FanTeam 2020-21: €250K Champions League Group Stage

In about 24 hours, it’s that time again. On Tuesday, October 20th, at 17h55 (UK time), Zenit Saint Petersburg and Dynamo Kiev are kicking off the 2020-21 Champions League, at home against Club Brugge and Juventus, respectively. Of course, this calls for a serious FanTeam tournament and we were not disappointed – FanTeam’s huge €250K Champions League Group Stage tournament has a buy-in of just €25 a pop. Naturally, we have created a team again for this one, but before we go over our selection, we’ll list the tournament’s most important specifics here below.

  • Scoring is as standard on FanTeam.
  • Max 3 players per club.
  • 15 players including 4 subs.
  • As the title suggests, the tournament spans gameweeks, in accordance with the 6 group games.
  • You receive 2 free transfers in the build-up to each gameweek.
  • You can save one week’s worth of transfers in order to have a maximum of 4 free transfers the next week.
  • Too late? Has the Champions League already started? No problem, the FanTeam 250K Champions League Group Stage tournament has a “Join late” option, as long as you join before gameweek 2 has started. You will also get compensated for missing the first gameweek with points worth a very generous 90% of the average score in gameweek 1.

OUR GENERAL APPROACH

In order to get started on FanTeam’s 250K Champions League Group Stage tournament, we needed to create a team of 15 players (includes 4 subs), consisting of 2 goalkeepers, 5 defenders, 5 midfielders and 3 forwards inside a budget $100 million. We have tried to build in a bit of balance in the team and the plan, at this moment, would be to use the team below to compete in the first two gameweeks saving our GW2 transfers so we can execute an overhaul in the build-up to gameweek 3 with 4 free transfers.

GOALKEEPERS

For the goalkeepers, our focus has been on budget-enabling starters and as a result, we found both of them in the Bundesliga. Despite Roman Bürki’s availability, Borussia Dortmund’s Marwin Hitz has started the last two league games for the German side and kept a clean sheet in each of those games. He has left a very decent impression so far and it looks like the 33-year old will be in goal for the opener at Lazio Roma as well. After that, it’s Zenit at home, followed by a double face-off with Belgian champions Club Brugge.

Should Bürki regain his starting spot on Tuesday, then Hitz will be replaced by RB Leipzig goalie Peter Gulásci in our team. The Hungarian shot stopper is available at a bargain price on FanTeam and is a sure starter for the current Bundesliga leaders. On top of that, Leipzig start with a home game against Istanbul Basaksehir, followed by an away game at Old Trafford against a hot-and-cold Manchester United side. Gulásci will be in goal for gameweek 1, Hitz will most likely be our starter in gameweek 2.

DEFENDERS

We’ll be starting gameweek 1 of the 2020-21 Champions League with a 3-men defence. First in line is Inter Milan right-back Achraf Hakimi who will be facing Borussia Mönchengladbach at the Guiseppe Meazza on Wednesday. The Spanish-Morrocan defender is a key part of manager Antonio Conte’s defensive and attacking plans, as dynamo on the right-most side of a 5-men defence. He gets plenty of freedom to bomb forward to join in attack, in part because the Inter centre is guarded by one of the best defences in Europe. As a result, he already has a goal and 2 assists to his name after just 4 Serie A games.

He is joined by a fellow Serie A star in the person of Juventus mainstay Leonardo Bonucci. The Old Lady will once again be approaching this Champions League campaign as one of the favourites and the Italian veteran plays a key part in those plans. He missed the clash with Napoli on October 4th, but he played for 90 minutes in the other three league games so far and we expect him to start against Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday as well. After that, it’s Barcelona at home followed by a double meeting with Hungarian side Ferencvaros.

Hakimi and Bonucci are joined in defence this week by Bayern München defender Benjamin Pavard. The French left-back started 3 of the four Bundesliga games played so far this season and he got 25 minutes as a substitute in the one game he didn’t start. Pavard was also part of the starting line up for both the European Super Cup and the German Super Cup, both of which were won by Bayern. The Germans are heavy favourites in a group with Atletico Madrid, Lokomotiv Moscow and Salzburg, and the Frenchman should get the nod for the majority if not all of the games in the group stage.

Our two defenders starting on the bench this week are both budget-enablers with excellent perspectives of a starting spot in the coming games. RB Leipzig defender Lukas Klostermann started all but one game for last year’s Champions League semi-finalists this season and he is facing Istanbul Basaksehir this week, followed by Manchester United away the next. We don’t expect to call him for these games, but he’s excellent back-up in case of a last-minute issue.

Speaking of Manchester United, their Deadline Day purchse of Porto left-back Alex Telles has opened up a spot in the Portuguese starting lineup for Zaidu Sanusi. While the former was still part of the Porto roster, the latter replaced him twice in the league. After Telles left, it was Sanusi who immediately got his first 90 minutes in the 2-2 draw with Sporting Lisbon. The 23-year old Nigerian made a good impression with an assist and he looks set as Porto’s left-back for the foreseeable future. After Man City in gameweek 1, it’s two consecutive home games for Porto, against Olympiakos and Marseille.

MIDFIELDERS

For our midfield selection, we have gone for direct goal involvement more than pure goalscoring power, though Mo Salah is the exception. The Liverpool star is our joint-most expensive pick for FanTeam’s 250K Champions League Group Stage tournament, because he is simply that good. The injury of Virgil van Dijk has cast some shadow over the Reds’ defensive reliability, but we feel their attack will still be going at full speed. With Salah as the main man up front and on penalties, and with attacking sides Ajax, Atalanta and Midtjylland in their group, Salah is probably one of the wisest investments you can make at this point.

Though we stated earlier that our focus for the midfield has been on goal involvement more than goalscoring, the truth is that Thomas Muller offers both. Last season, the German superstar provided no less than 26 assists in 50 games for Bayern Munich, and this year his total already sits at 4 assists after four Bundesliga games. On top of that, Muller has 3 league goals to his name already. Bayern are up against Atletico Madrid in gameweek 1 before it’s Lokomotiv Moscow away and a double clash with Salzburg in the next three for the reigning European champions.

Up next is Ivan Rakitic, who we felt was available at quite a bargain price considering his quality and his key role in an excellent side like Sevilla FC. He returned to the Andalusians this summer after nine years at Schalke and then Barcelona, and he has slotted right back into the starting eleven. He has so far started all five of Sevilla’s games, and he managed to score 1 goal and provide 1 assists (in the European Super Cup against Bayern). Group E looks like a group with potential for goals and Rakitic could be among a few of them. Sevilla start with an away game at defensively fragile Chelsea before hosting French side Rennes at home and then playing two games against Krasnodar.

Attacking midfielder Dani Olmo is the third RB Leipzig fantasy asset in our FanTeam 250K Champions League Group Stage squad. The Spaniard has started all five of his team’s games so far and he has been good for 4 assists over that run. We feel he could improve on that tally in the home game against Istanbul Basaksehir in gameweek 1 of the Champions League, which is why he will be in our starting lineup this week. After that it’s Man United away and a double clash with Paris Saint Germain, the team that eliminated them in the quarter-finals of the Champions League last year.

Our midfield five is completed by Ajax all-rounder Davy Klaassen, who came to the club where it all started for him years ago just before the end of the transfer window. The 27-year old Dutchman was brought in to add some experience to the very talented, but young Ajax midfield and we expect him to start most if not all of the group stage games. Last season, as key player at Bundesliga side Werder Bremen, Klaassen scored 9 goals and provided 7 assists in 39 games, while this season he scored a penalty in his first game back at Ajax last weekend.

FORWARDS

For gameweek 1 of the FanTeam 250K Champions League Group Stage tournament, we are opting for a front three led by Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland. With 44 goals and 10 assists in 40 official games last season, the Norwegian international was one of the most in-form players on the continent and it doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down this year. After 6 games, he has already recorded 5 goals and 3 assists. With the away game against Lazio Roma, followed by a home game versus Zenit and then a double encounter with Club Brugge, Haalands looks like a bit of a must-have.

Similar words could be used for Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian forward has played 4 Serie A games so far this season and he is leading the league’s topscorer ranking with 4 goals. After scoring a record 13 games  in a row in the Europa League, the final of which Inter lost to Sevilla, Lukaku will now have his eyes set on scoring goals in the Champions League and a home game against Gladbach looks like a good fixture for him to get off the mark this season. After that it’s Shaktar away, which means that we might well see a couple of goals behind his name by the time we start planning for our four free transfers in the build-up to gameweek 3.

Finally, we reserved a decent part of our budget for Barcelona starlet Ansu Fati. The still only 17-year old winger has already become a major part of Ronald Koeman’s new project at Barça and with reason. After four La Liga games, of which he started three, Fati already has 3 goals and an assist to his name. We would be surprised not to see him start at home to Ferencvaros in the club’s first game of the 2020-21 Champions League. After that, it’s Juventus away, followed by a double encounter with Dynamo Kiev. We’re seeing chances for the youngster in this group.

FanTeam 2020-21: €100K Weekly Monster – GW5 – Sat 17 Oct 2020

As part of FISO’s special series of weekly articles on FanTeam, Europe’s biggest daily fantasy football provider, we will actually be entering the team we write about each week into the game. This series will focus on FanTeam’s Premier League Classic Event, a daily fantasy league based on the EPL games using classic fantasy football rules. Our article will focus on an Early Entry for this weekly tournament to help you identify game rules, tactics and the most promising players per gameweek, so you can win some of that large prize money.

Our FISO team below will be entered into this week’s €20 entry (€100k prize pool) Main Event, which has a maximum entry limit of 6,332 participants. Every week, we’ll report back on how our team performed in the previous week. A finish in the top 1,264 would see us win part of the prize pool of which the winner takes home a cool €10,000. FanTeam also offer a €2 entry Weekly Monster with a lower prize pool (of which the winner should get about €1,300) for those who prefer to play with lower stakes.

Before moving onto our team selection, we want to highlight a couple of FanTeam rules that they apply to their Weekly Monster competition and that represent some of the major differences when comparing the game to the FPL.

Number one is that FanTeam have a rule called the ‘safety net’. The safety net comes into play when a selected player does not start in the Weekly Monster, because the game will then automatically replace this player with the next lowest-priced player from the same position (GK, DEF, MID, FOR) in the same team. This is regardless of whether or not your selected player does take to the field later in the game. This rule helps people who have entered a team into the Weekly Monster not to worry too much about whether their selected players will start or not, particularly if they know there are cheaper players for that same club in that same position who should start instead.

Number two is that FanTeam also have a ‘stacking penalty’ for the Weekly Monster, which penalises teams that have selected more than one defenders/goalkeeper from the same club. The stacking penalty comes into play when you pick more than one defensive player (defenders or goalkeepers) from a particular club and this club records a clean sheet. The points awarded for this clean sheet will decrease by 1 point for each additional defensive player from the same club that you have selected. The stacking penalty has a maximum of minus 3 points. This rule helps stop multi-entrants from gaining an advantage by submitting block defence teams. A reasonable tactic can be to select two players from two different clubs for your Goalie and Defenders, which would see you incur just 2 single-point deductions if you nail both clean sheets correctly.

Our early team suggestion for the Weekly Monster in gameweek 5

Formation: 3-4-3

General approach

Gameweek 5 is a particularly hard one to predict in terms of results and potential star performers. The teams that would usually be considered clear favourites (Chelsea, Man City, Spurs, Leicester etc) are all either facing in-form opposition or have shown us over the past four weeks that their form is far from consistent at the moment. As a result, we are left with an abundance of expensive to very premium options carrying a relatively large risk of blanking. The question, most of all, was to what extent we wanted to stretch the very tight budget this weekend in order to bring in risky favourites and then compensating with very low-priced, no-expectation picks to fill out our 11-men squad.

One thing we do know this season is that goals are being scored and penalties are way up compared to previous seasons. Match of the Day even dedicated a short segment to it in one of their last episodes. Goals have been scored for fun this campaign and clean sheets have been rare, so we decided to try and pick a FanTeam squad based on these trends. The core of our team consists of Sheffield United and Manchester City picks, combined with a Spurs premium ace and a cheap goalkeeper as budget enabler. The rest of the squad is built up of picks based on individual (goal-scoring) ability and penalty duties. In other words, players who might not see 3 points coming their way this weekend, but who are likely to be involved in the goals should their teams score.

MANCHESTER CITY – The favourites

One of the main talking points in the FPL world in the build-up to gameweek 5 is the fitness of Man City star Kevin de Bruyne. The midfielder was withdrawn in the 73rd minute on Sunday in the Nations League encounter with England and then sent back to Manchester for further examination. Whilst several sources, including Belgian national team coach Roberto Martinez, confirmed that these were precautionary measures more than anything and recent reports have stated that the player has been suffering from muscle stiffness, Pep has today said that KDB will miss the Arsenal match. With KDB not fit for the game, then we’ve gone with Raheem Sterling. Should Sterling not start either, then Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva are next in line.

Our second Man City pick is winger Riyad Mahrez, this round’s fourth-most expensive FanTeam asset. The Algerian wizard started in the last two Premier League games for Pep Guardiola’s team and looks set for another start against the Gunner with injuries and fitness doubts surrounding a number of attacking City assets. Besides that, the former Leicester star is simply a very good player who deserves a starting spot. He has a goal and an assist to this name so far, which both came against Leicester in gameweek 2, for a total of 12 FT points. Mahrez played two games and 180 minutes for Algeria over the break, and scored against Mexico, but both games took place in Northern Europe and he looked fit for his return to England.

SHEFFIELD UNITED – The defence

The 2020-21 campaign is looking like a tough one for Sheffield United, one of potential consolidation or suffering after a stellar return to the Premier League last season. The Blades were perhaps too hesitant this summer to bring new faces into the already rather stretched squad, though they did secure Rhyan Brewster’s signature towards the end of the window. In any case, it’s zero points from four games for them so far, with just a single goal scored and five conceded. Despite the disappointing start to the season, we find it hard to believe that all of last season’s qualities have just disappeared overnight and this weekend’s home game against Fulham presents a good opportunity for them to book the first points of the season.

The Cottagers are last at the moment, without points and a negative goal difference of -8, result of conceding 11 goals and scoring just 3. All three of those goals were scored in the 4-3 away loss against Leeds, by the way. That’s why we feel Sheffield United has one of the best chances on a clean sheet this weekend, and why we have doubled up on their defence: George Baldock and Jack Robinson. The former already has an assist to his name and ranks third amongst all defenders for touches in the penalty area, while the latter is the cheapest starting defender for the Blades. In case of a clean sheet, the Stacking Penalty will be applied, but a Sheffield United defensive double-up looks like a wise use of limited funds.

SOUTHAMPTON – The bargains

Besides Manchester City and Sheffield United, our FanTeam fantasy selection for gameweek 5 contains a third double-up, but for different reasons. Southampton are facing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and despite being the clear underdogs in this one, the Saints roster does offer some potential, not in the last place due to the budget price tags of their players.

First off is goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, who’s been very good so far this season. Apart from the 5 goals conceded against Spurs in gameweek 2, the Southampton defence have conceded just 1 goal in three games. Their last two games ended with clean sheets and as a result, McCarthy currently sits on 18 FT points. Just three goalies have recorded more this season. Even though a clean sheet away at Chelsea would be considered a major surprise and a super achievement, it’s not completely out of the question. We have picked him for the combination of his low price tag, good individual quality and considerable saves potential. He has, so far, recorded 8 saves and even in the very possible absence of a clean sheet against Chelsea, we do count on a few save points from the Scot.

The story for our selection of Danny Ings is a bit similar, though instead of save points, we’re hoping for a goal. As we wrote earlier, Chelsea are the favourites here, but that doesn’t mean that the Saints don’t provide any potential for points. Where the Blues have already conceded 6 goals in four games, Southampton have scored 5 goals in four games. In other words, this encounter could end up being a high-scoring one and in that case, we want Ings on our team, especially at his current bargain price. He played 90 minutes over the international break and scored against Wales, while he already has 3 goals to his name in the Prem. With penalty duties in his pocket as well, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the score sheet against Chelsea.

THE INDIVIDUAL GUNS

As we said in our introduction, for various reasons, our team for gameweek 5 also contains a few picks based on individual qualities and the (offensive) importance of each of these players to their respective teams.

We’re starting with our captain for this round, Tottenham’s very own Harry Kane. Spurs have had a pretty spectacular start to the season with 2-5 and 1-6 victories away at Newcastle and Manchester United, combined with rather underwhelming home results against Everton in GW1 (0-1 loss) and Newcastle (1-1) in GW3. The consensus seems to be that Mourinho’s men thrive against teams playing a high defensive line, but suffer more against teams setting up a deeper-lying defensive block. This weekend’s visitors West Ham are in good form and expected to rely on a tight defensive set-up at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, so we definitely don’t expect this one to be a walk in the park for the home team. Still, Harry Kane is Harry Kane and in his current form, he seems hard to stop. He already has a whopping 3 goals and 6 assists to his name from just four games, and he has created more chances than any other player in the league so far. On top of that, No other player in the league has a higher expected goal involvement than the English international.

Our decision to go for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this weekend is very similar to the one justifying picking Danny Ings. The Gunners are the underdogs in Saturday’s away game against Man City, but it’s not like the home team has been so incredibly invincible so far this season. Guardiola’s men have taken just 4 points from their first three games and perhaps even more worrying, they have conceded 7 goals in the process. As a result, they currently boast a very uncharacteristic -1 goal difference. That’s also why we feel that, while City work on their defensive stability, the Gunners might be able to sneak in a goal or two this weekend and if they do, Auba is likely to be involved, especially because he takes the pens as well. Like Chelsea versus Southampton, this could end up being another high-scoring affair.

Next up is Matheus Pereira, the orchestrator of almost all of West Bromwich Albion’s attacking moves. The Brazilian is a bit of an outfield pick, especially at a relatively expensive 9.0m, but that has more to do with the team he’s part of than his individual qualities. The Baggies have had a tough start to the season with just 1 point from four games, but Pereira has been one of their positive talking points. After registering an incredible 16 assists in the Championship last season, he currently sits on 2 assists and 1 goal, giving him a direct goal involvement in no less than 60% of all of West Brom’s goals. There won’t be a lot of games this season in which the Baggies won’t be the underdogs, but this weekend’s home game against struggling Burnley might be one of them. The Clarets have taken just 1 point from the first three games and they have conceded 8 goals in the process. Again, this one could go both ways with two teams in dire need of points facing each other, and West Brom’s playmaker could be the one to mark the difference.

Picking Leandro Trossard to complete our midfield set-up has gone pretty much along the same lines, with the major difference being that Brighton are a better team than West Brom. The Seagulls are showing clear signs of improvement in comparison to last year and they were unlucky not to get more than their current 3 points from four games. Against the Man United back in GW3 alone, they hit the woodwork an incredible five times. Three of those attempts were launched by Trossard. The Belgian is generally positioned very high up the pitch, at times even higher than Brighton striker Maupay, and he is on several set-pieces as well. He has delivered returns in three of this season’s four games for a total of 21 FT points already and this weekend it’s Crystal Palace away for the Belgian. The Eagles have come off two back-to-back defeats against Everton and Chelsea, and even though there is no clear favourite for this encounter, an attacking return from Trossard is far from off the cards.

FINAL PICK

After selecting the above ten players, we still had one defensive spot left to fill and 6.1m to make it work. We ended up going with Wolves’ new acquisition Marçal, who is expected to return from injury and slot right back in at left-wingback. The team has had a bit of an underwhelming start to the 2020-21 campaign, but that is mainly due to their hampering attacking output. Defensively, they have conceded 7 goals, but all of those goals came in two games, namely the 4-0 defeat at West Ham and the 1-3 home loss versus Man City. The games against Sheffield United in GW1 and Fulham in GW4 ended with clean sheets. This weekend, the Wolves are up against Leeds at Elland Road. The Whites have been one of the revelations so far this season and they could very well end up putting a few past Wolves keeper Patricio, but with the remaining budget, Marçal is probably the pick with the highest points ceiling. Apart from the chance of a clean sheet as part of a pretty sound defensive set-up, he could also be involved in some attacking moves, as Leeds do leave spaces to exploit in every game.

Do check out FanTeam’s Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs before finalising your team. You will only be able to see the starting line-ups for the 1st fixture of the GW – Chelsea v Southampton.

FPL Season 2020-21 – Gameweek 5 Preview

“On Saturday, Goodison Park is the scene for the 235th Merseyside Derby” (CC by 2.0). Image by: Michael Graham

So goals seem to be a given for the time being, with gameweek 4 offering another incredible tally: 41 goals in total. A whopping 16 of those were scored in just two games! The 1-6 thumping of Man United at Old Trafford by Spurs was rather unbelievable but the 7-2 home victory of Aston Villa over reigning champions Liverpool in the following game was possibly even more baffling. As a result, there was another wave of hauls last gameweek, with Villa playmaker Jack Grealish delivering a shocking 2 goals and 3 assists for 24 FPL points, his teammate and Villa striker Ollie Watkins recording a hattrick and an assist for 19 FPL points, and the threesome of Heung-Min Son, James Rodriguez and Ben Chilwell all delighting their owners with 18 FPL points.

Gameweek 5 is going to be an interesting one (certainly for those playing FanTeam’s GW5 Monster) and a particularly hard one to predict, in a big part due to the current international break being the first one in the corona era. News reports, some more trustworthy than others, have already been coming in about Premier League players either testing positive or having been in close contact with a national team mate who tested positive, but we’ll only know the real truth once all players have returned to their clubs later this week. Just be aware of the fact that the resurging coronavirus can and most likely will have an impact on the Prem and therefore FPL over the coming weeks. See it as another unpredictable variable in your FPL planning schemes.

For the moment, professional sports leagues are continuing and that’s the most important thing of all.  Saturday starts off with a promising Merseyside Derby and later that day, Man City host Arsenal at the Etihad. From a fantasy point of view, Chelsea at home to Southampton, Spurs at home to West Ham and Leeds vs Wolves are just some of the appealing fixtures. We’re hoping all players return safely from their international duties and that the Premier League can continue in full, goal-scoring force this weekend.

Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 5 is set for 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, October 17th. Also do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per October 14th, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKAlisson (LIV), Nyland (AST), Pope (BUR)Martinez (AST), McCarthy (SOU), Mendy (CHE) In form cheap Goalies.
DEFAlexander-Arnold (LIV), James (CHE), Van Dijk (LIV)Chilwell (CHE), Castagne (LEI), Saïss (WOL)Premium Liverpool defenders not really delivering.
MIDDe Bruyne (CIT), Aubameyang (ARS), Zaha (CRY)Son (TOT), Rodriguez (EVE), Grealish (AST)Injury doubts for KDB and Auba, excellent recent performances by the top-3 transferred-in midfielders.
FORWerner (CHE), Martial (UTD), Mitrovic (FUL)Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Kane (TOT), Wilson (NEW)In-form strikers bering brought in, non-scoring strikers being sold + Martial red-card ban.

Premium pick

It was strange what happened to Liverpool at Villa Park two weekends ago and manager Jurgen Klopp will surely have identified the glitch that caused their 7-2 loss by now, but as FPL managers, one of the main things we’re sticking with from that game is the brace scored by Mo Salah (£12.2m). Despite his team conceding seven, the Egyptian still managed to score two goals and record 13 FPL points in the process, including a bonus point. That puts him at 5 goals and 1 assist from four games this season, resulting in 41 FPL points. Only Spurs’ dynamic duo Son and Kane have collected more points each since the start of the campaign. Liverpool are gearing up for a visit to Goodison Park for a crowd-less edition of the Merseyside Derby next. With the Toffees in good form at the moment, this game is hard to predict, but we do feel there will be goals in this one. Neither of the teams has been particularly solid in defence so far (Everton have conceded 5 in 4 games, Liverpool 11 in 4), which could spell good news for the likes of Salah coming weekend.

Non-premium picks

Our first non-premium pick for gameweek 5 is one who might not be eligible for this category much longer. At the moment of writing, Heung-Min Son (£9.1m) has just risen £0.1m in price after two huge hauls in four weeks time, but with games against West Ham (home), Burnley (a), Brighton (H) and West Brom (a) in the next four, the Korean forward might continue this trend over the coming weeks. With 45 FPL points, he is currently the highest-scoring player in the official game, courtesy of 6 goals and 1 assist. All of these returns were recorded in away games though, while this season’s two home games resulted in just 3 FPL points. This weekend, Spurs are hosting an in-form West Ham side in North London, so this suggestion does come with a bit of caution and derby games are never easy to predict at the best of times. The Hammers recorded two impressive victories and two clean sheets in the last two gameweeks, against Wolves at home and Leicester away. Still, after their 1-6 destruction of Man United in GW4, Spurs are favourites for this one, just like they will be for the three games after that.

Our other non-premium fantasy pick combines decent form with a decent fixture, at least from an offensive point of view. Crystal Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m) has enjoyed a good start to the FPL season with 3 goals and 26 FPL points from the first four games. The Eagles started the campaign with two victories, but their last two games ended in defeats, against Everton at home (1-2) and versus Chelsea away (4-0). Zaha’s returns followed this trend, with just 3 FPL points from the last two, but he is now facing a set of more appealing fixtures again, starting with Brighton away. The Seagulls have had a difficult start to the season, but they are certainly showing some promise. One of their issues is their defence though, as they have conceded 10 goals in the first four games of the campaign. Result-wise, the Brighton – Palace game could go either way, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Zaha back amongst the attacking returns this weekend.

The budget enabler

We know it’s early to have a good idea of his real (potential) impact on his new team, but former Liverpool talent Rhian Brewster (£4.5m) could become an enormous FPL bargain and budget enabler after his transfer to Sheffield United. The Blades paid around £23.5 million for the 20-year old striker on their quest for goals. Despite the fact that he has not yet featured in the Premier League yet and that Sheffield United aren’t exactly a free-flowing attacking side, a £4.5m-striker with serious chance of playing minutes is definitely worth considering. On top of that, with McGoldrick and Burke being injury doubts at the moments, his playing chances increase further. In any case, Chris Wilder’s men really need to start scoring soon (they have scored just a single goal so far) and Brewster’s transfer fee coupled with a 5-year contract indicate serious confidence in the youngster. As a third striker in your squad, he could be a very useful budget pick.

A differential pick or two

West Brom have so far not particularly impressed this season and the new boys sit on just 1 point from four games, but the upcoming fixture list gives reason for hope. The Baggies are facing Burnley (home), Brighton (away) and Fulham (away), which looks like a good little set of games to work on their points tally. Should they do so, then attacking midfielder Matheus Pereira (£6.0m) will most likely have a lot to do with it. With a goal and 2 assists, he has been directly involved in three of the team’s five goals, and he has been one of the positives of West Brom’s campaign so far. The Brazilian is their main attacking outlet, and the combination of his current 3.4% ownership and the upcoming favourable fixtures make him an interesting differential pick for the short to medium term.

Earlier, we wrote about Crystal Palace versus Brighton being an unpredictable encounter this coming weekend, but one in which there could be goals. The away team’s Leandro Trossard (£6.0m) has rather quietly been making a really good start to the season with a goal and 2 assists from the first four games. His only blank came in the home game versus Manchester United, but he did hit the woodwork an unbelievable three times in that encounter. Nonetheless, the Belgian still sits on 20 FPL points at the moment of writing, while being part of just 2.2% of FPL teams. Between coming weekend and gameweek 8, the Seagulls are facing Palace away, West Brom at home and Burnley home. In his current form and as part of a Brighton side that definitely seems to have improved since last season, Trossard should definitely be on your watch lists as a major differential.

The captaincy

For a long time, we were going to put the armband on Spurs forward Heung-Min Son, especially when considering the fact that he did not have any games during the international break. The Korean has been in explosive form this season, but what worries us a little bit is the reality that he has blanked in this campaign’s two home games so far. West Ham is coming to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend and with the Hammers in good form, Son might end up disappointing us. Might. Instead, we’ve gone with Liverpool superstar Mo Salah, who plays away at Everton on Saturday in what could well become a goal-laden Merseyside Derby.

Of course, neither of these players has a clear “favourable fixture”, so you might want to place your faith in another fantasy asset. Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez could be good picks at home to Arsenal, Vardy could deliver against Aston Villa at home and Kai Havertz could be up for his first goal at home versus Southampton after recording an assist in each of his last two Premier League games. For a bit more of a punt, Raul Jimenez away at Leeds, Matheus Pereira at home against Burnley, and the on-fire Dominic Calvert-Lewin at home versus Liverpool could be captaincy picks to see you gain ground this weekend.

England vs. Belgium 2-1 Highlights

Despite facing the Number 1 team in the national league and one of the best across the globe, England managed to win the game 2-1. The first half penalties saw Rushford and Lakaku swap strikes. 

The Red Devils took control of the game with the first goal by Yannick Carrasco, but it was ruled offside. England had faced a challenging game for most of the half, but they got their redemption when Henderson was pulled to the ground, and Marcus Rushford equalized for the lion through a penalty. 

There are several lessons that could be noted from the game, such as the amazing performance by Lukakau and Kevin De Bruyne. 

Encouraging performance by Belgium Stars 

Thomas Meunere showed excellent skills after creating a good pass for Yannick Carrasco in the 10th minute, which led to a spectacular goal, despite being ruled out as an offside.

The Inter Millan star player showed his prowess as he bossed the England defense in the first half of the game. Lukakau scored his 53rd goal for his nation, showing good power, persistence, a fine touch, and willingness to dribble past the lion’s defense when an opportunity arose. The Belgium forward showed his expertise with the 9th-minute header that went over the post, but he managed to score the firsts goal. 

Kevin De Bruyne proved to be a major threat to the lion’s defense throughout the game. The Manchester City player proved to be a great threat after his first shoot just 36 seconds after the game began, followed by a powerful strike in the 18th minute. It’s no wonder De Bruyne is becoming popular among people who bet on esports and fantasy football enthusiasts. 

 A stunning performance from England 

While England might be ranked as No. 1, they couldn’t hold with the systems of playing introduced by the Lions. England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford showed he is a force to reckon with after saving Kevin De Bruyne’s shot in the first half of the game and showed tremendous goalkeeping for the rest of the game. 

Although he did not play to his level best, his strike helped to calm the nerves of most betway punters when they had lost 0-1 to Belgium. The Manchester player has been shining off the field after receiving an MBE. 

 Rushford proved that he is a utility player after switching sides, which brought about an excellent effect on the attacking line, which encouraged Betway bettors. Mason showed stunning performance through his 64th strike, which gave England the win.

 The win brought about an impressive change for Gareth Southgate’s men as they moved up on the table with seven points, which marks the first defeat for The No: 1 team. However, the win was a source of pride for England’s coach, given that Belgium had defeated them twice during Russia 2018. 

Bottom Line

The most memorable highlights for the game between England vs. Belgium include Manson’s goal in the 64th minute. The Belgium stars showed a significant performance by keeping the lions under pressure in the first half of the game. Belgium got their lead through Lukakau, but Southgate’s men showed an intense effort after Rushford equalizing the strike. 

Football Betting Guide for Beginners

There is no doubt that football betting comes with lots of thrills and excitement. But for beginners who are trying to figure out how betting works, it might be quite difficult to enjoy football betting at first. Every experienced bettor started as a novice. It might be rough at the beginning of their betting career, but they kept on going and learning from their mistakes. Luckily, there are plenty of guides available Chezacash, and amateurs can learn from experts before the dive into betting full-time.

Contrary to what most people believe, you don’t need a lot of money to start betting. It is recommended you start with stipends, to reduce the risk in the early stages. Several reputable Kenyan betting websites offer new players bonuses which can be very useful to newbies. Betlion can be one of the best places to start your football betting career.

The football betting terms

There a several terms you are likely to come across when betting on football. To avoid the initial confusion or making wrong assumptions, here are the most common football betting terms to look out for:

  1. Stake: This generally refers to the money a bettor places on a bet.
  2. Accumulator: This is also referred to as a parlay bet. This is a cluster of single bets which is won by predicting all bets correctly.
  3. Handicap: This is a bet placed on a team that is given an advantage over the other. Using a handicap bet, there is a benefit to the underdog.
  4. Scorecast: This refers to a wager placed on a player who is the bettor predicts to score the first goal in a particular event.
  5. DNB: Also referred to as Draw No Bet is a situation where the bookie returns the bettors money if the match is a draw. The chances of a DNB is quite low because football matches rarely end in a draw.
  6. 24-hour rule: Some bookies have a 24-hour rule which voids all bets placed on a postponed match that is not played within 24 hours.

Choosing Your Preferred Bookie

Getting into football betting means finding a good number of bookies to place your wagers with. We don’t recommend you stick to only one bookie, as one bookmaker cannot offer everything you need. One gambling site might be great with sports offers and the number of bet markets they offer, another might have great promotions. However, before you sign up with any gambling establishment, be sure to do a little research on their credibility and license. Also, read trusted reviews from several sites as this is the best way to read objective opinions about them.

How to Place Your Bets

If you are just making a debut into football betting, here are some helpful tips to guide you along the way.

Bet with Your Head and Not Your Heart

The golden rule of betting is staying logical and avoiding placing wagers with clouded judgment. Don’t assume a team will win because they are your favorite.

Manage Your Expectation

Bettors often expect more once they hit a lucky streak or predict a couple of games correctly. Don’t get too confident and take risks you cannot bear.

Be patient

It is crucial to be patient when placing bets. Afterall, you have no control over the outcome.

Betting on draws: Which football league is best for draw bets?

In football betting, the easiest bet to make is the win bet. When making the win bet, you simply choose which team you believe will win the fixture. When selecting a win bet – sometimes called a 1×2 bet – you have the option of betting on the teams to draw. A large number of professional bettors use the draw bet as part of their strategy.

When these bettors find a team or teams that manage draws, they exploit the clubs by wagering on them often. Fans are anticipating the start of the 2020-21 Champions League and debating which teams will progress from the group stage. Football bettors can visit Easyodds.com for the latest odds, match previews and bet bonuses before making a wager on the games.

So, looking at the top four leagues in Europe – Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, and La Liga – let us investigate which teams are most likely to draw games.

Premier League

The Premier League 2019-20 season saw 10 teams hit double digits in draws. Wolverhampton Wanderers, Arsenal, and Brighton led the way in the league. The three clubs each tallied 14 draws. Looking at the 2018-19 Premier League season’s final table, you won’t see any of the three teams at the top. However, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brighton did finish that campaign with nine draws from 38 games. The figure tied them for second-most in terms of draws. Meanwhile, Arsenal tallied seven draws from 38 league encounters.

La Liga

It doesn’t take a genius to know that Diego Simeone’s defensive style at Atletico Madrid leads to draws. In 2019-20, Los Colchoneros bagged 16 draws. Ten other teams managed double-digit draws in La Liga last season. The lack of quality goalscorers at teams outside the top six makes draws a strong possibility. Unbelievably three quarters (15 teams) of La Liga’s teams finished with double-digit draws in 2018-19. If you fancy a punt on a draw as part of your strategy, this is a league in which a large number of stalemates occur.

Bundesliga

Just four teams in the 2019-20 Bundesliga hit double digits in draws. RB Leipzig, Schalke, Fortuna Dusseldorf and Wolfsburg all tallied over 10 draws. Remember that the Bundesliga has two fewer teams than the other major leagues in Europe – 18 in total – and play four fewer matches. The previous season, one team stands out as a draw master: RB Leipzig. They tallied nine draws in 2018-20. After two matches in the 2020-21 season, RB Leipzig have already registered a draw. Schalke also hit the nine-draw mark as well in 2018-19.

Serie A

Serie A has long been known as a defensive league. Based on that cliche, you would expect a large number of draws. Five teams reach double digits in 2019-20 with Hella Verona and Fiorentina each registering 13 draws.

The 2018-19 campaign ended with 12 of the league’s 20 teams finishing with double-digit draws. A trend emerged as Fiorentina topped the table in draws with 17. La Liga and Serie A are the two leagues to feature the most draws of the top four leagues. In 2020-21, La Liga has already seen seven matches out of 24 at the time of this writing end in draws. Serie A has played 17 fixtures with three draws. Will these trends continue? Expect La Liga to continue to post matches ending in draws.

Who will be the Premier League’s top scorer in 2020/21?

Every good Fantasy Football team is built around goalscorers. The 2020/21 Premier League season will be no different, but how do you possibly shoehorn the three forwards you want into one squad along with key goalscoring midfielders?

To get a balanced line-up, there’s very little room for manoeuvre and there is going to have to be some give and take on the selection front. To help you make your decision, we’ve taken a look at how bookmakers have been pricing up the Top Premier League goalscorer markets ahead of the new season.

You can bet on the Premier League season at bet365 and find out where to get a bet365 promo code here. Who do they think are going to be the key men to consider adding to your side throughout the season? Particularly with a number of them midfielders in FPL.

Mo Salah (Liverpool): Salah is the 5/1 favourite to top the scoring charts. He got 19 last season in Liverpool’s charge to the title, but interestingly that only put him fifth in the list of most goals. Having netted 22 in the 2018/19 season, the Egyptian is as consistent as they come and is a midfielder again in FPL.

Harry Kane (Tottenham): Kane’s 18-goal haul last season came despite time out injured. As team captain, he will be Tottenham’s main man once again and on penalty duties throughout the season. It’s no surprise to see him at 11/2 to be top scorer.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal): Arsenal fans rejoiced at the prospect of Aubameyang staying and at 6/1 he looks a great shout to be the Premier League’s top scorer. He has scored 22 in each of the last two seasons and can flourish in a full campaign under Mikel Arteta. He has been moved into the midfield list this year.

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City): Injury meant Aguero spent a significant chunk of last season on the sidelines. He had surpassed the 20+ goal mark in the previous five seasons for City. Will he return the same player? 7/1 says he finishes as top score.

Timo Werner (Chelsea): Chelsea new boy Werner is 9/1 to take the Premier League by storm. The big question mark over the German is whether he will be used in rotation with Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham. Time will tell on Werner.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City): Like Salah and Aubameyang, Sterling is one of the midfielders who can bring a lot of goals to the table. Seasons of 17 and 20 goals in the last two Premier League campaigns show his goalscoring has improved and he is 12/1 to top the charts.           

Sadio Mane (Liverpool): Forty goals across the last two seasons have made Mane a lock for many fantasy managers. At 14/1, he is a big price to repeat the joint golden boot winning season of 2018/19. As a midfielder in fantasy football, he can bring points to the table.             

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City): Last season’s top scorer with 23 goals, Vardy provided exceptional value for Fantasy Football managers. Will his ageing legs be up for another season? He is 16/1 to repeat his Golden Boot season.

Danny Ings (Southampton): Ings provided a relatively cheap option in the forward line last year and duly delivered 22 goals for the Saints. He might be unglamorous, but he is an each-way odds at 20/1

Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford & Mason Greenwood (Manchester United): At 20/1 for all three, take your pick of United’s most likely leading goalscorer. Interestingly, Martial has been reclassified as a forward and Rashford and Greenwood as midfielders. The problem with all three is that the goals are likely to be shared.  

FPL Season 2020-21 – Gameweek 4 Preview

“On Sunday, Manchester United are hosting Spurs at Old Trafford” (CC by 1.0). Image by: Ank Kumar

The Premier League season for 2020-21 campaign has gone off to even more of a crazy start than normal. After several more and less expected hauls in each of the previous gameweeks, GW3 saw Vardy score a hattrick against Man City for 17 FPL points, midfielder Jarred Bowen bag a brace against Wolves for West Ham, and West Brom’s Callum Robinson score two against Chelsea in just 65 minutes for a very differential 13 FPL points. On top of that, Villa’s Conor Hourihane chipped in with a goal, an assist and a clean sheet for 14 points.

If gameweek 3 is anything to go by in terms of what to expect of coming weekend, then hold on to your hat, because it’s going to be another good one. Gameweek 4 contains a bunch of juicy fixtures from an FPL point of view, with entertaining Leeds hosting a Man City side looking for a return to form, Wolves facing Fulham at Molineux and Spurs rolling up to Old Trafford on Sunday for the clash of the week, just to name a few. There are plenty of interesting fantasy picks out there, in all brackets, so here we go.

Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 4 is set for 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, October 2nd. Also do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per AM October 2nd, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKPope (BUR), Ryan (BRI), Pickford (EVE)Martinez (AST), Alisson (LIV), McCarthy (SOU)Two clean sheets out of two for Aston Villa. 
DEFDoherty (TOT), Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Wan-Bissaka (UTD)Castagne (LEI), Lamptey (BRI), Justin (LEI)Premium defenders possibly not worth their investment yet, while other options are performing.
MIDSon (TOT), Aubameyang (ARS), Saint-Maximin (NEW)Rodriguez (EVE), Zaha (CRY), Barnes (LEI)Son and ASM are injured, Arsenal tough fixtures coming up.
FORWerner (CHE), Martial (UTD), Mitrovic (FUL)Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Bamford (LEE), Vardy (LEI)Budget strikers have been performing, Vardy as well, while more expensive options haven’t really yet.

Premium pick

On Saturday, the 12th of September 2020, the Premier League campaign 2020-21 kicked off and now, about three weeks later, it looks like we’re right back where we left the last season a few months ago. Well, at least in terms of Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) that is. Last season’s Golden Boot winner is back where he left off, at the top of the rankings (though sharing the spot with a later pick of ours) with 5 goals from three games. He made up for a slightly disappointing showing at home to Burnley in GW2 by netting thrice at the Etihad last weekend and bagging 17 FPL points in the process. The English striker is a slight injury doubt in the build-up to this weekend’s home game against West Ham, but we feel he could well be up for another goal or two against an admittedly improved Hammers side. They won’t be looking forward to visiting the lion’s (or better said, the Foxes’ den) with the main man up front in such blistering form.

Non-premium picks

Our two non-premium picks for this weekend are strikers as well, starting with Wolves talisman Raul Jimenez (£8.6m). After a blank plus a very unfortunate own goal last weekend versus West Ham, we feel this is just the moment to hold on to the Mexican striker. He is, after all, one of the most consistent FPL performers of the last decade. Jimenez scored a goal in each of the first two gameweeks for a total of 14 FPL points before his surprising 0-point hit last weekend and this weekend it’s Fulham at Molineux for the Wolves. The Cottagers are off to another rocky start in the Premier League this season with 10 conceded goals in the first three games and they are visiting a Wolves side that’ll be aching to set some things straight after their painful 4-0 loss at West Ham in GW3. Unless manager Scott Parker has somehow found a solution to the defensive fragility of his team this week, we can see a few goals being scored here coming weekend and Jimenez being among the scorers.

We already mysteriously mentioned Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.5m) as “the pick currently on top of the Golden Boot rankings” together with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, which explains why we really couldn’t leave him out of this section. The young Englishman seems to be one of the most under-priced FPL assets of the 2020-21 season, a theory underlined by the fact that he has already risen by £0.5m since the start of the campaign. No player saw his price tag increase by more. DCL has so far returned in every game, with his hattrick and the ensuing 17 FPL points versus West Brom in GW2 as the stand-out performance so far, and he is playing Brighton at home next. The Seagulls have had a decent start to the season in terms of their performances, though home games against Chelsea and United in the first three weeks saw them record just 3 points so far. Still, Carlo Ancelotti’s improving Toffees at Goodison Park will likely be a bit too much for them and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Calvert-Lewin return for a fourth time in a row.

The budget enabler

Burnley haven’t had the best of starts to this season with defeats against Leicester and Southampton, and this season might be one where the Clarets will need to battle more for Premier League survival than they’ve gotten used to over the past few years, but their fixture calendar has cleared up a bit now. They are facing Newcastle and West Brom in the next two weeks, and, albeit away from home, these look like games where they can grab their first points, as well as their first clean sheet. This brings budget enabler Jimmy Dunne (£4.0m) into the mix for those managers looking to free up a bit of budget over the coming international break. Of course, this comes with a major risk, as the young Irish defender filled in for the injured James Tarkowski up until now. The England international has now seemingly recovered and manager Sean Dyche is likely to revert back a central duo consisting of him and Kevin Long, but Dunne has definitely established himself as an FPL asset to watch. He is actually Burnley’s highest-scoring defender at the moment, thanks to his goal in GW2 against Leicester, and considering how highly Dyche rates him, he is definitely now a bad shout as fifth defender in your squad.

A differential pick or two

At Leicester, and as usual, star man Jamie Vardy is the talk of the town, especially after his hattrick away at Man City, but he’s not the only Fox off to a great start. There are, of course, defenders Timothy Castagne and James Justin who’ve been fantastic so far in terms of FPL, but we’re talking about Harvey Barnes (£7.0m). Despite not being amongst the goals or even the FPL returns during the 2-5 thrashing of City, the young forward had a very good game at the Etihad. With James Maddison still working back to fitness and form, Barnes seems to be Leicester’s main attacking outlet behind Vardy, which makes him an appealing fantasy pick. He has a goal and an assist to his name so far, for a total of 18 FPL points, and his price tag sits at a very affordable £7.0m. Combined with a current ownership of just 6.0%, the speedy winger represents quite a lot of differential value in our opinion.

The Leicester midfield looks like a bit of a differential goldmine at the moment, because besides Barnes, Belgian international Youri Tielemans (£6.4m) can represent excellent value as well. With the return to fitness of Maddison, the young midfielder will likely be playing a bit more central, but he will still be involved in plenty of attacking moves. His current price tag in combination with his upcoming fixtures (West Ham and Aston Villa, both at home) allows for a bit of a gamble and he currently sits in just 2.0% of all teams. He played the full 90 minutes in each of Leicester’s first three games and recorded his first attacking return last weekend when he scored against City. He is less attacking than the previously mentioned Barnes, but he also costs £0.6m less and could be a shrewd investment for the coming gameweeks.

The captaincy

As we wrote at the beginning of this piece, gameweek 4 offers us plenty of appealing fixtures and therefore an abundance of good captaincy picks. For our FPL GW4 Captain pick, we have personally gone with Wolves striker Raul Jimenez for his home game against leaky Fulham, but it wasn’t an easy choice. Kevin de Bruyne away at Elland Road was on our minds as well, as well as Jamie Vardy at home to West Ham and Sadio Mané for the away game at Aston Villa.

If you’re looking for a bit more of a risk-reward situation, there are some decent options available as well. We’re not sure Calvert-Lewin can still be considered a “risk” in his current form and with a home game against Brighton coming up, but he is definitely worth considering. Alexander Lacazette has scored in each game of the season so far and is facing a struggling Sheffield United side at the Emirates this weekend, which brings him into the mix as well. Danny Ings against West Brom and even the on-fire Patrick Bamford at home to City (why not?) could see you soar up the rankings as well after coming weekend.

Best Ways to Build Your Fantasy Horse Racing Strategy

Horse racing is the perfect sport for fans of fantasy leagues and their like, with the sport being so rich in history and background for people to explore as they go about trying to develop the most effective race meet plan.

However, because this is a sport dictated by the whims and fancies of naturally wild animals (although it could be argued that football and rugby players are similar in disposition) it is notoriously hard to predict how certain races will pan out, especially the biggest of them all, like the Epsom Derby and the Grand National.

Here are some of the techniques and things to keep in mind when you and your friends are putting together a sure-fire winning strategy.

Horse racing is renowned for being tough to predict

Hold onto the Coattails of Top Tipsters

Starting from scratch in the world of racing can be daunting, with the sport boasting its very own set of vocabulary and lingo that can leave newcomers clutching at straws.

Luckily, there are plenty of quality tipsters out there who make it their business to do all the hard work for their loyal followers, giving out advice on which horses to pick whether it is for a minor race up at Beverly or a grade 1 mega race such as those run at Royal Ascot and Cheltenham Festival.

Of course, there is nothing to stop you shopping around for a tipster who best suits your needs, but sometimes it can be rewarding to find a tipster and then stick with him or her through the thick and the thin of the long nose action.

Study the Form, But with a Critical Eye

Everyone who has been to a racetrack will no doubt have perused the form guide. Unfortunately, for most punters its stats and suggestions are often wrongly applied to race day, as other factors have to be taken into account other than the generic form provided by the race organisers and bookmakers.

Has the horse you want to pick travelled well? Does it look comfortable in the paddock? Is its regular jockey in the saddle? Be sure to keep all these aspects and many more in mind, as they could make a mockery of the standard form guide.

Follow these tips and you should avoid your picks bringing up the rear

Leave it Late to Make Your Picks

Allied to the previous point, it always pays dividends to leave making your fantasy picks until as late as possible, with injuries and mishaps in the stalls often scuppering the best laid plans.

The more information you can garner before the horses set off, the better chance of winning you will have.

Mix it Up Between Favourites and Outsiders

As with any fantasy selection process, be it our very own Last Man Standing golf comp or one of the big footy fantasy leagues, it is never as easy as simply picking the best runners otherwise the game would be too easy and dull as a result.

With this in mind, it makes sense to mix up the selections you choose, perhaps balancing a big favourite with an up and coming horse who may take most observers by surprise.

The key to getting this right is to watch as many races as possible, so you have an inkling of whether an outsider is about to shock the paddock with a form-busting run down the final stretch.

What Will the Going Be Like?

Weather and ground conditions can so often be the difference between a race favourite having things all his own way, or an outside bet coming from nowhere to steal the limelight.

This means that if it looks like being a rainy day you should be looking to select horses who are used to heavy conditions and conversely search for fleet footed steeds when the ground is hard and fast.

This is particularly true of steeplechases, where horses must be comfortable landing and taking off no matter what the going happens to be on race day.

FPL Season 2020-21 – Gameweek 3 Preview

“The clash of the week takes place at Anfield this week as champions Liverpool host Arsenal” (CC by 4.0). Image by: Rodhullandemu

With Man City, Man United, Burnley and Aston Villa also off the mark after their blank gameweek 1, the FPL 2020-20 season is now well and truly underway. Gameweek 2 saw a boat load of goals with no less than six games featuring 4 goals or more and an incredible four games seeing a minimum of 6 goals. As a result, we saw plenty of hauls, with Spurs star Heung-Min Son (24 FPL points), his team mate Harry Kane (21 points) and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin (17 points) forming the top-3 performers.

Gameweek 3 offers yet another set of juicy fixtures, including top-of-the-table clashes between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield and Man City and Leicester at the Etihad. Spurs could build on their 5 goals at Saint Mary’s with a home game against Newcastle, while from an FPL point of view, the Wolves game at West Ham and the Chelsea game at the Hawthorns offer plenty of potential. Before we move on to our picks for the weekend, don’ forget to check the lineups and results of the mid-week games in the League Cup. We don’t expect them to affect the lineups too much this weekend, but do keep them in mind nonetheless.

Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 3 is set for 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, September 26th. Also do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per September 24th, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKMcCarthy (SOU), Ryan (BRI), Pope (BUR)Martinez (AST), Ryan (BRI), Guaita (CRY)Disappointing Saints and Clarets, defensively at least.
DEFAlexander-Arnold (LIV), Doherty (TOT), Egan (SHE)James (CHE), Mitchell (CRY), Castagne (LEI)Replacement of premium defenders for more budget-friendly picks after few clean sheets in the first gameweeks.
MIDAubameyang (ARS), Saint-Maximin (NEW), Son (TOT)Son (TOT), Rodriguez (EVE), De Bruyne (CIT)Looks largely fixture-based, with form included as well.
FORWerner (CHE), Ings (SOU), Mitrovic (FUL)Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Bamford (LEE), Kane (TOT)Performing budget-friendly options

Premium pick

Just two gameweeks is not a large sample to base trend predictions on, but with one home game and one away game played for Liverpool, Mo Salah (£12.1m) seems to be continuing his habit of saving his best performances for the home crowd. The Egyptian scored a hat trick and 20 FPL points at Anfield in GW1 and then blanked last weekend away to Chelsea. Last season, he scored 19 Premier League goals and 15 of those came at Anfield. This weekend, the Reds are hosting an Arsenal side that has conceded just a single goal so far, but their opponents have been of quite another calibre than Liverpool, namely Fulham away (0-3) and West Ham at the Emirates (2-1). The Gunners did not look particularly impressive against the Hammers last weekend, and there could be goals in this encounter on Monday. Finally, it doesn’t say that much, but last season, this fixture took place in GW3 as well and saw Salah scoring a brace.

Non-premium picks

Another player who seems to be continuing where he left off last season is Wolves striker Raul Jimenez (£8.5m). The Mexican netted 17 times and provided 7 assists over the 2019-20 campaign, and already has 2 goals to his name this season. He scored in the opener at Bramall Lane and then repeated that feat against Man City at Molineux last weekend. Simply said, there are very few FPL assets as reliable as Jimenez, though he is not generally the go-to man for a big haul. He usually bags a goal plus a bonus point or two. This weekend, Wolverhampton are visiting a West Ham side that has started the campaign with two defeats. In total, the Hammers conceded 4 goals against Newcastle and Arsenal, and to make matters worse, regular starting centre back Issa Diop will be missing on Sunday due to a positive Covid-19 test. Sounds like a good moment to bring in Jimenez if you haven’t yet.

One player we have been following closely since gameweek 1 is Everton’s new star James Rodriguez (£7.6m). The Colombian is a world class operator, there is no doubt about it, but we just wanted to see how fit he was after a few slow years and to what extent he would immediately fit into Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Well, he seems quite fit and the Italian manager seems to consider him as a key piece of his Toffees puzzle. James started with a modest 3-pointer against Spurs in gameweek 1, but followed that one up with a 12-point haul last weekend, courtesy of a goal, an assist and 2 bonus points against West Brom at Goodison Park. He seems to have quickly established himself as Everton’s main creative force and only Salah has attempted more assists than his 7 over the first two gameweeks. He also created more big chances than any other player bar Harry Kane since the start. Up next is an in-form Crystal Palace side, but Everton are showing good form as well and we feel they could make it 9 points out of 9 at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The budget enabler

In the budget category, Wolves forward Daniel Podence (£5.6m) has been making some waves in the first two weeks of this season. With the acquisition of Nelson Semedo, the club may have found a definite replacement for Matt Doherty at right-back , meaning that Adama Traoré is freed up a bit more to be deployed up field in place of Podence, but the ex-Olympiakos looks safe for now. He has started the season in more than decent form with 2 assists in two games and a total of 11 FPL points. The Portuguese dynamo is classified as a midfielder in the game, which means he gets an extra point per clean sheet, and is up against West Ham on Monday. In our opinion, this is one of the most favourable fixtures in gameweek 3 and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him add a third assist to his total this round. Or who knows, maybe even a goal.

A differential pick or two

A bit to our surprise, considering the many new recruits arriving at Stamford Bridge this summer, academy graduate Mason Mount (£6.9m) has played every single Premier League minute so far for Chelsea. Manager Frank Lampard tends to start him as a left winger from where he has the freedom to either stay out on the wing to provide width or to come inside and combine with the likes of Werner and Havertz. The young Englishman hasn’t yet returned in terms of the FPL, but an away game against an out-of-sorts West Brom side is as good a fixture as any for him to get off the mark. The Baggies have so far played against Leicester and Everton this season, and conceded a worrying 8 goals in the process. At Chelsea, the new pieces will probably still need a bit more time to glue together nicely, but this encounter with West Brom could definitely boost the confidence. At £6.9m and with an ownership of just 6.2%, Mount could be a great punt for gameweek 3.

After just very narrowingly escaping relegation last season, Aston Villa started off their 2020-21 campaign with a good 1-0 win over Sheffield United. Remember, the Villains blanked in gameweek 1. Up next for them are Fulham at Craven Cottage and considering the Cottagers’ first two displays this season, Villa could be making it a very nice 6 points out of six this coming Monday. That is also why we are recommending their talisman Jack Grealish (£7.0m) to those looking for a differential with potential for gameweek 3. The English midfielder did not manage to get any attacking returns against Sheffield United, He did have two shots from inside the box in that game and we think he’ll have at least as many against a Fulham side that has conceded 7 goals in the first two games of the season. On top of that, Grealish is on most of Villa’s set-pieces. The game on Monday looks like the perfect opportunity for him to record the first returns of the season after scoring 8 goals and providing 7 assists last season.

The captaincy

Gameweek 3 offers a few very interesting fixtures from a fantasy football point of view and with them, a few appealing GW3 FPL captaincy candidates as well. We have gone with Momo Salah for this one as he faces an Arsenal defence we still consider a bit leaky, but there are good alternatives for the Egyptian as well. Kevin de Bruyne as playmaker at number 10 at home to Leicester is never a bad pick, while Salah’s team mate Sadio Mané is just coming off a brace against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. We also think Raul Jimenez’ right arm is a good spot to place the armband this round.

For those managers looking for a bit more of a punt, in order to play early-season catch-up for example, Spurs stars Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son are very good options at home to Newcastle after their dynamic duo display against Southampton. With Chelsea facing West Bram at the Hawthorns, there could also be a first goal for Timo Werner and/or Kai Havertz as the Blues are working hard to make the many new faces form a solid unit.