My first guess would be, is that if you followed my advice last week, you’d have felt the wrath of the red arrows. When all was said and done, this was a pretty atrocious week, so the chances of you picking one of my players that actually managed to score some points, are probably pretty slim.
The damage was done in the lineups. I misjudged Hazard starting Sunday as I’d misjudged Moreno the day before. These were both mistakes, and I hold my hands up on Hazard – I really thought he’d be ready. Moreno’s absence, coupled with Burnley breaching Liverpool meant that Mignolet’s clean sheet was gone and my pre-game hopes of a double up were diminished quickly.
I did have clean sheets from Mendy and Davinson Sanchez, which were great, but aside from that the only other return was from my boy Gabriel Jesus. Captain again, he did manage six points, although even a goal from him pales in comparison to what his partner in crime mustered.
With the above monstrosity in mind, I would quite like to move on thank you very much. Below is this week’s Differentials XI – please consider these guys if you’re wanting to make a big difference in your league. And please ignore how bad this advice was last week.
The assumption was Man City would score tonnes but ship a fair few at the back. On recent evidence, they look pretty solid back there, so Ederson (4%) is in the team this week. City’s form, coupled with the fact they play goal-shy Crystal Palace makes the stopper an easy add in my opinion. Fabianski (6.1%) is my backup option if you’re looking for something a little cheaper. Watford at home is no picnic given the Hornets have won on the road at Bournemouth and Southampton already, but Fabianski is the top scoring keeper so far and I like him here against a side left wounded by City’s demolition of them last week.
Like his real life team-mate Jesus, I will continue to bang the Mendy (1.8%) drum for as long as the rules of this time state I can I think. Yes, at £6.5m he’s pricey, but he bombs forward so often, sometimes he’s playing left wing. With 16 points from two games, I’m surprised he’s not been snapped up by more. He’s excellent on Twitter too – follow him. I also like Aurier (0.3%) this week, despite the Ivorian not having started a league game so far. With Trippier featuring in the Carabao Cup in midweek, I think Poch gives Serge the nod for the London Derby with West Ham. Monreal (3.5%) is my next most expensive defender. He has two clean sheets in a row, collecting four bonus points in the process. West Brom are the opposition, at home, on Monday night. Completing my starting lineup is Lascelles (7.2%) and although this might be a tad ‘after the door has bolted’ in terms of goalscoring, I like the idea of a Toon clean sheet down on the south-coast at Brighton. On my bench this week is Mee (7.4%), who earned me six points a fortnight ago when Burnley were last at home.
Ah the midfield… An area of the pitch I consistently stink out. This week, my three starters are the definition of ‘go big or go home’, but I really need it to work and you’ll see just why shortly. Sanchez (2.4%) and Hazard (2.9%) are leading the way for me and I’m just praying that both start. I think Hazard looked sharp in his cameo against Arsenal last week, while Sanchez played 90 minutes in the cup against Doncaster. With Welbeck out and Ozil a doubt, I think he starts against the Baggies during MNF. Oh, and I’m handing the armband too. Sane (3.4%) completes my starters in the middle, meaning that the whole trio may not have one start between them this weekend. Look, these guys are risks, and they’re expensive ones. But they are definite differentials right now. If one of them blows up – and let’s face it, they all have the talent to – they could be the difference makers of your week. My two midfield subs this week come a lot cheaper. Iwobi (0.7%) and Ritchie (4.7%) may be a lot more affordable to you, but both come with upside. Firstly, Ritchie is coming off a great game last weekend, where he set up both Newcastle goals. Secondly, he’s facing Brighton, who are not the most fearsome opposition he could face. As for Iwobi, the aforementioned injuries to Welbeck and Ozil, added to his mature display at Chelsea last week, may see him get another chance behind Lacazette. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see it.
Right, now, I have a problem. I predicted last week that one more Jesus goal would likely tip him over the 10% threshold and that’s exactly what happened as he and Aguero proved once again that there’s room for both in Pep’s team. I would argue that as of right now, every elite striker in the league (and Wayne Rooney) are owned by more than 10% of users, leaving me with a real headache up top. Good job that midfield are going to smash it, isn’t it?
I really toyed with Rashford here, but he stung me a little last week when given a start and only giving me back two points in return. Martial’s penalty, followed by encouraging display in midweek makes me think Mourinho will give him a chance against Southampton. Yes, I know Rashford was excellent against Burton too, I just worry Jose think’s it’s the Frenchman’s turn this time. If you don’t agree, Rashford is well worth a look again.
Instead, I’ve opted for something very different indeed. First up is Wood (2.4%), who is at home to Huddersfield this weekend. He scored the winner in his first appearance at Turf Moor a fortnight ago, so Sean Dyche will be hopeful he can repeat the trick when the Terriers come to town this time around. Accompanying him are two bolder shouts, Calvert-Lewin (1.9%) and Okazaki (4.1%) – differentials in the truest sense. DCL was Everton’s star in the midweek cup games and crucially, he offers the team pace, something they’re desperately lacking every time they play at the moment. With Bournemouth the visitors to Goodison Park, I think Koeman will start the youngster, allowing him an opportunity to build on the confidence of his Wednesday night brace. Okazaki is in on the grounds that Vardy has a dodgy groin, so may not be risked, and he has already scored against the same opposition (Liverpool) this week. Shakespeare may partner him with Iheanacho if Vardy is out, though even if he isn’t it wouldn’t stun me to see the Japanese striker start anyway.
Thanks all, and best of luck this weekend.
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)