If Manchester City go Invincibles 2.0, or as I’ll forever describe it, Invincibles Lite*, the trip to Anfield on Sunday is the most difficult remaining obstacle. Before Sadio Mane’s red card in GW4, any neutral viewer suspected City were headed for defeat or, best case, a 3-3 draw. More on that topic to follow, but first, a word about Chelsea: Conte has quietly put together, tactically, one of his most impressive stretches during his time at the club. Dating back to their terrible loss at Palace in mid-October, Chelsea have taken 33 points from an available 39 in the EPL, but unlike last year, the stability of the 3-4-3 has given way to eight (8!) different formations. What does this mean for fantasy? Disaster. If you don’t own Hazard or Alonzo, Chelsea are a stay-away in OFPL and pure chaos in Togga. Now, they’ve added Ross Barkley and depending on who you ask, he’s either rotational backfill sitting behind Fabregas and Bakayoko or he’s a savior and represents the future of the club.
No postscript from GW22 since it seems like ten years ago.
Let’s get started.
- Studs: For all the deserved abuse leveled at Mourinho for his handling of young talents, Lingard has blossomed and don’t laugh, but Luke Shaw looks close to doing the same. Not only that, but if you’re a Pogba owner, that’s good news for you because it has allowed Mourinho to trot out a 4-3-3 with Pogba on the left side of the midfield. Oh yeah, that just so happens to be where he played when he lit up the Serie A with Juventus. Stay home, Ashley Young.
- Duds: Salah’s abuse of Otamendi in GW4 was only alleviated by the cover provided by Mendy. Pep won’t be dumb enough to start a back three against Liverpool a second time, but whoever he starts on the left will be a weak foil for the Egyptian winger. Either Delph (not a fullback) or Danilo (natural position is right back) will also depend on defensive cover, especially since both are likely to be involved in the attack. I suspect Danilo will start, which will give Pep the opportunity to test a theory about playing a right-footed left back against Salah. Everybody knows Salah is gonna Robben-esque cut inside and it probably can’t be stopped but a right-footed player should ostensibly fare better.
|1||David De Gea||Marcos Alonso||Kevin De Bruyne||Sergio Aguero|
|2||Hugo Lloris||Cesar Azpilicueta||Christian Eriksen||Mohamed Salah|
|3||Lukasz Fabianski||Ben Davies||Eden Hazard||Raheem Sterling|
|4||Jordan Pickford||Antonio Valencia||David Silva||Harry Kane|
|5||Thibaut Courtois||Kieran Trippier||Mesut Ozil||Romelu Lukaku|
|6||Jonas Lossl||Hector Bellerin||Paul Pogba||Alexis Sanchez|
|7||Petr Cech||Victor Moses||Riyad Mahrez||Roberto Firmino|
|8||Ederson||Ben Mee||Wilfried Zaha||Alexander Lacazette|
|9||Kasper Schmeichel||Luke Shaw||Leroy Sane||Richarlison|
|10||Wayne Hennessey||Christopher Schindler||Sadio Mane||Alvaro Morata|
|11||Nick Pope||James Tarkowski||Heung-Min Son||Marcus Rashford|
|12||Mat Ryan||Jan Vertonghen||Jesse Lingard||Jay Rodriguez|
|13||Alex McCarthy||Phil Jones||Willian||Jamie Vardy|
|14||Adrian||Arthur Masuaku||Juan Mata||Christian Benteke|
|15||Ben Foster||Shkodran Mustafi||Dele Alli||Glenn Murray|
|16||Heurelho Gomes||Harry Maguire||Cesc Fabregas||Wayne Rooney|
|17||Rob Elliot||Shane Duffy||J. Berg Gudmundsson||Callum Wilson|
|18||Asmir Begovic||Davinson Sanchez||Manuel Lanzini||Cenk Tosun|
|19||Jack Butland||DeAndre Yedlin||Matt Ritchie||Salomon Rondon|
|20||Simon Mignolet||Victor Lindelof||Aaron Mooy||Laurent Depoitre|
|21||James Tomkins||Pascal Gross||Andre Gray|
|22||Gary Cahill||Chris Brunt||Ashley Barnes|
|23||Kyle Walker||N'Golo Kante||Jordan Ayew|
|24||Nicolas Otamendi||Sofiane Boufal||Andy Carroll|
|26||Pablo Zabaleta||Gylfi Sigurdsson|
|27||Ciaran Clark||Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain|
|28||Charlie Taylor||Marc Albrighton|
|29||Ahmed Hegazi||Abdoulaye Doucoure|
|30||Michael Keane||Emre Can|
|31||Angelo Ogbonna||Granit Xhaka|
|32||Simon Francis||Joe Allen|
|33||Virgil Van Dijk||Steven Defour|
|34||Phil Bardsley||Mikel Merino|
|35||Maya Yoshida||Wilfried Ndidi|
|37||Lewis Dunk||Christian Atsu|
|38||Nathan Ake||Tom Cleverley|
|40||Daryl Janmaat||Tom Ince|
This season, our weekly fantasy Premier League ranks are a one-man affair, with Benji Wade taking over the mantle. You can find him on Twitter: Follow @benjiwade.