We are shaking, we are trembling, we are quivering in anticipation for Gameweek 5. But before the thrust comes Friday Foreplay and its smattering of captain picks, heavy hitters, clean sheets, punts, and the big ol’ rumbling gut.
1. Giroud: What a difference a season makes. Giroud, labelled last season as the poor man’s Van Persie, now leads the Fantasy Premier League in goals (4) and totals points (36). His 4.5 shots per game are indicative of the fine service he is receiving, in the form of Özil, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, and the now injured Cazorla. His passing game is often forgotten, but as his assist last Gameweek illustrated he is a technical player and is providing 1.8 key passes per game. The only thing to watch out for is when Wenger decides to rest him, as he simply can’t play every game. With only four games in he is not a rotation threat, although he could be removed early if Arsenal are cruising.
2. Sturridge: Another striker in the form of his life, Sturridge is on four goals in four games as he looks to cement his spot up top before the hungry Suarez returns from a six game suspension. Sturridge’s doesn’t offer the assist threat Giroud does (0.3 key passes per game), and takes fewer shots (3.3 shots per game), but is a strong pick this Gameweek. However, be on the lookout for how Sturridge performs with Coutinho out for a month which could be a problem against a Southampton team which has only conceded 0.5 goals per game (3rd in the league) in 9.8 shots per game (5th in the league).
3. Hazard: In the third pick we are going for potential over proven points this season. As highlighted in this week’s Flying Under the Radar, Hazard has created 12 chances and attempted 103 passes in the final third, the highest in the league. Despite only seven goal attempts, he has 12 touches in the penalty box and seems immune to Mourinho’s tinkering, playing the full 90 minutes in all four games this season. Chelsea have arguably the best potential this Gameweek for a haul of goals, playing at home against Fulham.
We are not giving up on Walcott who had another promising but ultimately unproductive Gameweek. From a Fantasy perspective you couldn’t ask for more, apart from a goal perhaps, than his numbers from the Sunderland game. 11 penalty area touches, 4 goal attempts, and 2 of them on target bodes well for the home game against Stoke City.
Özil’s impressive debut makes him an obvious pick this Gameweek. As if scripted for a movie Özil provided the assist for Giroud’s fourth of the season and pulled the strings for Arsenal. He has an average of an assist every other game for club and country in the last four years and has 72 league assists in the last five seasons, more than any other player.
Ben Arfa jumped to number one in ATFPL’s watchlist thanks to goals in back-to-back games. Pardew has described him on more than one occasion as unplayable, as he’s one of the few players capable of creating a goal out of nothing. His 4.3 shots per game puts him fourth in the league and he also has an impressive double of 4.3 successful dribbles and 0.8 key passes per game. He plays every week and is still cheap at £7.3.
The most impressive side to Benteke’s performance this season is that three of his four goals have come in away games against Chelsea and Arsenal. His strength, athleticism, and finishing makes him dangerous against all opponents and an away game against Norwich should provide at least as many chances as against Chelsea away.
Michu’s season is powering along with an assist and a goal in his last two league games followed by a fine goal in Swansea’s famous win against Valencia. He has registered 2.8 shots on goal and 2.8 key passes per game on average and is even a cheeky captain punt this Gameweek, as Swansea visit Crystal Palace.
The traditional picks would be defenders from Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool. All are playing at home against teams that have struggled for goals and are likely to sit back and soak up the pressure.
Tottenham have also been defensively sound this season with their only goal conceded away at Arsenal. They play away at Cardiff who have failed to capitalize on their amazing win against Manchester City in Gameweek 1.
For Arsenal, Koscielny is the safe pick while Jenkinson is the cheapest link. However, Jenkinson could easily start on the bench with Wenger able to pick from healthy haul of full-backs, including Gibbs, Sagna, and Monreal.
Ashley Cole is the safest pick for Chelsea, while Ivanovic is the one providing the most attacking threat. Following Chelsea’s loss against Basel, Mourinho could rotate heavily making them a riskier proposition than most Gameweeks.
Enrique provides the safest route into the Liverpool team while Touré and Wisdom are riskier and cheaper picks.
Tottenham’s Walker is the obvious pick as he also provides attacking threat, with 2.5 key passes and 0.8 shots per game. Dawson is a cheaper pick at £5.1 but faces the threat of a fit again Kaboul.
Lukaku’s debut for Everton comes away at West Ham. He was lethal last year for West Brom and is likely to secure a place in Martinez’s first eleven. He is even a decent punt should he start on the bench, as he did so much damage against tired defences in the last quarter of games. He is also a differential pick, as covered in ATFPL’s Differentials for Gameweek 5.
Valencia’s performance against Bayer Leverkusen harked back to his impressive 2011/2012 season, where he provided 14 assists and 4 goals. His stats certainly do not back up the punt and he plays away against Manchester City so tread carefully and file this as a shot in the dark.
The first defender in the punts this season, Ivanovic, is surprisingly included due to his goal threat. Coming in with 1.8 shots and 0.5 key passes per game in addition to possible clean sheet points, makes him a triple threat and worthy of consideration.
Big Ol’ Rumbling Gut Pick
Sessegnon was dreadful in his first two matches this season, was recently arrested on drink driving charges, and Di Canio claims that the Benin international was let go from Sunderland because he didn’t care. Yet we pick him. You might say we are not fully functional. But, we’ll still pick him. Go prove us right Sess.