Following this week’s matches, the Premier League will skip a weekend for its first international break of the 2023-24 season. This pause brings mixed emotions, with some fans (West Ham, Tottenham) disappointed and others (Everton) finding relief.
It is wise to hedge against the potential for injuries and strains incurred by players on international duty, so we always recommend heading into these breaks with two transfers (or a chip later in the season) available for the game-week to follow.
The upcoming round of Premier League fixtures promises intrigue, as last weekend’s matches left more questions than answers. Notably, the final match of GW-4 holds tremendous allure, with Arsenal hosting Man United at the Emirates — a fixture steeped in tradition. Both teams have yet to exhibit consistent excellence, setting the stage for an exhilarating yet unpredictable battle.
GW 4 fixtures
Friday 1 September
- Luton vs West Ham
Saturday 2 September
- Sheffield United vs Everton
- Brentford vs Bournemouth
- Burnley vs Tottenham
- Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest
- Man City vs Fulham
- Brighton vs Newcastle
Sunday 3 September
Alphonse Areola (£4.1m, Luton vs West Ham)
Having conceded seven goals in their initial two Premier League matches and with just one goal scored, the Hatters host their inaugural home encounter of the season. Notably, they possess a solid record at Kenilworth Road, remaining undefeated across their last eight matches there, but that was before they were promoted to the EPL.
West Ham has enjoyed an undefeated start this season, securing a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth and consecutive 3-1 victories over Chelsea and Brighton. In five of West Ham’s previous eight away fixtures in the PL, over 2.5 goals have been netted.
Ederson (£5.5m, Man City vs Fulham)
Man City has displayed remarkable defensive solidarity this season, boasting the lowest expected goals (xG) conceded. That puts Ederson in line for a clean sheet, but Fulham is in form, so this will be tricky. Still, we are talking about City here. The Citizens’ ability to restrict opponents’ shot attempts positions their goalkeeper to accumulate returns through a clean sheet, some easy saves, and maybe even bonus points.
Malo Gusto (£4.1m, Chelsea vs Nott’m Forest)
With Reece James sidelined, Gusto has started the last two matches, making him an affordable £4.1m starter with promising fixtures.
He exhibits strong attacking capabilities, exemplified by his two assists in GW-3, along with the good possibility of securing clean sheets in the upcoming two games.
However, it’s important to note that once Reece James returns from injury, Gusto might face competition for his spot, so follow James’ progress.
Destiny Udogie (£4.6m, Burnley vs Spurs)
While much attention has focused on Tottenham’s offensive evolution, their defensive improvements have been somewhat understated. Following a woeful defensive display in the 2022-23 season, where they conceded a glaring 63 league goals, the team has impressively limited opponents to only two this season, securing consecutive clean sheets.
Tottenham’s defenders are reasonably priced due to their vulnerabilities last season, rendering the talented Destiny Udogie an appealing choice at a modest £4.6m. Ange Postecoglou’s confirmation of Udogie’s well-being, following an assist in the Bournemouth victory, further adds to his allure as an FPL asset.
Ruben Dias (£5.5m, Man City vs Fulham)
In the upcoming GW-4 clash against Fulham at the Etihad, the underdogs aim to replicate their surprising performance against Arsenal. However, Man City exhibits greater defensive stability compared to the Gunners, emerging as a strong contender for a clean sheet this weekend. While nothing is ever certain, Ruben Dias stands out as the City defender to consider, having started both matches for which he’s been available this season.
Eberechi Eze (£6.4m, Crystal Palace vs Wolves)
At the conclusion of the first three game-weeks, two names jointly reign atop the shots attempted leaderboard: Erling Haaland (as expected) and Eberechi Eze, both having unleashed 16 goal attempts.
While Haaland has made his mark, Eze has yet to convert any of his, leading fantasy managers to contemplate selling him out of frustration. However, despite the absence of immediate returns, Eze’s determined shoot-on-sight approach should yield results in due course. With an upcoming home fixture against Wolves, the skilled playmaker has a favorable opportunity to open his scoring account.
Raheem Sterling (£7.1m, Chelsea vs Nott’ Forest)
Following what could be described as his most productive display in a Chelsea jersey, Raheem Sterling disclosed that Mauricio Pochettino had directed him to adopt an aggressive, dribbling-focused approach against Luton. Sterling adhered to this counsel, attempting five dribbles, including the dynamic run that led to his opening goal.
Although Sterling has faced challenges during his tenure at Stamford Bridge, his recent performances have reminded us of his abilities.
James Maddison (£7.6m, Burnley vs Spurs)
Emerging as a strong contender for the Premier League’s standout signing this season, James Maddison has been pivotal to Tottenham’s evolving style under Postecoglou. His creative finesse in midfield has been instrumental in facilitating the manager’s new tactics.
Maddison’s influence is evident in his leading statistics among Spurs’ players, boasting the highest numbers for chances created (nine), shots taken (eight), and crosses (25) over the opening three game-weeks, culminating in the highest FPL point accumulation. Burnley is up next, a team that has struggled defensively. The Clarets have conceded six goals in two matches, so Maddison’s prowess from set-pieces could prey upon their vulnerabilities.
Luis Diaz (£7.7m, Liverpool vs Aston Villa)
Luis Diaz, or ‘Lucho’, emerges as a prime Liverpool selection. With two goals in two matches plus a near-miss against Newcastle before Van Dijk’s red card forced his tactical withdrawal, Diaz’s hunger for further success is evident. And his foreshortened GW-3 game time ensures his freshness for GW-4.
While Liverpool players may not be at the forefront of FPL managers’ minds, Diaz stands out as a potential point-scorer, especially given the favorable fixtures in the upcoming 3-4 weeks. His inclusion in your team could yield valuable returns.
Julian Alvarez (£6.6m, Man City vs Fulham)
Álvarez demonstrated his offensive prowess despite not registering a goal or an assist against Sheffield. The Argentine striker fired an impressive eight shots on goal, tying with Haaland for the most in GW-3. He also contributed four chances created, a figure surpassed by only three other players in the league. Additionally, he played a key role in winning the penalty that Haaland unfortunately missed.
With Kevin De Bruyne sidelined due to injury, Álvarez has solidified his presence in the No. 10 role. He has notably completed the full 90 minutes in all three of his league appearances this season, a remarkable achievement considering he did so only eight times in the entirety of the previous campaign.
Darwin Nunez (£7.3m, Liverpool vs Aston Villa)
Has the turning point for Núñez’s Liverpool journey begun? Despite being named a substitute for the third consecutive game, the Uruguayan showcased his counterattacking prowess from the bench at St James’ Park, his two clinical finishes in the late stages securing victory for the 10-man Reds.
With this impressive performance, Núñez may have earned himself a starting spot for GW-4. Considering the vulnerabilities of a potentially Emi Martinez-less Aston Villa at Turf Moor, there’s a substantial opportunity for him to extend his goal tally. Although it carries a degree of risk, the limited options among forwards could make Núñez a gamble worth taking.
Erling Haaland (£14m, Man City vs Fulham)
For possibly the first time, Haaland actually looked like a mere mortal who can make mistakes — hitting the post from the penalty spot against Sheffield United. Despite an uncharacteristically off day that saw Haaland squander an important opportunity, he still ultimately found the target with an impressive header. It’s reasonable to anticipate a more precise and potent performance from him in the upcoming weekend. He’s also captain material pretty much every non-blank game-week until GW-38.
Whom will you captain this game-week? Any differentials catching your eye? Any injured player you are replacing? Please log in and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!