As Richarlison (£6.7m) gently nuzzled his head into Adam Smith (£4.5m), a single collective thought erupted around the FPL community:
"What’s he doing?
That’s going to be a red…. Nah that’s not a red… AHHH IT’S A RED – WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?!"
And just like that our love affair with Richarlison was over. While it was hardly Zidane on Materazzi you simply cannot put your head into someone else’s and expect to get away with it. He let himself down, his team down and, more importantly, FPL down.
WHO HAD RICHARLISON IN THEIR FANTASY TEAM?😭🙋🏽♂️😂#BOUEVE— Isiah Madrigal (@Realisiah1) August 25, 2018
From my own personal point, having just transferred him in, upon hearing the news I wanted to throw my laptop at the TV. Naturally I went to twitter to help me through this tough period and it did not disappoint. Sure I’d had it bad when the red card was brandished but at least I wasn’t this guy:
I TRIPLE CAPTAINED THIS GUY— T.🎸🇫🇷 (@UtiOritse) August 25, 2018
While not one to normally relish in the misfortune of others, this genuinely cheered me up.
When it comes to replacing Richarlison there are a number of options that require consideration. Using our projection algorithm, here are the top five:
With two goals in as many games and a favourable matchup in GW4 against Huddersfield, Theo Walcott (£6.7m) tops our list of potential replacements. FPL managers appear to agree with the winger gaining over 550,000 new owners so far this week. Another who bagged at the weekend was Demarai Gray (£5.5m), who could be a cheap differential over the coming GWs with matches against Bournemouth and Huddersfield following this week's visit of Liverpool.
One of the few players to come out of Monday night with any credit, Jesse Lingard (£6.9m) could (and maybe should) have had a goal. Owned by just 3.3% of managers, Lingard represents an interesting potential differential. Short of that, if you’re in doubt pick players from the most attacking team in the league. Ilkay Gündogan (£5.5m) and Fernandinho (£5.5m) may not be the most glamorous picks but they will always be in with a shout of scoring some points when playing for a team that sets camp around the opposition box for 90 minutes.
Last week's optimum squad fell victim to the Arsenal frontline. Even when scoring three, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m) can’t even buy assist, let along a goal. Instead, Nacho Monreal (£5.5m) and Danny Welbeck (£6.5m) scored either side of an Issa Diop (£4.4m) o.g. Up next is Cardiff, which should afford Aubameyang plenty of opportunity to get off the mark… maybe….
Cardiff have the 6th lowest xGC and 7th fewest shots conceded.— FPL Partridge (@FPL_Partridge) August 27, 2018
Not exactly filling me full of confidence with Aubameyang
Fortunately, this week's dream team has no Arsenal players to worry about. Having run and analysed the numbers for GW4, our projected squad this GW is once again defence heavy – and for good reason.
With Everton set to host Huddersfield and Chelsea playing at home to Bournemouth, there is reason to be optimistic that the likes of Leighton Baines (£5.5m), Mason Holgate (£4.5m), David Luiz (£5.5m) and Marcos Alonso (£6.7m) can rack the clean sheets up. Our defence is rounded out with Manchester United duo Luke Shaw (£5.1m) and David de Gea in net (£6.0m). United travel to Turf Moor and eventually Mourinho will sort out the defence. Shaw, meanwhile, has looked beastly so far this season.
Luke Shaw looking like Mendy / Robertson / Alonso in this first half today; at a 1m+ @OfficialFPL discount. Technique and pace at LB. Ashley Young won’t be getting that spot back if this keeps up... #FPL #MUFC 😂⚽️— Knish on Footie (@KnishOnFootie) August 27, 2018
In midfield we have the weeks most transferred in player in Theo Walcott, Raheem Sterling (£11.0m), whose team host Newcastle and Mohamed Salah (£13.0m). Goals are to be expected from this trio. Finally, up top is Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) who picked up 20 points in his last home game and Wilfred Zaha (£7.1m) who has already scored twice this season.
For the same reasons as his defensive line, Jordan Pickford (£5.0m) is projected to keep a clean sheet. Much like last week's projections, Asmir Begovic (£4.5m), Neil Etheridge (£4.5m), Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) and Joe Hart (£4.5m) make the list not because they are expected to keep a clean sheet but for their potential to rack the saves up.
In defence, we return to the remaining players expected to make up Chelsea’s, Manchester United’s and Everton’s backlines. Playing in a much more withdrawn role than his left-sided counterpart, César Azpilicueta
(£6.5m) does not offer the same attacking potential that Alonso does. Antonio Rüdiger (£6.0m), meanwhile, has looked assured in the heart of the Chelsea defence.
Antonio Valencia (£6.5m) made his first start of the season last weekend for Manchester United and looks certain to keep his place going into a vital fixture against Burnley. Meanwhile, the injury to Phil Jones (£5.3m) may offer a return to the starting 11 for Eric Bailly (£5.4m). At Everton, Seamus Coleman (£5.4m) makes it an Everton full house in this week’s projections.
Spurs travel to an in-form Watford fresh off the back of an impressive win at Old Trafford. Both Christian Eriksen (£9.4m) and Dele Alli (£9.1m) will be key if they are to take three points away from Vicarage Road and both are projected to supply points for their fantasy managers. Brighton host Fulham and will look to Pascal Groß (£6.9m) for inspiration. Fulham have looked particularly shaky from set pieces so far this season and Groß could return assists or goals while on set piece duty.
Paul Pogba (£8.2m) could see plenty of chances against a Burnley side that just shipped four the previous weekend and have a Europa League tie midweek. Likewise, Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.4m) could be in the points with Everton facing a Huddersfield side that has already shipped nine goals this season.
Fresh off two goals in August and his first at Old Trafford, Harry Kane (£12.5m) looks set to continue his goal scoring exploits. Having scored and then limped off against Arsenal, Marko Arnautovic's (£7.0m) fitness will need monitoring but it has been reported he will be available for the fixture against Wolves. After being rested last weekend, Gabriel Jesus (£10.5m) is likely to come back into the starting line-up against a Newcastle team that will set up defensively at the Etihad. Finally, both Chelsea and Liverpool are looking for their fourth successive win of the season. Both are expected to get it and score goals, hence it is unsurprisingly their main front men, Alvaro Morata (£9.0m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.5m), who are projected to contribute.