20 Teams: 20 Players looks at the best fantasy football options from each team, each week. From the must starts to the best of a bad bunch, here are this week’s picks for Gameweek 4 of the 2016/17 season.
Arsenal (Southampton H)
Theo Walcott: It’s now over a decade since a fresh faced Theo Walcott upped sticks from Southampton and made the move to Arsenal. There have been flashes of brilliance but more often than not it’s mediocrity from the wideman. Will this season be the fulfilment of his long held promise? At the very least he’s started the season as Arsenal’s most consistent performer bagging a goal and an assist across the opening three games. Can he hit back to haunt his boyhood club this weekend?
Bournemouth (West Bromwich Albion H)
Callum Wilson: The arrival of Jack Wilshere will take the bulk of the attention as Bournemouth face WBA at home this Gameweek, but one man itching to make his mark this season is Callum Wilson. The forward will seek to recapture his early season form of 2015/16 and could well break his duck on Saturday.
Burnley (Hull City H)
Jeff Hendrick: He may or may not start come Saturday, but Jeff Hendrick could represent a serious fantasy diamond in weeks to come. When fit, the ex-Derby man has the technique, goal and assist potential to gain bargain status in fantasy terms. Fresh off the back of his first international goal during the week, should he get the nod, the Irishman may seek to continue that form against his one-time suitors, Hull City.
Chelsea (Swansea A)
Diego Costa: The Swans have found life tough in the absence of their iconic ex-Captain Ashley Williams, shipping four goals in their last two fixtures. So no better man to capitalise on that vacuum than Diego Costa – a player who has looked fit and back to his combative best this season. The Spain international already has two goals and an assist to his name, and with chief providers Willian and Hazard in scintillating form, Swansea could be in trouble.
Crystal Palace (Middlesbrough A)
Andros Townsend: Palace’s investment in Andros Townsend has already looked sound, just a few games into the season. The ex-Spurs and Newcastle man has one goal to his name and has shown the seeds of an effective relationship with fellow new boy Christian Benteke.
Everton (Sunderland A)
Seamus Coleman: In just a few short games, it looks as if Ronald Koeman has sorted out the almost chronic defensive frailties that have plagued this side for the past season. As such, Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines once again pose serious prospects in any fantasy line-up. The Irishman in particular could do some damage down the flank of a Sunderland side without a clean sheet this season.
Hull City (Burnley A)
Robert Snodgrass: The Hull captain is enjoying some of his finest form for club and country lately and as such, has catapulted himself into consideration in Gameweek 4. He has a goal already this season and likewise possesses the added bonus of being Hull’s chief set-piece taker. Against a fellow promoted side, Burnley, Hull can further their fine start.
Leicester City (Liverpool A)
Islam Slimani: Claudio Ranieri has already hinted their new deadline day signing could feature at Anfield this weekend. He departed Sporting Lisbon in typical fashion with a goal against Porto and if given a start, should show his pedigree against a Liverpool side currently dealing with a spate of defensive injuries. One to watch.
Liverpool (Leicester City H)
Sadio Mane: The £30m paid for the ex-Saints man looks money well spent already with the Senegalese standing out as the Reds’ top performer so far this season. Few players have looked such a perfect fit for a Jurgen Klopp side and Mane looks set to flourish in this set up, having scored one in his first two games at the club. In Gameweek 3, Danny Rose was at pains to express the difficulty in keeping up with this man and on such testimony, the Leicester backline have their work cut out for them.
Manchester City (Manchester United A)
Raheem Sterling: We looked at this young man in greater depth last week and in the absence in the suspended Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling could really make his mark. He’s made three goal contribution this season so far – two goals and an assist – the kind of numbers that he only managed to rack up across his last 24 games in 2015/16. A player on the up, under the guidance of Guardiola.
Manchester United (Manchester City H)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: One of the outstanding performers of the season so far, all eyes will be on Zlatan Ibrahimovic this upcoming Manchester derby. The Swede is in superb form with three in three and will be extra motivated to get one over on Pep Guardiola. Sparks will fly in this fixture and Ibrahimovic will be at the forefront.
Middlesbrough (Crystal Palace H)
Cristhian Stuani: There have been a couple of outstanding performers for ‘Boro so far this season and Cristhian Stuani has arguably been their most impressive. The Uruguayan bagged a brace in Gameweek 2 and could do the damage yet again, particularly in conjunction with Gaston Ramirez, when Aitor Karanka’s men challenge a Palace side without a clean sheet this season.
Southampton (Arsenal A)
Fraser Forster: The England international was superb in this fixture last season and Claude Puel will hope for much of the same in Gameweek 4. The Saints prided themselves on resolute defending last season and that quality remains despite their inability to keep a clean sheet as of yet.
Stoke City (Tottenham Hotspur H)
Wilfried Bony: In Bony, Mark Hughes may have just made one of the best signings of the transfer window. The Ivorian may have stagnated during his time in Manchester but there is no doubting his quality.
Given the misfiring form of current first choice centre-forward, Diouf, Bony could provide the required firepower to lead Stoke to their first win of the season. This is after all the man who scored 16 goals in his debut Premier League season, in a Swansea side far less talented this outfit.
Sunderland (Everton H)
Jermain Defoe: You can never keep a good striker down and no matter how many years roll by, Jermain Defoe seems ageless. The 33 year old was far and away Sunderland’s performer of the season in 2015/16 and has picked up exactly where he left off bagging against City and Southampton already this season.
Swansea City (Chelsea H)
Gylfie Sigurdsson: The Swans haven’t begun the season in any kind of decent form having lost their last two on the bounce after narrowly recording a victory over Burnley on the opening day of the season. Forward duo Fernando Llorente and Borja Baston haven’t been quite Premier League ready as of yet and as such, the bulk of attacking and creative responsibility falls on the shoulders of Swansea’s talisman – Gylfie Sigurdsson.
Tottenham Hotspur (Stoke City A)
Christian Eriksen: The Dane put pen to paper to sign a new contract at White Hart Lane and with good reason – Eriksen is the creative and cerebral heartbeat of a frenetic and energetic Spurs team. He hasn’t made a goal contribution yet this season, but could be in line to capitalise on Stoke’s current struggling standard of defending, having shipped six in their last three.
Watford (West Ham A)
Roberto Pereyra: The Hornets latest addition made his mark already in Gameweek 3 with a consolation goal but there’s plenty more to see from this dynamic Argentine this season. For deeper analysis check out our article on some of the transfer window darkhorses.
West Brom (Bournemouth A)
Nacer Chadli: Tony Pulis had a protracted argument with his board over the lack of transfer activity but eventually landed Nacer Chadli coming up to deadline day. A bit-part but effective player for Spurs over the past few seasons, Chadli could really flourish as a touch of class in team that relies primarily on pace and power. Traits which he also has in abundance.
West Ham (Watford H)
Michail Antonio: He received his first England call up after Gameweek 3 and with good cause – across the end of last season and the start of this season fewer players have been so consistently impressive. The ex-Nottingham Forest man has scored ten league goals since his move to the Hammers last January and has now been moved to his favoured midfield position by Slaven Bilic. A fantasy differential for sure.