -> Rudiger. Anything worth a hit? Bench good enough and in right order? Thanks

    9. bradplum
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Hi can I have some help filling in the blanks?

      Ramsdale foster

      Duffy Livra XX XX XX
      Salah Benny Rafa Saka Douglas
      Lukaku Ronny Antonio

      £15.4m for 3 defenders. Ideally want one Chelsea (Christiansen?)

      interested in cash and white also

      Any suggestions welcome!

      1. PLerix
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        Williams, Rudiger, White

      2. Crunchie
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 15 hours ago

        Rudiger Cash White

      3. Maeki2
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 15 hours ago

        cancelo, rudi, christiansen/tomiyasu

    10. pingissimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Brazil fixtures may be relevant for any bringing in Raph

      8th Oct
      10th Oct
      15th Oct

      GW 8 Leeds play on 16th Oct

      1. FOO FIGHTER
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        Plus he is not fully fit.

        1. pingissimus
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 16 hours ago

          That could be a blessing if he comes off early again against Watford. Perhaps his best chance of playing GW8

      2. F4L
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        just got to hope they are allowed to leave after the second match + they're double jabbed.

        1. pingissimus
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 16 hours ago

          Not sure they're going to release both Ederson and Alisson

          1. F4L
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            good point. Just a messy situation.

            1. pingissimus
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 15 hours ago

              The fixture on the 15th is against Uruguay so arguably even if Raph is still fit before that match we can presumably rule him for injury to his knee until approx GW15 after it 🙂

          2. FOO FIGHTER
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Hhhmm, I was going to get in Alisson for GW8. Will judst hold on to Mendy and then do the move for GW9.

      3. Amartey Partey
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        A miracle if Raphinha doesn't aggravate his injury further after those 3 games!

      4. Steve The Spud
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        They should use his hip as an excuse or stay at home and get better I think 🙂

        1. Maeki2
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          you could not notice much of his "hip injury" last game. Maybe they thought of that

    11. tinear
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 16 hours ago

      Foster
      Tierney Cancelo Semedo
      Salah Jota Benrahma Sarr
      R7 Antonio Toney

      Sanchez Brownhill Veltman TAA

      1ft 0.1itb

      1. Jota to Raph, keep TAA
      2. TAA to Rudiger/Alonso, bench Semedo

      1. PLerix
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        Easy save

      2. Cheeky Onion
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 15 hours ago

        I'd do Jota > Saka this week, Semedo > Rudiger/Alonso next week. Raph a great pick but unlikely to play GW8. Can get him in for Benny or Sarr later

    12. fricky_
        2 months, 16 hours ago

        GTG?
        Sanchez
        Rudiger - Semedo - Duffy - Azpi/Alonso/Christensen
        Salah - Benrahma - Sarr - Raphinha
        Antonio - Lukaku
        Steele - Allan - Williams - Bamford
        which one of the Chelsea def would you get here?

        1. fricky_
            2 months, 16 hours ago

            my bad, TAA on the bench, not Williams

        2. Super Saints
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 16 hours ago

          Had an absolutely appalling start to the season but I'm pretty happy with my team now (another shocking week incoming). 0.3 ITB for Benny to Raph eventually.

          Sanchez
          TAA* Cancelo Shaw* Rudiger
          Salah Benrahma Gallagher ESR
          Ronaldo Lukaku(C)
          Steele White Sissoko Scarlett

          1. KAPTAIN KANE
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 16 hours ago

            Let’s see what absolute mindf***ery gets sent our way this weekend lol

            1. Super Saints
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 15 hours ago

              I dread every game week now. One thing I do think will happen is a Lukaku goal but it will be a game week too late for me as all my rivals will bring him in.

              1. KAPTAIN KANE
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 15 hours ago

                That’s why I’m keeping Kane and getting Son!

                1. KAPTAIN KANE
                  • 4 Years
                  2 months, 15 hours ago

                  Knees made out of steel mine are

              2. Steve The Spud
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                2 months, 15 hours ago

                Why are you still playing if your dread every week ffs

                1. Super Saints
                  • 5 Years
                  2 months, 15 hours ago

                  Probably addicted

        3. Camzy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          2 months, 16 hours ago

          Can you have a worst defense than mine going into this week...

          TAA, Shaw, Coufal, Ayling, Livra.

          Disastrous. And my one fit defender is playing against Chelsea.

          1. Super Saints
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Very unlucky, surprised I don't have more of them. We've all got to hold our hands up with Shaw, he has been an awful pick!

          2. CR7 is Home
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            TAA James Rudiger Duffy Livra here

          3. CR7 is Home
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Coufal injured too?

          4. Ógie
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Looks like a good excuse to use the wildcard if you still have it?

          5. STONEROSES
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            I’ve got TAA Shaw ayling and Tsimikas plus Ben white.
            I refuse to take a hit, one week before WC on a def. so hoping Shaw or Tsimikas can get minutes alongside White and will take out Ayling.

            What’s your plans?

          6. Free Hat
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Only people with tsimikas instead of your livra...
            But yeah, unlucky defence this gw

          7. Crunchie
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Do you not think then a WC this week may be beneficial Camzy?

            I am seriously thinking about it, as I have a good idea who to bring in (Raphinha aside)

            There is obviously injury risks but so will the next IB anyway?

        4. KAPTAIN KANE
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          Return of the Kane tonight lads

          1. Steve The Spud
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Benched

        5. RAFA THE GAFFA
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          Ayling >> Alonso or Rudiger? 2FTs and 1.4m to play with.

          Sanchez
          TAA*. Shaw*. White
          Salah. Jota. Raph. Sarr
          Ronaldo. Antonio. ASM
          (Foster, Gilmour, Ayling*, Livramento)

          1. Crunchie
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Have you played your WC Rafa?

            1. RAFA THE GAFFA
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 15 hours ago

              I haven’t. Is it that bad like? Haha

          2. TKC07
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Rudi

            1. RAFA THE GAFFA
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 15 hours ago

              Cheers

        6. Steve The Spud
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          Dane scarlet starts

          Could put pressure on kane for the weekend if he shows desire to run about a bit

          1. KAPTAIN KANE
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Damn, was hoping to see Kane bang some in! Needs goals for his confidence I think

        7. mojoindojo
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          Keep TAA or get Rudiger for free?

          Sa
          TAA Alonso White
          Jota Grealish Saka Raphinha
          Antonio Lukaku Ronaldo

          4.0 Semedo Livra Bissouma
          0 itb

          1. Maeki2
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Taa will drop. I say play Rudi. Trent can get back after gw 12

        8. RAFA THE GAFFA
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          This is a very amateurish question but I also forget. Is Ayling and TAA both price locked now or can they drop?

          1. Lionac
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Can and will drop

          2. Salahlulijah
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Yes

        9. FFSbet.com
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          TAA + Shaw + Bamford > Rudiger + Cancelo + Toney (-8) ?

          Money ITB to get TAA back

          1. TKC07
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            No

        10. Lindelol
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          This is my WC Team

          Ramsdale (Foster)
          White / Cancelo / Alonso / Rudiger ( Livra)
          Salah /Raph /Sarr (Biss.- Brownhill)
          Lukaku / Ronaldo / Antonio

          May do Alonso to James and Sarr to Saka

          Your advice needed plz.

          1. Lionac
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Maybe Alonso to Cristensen to upgrade mid. Biss to ERS

            1. Lindelol
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 15 hours ago

              want chelsea attacking mid or otherwise I would go with wolves defender.

              1. Lindelol
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 15 hours ago

                sorry chelsea attacking defender not mid

        11. Oliver Tockman
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          A) Vardy, Mbeumo, Douglas Luiz
          B) Jimenez, Zaha, Mbeumo

          Cheers

        12. FOO FIGHTER
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          Team News

          WEST HAM
          Areola, Johnson, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell, Noble, Rice, Benrahma, Yarmolenko, Antonio, Vlasic.

          Subs: Fabianski, Randolph, Zouma, Lanzini, Fornals, Bowen, Masuaku, Soucek, Coufal, Kral, Alese, Baptiste.

          TOTTENHAM
          Gollini, Doherty, Rodon, Romero, Reguilon, Alli, Skipp, Winks, Lo Celso, Scarlett, Gil.

          Subs: Austin, Hojbjerg, Sanchez, Son, Kane, Emerson, Dier, Tanganga, Moura, Ndombele, White, Omole.

        13. ratski
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          Could I have some wildcard advice pls...
          Sanchez , foster
          Rudiger, marcal, white, cancelo, Livra
          Gallagher, Salah, raph, doucoure, brownhill
          ROM, Ron, ant

          Only 0.2m left. Is it worth downgrading marcal to upgrade someone like Gallagher to saka?

          1. Maeki2
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            I would rather have benrahma than gallagher if money lets you

        14. TKC07
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 15 hours ago

          I think this could be one of those weeks where doing no transfers might boost your rank.
          Most of the comments here are about taking one or more hits..

          1. TheTinman
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 15 hours ago

            Hope so coz my team is absolute dogshite