The Big Four takes a look at the current fantasy football trends following each round of Premier League action. Aguero, Lanzini and Scott Sinclair all feature.
Non Scoring Strikers
It’s been a barren four weeks for the Premier League’s “elite” strikers. Sergio Aguero – the priciest man in PlayON Daily Fantasy Football – is just one who’s disappointed so far, failing to properly capitalise on his side’s imperious start to the season.
The Argentine livewire has chipped in with just one of City’s ten goal haul this season. With the addition of Raheem Sterling on the left flank and Toure and Silva performing at the peak of their powers, it appears that a dependency on Aguero has eased off.
It may be a positive for Manuel Pellegrini’s prospects this season, but this newly balanced City attack is taking its toll on fantasy managers of all codes.
Aguero has claimed just 20 touches – Graziano Pelle ranks top among strikers with 43 – in the penalty area for a side that has dominated possession stats, boasting an 88.2% passing accuracy.
Aguero bagged three goals by this stage last season with much the same – 21 touches – involvement, but the difference lies in his efficiency in front of goal. Missing three clear cut chances from four games, he holds the worst efficiency rate among forwards alongside Olivier Giroud.
Both Aguero and Giroud have had more attempts – 15 and 16 respectively – than Bafetimbi Gomis who currently tops the charts, with four goals in 13 shots.
Having lost his starting position to Theo Walcott in Gameweek 4, Giroud is another frustrating and expensive fantasy investment. Arsenal in general are an unpredictable bunch and with the oncoming return of Welbeck, their selection is liable to change even more.
Giroud has scored just one – an impressive bicycle kick in Gameweek 2 – of Arsenal’s three goals this season, despite a huge amount of chances created by the likes of Cazorla, Ozil and Ramsey.
Likewise Diego Costa and Wayne Rooney are just two other individuals who are struggling to rustle the net. The real value is trending towards lower end strikers such as the Gomis, Callum Wilson and even Mame Diouf – those who provide the primary focal point of attack for their respective sides.
All of this could change after the international break, but for the moment, top end strikers appear to be a fantasy blackhole.
Sinclair’s Sherwood Effect?
For a long time, Scott Sinclair’s name became a byword for young English talent failing to fulfill their potential. Sinclair has had stints with two of the biggest clubs in the Premier League – Chelsea and Manchester City – and has struggled to make a relevant impact at either.
Tim Sherwood – a manager with a reputation of making the most of English talent – clearly believes in him, as fantasy managers should we see something too?
It’s difficult to gauge, but five goals – all of which proved incredibly important – in the space of a week across the League Cup and Premier League is a very respectable haul for what is essentially a winger.
Sinclair is currently priced at £7.4m and scored a total of 2,950 points in Gameweek 4. With fixtures against fellow Midlanders Leicester City and West Brom on the horizon, Villa certainly have the capacity to win over their next two fixtures. The question is, in the midst of a lengthy international layoff, can a player like Sinclair maintain his form and goalscoring impact?
His left wing partnership with Jordan Amavi certainly looks a promising fixture for Villa, while the threat and creativity of Adama Traore on the other flank could see Sinclair benefit in terms of goal contribution.
Worth consideration certainly.
Home Is Where The Losers Are
Home advantage has gone out the window in the Premier League this season and it’s making Daily Fantasy Football a very difficult animal to predict.
Gone are the days of the intimidating fortress that was Old Trafford and Jose Mourinho’s legendary Stamford Bridge record was further etched away by Pardew’s Palace in Gameweek 4 to make it two defeats in 100 games.
Palace again showed that the mid-ranking Premier League sides this season are more than able to compete and that no result, home or away can be counted as a foregone conclusion.
In forty Premier League games this season so far, an astonishingly low haul of nine games have resulted in victory for the home side. This is certainly against the convention of the sport, where home advantage has always been deemed a huge bonus.
In fact, it appears the decline of home advantage has carried on even further from a previous record low of just 12 home victories at this point in 2014/15.
A few in the sport, Slaven Bilic among them, have already complained of home or supporter pressure and argues that at some clubs, players almost feel more relaxed in opposition grounds, away from demanding fans.
It remains to be seen how this develops over the course of the season but the decline of home advantage is certainly proving to be a major factor in Daily Fantasy Football so far.
Mercurial West Ham
Speaking of West Ham, Slaven Bilic and home advantage, the Hammers recorded their first win at away to Liverpool in over 50 years in Gameweek 4.
This is their second major scalp away from home this season, having defeated Arsenal on the opening day of the campaign. The issue with West Ham is the inconsistency of their performers.
In each of their victories, there have been standout performers but it’s proven very difficult to predict who’ll come up trumps in a given Gameweek.
Cheik Kouyate is as sure a thing in PlayON as your likely to find with the Senegalese regularly scoring upwards of 1,000 points through defensive contributions and a knack for crucial goals. However it’s the more mercurial new signings that are catching the eye.
Dimitri Payet dominated in Gameweek 1 and was again very impressive at Anfield – the Frenchman created more goalscoring opportunities than anyone in Europe’s top leagues last season and has created a respectable nine so far.
On Saturday however, it was 22 year old Manuel Lanzini who stole the show. In his first start, the Argentinian wideman gave Joe Gomez all kinds of trouble and most notably overran Dejan Lovren. Lanzini scored the opener and pretty much created Mark Noble’s second, even if he wasn’t awarded the assist.
On this evidence and at just £6.3m with PlayON, the ex-River Plate man holds fantastic differential potential. The problem is, at home to Newcastle in Gameweek 5, what version of West Ham, Lanzini, Payet and co. will we actually see?
To select your line-up for Premier League Gameweek 5, get to PlayON.co now.