The Good, The Bad, and The Smugly: In a regular series, our writer picks out 3 fantasy picks with contrasting fortunes so far this season.
Eden Hazard. I imagine Eden Hazard was not a popular name in Cardiff last weekend, as he instigated a 4-1 comeback against The Bluebirds. Scoring a whopping 20 points, this man was the bread and butter to your team if you scored highly. With his 29.9% ownership, you can be sure that most of his followers would have captained him. 40 points from one player; not a bad start.
Chelsea looked superb in this game. Even though they conceded and didn’t score until the 37th minute, they showed resilience in coming back. Two lovely assists from Giroud and a penalty won by Willian gave Haz his second Chelsea hatrick. The last campaign that Hazard scored a hatty, The Blues finished in 3rd place, 4 points behind Champions Man City. Foreshadowing?
Looking ahead to this weekend, Chelsea take on West Ham away. While The Hammers did convincingly beat Everton in their last game, I’m not sure they’ll keep up that form against Chelsea. Arnautovic and Yarmolenko seem to be forming a nice partnership, which if they keep up, could spell trouble for the Chelsea defence.
However, at the other end of the pitch is where the magic happens. Averaging 2.8 goals per game, Chelsea’s attack looks delicious. Whatever Sarri is saying to them in training, I’m sure Hazard owners don’t want it to stop.
Seeing as Eden is a typically streaky player, I wouldn’t bring him in now. If you have him, great stuff, but I reckon he’ll blank soon. May happen this weekend, may happen next. It may not happen all season, what do I know.
Mohamed Salah. Sheesh, another blank for Salah. If one of your players gets 4 points in 2 consecutive weeks, you wouldn’t be too upset, right? What if that man costs £13.0, and sits at 45.6%? It slightly changes things.
He was cutting a frustrated figure against Spurs last weekend. He had 4 shots, only of which 2 were on target, including a sublime chance where he blissfully intercepted a poor pass, drove towards goal in his usual silky manner but hit a poor shot straight at Vorm.
Last season, we would have seen the Egyptian King dink that over the keeper and into the back of the net. His frustration continued against PSG midweek, where he was unhelpful in Liverpool’s 3-2 victory, and actually produced an error which led to PSG scoring.
The Reds take on Southampton this weekend. The Saints are in a bit of form (they really should have won that game against Brighton), but not as much as would be needed to curb the currently unstoppable force that is Liverpool. Luckily for Salah, the rest of the squad can perform when he doesn’t. I reckon Liverpool will win this game.
I’m unsure of the margin for the time being, seeing as McCarthy is doing well between the sticks for Soton, but if Liverpool turn up like they did against PSG, it could be a few goals. And that was without Salah.
I would probably stick with Salah for one ‘Mo’ gameweek (a single laugh echoes from an otherwise silent crowd). We should cut the boy some slack. I have confidence in him that he will succeed this season, but I’m not sure if he’ll hit the heights of last. However, if he does blank this week, I’m sure his net transfers of -261,759 will double, if not treble.
Ryan Fraser. Fraser, you smug bastard. The Scot scored 18 points this gameweek, banging in 2 goals and setting another up. Costing a measly £5.7, he’s a bargain Midfielder. He’s been on the pitch every possible minute this season, and played an integral role in Bournemouth’s demolition of Leicester last weekend. Eddie Howe must be a happy boy at the moment.
The Cherries travel to Turf Moor this gameweek, taking on a not-so-great Burnley team. Usually this fixture is a no-brainer. Dyche at home against a mid-table side? Load up the 4-4-2. Sit back and relax while an entranced Burnley defend for 90 minutes, then pop up at an opportune moment to sneak a goal via the head of Chris Wood or Sam Vokes.
We’ve all seen it before, so much so that we question our sanity. “I must be dreaming”, you’d ponder, “Again?!”. Only to be thrust back into reality, greeted by the sound of a hoarse Sean Dyche in his victorious post match interview.
This season, however, Burnley are singing a different tune. They have one point from 5 fixtures, a disgraceful start for a usually graceful team. Turf Moor is currently not the fortress it was last season. The only two factors I can attribute their poor beginning to is their keeper conundrum and their early involvement in the Europa League. They are out of EL now, but are still without a concrete choice in goal.
Either Hart or Heaton could start this weekend, and they don’t have definite fullbacks either. Bournemouth love an attacking game, so this plays right into their hands. Defensive instability could be the key factor here for Fraser, as I’m sure he’ll look to prolong The Clarets poor start.
Ryan is sitting at 11.7% ownership, so could make for a tasty differential if you don’t have him already. If you do, I would definitely stick. Even if he blanks for a week or two, Bournemouth are too offensively minded for him not to score. They always give every game their best shot, and aren’t strangers to heroic upsets.