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Fantasy Premier League Pundit Picks: Gameweek 3

Make your mark before the international break begins!

Prithviraj Dev | New Delhi |

If the opening rounds of the Premier League have proven anything, it’s that expecting the unexpected is always a good thing.
However, the unpredictability of the English top-flight persists for the millions of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers.  To ease the dilemmas, The Statesman dishes out some FPL options for the coming gameweek.

The indicators are:

Teams in BOLD are top four contenders.
Prices marked in Green indicate an rise in Base Price.
Prices marked in Red indicate a fall in Base Price.

Goalkeepers

Joe Hart

Team: West Ham
Fixtures: Newcastle (A), Huddersfield (H), West Brom (A), Spurs (H) and Swansea (H)
Price: 4.5
Score: 1
Ownership: 11.7%

Why yes: Hart may make his share of mistakes, but is a decent keeper. West Ham have some easy fixtures ahead and in this price range, the 30-year-old is a good pick.
Why no: The Hammers don’t have a great defence. This has been proved in the opening two games. Several FPL managers already have Hart and his price may plummet if he continues to concede goals on a regular basis.

West Ham on the whole, have been woeful so far (Photo: AFP)

Jack Butland
Team: Stoke City
Fixtures: West Brom (A), Man Utd (H), Newcastle (A), Chelsea (H) and Southampton (H)
Price: 5.0
Score: 14
Ownership: 3.6%

Why yes: Stoke are riding high after their win over Arsenal, a game in which Butland was their best player. The 24-year-old made a number of saves and with his 6’5 frame, will prove hard to beat in the coming months.
Why no: West Brom are in great form and fixtures after don’t look too inviting as well. The Potters are moving towards a free-flowing style, which might leave them exposed at the back.

Arsenal battered Butland’s goal, but were unable to find a way past him! (Photo: AFP)

Defenders

Kieran Trippier
Team: Tottenham Hotspur
Fixtures: Burnley (H), Everton (A), Swansea (H), West Ham (A) and Huddersfield (A)
Price: 5.4
Score: 1
Ownership: 2.8%

Why yes: Considering centre-back Davinson Sanchez has been signed by Spurs, there is a strong possibility they will switch to a 3-4-3 system. Trippier’s FPL prospects will benefit as along with a solid defence, he will be accumulating points via assists and goals from a wing-back position. Fixtures look ideal as well.
Why no: Till the time Spurs win their first home game, it will be difficult for them to break off the ‘Wembley hoodoo’. Ben Davies, on the opposite flank, is putting in some impressive shifts and is a worth a look at.

Eric Bailly
Team: Manchester United
Fixtures: Leicester (H), Stoke (A), Everton (H), Southampton (A) and Crystal Palace (H)
Price: 6.1
Score: 20
Ownership: 12.5%

Why yes: Bailly has been integral to United’s blistering start. The Red Devils look impenetrable at the back and their Ivorian centre-back is an extremely safe bet, especially if one considers the fixtures ahead.
Why no: Daley Blind and Phil Jones are viable options as well, especially if you consider the considerable difference in the price between them and the 23-year-old Bailly.

Eric Bailly (R) finally opened his United account last weekend (Photo: AFP)

Midfielders

Sadio Mane
Team: Liverpool
Fixtures: Arsenal (H)Man City (A), Burnley (H), Leicester (A) and Newcastle (A)
Price: 9.5
Score: 14
Ownership: 26.2%

Why yes: Liverpool’s most potent threat, undoubtedly. Two goals in as many games attests to the above statement. Against a seriously vulnerable Arsenal defence, should have no problem in finding the target.

Why no: Teammate Mohamed Sarah (slightly cheaper) is worth a look at as well, especially if you consider the Egyptian was used as a substitute for last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace and might be slightly fresher. The Reds’ next two fixtures will be tough.

Man on a mission (Photo: AFP)

Jese Rodriguez
Team: Stoke City
Fixtures: West Brom (A), Man Utd (H), Newcastle (A), Chelsea (H) and Southampton (H)
Price: 6.5
Score: 10
Ownership: 6.3%

Why yes: Any doubts about Jese’s quality were dispelled with his winning streak against Arsenal. And the fact that despite primarily playing as a winger/second striker, he is classified as a midfielder in FPL, makes him a hot pick.
Why no: Jese’s played just one game so far and while the initial signs are promising, don’t forget Stoke are full of talented but inconsistent players.

Can Jese make it two goals from as many games this week? (Photo: AFP)

Forwards

Andre Gray
Team: Watford
Fixtures: Brighton (H), Southampton (A), Man City (H), Swansea (A) and West Brom (A)
Price: 6.5
Score: 5
Ownership: 1.9%

Why yes: The Hornets’ record signing may not have got a goal on his first start, but he managed an assist to get him going FPL-wise. Expect his points tally and price to shoot up in the coming weeks. Watford on the whole have decent fixtures as a bonus.
Why no: They suffered an upset in the League Cup midweek and the loss may have dented their confidence. Similarly priced, West Ham’s Chicharito is in better form.

Harry Kane
Team: Tottenham Hotspur
Fixtures:  Burnley (H), Everton (A), Swansea (H), West Ham (A) and Huddersfield (A)
Price: 12.5
Score: 2
Ownership: 29.7%

Why yes: Two games without a goal, Kane surely has to hit the bulls eye on his third attempt. Burnley don’t have a great defence and as Spurs look to bounce back from their defeat to Chelsea, Kane will surely be front-and-centre. The Lilywhites have ideal fixtures as a bonus.
Why no: Monstrously expensive and if he doesn’t score against Burnley, expect his price to plummet. As is the case with Trippier above, will suffer the longer Spurs take to find their first home win this season.

Kane’s been desperately unlucky so far (Photo: AFP)

PS: The Gameweek deadline is 11.30 am GMT/4 pm IST.