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29 Aug 2018 by Colm Hayes

FPL Gameweek 4 – The Fixtures

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Ahead of the international break, TSZ assesses the fixture landscape. Manchester City’s schedule continues to look profitable, while Liverpool face a tougher run of games before the two sides meet in GW8.

FIXTURES

Saturday 1st September

Leicester vs Liverpool (12:30)

Brighton vs Fulham (15:00)

Chelsea vs Bournemouth (15:00)

Crystal Palace vs Southampton (15:00)

Everton vs Huddersfield (15:00)

West Ham vs Wolves (15:00)

Man City vs Newcastle (17:30)

Sunday 2nd September

Cardiff vs Arsenal (13:30)

Burnley vs Man Utd (16:00)

Watford vs Spurs (16:00)

Guardianola

Pep Guardiola’s side take on Newcastle, Fulham and Brighton at home over the next four gameweeks, while also travelling to Cardiff. Top GW4 captain pick Sergio Aguero (£11.3m) looks to have nailed down a spot in Guardiola’s XI for the time being, while Benjamin Mendy (£6.4m) has surpassed 33% ownership after returning two bonus points in GW3 despite conceding to Wolves.

The City triple-up is where it gets tricky. Ederson (£5.6m) represents the safe option, particularly considering Claudio Bravo’s long-term injury. Along with Mendy, Aymeric Laporte (£5.5m) is the only defender to have started all three games so far. The French centre-back showcased his attacking threat by heading home City’s equaliser at Molineux.

David Silva (£8.5m) would be expected to begin most games, regardless of Guardiola’s preferred formation in a given gameweek. Both the Spaniard and Ilkay Gundogan (£5.5m), who assisted Laporte’s bullet header from a free-kick, may benefit minutes-wise with Kevin De Bruyne (£9.8m) sidelined. Fernandinho (£5.5m), meanwhile, is as close to nailed on as an outfield player can get under Guardiola.

Bernardo Silva (£7.6m) has also started each gameweek so far in varying roles. He offers another option to David Silva at the tip of a three-man midfield, while the Portuguese is currently preferred to Riyad Mahrez (£8.8m) and Leroy Sane (£9.3m) in the wide positions. However, Bernardo was hooked after 61 minutes in GW3 for Gabriel Jesus (£10.5m), with the Citizens’ strength in depth meaning the diminutive midfielder will be at risk for pitch time.

Unai on the fixture list

Arsenal are another side to embark on an excellent run of games from GW4, all the way to a GW11 home clash against Liverpool. Despite picking up their first points of the season against West Ham at the weekend, the Gunners looked disjointed in defence once more.

Clean sheets could be at a premium over the upcoming fixtures for Unai Emery’s team, though a trip to scoreless Cardiff this weekend could be profitable at both ends of the pitch for attacking full-backs Nacho Monreal (£5.5m) and Hector Bellerin (£5.5m).

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£7.1m) looks the safest pick in the Arsenal attacking ranks, with Mesut Ozil (£8.3m) missing GW3 due to illness and Aaron Ramsey (£7.4m) benched in GW2. However, the Armenian played the role of ‘assisting the assister’ on Saturday as Bellerin constantly got beyond Mkhitaryan down the right flank.

Without an attacking return since the season began, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.9m) is shedding owners. The striker managed just one attempt inside the box in 74 minutes against the Hammers, while the introduction of Alexandre Lacazette (£9.4m) saw Aubameyang shifted out to a wide-left position before being substituted.

Despite the price drop, however, owners of the Gabon forward could be wise to wait another week considering Arsenal’s run of games.

Klopp of the table

Before hosting City in GW8, table-topping Liverpool travel to Leicester, Spurs and Chelsea while also welcoming Southampton to Anfield. While clean sheets might be tougher to come by for Jurgen Klopp’s as yet unbreached defence, Mohamed Salah (£13.0m), Sadio Mane (£9.9m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) should still prosper.

Spurs kept a first clean sheet of the season at Old Trafford as Romelu Lukaku (£11.0m) missed an open goal, while Chelsea – who shut out Huddersfield in GW1 – were opened up at will by Arsenal in a GW2 Stamford Bridge clash.

This weekend’s opponents Leicester should afford Liverpool’s attackers more space than Brighton allowed the Reds in GW3, while Jamie Vardy’s (£8.9m) absence through suspension boosts Liverpool’s clean sheet hopes.

Rich vein of form

Everton, like Arsenal, have impressed going forward while creaking in defence under a new manager. Marco Silva’s side have scored six times and conceded on five occasions so far.

With Richarlison (£6.7m) being jettisoned from FPL squads after picking up a three-game ban (two PL matches), Theo Walcott (£6.7m) has gained over 550,000 new owners so far this week. The Toffees take on Huddersfield, West Ham and Fulham at home over the next four gameweeks, along with a trip to face the Gunners.

Mkhitaryan also ranks among popular Richarlison replacements, along with Lucas Moura (£7.1m) after a brace on Monday night and Chelsea midfielder Pedro (£6.7m). With Eden Hazard (£10.6m) back in the Blues’ starting XI, the Spaniard looks set to share pitch time with Willian (£7.4m).

Chelsea are another side with three home fixtures in the next four. Maurizio Sarri’s side take on Bournemouth and Cardiff at home, then travel to play West Ham before the visit of Liverpool. Marcos Alonso (£6.7m) is currently the most popular buy in the Blues’ ranks after a third consecutive double-figure haul in GW3.

Best of the rest

Manchester United [Burnley (a), Watford (a), Wolves (H), West Ham (a)] have a decent run of games over the next four gameweeks, while also taking on Newcastle at home in GW9.

However, three goals conceded in consecutive fixtures is a real worry for owners of David de Gea (£6.0m) and Luke Shaw (£5.1m). A disjointed attack that has only scored twice from open play does not encourage investment either, as Jose Mourinho attempts to figure out his best XI.

Crystal Palace are another side with a decent fixture list in the near future. Wilfried Zaha (£7.1m) will be hoping to add to a tally of two goals so far as he faces Southampton (H) and Huddersfield (a) in the next two gameweeks. Owners will be hoping the striker does not add to his tally of yellow cards (2).

Palace’s second most-selected player, Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.1m), will be aiming to regain the right-back spot from Joel Ward (£4.4m) after a one-match ban. James Tomkins (£4.5m) is set for a scan on a calf injury which ruled him out in GW3 ahead of kick-off as Roy Hodgson’s side lost 2-1 to Watford.

Bournemouth, who host Palace in GW7, face an extended run of favourable fixtures following GW4’s trip to Chelsea. While the Blues look dangerous going forward, the aforementioned home tie against Arsenal saw significant space found in Chelsea’s defensive third.

Callum Wilson (£6.2m) is averaging over seven points per game so far, while Josh King (£6.4m) looks to have regained penalty-taking duties from his strike partner. Ryan Fraser (£5.6m) is one of the stand-out options in the cheap midfielder bracket, with a security of minutes promoting investment in the Scottish attacker over David Brooks (£5.0m).

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