Monday, 29 August 2016

Gameweek 3 Review - Premium Mids Come To The Fore

After two weeks of the two biggest named strikers stealing the show, in gameweek 3 it was the turn of the premium midfielders. Alexis Sanchez was the FPL player of the week with 2 assists to go with his goal, now off the mark after no attacking returns in the first two gameweeks. While he may lose the Arsenal striker spot to Giroud or new signing Lucas Perez in the coming gameweeks, he remains a valuable acquisition in FPL for his goals record alone (16 in 2014/15, 13 in 2015/16).

Eden Hazard provided 11 points and has now scored as many goals in the first 3 gameweeks as he did in his first 34 last season as he looks to have returned to his best under Conte. His stats before last season were consistently impressive. A combined 28 goals in the two previous seasons are more than any midfielder and he also assisted regularly, with 10 in each season, and 17 the season before. At 10.1 he is 0.8 cheaper than Sanchez and 0.4 cheaper than Man City's De Bruyne, and at the moment looks essential. Fitting Sanchez, Hazard, Ibrahimovic and Aguero into one team will be the aim for many wildcarders, but a tough task.

Not that it is difficult to forget Mesut Ozil as a premium mid after the fruitful season he had for Arsenal, but his goal at Watford was a reminder of the fantasy asset he can be. His runs from midfield are a joy to watch and the way he scored with his head was perhaps a surprise, as he is not known for his goal scoring or his heading ability. He will be looking to improve his scoring record this season and not just provide assists for teammates. Mahrez to Ozil will be a popular transfer over the two week break as the Leicester winger missed a penalty and blanked at home to Swansea.

Refs Have Gone Penalty Mad!

The early initiative from referees to adopt a zero-tolerance attitude towards pushing and pulling in the area has raised a few eyebrows. It is a hot topic in the media after soft penalties were given last week, particularly in the Stoke v Man City game. Refs are continuing to give much more penalties than in previous seasons. Another 6 were awarded this gameweek, but 3 were missed, so it might be worth signing penalty takers with a good record of scoring from the spot.

City Scoring Goals For Fun - But Conceding

Man City have started the season in fine form as the league's highest goal scoring team so far. Despite De Bruyne scoring the most goals and creating the most assists, the player who has surprisingly benefited most of the City midfield has been Raheem Sterling. Sterling has been involved in 5 of City's 9 goals so far. This has caused De Bruyne's ownership to fall from around 12% at the start of the season to just 5.5%, while Sterling's has risen to the same amount. Nolito has 3 goals and Silva and De Bruyne have 2 assists each, so the early signs are that the points will be shared around the City midfield, but De Bruyne could be a wise differential option in a wildcard team. The Belgian's stats were very good between his 2 month injury lay off, with 7 goals and 9 assists in just 25 games.

Scoring is not the issue for Man City as long as Aguero is fit, it is the defence that looks weak and seems to be leaking goals despite being in control of all the games they have played so far. Pep's side have conceded a goal in all three games, meaning John Stones, owned by 34% of managers, has failed to keep a clean sheet. This is a cause for concern going into the Manchester Derby as City are yet to be tested, with an average of 62.2% possession. Fortunately for Stones owners, the goalkeeper situation is now resolved as Claudio Bravo is likely to start in goal after the international break.

Kyle Norbury,
Stoke fan and fantasy football nerd,
Follow me, Kyle on Twitter: @SCFCNerd