Goal takes a look at the best players to pick or avoid, as well as the bargain buys, as the Premier League gets back underway this week following the international break
|START 'EM - WHICH PLAYERS SHOULD YOU PICK?
There is little doubt that Mesut Ozil (10.0) is one of the most spectacular signings in the Premier League era, and perhaps already a Fantasy Football must-have. The Germany international created a chance every 22 minutes last season, and recorded 81 assists in all competitions during his three years at Real Madrid – as well as scoring 27 goals. An assist-machine, Ozil's first match will likely be against the Paolo Di Canio's dishevelled Sunderland.
Staying in north London, Tottenham have performed curiously this season; though they have bossed possession in their three league outings, they have yet to score from open play. New signing Christian Eriksen (7.5), a “big possibility” to start against Norwich according to Andre Villas-Boas, changes that. He scored or assisted 27 goals in 33 Eredivisie appearances last season and will provide much-needed ammunition for Roberto Soldado.
With a first win of the season under their belt, Swansea take on Liverpool with their confidence restored. The Reds have kept three clean sheets this term but will be without Glen Johnson while Kolo Toure is a doubt, leaving a question mark over their backline. Michu (8.5), a threat this term without opening his account, could be the man to profit. The Spaniard has set up eight chances for his team-mates already and has scored in 47 per cent of matches at the Liberty Stadium.
It is matches such as Manchester United's home tie against Crystal Palace that have made Robin van Persie (13.0) such a value asset in Fantasy Football, with the Dutchman virtually guaranteed to bag a goal. He scored in both games against West Ham last term, who, like the Eagles, won promotion via the Championship play-offs, and Ian Holloway's men will struggle to contain last season's top scorer.
|SIT 'EM - WHICH PLAYERS SHOULD YOU AVOID?
Spurs smashed their club-record transfer fee for a third time this summer to bring Erik Lamela (8.5) to White Hart Lane as the heir to Gareth Bale, but there is a sense that Villas-Boas will tread softly as the Argentine youngster adapts to the Premier League. Having only arrived back in England on Thursday after international duty he is highly unlikely to start against Norwich, while he has serious competition for a starting role in the shape of Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon.
For a while, Andy Carroll (7.0) had looked like a potentially astute selection, with eyes lighting up at the prospect of the colossal West Ham frontman continuing the form that saw him score or assist eight goals in 10 games at the backend of last season. But a fresh injury blow means the 24-year-old will be out of action for the foreseeable future, with Mladen Petric drafted in on a free transfer as cover.
Manchester City's plethora of strikers was always likely to be a minefield to try and second guess, and so it has proved. With Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo seemingly competing for a role alongside Sergio Aguero, summer signing Stevan Jovetic (8.0) has been the man to miss out. The Montenegrin has yet to make an appearance for Manuel Pellegrini's men, often not even in the matchday squad, and should be avoided.
By virtue of his goal against Sunderland, Danny Gabbidon (3.5) is amongst the highest-scoring lower end options available. But, any member of the Eagles defence should be swerved given their trip to Old Trafford and their lack of clean sheets. Similarly, Sascha Riether (4.5) is part of Fulham defence that have conceded more shots on goal than any other team in the Premier League.
|THE BARGAIN BASEMENT
Fresh from a double against Moldova for England, Danny Welbeck (6.5) has found his goalscoring touch of late and boasts a mean conversation rate for the national team, scoring with seven of his eight shots on target for the Three Lions. The 22-year-old has two goals in the Premier League already this term, and against a leaky Palace side he could add to his tally.
Southampton have an incredible capacity to disrupt opposing teams with their solid, battling midfield, which is partly why they concede so few shots on goal per game (11). That bodes well for the Saints' backline against a Carroll-less West Ham attack that has looked decidedly impotent of late. Jose Fonte (4.0) could be an excellent option, having already netted this season and proving a threat last term too.
New West Brom signing Stephane Sessegnon (6.5) scored or assisted 13 goals last season in a struggling Sunderland side, since becoming a rather surprising casualty of the Di Canio revolution. The Benin international could make his Baggies bow against a Fulham side that has conceded more shots (64) than any other side this season, while there is no team in the division that the 29-year-old has scored more goals against than the Cottagers.
|CAPTAIN'S CHOICE - TOP TIP FOR DOUBLE POINTS
There aren't many heavily advantageous match-ups one way or another this week, with even a favourable looking home tie for Tottenham against Norwich coming with the caveat that Spurs have picked up just two points from a possible nine in their last three meetings with the Canaries. But Manchester United's match against Crystal Palace could bring a lot of goals for the home team.
As such, the obvious captain choice is Robin van Persie (13.0). The Netherlands international struck three times for Oranje in the past week, bagging a last-minute leveller against Estonia before netting a quick-fire double against Andorra. Carrying over from last season, the 30-year-old also has 10 goals in as many games in a United shirt and it would take a brave man to be against him continuing that run on Saturday.
|GAMEWEEK 3 - BEST XI
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