Thanks to deadline day and the international break, week 3 feels like a long time ago now. My Differentials XI options for the week scored well though combined, scoring well above the weekly average points total.
Overall though, I was pretty disappointed, as it was two of my forwards that saved this from being a really poor week for the Differentials XI. Jesus as the lunchtime captain paid off, as he started over Aguero and bagged the equalising goal at Bournemouth. Another goal and assist from Morata has been enough to convince a lot of managers to put him in ahead of week 4, but my chosen midfield was a car crash. The trio of Ozil, Tadic and Jese averaged a mere two points each, while a late goal for Burnley killed my Vertonghen cleanie at the back. Another keeper/defender double paid off though, with Gomes and Prodl keeping Brighton’s “strikeforce” out. Danilo picked up an assist for City, though his clean sheet was gone early when Daniels struck his worldie.
On to this week then, and the Differentials XI for week 4. As ever, below are the players I think YOU can select to make a difference for you this weekend.
Before I begin, I will just quickly admit that I hate the fixtures this week. I’ve really struggled for ‘standout differentials’ if there are such a thing, so there’s a couple of gambles here. Also remember that even though I’ve picked a few conflicting players, I don’t care for the score of this team. I’m more bothered by what the individual players do and how they might be options for your line-up.
Heaton (7.5%) & Fabianski (4.1%) are my goalkeepers this week, with Heaton starting. Facing a Palace side who are yet to find the net, I like the Burnley man on Sunday, although I’m fully aware that the Eagles are overdue a goal. On the bench is Fabianski, who kept out Palace last week, facing a Newcastle team that have failed to score in two of their three games so far. Admittedly, they did spank three past West Ham last time out, but I think Rafa Benitez’s side will be topsy-turvy, turning in random performances and inconsistency. Buoyed by the return of Bony and the coup that is Renato Sanches (more on him shortly), I like Paul Clement’s men to pick up three points when the sides meet.
Has Koscielny’s (0.8%) ownership ever been lower? Arsenal are home to a Cherries side who’ve scored once so far, and he’s (basically) their captain who is assured of playing whether Wenger goes for two or three central defenders. Surely, he’s a pick this week? Mee (8.3%) is in on the same basis as Heaton above, though I’m not hugely confident, but the fixtures are dictating me here. After two clean sheets and an assist so far, Nyom (2.6%) gets the nod with West Brom travelling to goalless Brighton, while Zabaleta (2.7%) also features despite scoring zero points from three 90 minute showings so far. I just fancy West Ham to improve in their first home game, and surely Huddersfield have to have a reality check sooner rather than later, don’t they? On the bench, Jones (4.9%) is an option, with three full United games and two England caps under his belt so far. He’s looking solid for Mourinho’s team, who have scored ten and conceded none in games with West Ham, Swansea and Leicester. Next up is a tricky trip to Stoke, though I wouldn’t back against a fourth clean sheet.
The middle of the park was a disaster for me last time out, so I’m looking at Sanchez (2.4%) to bail me out this time around. For the same reasons as Koscielny above, I just think the Chilean is a good option on Saturday, even if he’s carrying a ‘slight knock’. Personally, I don’t believe it and think he’s just going to have to get on with the job in hand at Arsenal now, ahead of his inevitable exit next summer. Alongside Sanchez, Richarlison (4.8%) comes into this week’s middle three. His 210 Premier League minutes so far have produced a goal and an assist, and although Southampton home games don’t tend to have hatfuls of goals, their last appearance at St Mary’s did see a 3-2 win. The midfielder is an exciting prospect and could make things happen here. I’ve also gone for Redmond (6.7%) from the same game, on the basis that I’m just looking for someone to do something in the fixture – it’s slim pickings this week. On my bench, I just couldn’t resist Sanches (1%), who will likely play quite deep for Swansea but it a sexy name on the teamsheet. A final option could be Knockaert (1.3%), who will surely start his first home top flight match for the Seagulls. They’re desperate for a goal, so it makes sense to include their most creative attacking threat.
Last time out I called Jesus (8.2%) starting over Aguero and despite being right, the Brazilian scoring and City winning, people still seem to be on the Argentine’s bandwagon, as he still maintains higher ownership. To be fair, Guardiola may mix it up again, but City need to lay down a marker at home to Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime, so I’m going balls out and not only selecting him, but captaining him too – I live life on the edge, in case you couldn’t tell. Continuing my frontline’s biblical theme, Abraham (3.1%) takes his place up top. With a first Premier League goal against Palace last time out, the Chelsea loanee will be keen to impress now that he has starting competition for Bony. Swansea’s upcoming games are kind and although I think Bony will see more action as the weeks go by, I believe TamHam will play from the start this week as the Ivorian looks to build his fitness. Another striker with increased competition is Vokes (6.3%), after Burnley’s signings of Nakhi Wells and Chris Wood. Despite Wood’s goal against Spurs, I think Vokes plays this weekend, and a third goal of the season will go a long way to reminding Sean Dyche that he should remain a key part of his plans.
Good luck this weekend.
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)