Premier League action returns amidst a lot of uncertainty for FPL enthusiasts as managers are forced to break the template to maintain a competitive edge following the international break.
After two high-scoring Gameweeks, a red arrow has certainly dampened my mood a bit. If you can dive a bit deeper you will see my Captain selection was spot on once again, but those who were a certainty to bag at least 4-6 points blanked during Gameweek 3, thus pulling my Gameweek 3 score down to 64 points.
However, it didn’t affect my overall standings that much, since dropping from 132k to 142k can’t be considered a catastrophe that would force me to make wholesale changes to the squad.
That is why I’m very happy with the start given that I have not used a single chip and have 247 points. More importantly, I am running 37 points above my expected score after Gameweek 3, which gives me the freedom to tinker around a little bit as and when needed.
Maybe that is the reason why having a well-thought-out and balanced squad is so crucial. And for anybody following my regular FPL posts, congratulations on a great start.
As I mentioned in my previous article, Gameweek 4 is one of the most crucial parts of the first half of the 21/22 FPL season. And so it has proved to be, so far. Some players remain doubtful after getting injured while representing their country, whereas eight others have been banned for not representing their country. Thus, any previous plans or preempted transfers have been thrown out of the window.
In simple terms, it’s chaotic.
I know for sure this week will have the most Wildcards played, at least for the first half of the season. And like many, I was (am) tempted too. But it’s a fine line, isn’t it? I have three templates in place –
- Take a (-8) points hit and see it out till Gameweek 7.
- Use the Wildcard chip and set my team with an eye on fixture swings.
- Roll this transfer, assess situations after Gameweek 4, and then go big for Gameweek 5.
In the end, I’ve decided to go with the first template, the reason being that the difficulties and uncertainty surrounding players would be there for the second international break after Gameweek 7 as well, and whatever happens, this time around will paint a better picture of things to come for the second and third international breaks in October and November respectively.
Taking all of that into account, here, in this article, I have refrained myself from making wholesale changes and bring to you the best squad and playing XI to go with, which can be moulded back with a similar profile of players without incurring too many hit points.
Also Read – FPL: BEST CAPTAIN CHOICES FOR GAMEWEEK 4
Gameweek 4 Deadline: Saturday, 11 September at 3:30 pm IST.
BEST FPL TEAM SUGGESTED FOR GAMEWEEK 3
Gameweek 3 Score – 64
Gameweek 3 Rank – 1,751,202
Overall Rank – 142,311
Chips Activated: None
Gameweek 4 kicks off with an early Saturday evening kickoff between Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur. Nuno Espírito Santo’s men will be visiting Selhurst Park as they look to maintain their 100% record, but things are turning sour for Spurs off the field, with many players returning with injuries while some are isolating following a breach of COVID protocols.
Arsenal, on the other hand, will host Daniel Farke’s Norwich City at the Emirates as both teams sit at the foot of the table and are eyeing that first win to kick start their season and build some momentum.
Elsewhere, it’s a clash of two solid defences and woeful finishing at the other end: both Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion will look to come out of this fixture with three points as both teams will see this as a must-win to further solidify the decent starts they’ve both enjoyed so far.
Leicester City haven’t had the best of starts to their new Premier League campaign, while Manchester City have found their groove following two 5-0 victories on the bounce. Both teams will be missing key players for their encounter, but based on squad depth and quality, the Cityzens definitely hold the upper hand.
In the red half of Manchester, it is like a carnival, and Newcastle United are paying them a visit at the worst possible moment. Man United’s squad and staff are buzzing since Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival and that should reflect on the pitch this Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, the Saints will be hosting free-scoring West Ham United at St. Mary’s. There should be goals in this fixture, that too from both sides.
And in the last fixture for Saturday, we have Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea hosting Aston Villa, who will be without their star goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez (£5.5m) and record £35m signing Emiliano Buendía (£6.4m) after the duo breached COVID protocols on international duty.
On Sunday, we have Leeds United hosting Liverpool. Leeds will be missing the services of Raphinha (£6.5m), while Liverpool will be missing two key players in Allison Becker (£6.0m) and Fabinho (£5.4m).
As the last game of the Gameweek, we have a late Monday night kickoff between Everton and Burnley. The Toffees are racing against time to have Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.2m) fit for the match, while Burnley will look to exploit Everton the same way they exploited Leeds before the international break.
- Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur (5:00 pm)
- Arsenal v Norwich City (7:30 pm)
- Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion (7:30 pm)
- Leicester City v Manchester City (7:30 pm)
- Manchester United v Newcastle United (7:30 pm)
- Southampton v West Ham United (7:30 pm)
- Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers (7:30 pm)
- Chelsea v Aston Villa (10:00 pm)
- Leeds United v Liverpool (9:00 pm)
- Everton v Burnley (12:30 am)
All timings IST
Best FPL XI for Gameweek 4
FPL Team suggested for Gameweek 4
Budget Remaining: £0.8m
Free Transfers Available: None
Transfers made: Three (Amartey, Fernandes, Ings ‹—› Christensen, Jota, Ronaldo)
Point Hits (if any): (-8) pts
Captain: Mohamed Salah
Vice-captain: Cristiano Ronaldo
Picking the correct Captain for Gameweek 4 shouldn’t be an issue. There are many one-sided fixtures this weekend which should make things easier for every FPL manager.
For me, Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m) and Harry Kane (£12.3m) are the best Captaincy picks for Gameweek 4, but after this Gameweek, both have some tricky fixtures coming up. Hence why I have refrained myself from looking for short-term success. Mohamed Salah against Leeds is still a very good option, and having him also allows me to potentially Captain him for Gameweeks 5 and 6.
Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m), without any doubt, will be the most-Captained player this week. Ronaldo is a big-match player, and before anyone jumps on that let me clarify: by big match, what I am referring to is his second debut for Man United, which is a big occasion in itself.
However, looking at how Ole Gunnar Solskjær integrates new signings into his side, I’m not confident enough that Cristiano will start against the Magpies. He might come off the bench and score a goal or two, but there remains a big question mark over his selection, which is why I wouldn’t gamble on him straight away with the Captaincy.
Robert Sánchez (£4.5m) | Opponent: BRE (A)
Robert Sánchez has 10 points from Brighton’s opening three fixtures, which is quite decent. Having him has allowed me to play around with my team with a bigger budget, and so far it has paid off. Moreover, against a counter-attacking Everton side and an in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Sánchez and Brighton will have their work cut out anyway.
Brighton have conceded just four Big Chances in their opening three fixtures, while their Expected Goals Conceded (xGC) metric stands at a solid 3.41 as they’ve conceded only three goals from their first three matches.
Brentford have lacked potency up front, and Brighton’s back-three system should be able to nullify the Brentford attacking duo of Bryan Mbuemo (£5.5m) and Ivan Toney (£6.4m).
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) | Opponent: LEE (A)
Trent Alexander-Arnold has accumulated 22 FPL points, while his underlying stats show that he should have produced more offensively. His Expected Goals (xG) and Expected Assists (xA) metrics are exceptional for a defender, 0.38 and 1.76 respectively. Moreover, he has already created three Big Chances for his teammates, of which, only one has been converted so far.
Liverpool are missing both Allison (£6.0m) and Fabinho (£5.4m) for this match, which will considerably weaken their defence. Thus, keeping a clean sheet is not a given, and certainly not against Leeds, but the spaces that they will leave behind can be exploited by Trent since most of Liverpool’s creativity comes from him.
Luke Shaw (£5.5m) | Opponent: NEW (H)
Patience on the Manchester United fullback is running on the borderline for most FPL managers who own him. Luke Shaw has amassed just 11 points from United’s opening three fixtures, and given the difficulty of the fixtures, keeping only one clean sheet and no attacking returns has really hurt the owners.
But against Newcastle United, at home, Manchester United should keep a clean sheet and any attacking output on top of that is just a bonus. Let’s hope Ronaldo’s arrival will boost Shaw’s output.
Andreas Christensen (£5.0m) | Opponent: AVL (H)
As of now, Andreas Christensen is the cheapest route to the best defence in the world, and I’m willing to gamble on it and take the punt. He might be susceptible to the occasional rotation, but with the lack of ball-playing defenders at Chelsea, I feel he will get an extended run into the team for the Premier League games, with Thiago Silva his like-for-like for the midweek Champions League games.
Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) | Opponent: LEE (A)
Mohamed Salah has been unlucky not to have more goals and assists after his first three games. The Egyptian has been doing the bulk of the attacking and creative work at Liverpool this season. The addition of Harvey Elliot (£5.5m) certainly seems to have lifted some creative burden from his shoulders and he should be seen further up the pitch than the previous Gameweeks.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men will leave spaces behind and Salah will definitely have his moments; it’s just a matter of whether it’ll be like the Norwich game where most things went his way or the Burnley game where most things didn’t pan out how he would’ve wanted.
Mason Greenwood (£7.6m) | Opponent: NEW (H)
Cristiano Ronaldo might be taking his #9 role, but Mason Greenwood won’t be benched all of a sudden. He has scored in all three matches, and there are many more reasons for why he shouldn’t be dropped. Furthermore, his finishing ability and two-footedness definitely makes him a better candidate for the right side of the front three.
Moreover, Ole Gunnar Solskjær may also bring in Ronaldo from the bench, so there are lots of variables at play and it’s a tricky call to take. However, at the end of the day, it’s a gut feeling, and I think I’ll stick with it for Gameweek 4.
Saïd Benrahma (£6.4m) | Opponent: SOU (A)
Just like his teammate Michail Antonio, Saïd Benrahma has been a revelation this season. He seems to finally be living up to the potential he showed at his former club (Brentford). However, I’m a bit sceptical about keeping him beyond Gameweek 6. His underlying stats haven’t been great and like Paul Pogba (£7.7m), Benrahma has massively overperformed. I think it will tail off by then. Although I’m not doubting his ability one bit, and I do feel he will continue to dazzle for the Hammers, but in terms of FPL points and output, I expect them to dry up soon.
Diogo Jota (£7.6m) | Opponent: LEE (A)
Roberto Firmino (£8.8m) limped off against Chelsea and although it is never good to have a player limp off with an injury, it has certainly opened the door for Diogo Jota to enjoy an extended run as the Liverpool #9. The Portugal international has already scored two goals, and against Leeds, his pace and movement may lead to him scoring or creating a goal or two.
I feel, at least till Gameweek 7, having a £7.6m-priced Liverpool #9 is a no-brainer.
Jack Harrison (£5.9m) | Opponent: LIV (H)
Jack Harrison has had a subdued start to his 2021/22 Premier League season. Six points from three games is pretty average, but the teams Leeds have had in front of them should also be taken into consideration. After this Liverpool fixture, Leeds go on a relatively easy run of fixtures till Gameweek 11.
However, Bielsa also seems to be approaching this season differently. Unlike last season, where his team attacked on all fronts, this season, his approach has been pretty much right-side heavy while pulling the left-side back for cover. So, it’ll be interesting to see if he tweaks his approach.
Michail Antonio (£7.9m) | Opponent: SOU (A)
This guy needs no introduction. Three games, four Goals, four Assists and 40 FPL points. Michail Antonio was untouchable towards the end of last season and looks unstoppable so far; the only thing that can stop him is his dreadful injury record.
But fingers crossed, Antonio can again bag double-digit points this Gameweek. Southampton have been decent at home (defensively), but have conceded chances since Jannik Vestergaard’s departure.
Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) | Opponent: NEW (H)
As I write this, I am still contemplating whether I’m getting swayed by the hype around him or is it because this is too good a chance to pass on. But then I think, at some point, after Gameweek 7 or the November international break, I would have to include a premium forward anyway. So now I have the option to have a guaranteed goal-scorer for the first three Gameweeks and then rotate him with another premium whenever I want.
Moreover, the rate at which people are buying him, a price hike is imminent, be it before the deadline or just after it. So, I don’t want to be priced out of it, and given his aerial prowess and Newcastle’s aerial fragility, Ronaldo playing for even 20 minutes has high chances of him scoring or assisting a goal.
GK: Jason Steele (£4.0m) | Opponent: BRE (A)
The second goalkeeper option remains unchanged and will remain the same until and unless Sánchez gets a long-term injury or Brighton’s defence completely breaks down in the coming weeks, the latter of which is very unlikely, hence why I will continue with this goalkeeper pairing.
1st Sub: Luke Ayling (£4.5m) | Opponent: LIV (H)
As stated in the previous articles, Luke Ayling is a rotation player for this squad, and exposing him in our squad against Liverpool is suicidal in my opinion. Hence why I have brought in Christensen as an upgrade on Daniel Amartey, and have further strengthened my bench for any untimely injury scare.
Moreover, Christensen and Ayling provide better rotation and fluidity than the Amartey-Ayling or Livramento-Ayling combinations while also giving me the option to switch to a back-four in case all my forwards face difficult fixtures in the same Gameweek.
2nd Sub: Tino Livramento (£4.0m) | Opponent: WHU (H)
The Saints have some decent fixtures coming their way, especially given that I intend to rotate Livramento with a Leeds defender, which was exactly my plan at the start of the 21/22 season. Despite Southampton’s defensive fragility and a small sample size, Livramento has the potential to score good points, especially when playing similar or weaker teams.
For a young fullback, Livramento has shown great positional awareness, good ability with the ball at his feet and has an instinct to bob up and down the flanks, which is a great asset to have.
3rd Sub: Michael Obafemi (£4.5m) | Opponent: WHU (H)
I might look to bring in Emmanuel Dennis (£5.2m) in the next couple of Gameweeks as the Watford forward provides flexibility to turn to a front three with Watford entering a decent run of fixtures from an attacking standpoint. I have sufficient balance left in the kitty and would jump at the chance next week, unless a late injury scare forces me to change my playing XI.