Budget forwards Cameron Archer (£4.5m) and Lyle Foster (£5.0m) were on the scoresheet on Saturday but newly promoted Sheffield United and Burnley remain winless.
Son Heung-min (£9.0m) kickstarted his season in style, meanwhile, with a hat-trick for second-place Tottenham Hotspur.
The fixtures at Turf Moor and Bramall Lane come under the spotlight as we continue to look at the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from Gameweek 4.
- READ MORE: Friday’s Scout Notes: Bowen strikes again, Giles’ crossing
- READ MORE: FPL Gameweek 4: Saturday’s goals, assists, bonus points + stats
It’s been a grim 24 hours for Richarlison (£6.9m) and his owners in FPL.
Having seen future competition arrive on deadline day in the shape of Brennan Johnson (£5.9m), he was then benched for the trip to Burnley. To compound the Brazilian’s misery, his replacement up front scored a hat-trick at Turf Moor.
Son Heung-min (£9.0m) had more shots (five) in one afternoon in Lancashire than Richarlison had managed in the first three Gameweeks combined (four). Son had shown promise in that position in Gameweek 3 after Richarlison’s withdrawal but he took it up a level here, looking almost Kane-esque in combining link-up play with a ruthless edge in front of goal.
The timing of his runs in behind the Burnley defence was exemplary, and there were even more sights of goal – i.e. one on one but taking a heavy touch – than the Opta data collectors would have you believe.
“It’s not exactly why but it’s one of the reasons. I’ve got a picture in my head of what I want the team to look like and I keep saying that we’re still at the beginning, we’re still building and there’s still a lot to be done. It’s about putting all the pieces together and at the same time not neglecting what’s right in front of you.
“There are some really good footballers at this club and I think they have the ability to play in the way this team needs to set up. Sonny whether he’s playing central or wide, he’s got all the characteristics – mate, he can play in any system – but the way we play he’s ideal.” – Ange Postecoglou on if Son Heung-min’s performance was the reason he didn’t sign another striker
It’s only one game, and a game against a side still struggling to get to grips with Premier League life. We saw how much Raheem Sterling‘s (£7.2m) stock disproportionately rose after facing the might of Luton Town in Gameweek 3.
But he does have previous for playing as a centre-forward. Using Transfermarkt’s records isn’t always an exact science but they suggest he has 34 attacking returns in 41 starts and eight substitute appearances through the middle for Spurs in the Premier League:
The bloated Fantasy midfielder watchlist has undoubtedly grown a little bit fatter.
MADDISON + FULL-BACKS DELIVER AGAIN
It was business as usual elsewhere, with James Maddison (£7.7m) dictating the tempo and scoring a screamer. Both forward-thinking full-backs, Pedro Porro (£4.9m) and Destiny Udogie (£4.6m), also delivered assists. Porro has now been involved in 11 shooting actions in his three appearances, with seven goal attempts and four chances created.
The cut-price Manor Solomon (£5.3m) was another beneficiary of Richarlison’s demotion, starting on the left and creating two of Son’s goals. It’s a bit too soon to be championing his credentials, with Richarlison and Johnson waiting in the wings.
Burnley gave Spurs a helping hand, it has to be said.
There are parallels to be drawn with Nottingham Forest a year ago. Then, Steve Cooper oversaw a large squad overhaul and struggled for a time to adjust his second-tier tactics and find the right blend of players.
Vincent Kompany has already used 21 squad members this season and we’re only three games in. The defence has been different in every match, with Conor Roberts (£4.5m) variously playing at left-back, right-back and wing-back. In all of those matches, Josh Cullen (£5.0m) has been left exposed in central midfield.
Kompany will no doubt find the right balance eventually but it’s not getting any easier for the Clarets, with a horrible upcoming run starting at in-form Nottingham Forest:
There were rays of hope in attack, at least, with budget pair Luca Koleosho (£5.0m) and Lyle Foster (£5.0m) impressing again. That’s now two goals in three matches for Foster.
“It’s not something I’m happy about, but it’s easier to solve the defensive side than the lack of chances in the team.
“We create chances at a very high level, so against teams like Manchester City, Aston Villa and now Tottenham and that’s something we have to keep in our game while also becoming more solid.” – Vincent Kompany
ARCHER ON TARGET
Even cheaper than Foster is fellow forward Cameron Archer (£4.5m), who exceeded expectations on his Sheffield United debut.
Archer had fewer touches of the ball than any starter at Bramall Lane and only had two shots all game. But that is the budget FPL striker in a nutshell: hovering on the fringes of play, looking to break the last line, and making the most of what little of the ball comes his way.
Both of his shots were crisp, clean strikes, the first finding the net directly and the second bouncing off the woodwork and in off the luckless Jordan Pickford‘s (£4.5m) head.
Archer’s excellent shot-to-goal conversion rate was something we highlighted in our Moving Target piece. He’ll have to keep that up, in truth, as he’s not likely to get bundles of chances playing in this Sheffield United side.
“I was delighted for him. There were lots of things about Cam that I like. First and foremost, what people expect and know about – and especially when you speak to him – is that he wants to score goals.
“That is what he enjoys. But he also works hard and physically he is very good and we will improve that area of him as well. To use that physicality when he hasn’t got the ball and get him in the best areas when he has. We are pleased to have him. He couldn’t have had a better debut, really. He’s off the mark, up and running and looks fit. It’s the most minutes he’s played as well and he’s going to get stronger.” – Paul Heckingbottom on Cameron Archer
Archer looks like perfect bench fodder for those FPL managers playing a 3-5-2 most weeks. The Fantasy bench is probably where he’ll remain for quite a while, with Gameweek 11 perhaps the next time he’ll be considered for a start:
NEVER MIND THE BALDOCKS… HERE’S THE SICK PICKFORD OWNERS
Everton have their own new striker in Beto (£6.0m). While he ended up empty-handed from this match, he made a big difference to the Toffees’ attack. A physical presence but also quick, Sean Dyche’s side look more potent with him in the side.
Beto was only an Arnaut Danjuma (£5.5m) pass away from having a great chance in the first half but the Dutchman at least made amends with the equaliser. Danjuma has now had 14 shots in his last three run-outs, more than any other midfielder from Gameweek 2 onwards.
His wastefulness is part of a wider problem at Everton, who have battered all of their opponents bar Aston Villa without tasting victory.
“We had so many breakaways in good positions and we didn’t make the most of them. In the first half, in particular, the game should have been killed off. I could also say that about two of our other three league games this season.
“That’s the difference – finding the moment and having clarity at the top end of the pitch. I think it’s coming and I think there was a sign of that today with two goals away from home.” – Sean Dyche
While the goals might be coming, the clean sheets continue to slip away. Pickford owners may have seen enough with the following run now upon Everton:
The England number one did at least gain a couple of save points on Saturday to avoid the ignominy of a negative score.
Any Fantasy manager starting budget defender George Baldock (£4.0m) would have rued a handful of nearly moments, with the wing-back close to an assist on three occasions.
As we mentioned with Archer earlier, however, he’ll be back to mere bench-fodder duties for most FPL owners given the upcoming fixture run.