Hey! Cristiano Ronaldo is back! In an unexpected turn of events, the Portuguese forward decided against all odds to move back to Manchester. And oh! It’s not the blue half of Manchester where we expected. All eyes will be on Man United as they welcome Newcastle to Old Trafford where Ronaldo is scheduled to make his debut.
It has been a dry few weeks for Premier League fans and most especially FPL managers due to the international break, but finally the Premier League is scheduled to resume this weekend. Four players (Emiliano Martinez, Emiliano Buendia, Giovanni Lo Celso and Sergio Romero) have been automatically ruled out of this weekend’s fixtures due to quarantine restrictions.
The most capped player in GW-3, Bruno Fernandes, left a lot of managers teary eyed as he could muster only two points from the Red Devils fixture against Southampton. However, managers who backed Mo Salah or Michail Antonio with the captain’s armband had reasons to smile as they garnered 10 and 11 points respectively. I was among those that backed Antonio, which helped me accumulate a slightly impressive 65 points.
Reminder: The FPL deadline is 11:00 BST on Saturday, 11 September. It’s also imperative to note that international fixtures have only just been concluded, so we should wait for fitness reports by coaches before confirming transfers.
Hugo Lloris (£5.6m Crystal Palace v Tottenham)
Spurs captain Lloris is the only goalkeeper in the list of FPL top five point-scorers. This is a testament to Tottenham’s new-found defensive solidity under new manager Nuno Espirito Santo. Tottenham is the only Premier League side yet to concede a goal after three games; against a Crystal Palace team still coming to terms with the style of new manager Patrick Viera, another shutout looks likely.
Bernd Leno (£4.9m Arsenal v Norwich)
Here’s a surprise selection considering the Gunners’ abysmal form, but Arsenal welcomes a Norwich team that has scored only one goal (penalty kick) to the Emirates this weekend. Mikel Arteta’s recent decision to move to a back-three, in conjunction with the arrival of Takehiro Tomiyasu and the return of Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey from injury should see the Gunners enjoy greater defensive solidity.
Luke Shaw (£5.5m Man United v Newcastle)
As I wrote in GW-3, Luke Shaw still hasn’t hit the heights he reached at the Euros, which has led to a lot of managers jettisoning him for other defenders. Shaw’s inability to duplicate his earlier heights has caused his ownership to fall from 52.6% to 46.8%. But the recent arrival of Ronaldo from Juventus should give Shaw the needed target to whip in more crosses to be converted by the Portuguese striker.
Marcos Alonso (£5.7m Chelsea v Aston Villa)
Chelsea’s defensive solidity has shown through in just three games this season. The Blues have conceded only once in three games, most notably stopping Liverpool from scoring another goal after Reece James was sent off for a handball on the goal-line. While helping to keep tight at the back, Alonso has also been impressive at the other end of the pitch. The Spanish defender opened his goal account for the season by scoring a free-kick in the Blues first match of the season.
Sergio Reguilon (£5.2m Crystal Palace v Tottenham)
Doubling up on Spurs’ back line might not be a bad idea; they are the only team yet to concede a goal in the Premier League this season. Reguilon has been a mountain in the Spurs’ defense this season, so he is expected to minimize Crystal Palace attacks down the left flank. Reguilon’s ability to deliver pinpoint crosses means an attacking contribution might also be on the menu.
Shane Duffy (£4.2m Brentford v Brighton)
Priced at just 4.2m, Duffy represents a cheap option for managers seeking clean sheet points. Duffy has played in all three matches for Brighton this season, and he is again expected to marshal the back line when the Seagulls travel to Premier League newcomers Brentford.
Lucas Digne (£5.4m Everton v Burnley)
Coming off a clean sheet against Brighton, the Toffees will be fired up to record another when they face Burnley this weekend. Lucas Digne has been a mainstay in Everton’s back line for over two seasons now, the Frenchman also displaying his ability at the other end of the pitch by scoring from free-kicks and providing assists. In the absence of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Digne is solely responsible for dead-balls which should see him garner more points as the season progresses.
Bruno Fernandes (£12.0m Man United v Newcastle)
This pick goes somewhat against the grain of popular opinion, as a lot of fantasy managers have transferred Bruno out to accommodate Cristiano Ronaldo. But Bruno Fernandes makes my FPL team due to his impressive record against the Magpies. The midfield maestro was on the scoresheet both times United faced Newcastle last season, and after failing to score or assist in the Red Devils’ last two fixtures, this looks like the perfect game to get back on the scoresheet.
Mason Greenwood (£7.7m Man United v Newcastle)
Man United welcomes Newcastle to Old Trafford, and Mason Greenwood is expected to lead the Red Devils’ attack as he has been the team’s primary source of goals this season. Greenwood has scored in every United match this season, earning 26 points to make the FPL’s top five so far.
Son Heung-min (£10.1m Crystal Palace v Tottenham)
While Kane has had a late/slow start to the Premier League season (reverting to type of Augusts past), Son has been sublime. Spurs began the new season with uncertainty surrounding their captain’s future, leading to more noise about off-pitch issues than performance on it. Through it all, Son has been instrumental in helping Spurs ride out this turbulence, with Kane eventually announcing his commitment to the team for at least another year. Monitor team news though; Son suffered a calf injury while on international duty and missed South Korea’s match against Lebanon on Tuesday.
Mo Salah (£12.5m Leeds v Liverpool)
FPL’s most-owned player Salah hasn’t disappointed managers this season, already with 30 points after just three games, second in FPL. Liverpool visits a Leeds United side known more for attacking than defense, which should offer Salah chances in the encounter.
Said Benrahma (£6.3m Southampton v West Ham)
Despite a low-key outing in West Ham’s last match against Crystal Palace where he wasn’t able to contribute toward any goals, Benrahma still makes our team for GW-4 due to his relatively cheap price and West Ham’s opponent. Southampton’s back line, yet to keep a clean sheet, has conceded six goals in three Premier League matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m Man United v Newcastle)
He really is back, isn’t he? Rarely do we see a player garner over 13% ownership even before kicking a ball while the season has already commenced. But then this isn’t just anybody, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s impressive outing for Portugal against Northern Ireland has only given managers even more reason to transfer him into their squads as it is obvious he is still capable of doing something amazing at any time.
Managers looking to buy Ronaldo should keep an eye on Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s press conference; we still don’t know whether Ronaldo will start or enter as a sub.
Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m Chelsea v Aston Villa)
Despite an underwhelming GW-3 outing against a revitalized Liverpool, Lukaku makes the team because we expect him to run riot against an Aston Villa defense that hasn’t looked anywhere as solid as last season. The Villa defense has conceded four goals in three games, a statistic that surely has Lukaku licking his lips. Managers should however monitor his fitness update as he is rumored to have picked up a knock playing for Belgium.
Michail Antonio (£7.7m Southampton v West Ham)
Is there really an FPL manager who still doesn’t have Antonio in his team? The Hammers’ forward has been nothing short of a dream for fantasy managers since the start of the season. Antonio has garnered 40 points in just three games, most in all FPL. With at least a goal plus an assist in every game this season, don’t bet against Antonio to continue his rich vein of form against a Vestargaard-less Southampton back line.
What players have I overlooked? Are there any other budget-friendly players that are good options for GW-4? Which player will have the highest points this week? Are you buying Ronaldo? Which highly owned star will let us down? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!