The International break has really thrown a spanner in the works of most FPL managers with many Premier League stars set to miss their Gameweek 4 fixtures following talks of a five-day ban to be enforced by football’s governing body FIFA.
With the international break about to be concluded, there is a lot of uncertainty around the availability of certain Premier League stars. The Argentine quartet that broke quarantine rules recently in Brazil has certainly thrown the cat among the pigeons.
With the UK’s COVID-19 travel restrictions still in force, anyone arriving in the UK from a red-listed country must quarantine for ten days in a government-approved quarantine hospital.
The Premier League have strongly opposed this blanket rule, first looking for exemption for their players and then mandating that none of them travel to play for their countries if they play in a red-listed country.
Similarly, the Spanish FA went to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) to “block” the release of red-listed players, but they were simply denied, giving FIFA the confidence that the same will happen with English clubs.
However, FIFA have threatened a five-day ban for all players who did not travel but were selected for their national squads. Although it’s still advantageous for Premier League clubs, the five-day ban, however, will restrict certain players from playing their Gameweek 4 fixtures.
While a final call is expected to be taken within the next 24 hours, with all these things to consider, let’s take a look at my best Captain choices for Gameweek 4.
Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) | Opponent: NEW (H)
The mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo is back in the Premier League and irrespective of Manchester United‘s current run of fixtures or their fixtures from Gameweek 8, CR7 will surely be part of a large section of FPL managers’ plans. And with the Red Devils playing Newcastle United at Old Trafford, people will be expecting goals from his first outing itself.
Plying his trade in the Serie A for Juventus, Ronaldo, at 36, was able to outscore Romelu Lukaku for the golden boot award last season. His tally of 29 Serie A goals for a fourth-placed Juve side was quite impressive, to say the least. He might not be the dazzling winger that United sold twelve years ago, but he certainly is a poacher who will convert half-chances into goals.
Harry Kane (£12.3m) | Opponent: CRY (A)
The Tottenham Hotspur forward got some valuable minutes under his belt against Watford the other day. After his transfer saga dragged on till the end of the transfer window, the Spurs captain committed his future for at least another season, and the sort of professional he is, Kane returning to his goal-scoring best is just a matter of time.
The Spurs #10 had two Shots on the Watford goal and had one Big Chance coming his way, but it could only be his lack of match-sharpness because of which he squandered his opportunity and ended the evening with just a solitary point.
My call on Kane to start firing is backed by his underlying stats. With just one start this season, Kane’s Expected Goals (xG) stands at 0.70 while producing three Key Passes in that same fixture. With Heung-Min Son (£10.1m) suffering a midweek knock during the international break, the bulk of attacking play is expected to go through Kane.
Michail Antonio (£7.9m) | Opponent: SOU (A)
Michail Antonio was the standout player during the August phase of the 2021/22 FPL season. The Hammers forward has four Goals and four Assists against his name and sits pretty at the top of the FPL points standings with 40 points. Moreover, the Hammers play Southampton, Manchester United, Leeds United and Brentford in their next four fixtures.
Antonio has had 16 Shots so far with six Big Chances coming his way while also creating four Big Chances himself. His Expected Goals Involvement (xGI) stands at 5.61. The way David Moyes’ system works, West Ham United will create a lot of chances in their coming fixtures, and against a Southampton side who are defensively vulnerable, another double-digit point haul is definitely not out of the reckoning.
Raul Jiménez (£7.4m) | Opponent: WAT (A)
Well, let me be clear about this call. Wolverhampton Wanderers have been one of the best attacking outfits in the Premier League, but their dominance on the ball has hardly rewarded them with anything. Wolves’ Expected Goals (xG) after their opening three fixtures stands at 4.43 whereas they are sitting at the foot of the table with zero goals and zero points against their name.
Jiménez has certainly taken some time to gel in following his horrific skull fracture, and I believe this is the time to cash in on these Wolves assets. Jiménez has had 12 Shots, 11 of them coming inside the box. His Expected Goals (xG) and Expected Assists (xA) metrics stand at 0.50 and 0.69 respectively.
Jiménez and Wolves, in particular, have been pretty decent so far, but just haven’t had the rub of the green going their way. Against Watford, I feel Wolves will definitely break their duck.
Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m) | Opponent: AVL (H)
Romelu Lukaku is the perfect captain choice for Gameweek 4. Chelsea face Tottenham and Manchester City on the bounce after their Gameweek 4 fixture, and with Emiliano Martínez (£5.5m) looking seemingly unlikely for Gameweek 4, it could end up getting pretty ugly at Stamford Bridge.
Following matches against Arsenal and Liverpool, Romelu Lukaku has certainly impressed a lot of people with his physicality and hold-up play. He has amassed 10 points – averaging five points per game, which is pretty decent. His Expected Goals (xG) and Expected Assists (xA) metrics rank highly, being 1.28 and 0.91 respectively.
Aston Villa, on the other hand, have been shaky at the back and have conceded a lot of scoring opportunities despite enjoying one of the easiest sets of opening fixtures. Facing Chelsea without their star goalkeeper will be a stern test for Dean Smith and his side.