Gameweek 4 is closing in and I am still holding my transfer, reconsidering my options as I prepare to set my starting XI. Two concerns ahead of Saturday, the first, can Villa score on Liverpool? The second, what concerns do we have with Richarlison, who is flagged, being a late fitness test ahead of their game. While the move was going to be to Phil Foden and off Grealish, the concern is over the Brazilian not starting, which means Man City’s, Liam Delap would be my first bench. Not the quality of Richarlison but the Sky Blues could post a big score this weekend against a poor Leeds United defense.
Rest assured Grealish will be productive, but how will that Villa offense attack Liverpool? The Reds aren’t Fulham and I hope that back line finally comes together as a unit to stop making silly mistakes that lead to goals. Based on the three goals Leeds scored, I could see holding Grealish, even though he was to be my transfer. The more important player is Richarlison, even though he’s on just a single goal, the Brighton defense could frustrate that Everton attack. Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s scoring is unsustainable, but you got to get in on him and take advantage of that hot foot. Think it plays well for Everton at home this week. So, is it Richarlison, flagged or a healthy Calvert-Lewin?
The assumption is I will start Richarlison and bring in Foden, who joins Mo Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and James Rodriguez in my staring midfield. Expectations are big this weekend as all three (minus Foden) could be potential captain options. However, I’ve made the decision to back Salah all season and I will continue that trend this week against an improved Villa defense. Rest assured KDB will have a hot foot for City, after a disappointing GW3. Figure he will hit for double digits, as well his teammate, Foden, who could potentially play in a false 9 with injuries to Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.
Up front, the flagged Richarlison will join Raul Jimenez in the 4-4-2 formation. Wolves are coming off a 4-0 thumping at the hands of West Ham and there are some questions as to how this happened. Wolves had just two shots on goal from 11 attempts. Jimenez is dynamic and has strong support around him, already posted two goals this season and this against Fulham he could get back on track. As for Richarlison, I like him over the long haul rather than DCL, who’s been the hot pick to start this season. Now separated by 0.5 million, the window is drawing closer, but managers have made quite a bundle on the DCL, who is backing his play with the stats. The concern for me, if Richy misses the game, then its the youngster, Delap hoping to get some time this weekend.
Defensive my team remains unchanged, as Emiliano Martinez will get a real test in goal as they host Liverpool, who lead the league in attempts (61) and are third in on target (19). Villa will have their work cut out for them. In front of Martinez, I start the same back four, the first time this season; Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Nelson Semedo and Charlie Taylor.
On paper, they all appear to have good match ups. I do feel Nuno Espirito Santo fires up his Wolves players and they are able to hold Fulham this weekend. Not as confident with Liverpool, but if you look at the stats, this could be a very defensive game as Liverpool has conceded just 15 shots on the season, best in the league, while Villa sits at 20, fourth best. More telling, but one fewer games, Villa has allowed just three shots on target. Just how concerning this really is can be seen in my confidence to back Salah as the captain this week. Not quite sure which Newcastle team we see at home, hosting Burnley. The Clarets defense hasn’t been all that good, conceding five goals in their two games, but Taylor does have an early assist this season.