Welcome to AM's Players To Watch for Gameweek 4 of the 2019/2020 Premier League season. As long-time readers of my columns will know, the advice in seasons' gone by had revolved around games that would allow you to make unlimited transfers each gameweek, selecting an entirely new 11 players if you so wished. Unfortunately Yahoo Fantasy Premier League is a glorious but distant memory, as is Togga's Perfect XI game which inspired my previous Rotoworld column.
Starting in August 2018 I made a point of mixing things up by generalising the player recommendations given each week. So now, whether you're playing Official FPL, FPL/Fantrax Draft, Fantrax Salary Cap, Sky Sports, The Sun, The Telegraph or any number of other the fantasy games available to fans each season, I'll now be offering my top picks for the week ahead, mixing "must-haves" with hunch picks and players flying under the radar. Hopefully this will offer something for everyone, whether you're considering captain options, looking to make a transfer or picking up a free agent in draft.
Reviewing last week's recommendations I have to admit it was a mixed bag. There was a goal and three bonus points for Raúl Jiménez, assists for James Maddison and Anthony Martial, but Tottenham's shock defeat at home to Newcastle really screwed up the Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane (captain) selections. My own FPL team felt the impact of that Kane captaining in particular, dropping down to 350k in the overall rankings. We could all do with a strong week to feel good going in to the international break, so let's get in to it ...
Saturday 31 August 2019
Southampton v Man Utd
Chelsea v Sheffield Utd
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
Leicester v Bournemouth
Man City v Brighton
Newcastle v Watford
West Ham v Norwich
Burnley v Liverpool
Sunday 1 September 2019
Everton v Wolves
Arsenal v Spurs
Gameweek 4 brings us back to a regulation 11:30am BST (British Summer Time) Saturday FPL deadline as Southampton host Manchester United in the early kick off. As always we should focus on players from the teams that look set for comfortable wins, with goals and potential clean sheet points on the cards. Manchester City at home to Brighton stands out by a country mile, while Liverpool at Burnley, Chelsea hosting Sheffield United and Leicester at home to Bournemouth are all worth a look. The remaining fixtures - including Arsenal v Spurs - should all be tightly contested affairs but we'll look to pick out a goalscorer who could act as a decent differential.
With that in mind, here are the players to keep in your thoughts ahead of Gameweek 4....
Jamie Vardy (FW - Leicester v Bournemouth) - As predicted last week Leicester picked up their first three points of the season at Sheffield United and they have a fantastic opportunity to climb further up the table in Gameweek 4, facing a Bournemouth side with one of the most unreliable defensive units in the division. James Maddison was the player to watch for GW3 but I'm leaning towards a Jamie Vardy party on Saturday afternoon after the striker opened his goal account for the season and - as we all know - he's a man who thrives when confidence is high. Cherries beware.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (DF - Manchester City v Brighton) - Clean sheets have been few and far between in the opening three gameweeks with just 13 shut-outs across the 30 Premier League matches played and of course, this has had an impact when it comes to defensive fantasy returns, with no defenders appearing in the Top 10 FPL point scorers. That is likely to change over time however and I feel Oleksandr Zinchenko is the man to provide fantasy value in GW4 with the Ukrainian left-back looking to continue his impressive form both at the back and in attack to keep the close-to-returning Benjamin Mendy at arm's length.
Mason Mount (MF - Chelsea v Sheffield United) - What a start it's been for young Mason Mount! The 20-year old showed his promise on loan with Frank Lampard at Derby last season and has picked up where he left off in his first three Premier League appearances, bagging two goals and four FPL bonus points in the process. Mount picked up a knock towards the end of the game at Norwich but has been pictured in training this week which suggests he'll be ready to face Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge in GW4. You wouldn't bet against him being on the scoresheet again.
Sébastien Haller (FW - West Ham v Norwich) - Sébastien Haller arrived to great fanfare in August, a club record £45million signing from the Bundesliga where he'd just scored 15 goals and laid on nine assists for the season. The Frenchman looked to be the ideal player to slot in to Manuel Pellegrini's system as the lone striker and the early signs have been positive. Haller is going to win a lot of headers for the Hammers and provided he gets the right service he'll score plenty of goals. His double at Watford has him up and running and he can build on that hosting a Norwich side that will look to attack whether home or away, leaving the door open at the back.
Sadio Mané (MF - Liverpool @ Burnley) - There are times when you get a gut feeling about a player ahead of a deadline, and this is one of those occasions. While Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were the stars of the show versus Arsenal in GW3 I'm absolutely certain that Sadio Mané will be the man to put in a match-winning performance at Burnley. As shown against Southampton in GW2 the 27-year old remains Liverpool's key attacker in away matches, with his electric pace and power on the counter so difficult to defend against, and I believe he'll cause the Clarets' rear-guard all sorts of problems in the late Saturday game.
Captain Choice: Raheem Sterling (MF - Manchester City v Brighton) - Not a difficult decision this weekend with Raheem Sterling in scintillating form, joint top of the scoring charts with five goals in three games and facing Brighton at the Etihad. Manchester City should hand the Seagulls a hammering and anything less than a brace from Sterling would be a surprise given what we've seen so far this season. Don't let us down Raheem!
That's it for Gameweek 4's Players to Watch. Check out the Rotoworld Features page to access a host of fantastic content to get you ready for the weekend. If you have any questions about a specific player or your own fantasy team then feel free to post them in the comments below or hit me on Twitter (@nikarg) and I will respond.
Thanks for reading - good luck to all managers this weekend!