Taking a look at premium attacks means looking to Man City to fill out your midfield and foward attacks. Outside of Sergio Agüero, all are fairly affordable, especially if you have the likes of Christian Eriksen of Dele Alli still in your starting XI. Premiums don’t come without a price, as fantasy managers must round out their midfield with 2-3 budget players even non-players. Heading into the holiday season, the wise move is make sure you run with 15 starting players, in order to reduce the risk of running out 10 starters or less. Budget midfielders have held their own this season, as Richarlison has been near the top all season.
Richarlison appears to be following in the footsteps of Etienne Capoue, after his torrid start to the season. Currently priced at £6.4, his 58 points (4 goals / 4 assists) is 7th best among midfielders, tied with Pascal Groß. While his numbers are good, he’s missed a few big chances through 11 gameweeks. HIs true test will come in in GW14, home to Man United and Spurs the following week. While Richarlison is more proficient scoring goals, Groß has posted 5 assists (along with 2 goals) and 8 bonus points on the season. He’s featured in 63% of Brighton’s offense, with their fixtures turning Groß and the Seagulls may find attacking returns challenging over the next 6 weeks; STO/mnu/CRY/LIV/hud/TOT.
A true punt might come in the form of Fernandinho for Man City. At £5.2, he’s returned 47 points (2 goals / 3 assists) and more importantly he posted 959 minutes on the pitch, finishing 9 of 11 games. His numbers better Xerhidan Shaqiri (45), Eric Maxim Chuopo-Moting (44), Aaron Mooy (41), Matt Ritchie (40). With the offensive potential that Man City carries and Fernandinho not being rotated he might make for a 5th midfielder.
If we take a look at fixtures, Bournemouth have a run of 5 games against HUD/swa/BUR/SOU/cry, which could get the Cherries back on 55 goals last season (7th overall), they have struggled to start the new season with just 7 goals in 11 games. Andrew Surman (£4.7) has 2 goals, 1 assist to date, but does provide a 90 minute player in an offensive that carries great potential, but haven’t really found their shooting boots yet.
Mentioned earlier, Xerhidan Shaqiri (£5.9) is a single point(45) better than teammate, Chuopo-Moting and the creativity force for Stoke City. Currently ranked 5th overall for chanced created (26) and 4th for big chances created (6), he could see attacking returns as Stoke face bha/cry/LIV/SWA out of the international break. It’s Chuopo-Moting that is £0.2 cheaper at £5.7, not on set pieces, but more of an attacking force up front.
On the back of their staunch defense, if Burnley could start converting up front, Robby Brady could be the catalyst at just £5.5. Currently ranked 2nd overall in crosses (80), he’s completed 33.8%, however the goal conversion rate for the Clarets is just under a goal a game (10 goals in 11 games). Need to feel Chris Wood has been missed due to injury, as he works back into the starting XI. The next 6 out of 7 games, GW13, home to Arsenal the only exception carry great promise against SWA/bou/lei/WAT/STO/bha.
Much like Pascal Groß, teammate Anthony Knockaert is slowly coming into form with returns in two of the last four games, his first on the season. However, Brighton’s fixtures are mixed over the next 6 weeks; STO/mnu/CRY/LIV/hud/tot. Used as a spot starter, he could pay dividends, even though the Seagulls have only scored 6 goals in their last 5 games.
Looking forward from the international break, I am planning on a 4-5-1 (or 5-4-1) or a 4-4-2 as we head into the holiday fixtures. Putting 5 starting midfielders into my squad hasn’t been an issue, as owning Tom Carroll and Dale Stephens much of the season. Going with 5 midfielders would be ideal, but risky up front with just Harry Kane to deliver, in what has been an inconsistent season. Starters Hazard, Eriksen, Salah, Richarlison and Groß look great on paper and in my planning, based on fixtures but doesn’t give me many options.
That leaves me two options with a 2-man forward set. First, I forego transferring Hazard and pickup teammate, Alvardo Morata, keeping Carroll as my 5th midfielder. The other option, drop Eriksen, if he continues to play deeper in the Spurs midfield and not create the sort of chances we saw last year and early this season. His £9.6 would allow me bring Hazard in or even double up with Liverpool’s Sadio Mané.
These are just a few options as international games are in full swing. Lots can change between now and next Friday when fantasy managers look to set their lineups for Gameweek 12.