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Fantasy Premier League Pundit Picks: Gameweek 5

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Things are beginning to get interesting in the English Premier League as it lives up to its billing of being the most unpredictable league in the world.

And while that is most certainly a headache for millions of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers, there is a help at hand.

Each week, thestatesman.com will pick the best of the best for all those managers for whom FPL is more than just a game!

The indicators are:

Teams in BOLD are top 4 contenders.

Prices marked in GREEN indicate an increase in Base Price.

Prices marked in RED indicate a decrease in Base Price.

Goalkeeper

Kasper Schmeichel

Team: Leicester City

Fixtures:  Burnley (H), Man Utd (A), Southampton (H), Chelsea (A) and Crystal Palace (H)

Price: 5.0

Score: 13

Ownership: 11.8%

Why yes: Among the most popular goalkeepers, the Foxes custodian is a fine player. After their humbling at the hands of Liverpool, Leicester responded with a brilliant away win over Club Brugge in the Champions League. That result could be the spark to reignite their season. Their immediate opponents Burnley haven’t been particularly impressive barring their surprise win over Liverpool. Leicester should manage to get their second clean sheet of the season.

Why no: Clean sheets are almost impossible to predict, and Leicester do not look anywhere close to the team that won the title in stunning fashion last year. The loss of their midfield shield aka N’Golo Kante seems to have hurt them more than manager Claudio Ranieri would like to admit.

Defenders

John Stones

Team: Manchester City

Fixtures: Bournemouth (H), Swansea (A), Spurs (A), Everton (H) and Southampton (H) 

Price: 5.0

Score: 6

Ownership: 30.8%

Why yes: While the Manchester Derby did have a few nervy moments for the City backline, Stones coped well with the formidable presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. A favourable run of fixtures makes for a strong case for City&’s first clean-sheet of the season. The 22-year-old is also the cheapest option in the City backline, and with Kompany set to return soon, things can only get better defensively.

Why no: The Cityzens may be flying high at the top of the table, but in terms of FPL points, they have had zero clean sheets so far. Should Stones fail to deliver in the fourth successive game, his price will surely take a severe hit due to his high ownership.

Seamus Coleman

Team: Everton

Fixtures: Middlesbrough (H), Bournemouth (A), Crystal Palace (H), Man City (A) and  Burnley (H)

Price: 5.4

Score : 6

Ownership: 1.4%

Why yes: Everton are flying high under manager Ronald Koeman, and as Romelu Lukaku explodes into form, Everton&’s buccaneering full-back will undoubtedly benefit. Back from injury, and marginally cheaper than teammate Leighton Baines, Coleman is one defender who is likely to generate points on both ends of the pitch. Everton have benefitted greatly from Ashley Williams&’s steely presence at centre-back and with kind fixtures ahead, Coleman and co can really make some serious points.

Why no: Teammate Baines is a good option too, for he crucially has spot-kick duties, and delivers some mean set-pieces.

Midfielders

Kevin De Bruyne

Team: Manchester City

Fixtures: Bournemouth (H), Swansea (A), Spurs (A), Everton (H) and Southampton (H)

Price: 10.5

Score: 25

Ownership: 6.8%

Why yes: Pep Guardiola is playing KDB as a false-nine in the absence of the suspended Sergio Aguero, and his deployment brought instantaneous results against Manchester United. Even when he was playing in a deeper role in the earlier games, he was consistently racking up assists thanks to his superb set-piece deliveries. He can be a big differential in the coming weeks.

Why no: Well for starters, he is mightily expensive, and his team-mate Raheem Sterling is performing quite exceptionally at a much more reasonable price. If one wishes to buy the in-form Kelechi Iheanacho, a massive chunk of the team budget is being spent on City&’s forward line.

Michail Antonio

Team: West Ham

Fixtures: West Brom (A), Southampton (H), Middlesbrough (H), Crystal Palace (A) and Everton (H)

Price: 7.1

Score: 31

Ownership: 11.6%

Why yes: Antonio&’s game style may not be pretty, but it sure is effective! Four goals in as many games is reason enough to have him in FPL. Apart from the pricier Dimitri Payet, Antonio is the only Hammers player who qualifies as a safe bet. His price is only going to rise, as not too many FPL managers have the Englishman in their teams. Upcoming fixtures are a peach too.

Why no: While Payet is definitely more expensive, he is the star man of this West Ham side. And considering he is back to full fitness and form, the Frenchman is a strong pick in his own right. Those who already have him or are in the process of purchasing him ought to stay away from Antonio.

Forwards

Jamie Vardy

Team: Leicester

Fixtures: Burnley (H), Man Utd (A), Southampton (H), Chelsea (A) and Crystal Palace (H)

Price: 9.9

Score: 18

Ownership: 17.7%

Why yes: Jamie Vardy&’s party is back on, it seems. The striker has netted in his past two league fixtures, which will give him a much-needed boost. The work-rate has never been in question and neither has the commitment. Burnley have conceded five goals so far, and Vardy just might manage to get a brace against them.

Why no: His teammate Riyad Mahrez came to life in the Champions League, and he is a worthy alternative too. Having both players on one&’s team is a risky strategy which is unlikely to pay off in the long run.

Kelechi lheanacho

Team: Manchester City

Fixtures: Bournemouth (H), Swansea (A), Spurs (A), Everton (H) and Southampton (H)

Price: 7.0

Score: 15

Ownership: 4.1%

Why yes: Another player benefitting from Aguero’s absence, Iheanacho is primed to thrive for the next two weeks at the very least. He was crucial in City&’s triumph over bitter rivals Manchester United, helping himself to a goal and an assist in the derby. Interestingly, the 19-year-old has been doing well in cameo appearances before his first start, suggesting that City have a real talent on their books.

Why no: Once Aguero returns, expect the Nigerian forward to drop to the bench. Pep Guardiola doesn’t really prefer a two-striker system which isn’t good news for the young hot shot. And while Iheanacho is a very good prospect, he is perhaps not quite ready to lead the line on his own.

PS: The Gameweek 5 deadline is 7 pm GMT/11.30 pm IST Friday night, so make sure all transfers are completed before that!