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FPL Roundup: Replacing the Best

Nick Pitner

Nick Pitner writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire. He supports Arsenal FC, the Green Bay Packers, and the New York Knicks, while specializing in those respective sports in his coverage for the site.

The first match of Gameweek 4 proved to generate the most headlines, as Manchester City ran away with a 5-0 victory over Liverpool. The Citizens’ first three goals came from either Sergio Aguero or Gabriel Jesus, which is a potential partnership fantasy owners should be paying careful attention to.

Although Aguero has been one of the Premier League’s best players since arriving in England, Jesus has too when healthy. Granted, the 20-year-old only joined City in January, but with 10 goals and four assists in 14 total appearances, even Aguero hasn’t been able to keep him out of Pep Guardiola’s side.

In fact, after City managed only three goals through their first two games, Guardiola opted to drop Aguero for their Gameweek 3 match at Bournemouth. That suggested Jesus could be option 1A in the Spaniard’s mind, which could potentially help preserve Aguero for the long haul, but with both center forwards starring Saturday, fantasy owners can hope Guardiola decides to stick with playing them together.

Under that scenario, there would be no guessing game surrounding who will lead the line from game to game, erasing a potentially frustrating fantasy proposition. Given City’s star-studded stable of attackers, Aguero and Jesus are sure to have plenty of chances created for them, so just knowing they’ll both start on a weekly basis would provide precious peace of mind for fantasy owners – something Saturday’s display should help them achieve.

Another competition between an established and an up-and-coming commodity could surface at Tottenham’s left-back position.

Of course, Danny Rose has been the mainstay there over recent years, including last season when he helped Spurs finish with the league’s best defensive record. With attacking upside to boot, Rose developed into one of the more reliable fantasy defenders.

That is, until he suffered a knee injury last January. That ailment has forced Rose to miss a whopping total of 30 matches, leaving a prized vacancy in Tottenham’s defense. With Rose sidelined, Ben Davies became a strong late-season value last term, and the 24-year-old has only continued his momentum this season. In fact, the Welshman currently leads all defenders with 32 fantasy points this season.

Davies’ haul includes a goal and clean sheet from Gameweek 1, and along with securing another shutout at Everton on Saturday, he assisted two of Tottenham’s three goals. With his stock quickly rising to elite territory, Davies owners are now confronted by Rose approaching a return to fitness, potentially complicating both of their respective outlooks.

While Rose has a case for the Premiership’s best left-back when available, Davies’ emergence gives manager Mauricio Pochettino a very tough decision to make. In the short term, Davies should remain the team’s first-choice option, but once Rose is back to 100 percent, it’ll be interesting to see who is Pochettino’s preferred option.

As opposed to their north London rivals’ defensive duel, Arsenal’s left-sided attacking position appears easier to project.

Amid a late return to the team as well as heavy transfer speculation, Alexis Sanchez has been restricted to one start this season. That situation has lent itself to Danny Welbeck becoming the third-ranked forward courtesy of three goals while starting all four games.

Although Welbeck bagged at brace in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth this weekend, it seems like a good time to sell-high on the Englishman. That’s because Alexis not only seems fit to start after an excellent second-half cameo at Welbeck’s expense Saturday, but also because Welbeck is the most expendable member of the Gunners’ attacking trio ahead of Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.

With Mesut Ozil cemented as Arsenal’s first name on the team sheet for his unmatched creative ability, there are two spots in need of filling in their new 3-4-3 system. After manager Arsene Wenger notably dropped record signing Alexandre Lacazette for the Gameweek 3 thrashing at Liverpool, the Frenchman is unlikely to make the same mistake again. As a result, the final place comes down to Alexis or Welbeck.

Even though it might be harsh to drop the Englishman given his recent form, which also includes a goal over the international break, it’s undeniable that Alexis is the far better player. With his team in need of an improved big-game performance in Gameweek 5, Wenger should swap Welbeck for Alexis from the start, putting last season’s top fantasy performer back in play while withdrawing an early-season star.