The week of late, late drama. That’s the best way to sum up how Gameweek Five played out.
For some managers there was jubilation and others it was heartbreak late on but the goals continue to fly in at both ends – even if we finally got the first 0-0 of the season.
As has been said many times in this column, goals are good news and Timo Werner finally getting off the mark came as welcome relief to those who kept faith in the German. In the end it was not enough for Chelsea but that’s a whole other story.
Chelsea were left celebrating Timo Werner’s (middle) first goals in the Premier League
Liverpool suffered the devastating loss of Virgil van Dijk to an expected season-ending injury
It’s been a damaging week of big-player injuries with Virgil van Dijk likely out for the season after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in a challenge with Jordan Pickford during the Merseyside derby.
Everton’s James Rodriguez, heavily backed in Fantasy, is ruled out after an early collision with Van Dijk and losing both has seen some managers frantically lean on their wildcard. It’s rarely ever dull week to week.
As always, in this column I’ll be breaking down what we learned from the latest round of games, how best to utilise the free transfer for our squads and the differentials that can make the biggest difference week-to-week.
Biggest takeaways from GW5
It isn’t over until it’s over.
That was my main takeaway. That and Manuel Lanzini can score screamers. It was to prove a late, late show for both West Ham and Aston Villa.
Having picked out Ross Barkley as a key differential in last week’s column it seemed vindicated when he popped up at Leicester to win it in the closing stages, maintaining Villa’s 100 per cent start.
West Ham produced one of the performances of the weekend by coming back from 3-0 down
The big Fantasy chips came through in Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Bruno Fernandes while Tottenham kept a lot of FPL managers happy despite their late collapse.
Gareth Bale’s re-introduction to the Premier League proved dramatic, if underwhelming from a personal point of view for the Welshman.
But much like Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani, who boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed could feature against Chelsea, patience is the name of the game with older players.
It felt like a potentially crucial weekend in the title race following that devastating injury to Van Dijk in the Merseyside derby.
Ross Barkley (middle) was picked out as a differential and he scored the winner at Leicester
Fabinho impressed in that centre back role in midweek against Ajax but losing Van Dijk leaves a void no one player could realistically fill right now for them.
My inclination that Allan Saint-Maximin would dominate United’s backline backfired as much as pay-per-view sales in the north east as Solskjaer’s side ran out 4-1 winners and ASM generated me a whopping two points.
But, on we go. A 76-point haul was more than satisfactory as I erode the deficit caused by my rocky start (thanks Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang).
Another week and enough is enough, it’s time to join the Harry Kane party…
Best use of the free transfer this week
Harry Kane (Tottenham) – £10.8m
This was my power-play option having made the call to dispose of Werner on the back of his brace and assist against Southampton.
Tottenham have a markedly easier run in the next three – Burnley, Brighton and West Brom – and so it feels like a no brainer to have a temporary divorce from Werner and go all in on the England striker.
Any suggestions Kane would struggle under Jose Mourinho seem to have long vanished and he is forming one of the deadliest partnerships in the division right now with Son Heung-min.
Harry Kane feels like an essential transfer to make with Burnley, Brighton and West Brom next
Kane’s 25 shots – 13 of which have been shots on target – and seven big chances created so far are all league-leading totals. Five goals and seven assists in the league is also music to the ears of Fantasy managers.
He was an unused substitute in Thursday night’s 3-0 Europa League win over LASK and so is well rested for the trip to Burnley.
Sean Dyche’s side have made a spluttering start to the campaign and are slumped in the bottom three with just one point from a possible 12 so far – last time out in a 0-0 draw with West Brom.
And so Tottenham will be confident. Kane will be confident. And they will surely look to make amends for that spectacular collapse late against West Ham last weekend.
If you followed this column and brought in Son recently, it’s time to double up and move heaven and earth for Kane.
He has had a league-high 25 shots – 13 on target – and could feast against Burnley on Monday
Friday October 23
Aston Villa v Leeds
Saturday October 24
West Ham v Man City
Fulham v Crystal Palace
Manchester United v Chelsea
Liverpool v Sheffield United
Sunday October 25
Southampton v Everton
Wolves v Newcastle
Arsenal v Leicester
Monday October 26
Brighton v West Brom
Burnley v Tottenham
Three differentials that caught my eye
Ademola Lookman (Fulham) – £5m [Selected by 0.3%]
Fulham look seriously short on attacking prowess – that much is obvious.
But in Ademola Lookman they have a player who can pull a rabbit from a hat at any given moment – and he did just that against Sheffield United.
The trip to Bramall Lane was his first start for Fulham and with the game dying a slow death he ignited it with a stunning strike.
His 10-point return is enough to cause a discussion regarding his selection and at £5m he represents value given he is set for regular minutes in a central supporting role to Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Crystal Palace are next at Craven Cottage and despite drawing with Sheffield United, there is a growing sense a first win of the season is on the tip of their tongue.
The fact Palace have given up 64 shots to opponents in the last four gameweeks suggests Lookman will have more than one chance to make his mark here.
Danny Welbeck (Brighton) – £5.5m [Selected by 0.1%]
A real curveball, I know.
But there is next to no confidence in West Brom’s defence – even after their 0-0 with Burnley.
Slaven Bilic’s side have conceded a league high 13 goals so far and with Brighton boss Graham Potter hinting Welbeck could go straight in after joining from Watford, it’s certainly a bold differential to separate from the pack.
‘He’s made a really good first impression,’ Potter said. ‘He’s a really fit guy, he’s looked after himself really well as a professional. It’s just about integrating him with the team. He’s had a session today and we’ve got a couple more before the game.
Danny Welbeck could play on Monday and West Brom’s defence makes him a possible option
‘We’ll probably take the decision as close as we can to the game. But he’s looking good, he’s made a really good impression.’
The big concern around the former Arsenal and Manchester United striker is injury but if he is fit and confidant, this was a player who was an England international. With budget striker options hard to come by, keep the 29-year-old in thought.
Che Adams (Southampton) – £5.8m [Selected by 1.8%]
This is the one I would want to throw the most weight behind, particularly after what he showed away to Chelsea.
Like Barkley last week, Adams remains a sleeper pick and yet he could yield great rewards linking up with the more popular Danny Ings.
Ings and Adams seem to be generating a real partnership and that will come as music to the ears of boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.
A goal and two assists in five games is solid for now and while he has missed four big chances created, the fact he is in position to score is what is key to focus on.
While Everton is far from easy this weekend, a run of Everton, Aston Villa, Newcastle and Wolves is a real opportunity of returns.
With a clamour for big name stars in attack with Kane, Werner, Sergio Aguero and Calvert-Lewin, Adams is perfect foil at £5.8m to fill the third and final spot.
Che Adams starred away at Chelsea and is continuing to shine in this Southampton side
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – £12.3m
Coming up against a shaky Sheffield United makes Salah and incredibly tantalising option as captain and expect many to hand him the armband if he is in the side.
While I could not shuffle my money around to land the Egyptian, this is the route I would advise if Salah is available to you.
First, consider that Salah has produced 25 points in his last two games at Anfield this season – wins over Leeds and Arsenal.
Mohamed Salah will be full of confidence when Sheffield United come to Anfield this weekend
Salah has managed 19 shots in the opposition box, a stat more than any other player this season.
His 25 shots and 15 chances created so far have him sat among the top two in the division and there should be chances aplenty against a Sheffield United side who have taken just one point from five games.
Alone, Salah has more goals than the entire Sheffield United team in the league this season.
It’s been quite the week for Liverpool on the back of losing leader Virgil van Dijk to a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury, but expect normal service to resume back at Anfield.
His 19 shots in the opposition box leaves him No 1 in that category in the entire Premier League
Team of the Week (3-4-3)
Plenty of big hitters came through for a lot of managers across the gameweek with Manchester United producing three of the TOTW, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min continuing to be an electric duo and the heavily-backed Timo Werner delivered at last.
Burnley’s clean sheet at West Brom, the first of the new Premier League season, saw Nick Pope sweep up the points to take the spot in goal.
Max Kilman’s stock at Wolves continues to rise and it was no different after his performance in Monday night’s win at Wolves.
But this gameweek was all about Werner’s 16-point haul and the Kane-Son combo drawing 29 points. Can’t argue with those sort of returns.