FPL GW4 tips: The best fixtures, who to captain, exploiting penalties…

GW3 took the season’s penalty madness to a new level, adding value to the likes of Jamie Vardy and Neal Maupay.

With 36 goals scored at the weekend, not all of them penalties, the Premier League has really taken a turn for the better — and changed the way we need to approach FPL.

Nobody’s defending anymore, basically.

At least, none of the usual suspects. Only four teams kept clean sheets in GW3: newly-promoted Leeds, Aston Villa, West Ham and Southampton.

The latter three had the worst defensive records of any non-relegated PL team in 2019–20. So congrats to the 16,000 managers who saw an Arthur Masuaku (£4.5m) masterclass coming.

For GW4, things could be just as interesting, with a very busy Sunday leading us into the international break.

Best fixtures

Arsenal – Sheffield United

The Blades’ horrible early form has to end sooner or later — they haven’t even played that badly — but this looks more than winnable for Arsenal.

Alexandre Lacazette’s (£8.5m) ownership remains at around 5% despite him scoring in each of his first three fixtures. He was a bit wasteful against Liverpool and will look forward to making amends here alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.9m).

Dani Ceballos (£5.0m) probably won’t pick up points himself but will likely feature at the Emirates, giving Arsenal’s attack better service than they got from Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny.

And then there’s Hector Bellerin (£5.0m). The wing-back hasn’t delivered on a grand scale since 2015–16 but seems very decent value for a fixture like this.

READ: When Arsenal v Sheffield United was one of English football’s best fixtures

Leeds – Man City

This game should be fascinating from a non-FPL standpoint, but it also pits the PL’s most reckless penalty conceders against one another.

Both sides have given away three so far.

With that in mind, spot-kick takers Kevin De Bruyne (£11.6m) and Mateusz Klich (£5.6m) are shoo-ins, while the benching of Phil Foden (£6.6m) in the Carabao Cup half-suggests he could keep his place in the league.

Patrick Bamford (£5.8m) remains the most valuable FPL asset on a points-per-£ basis.

Newcastle – Burnley

The goal bonanza of 2020–21 has created a thrilling subplot: who will be the first two teams to give us a goalless draw?

Burnley and Newcastle are both scoring at a rate of 1.0 per game; only Sheffield United have been less prolific.

So this fixture — positively littered with 4.5m defenders like Charlie Taylor and Jamaal Lascelles — has 0-0 written all over it.

Time for your defenders to score more than the usual 1 point?

Burnley’s James Tarkowski (£5.5m) could return for the Saturday night “showpiece”, further reducing the chances of goals.

Who to captain

Jamie Vardy

Brendan Rodgers is confident that Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) will overcome his hip injury in time for the Sunday lunchtime clash with West Ham.

The Hammers were excellent against Wolves, but Vardy looks unstoppable at the moment.

Time to join the party?

READ: The stats behind Vardy’s sensational record vs the Premier League big six

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

No FPL player has risen in price more than Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.4m), and with good reason.

The new Inzaghi has scored hat-tricks in his last two home matches, which bodes well for Everton’s fixture against Brighton, who have conceded three goals in each of their last two matches.

A worry for Everton is the condition of Richarlison (£8.0m), while midfield enforcer Allan is even less likely to feature.

On the flip side, Richarlison missing out might put DCL on spot-kick duties — as long as Gylfi Sigurdsson isn’t on the pitch and Leighton Baines doesn’t come out of retirement.

Sadio Mane

Although he received just one Bonus Point for his travails, Sadio Mane (£11.9m) was the best player on the pitch against Arsenal on Monday.

Mo Salah (£12.1m) has the penalty-taking edge, but Mane’s reliability away from Anfield might make him the best choice here.

Penalty takers

GW3 suggested that penalties could become central to the 2020–21 Premier League campaign and, consequently, to FPL.

Though perhaps we shouldn’t expect them at the frequency we’ve seen so far: earlier this week, the Premier League asked refs to be more “subjective” when applying the new handball laws, potentially reducing the number of pens.

Spot-kick takers worth considering include the aforementioned Klich, Salah and Vardy, as well as Brighton’s Neal Maupay (£6.5m), Man United’s Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m), Wolves’ Raul Jimenez (£8.6m), Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.0m) and Newcastle’s Callum Wilson (£6.4m).

And if you’re shopping in the bargain bin, Sheffield United man Oliver Norwood (£4.9m), used sparingly by Chris Wilder this season, should assume PK duties over John Lundstram in future.

READ: Ranking the Premier League clubs by who is most affected by VAR in 2020-21

Wildcard potential

The international break (after the GW4 deadline) is often a good time to play your first Wildcard.

And if you need to make wholesale changes, remember to activate the Wildcard and make your transfers sooner rather than later — to take advantage of price changes over the next two weeks.

In fact, if you buy an in-form player immediately after the coming deadline and his price rises by at least £0.2m over the international break, you can potentially transfer him back out before GW5 begins for an immediate profit of £0.1m.

This tactic is useful if you fancy an unpopular player to perform in GW5 instead of the current hot properties.

How we fared last week

Our GW3 tips were a mixed bag. Sorry if you captained own goal–scoring Raul Jimenez for his total of 2×0 points.

What we got right:

  • Danny Ings and Southampton’s defence vs Burnley
  • Patrick Bamford vs Sheffield United
  • Mo Salah vs Arsenal

What we got wrong:

  • Raheem Sterling vs Leicester
  • Raul Jimenez vs West Ham
  • Crystal Palace vs Everton

By Benedict O’Neill

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