The weekend is here and so is the Fantasy Premier League deadline. It's a crucial gameweek for FPL managers, especially if you are among those managers that didn't captain Sergio Aguero last week. The previous gameweek was such that you might still have managed a good score, but that regret of not handing the armband to Manchester City's most prolific striker will make you want to pull up your socks this week.
At the weekend, Liverpool welcome Brighton to Anfield, so Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are likely to be in the race for captain's armband. Arsenal will be relieved to see the back of their first two fixtures, and the game at home to pointless West Ham presents a perfect chance for their players to not just get the Gunners up and running, but also repay the faith of some of their FPL owners who have held on to them despite the fixtures.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan may have already done so last week with a return of 12 points, and he is the most transferred Arsenal player this week. The Armenian is likely to thrive in Unai Emery's attacking style and more points might come his way this weekend. Mesut Ozil, who has been at the receiving end of some criticism, might want to prove a point or two, but he is too inconsistent for FPL managers to invest on. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should have been going straight into FPL owners' teams but a high price of £11m coupled with discouraging performance last week, has put his suitors off. But with a pleasant run of games to come, Arsenal attackers might be a good place to look at if you are planning to add to your attacking forces.
Similarly, their conquerors from last week, Chelsea, too head into a decent run of fixtures, and having scored six goals in two games, there might be some interest for Chelsea's attacking players. Pedro leads the way in terms of most purchased Blues player this week. The Spaniard has been revitalised under Maurizio Sarri and has netted two goals in as many games for the Londoners. With Eden Hazard and Mateo Kovacic building up their match fitness, Chelsea are expected to carry more threat on the attack. Alvaro Morata got on the score sheet last week, so his confidence should be better. With Chelsea playing Newcastle, Bournemouth, Cardiff and West Ham in coming weeks, Morata might be a good bet at a price of £9m.
Crystal Palace is another London side that will feel confident of picking up points in their upcoming games. Wilfred Zaha might is a great value with a price tag of £7m with the former Manchester United forward likely to be among the points in the coming weeks. Palace travel to in-form Watford this week, but play Southampton, Huddersfield, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Wolves in their games after this week.
Manchester United take on Tottenham Hotspur this weekend. Jose Mourinho's side would look to bounce back from last week's defeat at Brighton, but the task will be tougher against Spurs who have made a solid start to the season. Both of Tottenham's wins weren't straight forward but there were plenty of encouraging signs for Mauricio Pochettino's team. However, their record at Old Trafford, and away to fellow top-six rivals makes a poor reading. FPL managers must ideally look elsewhere for making purchases as the uncertainty around the result is quite big.
Manchester City will once again threaten to take their opponents to cleaners. For newcomers Wolves, stopping City might prove to be too big an ask. Aguero will once again be a popular choice for captain, given his current form and a fine record away from home.
Attack is the best form of defence
Picking defenders to earn clean sheets points no longer cuts it. The opening two weeks of the season have shown that putting money on defenders that score or assist regularly are of great value. So the likes of Marcos Alonso and Benjamin Mendy are excellent buys at the price at whichh they are available. Not only do their score or assist like a midfielder, a possible clean sheet can give you great returns. So investing big on such defenders is worth it.
To balance the heavy investment, it is advisable to look out for smart bargains in defence. Palace's Jeffrey Schlupp, who plays as a winger, is available at just £4.5m. Bournemouth's Steve Cook and Watford's Jose Holebas are great options. However, the latter's run of fixtures might make you look elsewhere. Among the top six teams, Liverpool have looked the most defensively sound team so far. Apart from Andy Robertson who is a threat going forward, centre-back Joe Gomez is a smart pick at just £5m. Buying him before a home game against Brigton is the perfect time to get him in your side.
Salah or Aguero or Mane? I don't think there's anywhere else to look. These three players are expected to carry majority of the armbands this week. Salah would have been the winner in this battle last year, but Mane and Aguero's start to the season has made things complicated.
Aguero's record on the road is good, and Wolves might not provide a lot of resistance. But it is hard to look beyond Liverpool and Salah who will be keen to get among the goals after failing to score last week.
The choice is tough but my vote would go to Salah simply for the way Liverpool dominate teams at home. With little space to run behind the Brighton back line, expect the Egyptian to be the difference. Mane in that case might be less effective.
Once again, the captain's choice will be pivotal, so make sure you have your armband in the right place.
Updated Date: Aug 25, 2018 09:10 AM