Football Sports

EPL 2021/22 Gameweek 4 Preview

Manchester United representation feels like a must this week, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side taking on Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

At the back, Luke Shaw is my top defender pick. The England international hasn’t quite hit his 2020/21 heights so far, but still ranks amongst the top five defenders for chances created and should benefit from the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo. Shaw’s crossing ability from dead-ball situations and open-play attacks is excellent, and with one of the world’s best headers of the ball now leading the line, I’d be amazed if he doesn’t surpass last season’s total of five Premier League assists. I also think United’s defensive-line will look a whole lot stronger with the addition of Raphael Varane.

Further forward, Bruno Fernandes shouldn’t be completely written off, remember he did score a hat-trick from open-play in Gameweek 1. However, it does feel like Ronaldo is the one to own this week. These types of fixtures, where the opposition will naturally sit a bit deeper, should allow him to thrive, and with the Magpies probably setting up with Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie as wing-backs, getting quality balls into the box shouldn’t be a problem for United’s wide players.

Edouard Mendy is my first-choice goalkeeper in Gameweek 4, for obvious reasons. The Senegalese stopper has already racked up 17 FPL points and takes on an Aston Villa side, who despite a kind opening schedule, have managed just nine shots on target across their opening three fixtures. Add in several missing first-teamers, and it’s no surprise to see Chelsea top the bookies’ odds for a clean sheet this week. I also want attacking coverage, given that Villa will line up with Jed Steer in goal, so Romelu Lukaku’s inclusion is a bit of a no-brainer.

Having already combined two goals and two assists this season, Mohamed Salah is the stand-out premium midfielder on offer. The Egyptian’s total of 13 goal attempts ranks top amongst all midfielders, while he has also supplied three big chances for his teammates. However, if Roberto Firmino is out, team-mate Diogo Jota looks like an equally good option. Since arriving at Liverpool last summer, the Portuguese has proved himself a reliable source of goals. The only issue has been minutes, which shouldn’t be a problem this weekend.

Meanwhile, as the focal point of Everton’s attack, with penalties in his locker too, Dominic Calvert-Lewin looks like an excellent pick against Burnley. It really feels like the perfect game for the England international, given his aerial ability and the fact that no team has conceded more headed attempts than the Clarets so far this season. With James Rodriguez probably missing out, most of the Toffees’ creativity should stem from wide areas, which should suit Lucas Digne.

An Arsenal double-up is a bold move, given that the Gunners have lost all three games so far, conceding nine goals in the process and failing to score a single goal themselves. However, Mikel Arteta needs results, and fast, and with Norwich City up next, I’m backing them to get back on track. I did consider including Ben White as a value option, but instead opted for Kieran Tierney, who will probably spend most of the afternoon camped in the Canaries half. I also found a spot for Bukayo Saka, who is chosen as my ‘£6.5m or below’ midfielder pick.

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