2 weeks ago
Seasons can not be won in the first four games, but they can certainly be lost. Teams can impress FPL managers with their start and begin early-season bandwagons, but players from those teams can also instigate mass exoduses from manager's teams and this is usually to do with their teams' fortunes in the first few weeks.
In this article I will grade each team of the English Premier League, stating their best fantasy asset in the first 4 gameweeks and also noting players that should be on our radar moving forward.
The Gunners have won three of their first four games and have shown signs of real improvement under Mikel Arteta. Their ability to score in every game is making people stand up and take notice of their attack as well. The one caveat is that they lost their only tough game 3-1 to Liverpool. To me, this shows that they still can't be trusted in big games. Aubameyang has failed to light up the Emirates as he did last year, but Willian, Gabriel and Saka are all players worthy of being on your watch list. I expect Arsenal to continue their good form as the season goes on, with their defence also likely to improve.
A genuine surprise so far this season. They strengthened in the offseason, improving areas that desperately needed improving, and it seems to be paying dividends. Jack Grealish should be owned in a lot more teams and seems to be taking the next step up in his maturity, having dictated the play in every game so far. More impressive was his, and his teams, performance in the 7-2 win over Liverpool. This perhaps shows us that Villa are not simply a flash in the pan and that their players are heavily investable in. Watkins, Konsa and Martinez are great enablers that should also perform for you on a weekly basis.
People were fairly high on Brighton during pre-season and are most probably feeling disappointed with their start. So far in the campaign, they have won one game of four but I don't believe that tells the whole story. The Seagulls narrowly lost to Manchester United with a controversial penalty at the end of the game but they showed tremendous fight to get it back to level. Maupay is proving he can be a regular goalscorer at this level and Trossard is showing that touch of class from midfield. When fixtures turn kinder, these two should be on your watchlist.
These are worrying times for Burnley. With Tarkowski and Mee being absent, they have failed to keep a clean sheet yet this year and defence is the main reason we buy their assets. Tied in with the fact that they don't score a lot of goals, we find ourselves having to ignore their assets for the time being. Chris Wood is a name that gets mentioned for a cheaper striker spot every few weeks, but there is an embarrassment of options in that position right now so looking elsewhere is recommended.
Expectations for Frank Lampard's team couldn't have been higher this season. Their transfer business was excellent, acquiring proven European talent in areas they needed to strengthen. The only question left was whether Lampard could get them all playing together. As of yet, we're still unsure as to the answer. He certainly hasn't been getting the best out of his new signings, with Werner, in particular, being a disappointment. Havertz and Chilwell have shown flashes of what is to come, but Mendy and Ziyech haven't played enough yet to really judge them. This team seems very attacking and could still offer great value in the future but they remain a wait and see for me.
The London club started the season incredibly well, beating Southampton and Manchester United in their first two games. Then things started to regress slightly with a loss to Everton before things came crashing down with a bump after a 4-0 loss to Chelsea. Zaha is still doing Zaha things and should always be considered, especially now he is being played in a make-shift striker role. Apart from that, it's hard to pinpoint who to target for our teams. The hot prospect, Eze, looks a handful but also seems raw and untrustworthy right now.
Who saw this coming?? The answer is me after I said Everton would be the surprise package for the season in our preseason predictions. Having plugged all of the gaps in their team, and having added some much-needed creativity into their midfield, they are now performing very well. Ancelotti has always been a world-class coach, and he seems to be getting the very best out of Calvert-Lewin. Comparisons with Inzaghi are flattering but you can see the similarities. He doesn't have much impact on the team but has scored in every game so far this season. James Rodriguez gives me funny feelings when he plays and has returned a lovely amount of points too. This Everton team should do very well this year and their players are highly investable in.
The most damning judgment about Fulham is that they should be targetted heavily when deciding captains. Some bookies have even paid out on Fulham to be relegated already. If these aren't enough reasons to never invest in their players, I don't know what is. Mitrovic can still do a job for his price but the sheer lack of quality behind him means he can never be trusted with the captaincy. With the options at his price range, if you haven't yet ditched him, I think the time is now to cut ties.
It's nice to have a promoted team that is showing fight and a manager that has obvious tactical awareness. They have played two easier fixtures, which they won, and two harder games in which they lost to Liverpool 4-3 and drew to Manchester City 1-1. The Yorkshire team is showing everyone that they can more than handle themselves in the Premier League and some of the players are really catching the eye. Bamford has decided he knows where the back of the net is, but I have a feeling his scoring output will regress soon. Klich is on penalties and has already converted one and scored another from open play. Ayling and Dallas seem to be the great attacking fullbacks we thought they would be, and Meslier has done very well in goal. There are options everywhere.
If this article was written after three gameweeks, then this paragraph on Leicester would have had a much different tone. Having scored twelve goals in the first three games, beating Man City at the Etihad along the way, people were really starting to rate this team and its players. Then in gameweek 4 they played West Ham and lost 0-3, being thoroughly outplayed in the process. Vardy and Catagne seem the obvious choices for investment, but Barnes and Maddison should also be considered. They should continue this good form through to Christmas but usually tail off a little by the end of the season.
It has been a mad season so far in the Premier League and the defending champions have been more than happy to get swept up in the mayhem. Winning their opening game 4-3 against Leeds, everyone remembered why Salah is a premium asset and why a double Liverpool defence may not be the best idea this year. And then Liverpool played Villa in gameweek four. Conceding seven goals in one game is strictly unheard of, with all of their defenders achieving negative points for the game. And yet, Salah scored two goals. We can take lessons from this result. One defender should be bought for cover and Salah should be considered for captaincy every week.
A disappointment, but still not the most disappointing club in Manchester this year. More on them later. Many people transferred Manchester City assets into their teams in gameweek 2, knowing that they can be the most explosive team in the league when everything is going right. Unfortunately, things don't seem to be clicking right now. De Bruyne is still at the heart of everything but seems to be a composer without an orchestra. I wouldn't be too hasty in ditching your City assets as they can turn up any week and score five goals or more, but many are considering swapping them for Spurs assets right now and can understand the move. Sterling, Foden and Mahrez are all worth considering also.
And here they are. If it wasn't for the controversial, after the game penalty they won against Brighton, they would only have one point so far this season after three games. They can't seem to defend and their attackers seem uninterested or inept. Solskjaer looks significantly out of depth again and all of a sudden Manchester United are a club in turmoil. Bruno Fernandes is ticking along nicely due to penalty duties but apart from that, it's hard to trust anyone in this rotten team. They may well return in favourable fixtures this year but a team on the decline is hard to trust. If I was forced to suggest some options, then Rashford wouldn't be a terrible pick.
Every year the Northern team gets written off and every year they do surprisingly well. Callum Wilson has proved to be a fantastic piece of business already and the striker will be looking to build on his current goal tally of four after four games. Saint-Maximin has struggled with an injury but has looked back to his best self. Fraser adds some pace and guile to a midfield that was lacking last year. Things seem to be looking positive for the Magpies this year, and the price of their assets should mean people don't have to rip up their teams to take a punt on them. Wilson seems the safest option right now with the highest ceiling.
I think Sheffield United could be in real trouble. Much like Burnley, they built their success on keeping clean sheets and scoring when they needed to. Now they aren't keeping clean sheets and aren't scoring at all. They have also scored a few late goals so far this year which seems to suggest that their belief has gone. We would only have been looking at defenders for Sheffield United moving forward but with their defence in limbo as of this moment, I think The Blades may not have many assets to target in FPL.
Danny Ings has picked up exactly where he left off, scoring with few chances and taking as many bonus points as possible when he does so. Those managers that took a punt on Che Adams as a hope that he could cover Ings have been left red-faced. The defence is starting to look solid again and all of a sudden the South Coast club seems to be brimming with options. Kyle Walker-Peters and Armstrong should also be looked at moving forward, but it's the England striker that makes me excited. Three goals in four games and some great fixtures to come, if he's in your team, you won't want to get rid of him for months.
If it wasn't for the opening day home loss to Everton, Spurs would have been graded as an easy A. Tottenham seem to be the epitome of 'fluctuating form' but when they are on form, they have been devastating. Five goals against Southampton and six against Manchester United have seen Son and Kane soar to the top of the total points tables. It is worth saying that, with Son in particular, many managers were burned when selling him and rebuying him so the best strategy seems to be sticking with these players for the long haul. Both of Spurs' talismans should be considered elite from now and are highly captainable in any fixture.
The Midlands club has actually been fairly capable in front of goal, with Pereira and Diangana being more than capable of providing both goals and assists. It is in defence that they have really struggled, however. They have conceded more shots than any other team in the league and are, along with Fulham, a team that should be targetted. Unless you like the look of one of their talented midfielders, you won't be wanting to fir a West Brom player into your team anytime soon.
No one balmes you for having no West Ham players in your team at the start of the season. They had a nightmare start against some of the best teams in the league and their team was falling apart. Little did we know that they would start the season incredibly well, beating Wolves and Leicester after two defeats from the opening two games. Antonio is always an option upfront for our teams but it's in midfield that we are being spoilt for choice. Bowen, Fornals and Soucek should all be considered as options. After gameweek eight, The Hammers' fixtures look rosy so if you can hold out till then, you'll be rewarded.
The same problems just keep rearing their heads for owners of Wolves assets. They never seem to score enough goals to justify captaining Jimenez and, for a team that has one of the best defences in the league, a double-up just never seems viable. A lot of FPL managers jumped on Wolves players after gameweek two only to be dissapointed with their returns since. I do believe they show good value for the season but do not have the explosiveness many people want in their squads. Saiss, Semedo, Jimenez and Podence will most likely be in our teams at some point this year.
I have been playing Fantasy Premier League for almost 13 seasons, with multiple top 100k finishes. I still enjoy the start of every season as if it was my first. Always make sure you're enjoying the game!