The first Fantasy Premier League round after the international break brought mixed results with a few surprises catching managers off guard.
The big story from Gameweek 5 was Premier League champions Manchester City suffering a 3-2 defeat at Norwich but Tammy Abraham’s hat-trick in Chelsea‘s 5-2 win at Wolves was also unprecedented as was Tottenham‘s 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace.
City have the opportunity to get back on track at home to Watford while Arsenal also enjoy a favourable fixture as they entertain Aston Villa.
Here are a few tips to help guide you through GW6.
CAPTAIN – PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG | ARSENAL | 11M
If it’s reliability you crave then look no further than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Arsenal forward has scored points in every game so far with five goals and an assist to his name.
Within an unpredictable Arsenal outfit, he’s been the one constant, posing a consistent goal threat. Though the Gunners are suspect defensively, they still look good going forward and Aubameyang is involved more often than not.
The Gabon international has been quite efficient as well, scoring from over 31 per cent of his shots. He may not have the volume of efforts the likes of Raheem Sterling or Sergio Aguero boast but he’s certainly up there with 16 of his own and has made the most of his chances.
With Villa to visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, expect him to be among the points again.
RAHEEM STERLING (12.3m) is quickly falling out of favour with some FPL managers and that’s just ridiculous. He’s blanked two GWs in a row but he’s still among the very best assets in the game and will certainly finish in the top three come the end of the season. He was unfortunate against Norwich with Aguero failing to convert a couple of his crosses while he hit the woodwork himself. Keep the faith.
TEEMU PUKKI (7.1m) again showed off his ability to bag points against top opposition as he came away from the City game with a goal, assist and maximum bonus points. He should be a permanent fixture in your XI and away to Burnley, he makes a strong case for the armband.
ASHLEY BARNES (6.7m) has blanked in the last couple of GWs but his numbers have still been good. His 16 shots so far is level with Aubameyang and just one shy of Pukki and he’s third for shots inside the six-yard box (3). The striker is due a goal and Norwich’s expansive style coupled with injuries at the back should afford him plenty of chances.
ONE TO GET
SON HEUNG-MIN | TOTTENHAM | 9.6M
Son Heung-min boasts the underlying stats you wish Kane would. During Tottenham’s 4-0 win over Palace, he had five shots to the skipper’s one. He also had eight touches inside the box to Kane’s two. With an ownership of just over five per cent, he’s a great differential and has a few good immediate fixtures. Being 1.4m cheaper than Kane and listed as a midfielder, he’s the more desirable Spurs asset.
ONE TO AVOID
JOHN LUNDSTRAM | SHEFFIELD UNITED | 4.3M
Lower those eyebrows. We aren’t suggesting dumping the legend that is John Lundstram. We’re grateful for his service as a 4m asset but if he isn’t in your team yet, now is not the time to sign him. He’s gone up in price by 0.3m for starters but the real concern is Sheffield United’s fixtures. They face Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and United in the next eight GWs. Steer clear.
EMILIANO BUENDIA | NORWICH | 6.0M
Pukki may be the life of the party but Emiliano Buendia is the one catering it. The playmaker is the creative hub of the Norwich side and already has four assists this season, coming from 13 key passes.
At only 6m he represents a bargain as well and is owned by only 1.3 per cent. His numbers are all the more impressive when you consider that Norwich have already faced City, Liverpool and Chelsea in their opening five games.
The Canaries are away to Burnley in GW6 who have been better defensively this season, but did concede three when Liverpool paid them a visit. And of course, Norwich have proved they can score against anyone.
Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has claimed that Raheem Sterling is most likely to pick up the mantle from Lionel Messi as the best player in the world.
The Al Sadd manager named Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mohamed Salah as potential successors but is confident that the English winger has the pole position in the race.
Xavi explained that playing under Pep Guardiola has helped Sterling convert himself into a dangerous player.
“Messi is the best ever for me, and even though they’re both still playing at a very high level, there will come the day not so long away when somebody else must step into those shoes,” he told The Mirror.
“You look at young players who can be crowned the future best in the world and you still think of Neymar, [Kylian] Mbappe, [Mohamed] Salah and of course Sterling. I look at the moment and Sterling is winning that race.
“He’s always been a good player, a dangerous player, but under Pep he [has] become one of the best in the world.
“I know how Pep works – he would have worked closely with him since his arrival – where he needs to improve and what he needed to work on.
“We’re now seeing the results of that. He’s still young and can be the world’s best.”
Manchester City‘s defensive woes have increased after John Stones pulled up injured in training ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk.
Manager Pep Guardiola fears he could be without the England centre-back for up to six weeks after Stones suffered a thigh injury during a morning session in Kharkiv.
The Premier League champions are already without Aymeric Laporte until the new year and, after Vincent Kompany left at the end of last season, Nicolas Otamendi is now the club’s only fit senior centre-back.
Midfielder Fernandinho, who has been training as a defender in the early weeks of the campaign, is now set to be pressed into action as a makeshift centre-back in the Group C clash against Shakhtar.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: “John Stones was injured this morning. (He could be out) a month – four, five or six weeks. It is a muscular problem.”
Stones’ injury further weakens City as they attempt to win a third successive Premier League title and win Europe’s elite competition for the first time.
But Guardiola sees it as a challenge and he is determined to make the most of it.
He said: “It’s a big challenge. For me as a manager it is an incredible challenge.
“We’ve got just one central defender in Nico – but I believe a lot in the something people don’t know, which is the spirit and commitment.
“We have to get 11 players out and on the pitch and make an extra effort. I like it, (the chance) to prove myself and show we are able to find a solution for the team, to make an incredible step forward and find a solution to this problem that we have.
“It’s not a problem, it is a challenge. They will do it, no problem. My players are the best.
“football is not how you handle the good situations, it is how you handle the bad ones. The ideal situation does not exist in football, it is how you approach the challenge and I am ready for the challenge. I like it, I like to love this situation.”
Guardiola also took the opportunity to defend Stones and Otamendi after criticism of their performance in Saturday’s surprise defeat at Norwich.
“No comment on what the pundits say,” he said. “I’ve got respect for what John and Nico have done, and what they continue to do for our club.”
Asked if team spirit had been hit by the loss at Carrow Road, Guardiola said: “No. The spirit is good.”
City and Shakhtar, the Ukrainian champions, are familiar foes having also faced each other in the group stages in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. Guardiola knows Shakhtar even better having faced them 11 times throughout a managerial career that has also included spells in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“I have bought an apartment here!” Guardiola said. “I came here many times and it’s always good. With Barcelona, Bayern and now City, I’ve come almost every season.”
Guardiola also confirmed midfielder Phil Foden had not travelled to Ukraine due to a stomach virus but Benjamin Mendy was with the squad and in contention to make his first appearance of the season.
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