How midweek European action should affect your Matchday 5 fantasy picks

By Azmin Mohd Khalib 15 September 2017 286
How midweek European action should affect your Matchday 5 fantasy picks
The biggest challenge for fantasy football managers this week is figuring out how much rotation will be done by teams involved in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League. So, here's a rundown.

Chelsea fielded an understrength team, but still trashed their admittedly poor opponents. With them facing Arsenal in the London derby, expect a full strength team this weekend. Alvaro Morata will replace Michy Batshuayi, while Eden Hazard will surely start in place of Willian, Cesc Fabregas or Pedro.

As for Arsenal, I just cannot see them overcoming Chelsea despite beating the Blues in their last two encounters and winning their last two matches (Bournemouth and Cologne). As such, picking someone from the Gunners would be too huge a risk for this week, regardless of rotation. But if you insist, do take note that the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Alexander Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil were rested and Alexis Sanchez started in their Europa League action.

Across London, I don’t see much rotation from Tottenham, but Dele Alli, who was suspended against Borussia Dortmund, should return and put Son Heung-min's place in the team at risk. Kieran Trippier is likely to return for this one as well despite Serge Aurier putting in a good shift in the Champions League match.

Manchester United started Anthony Martial for their Champions League tie, but I’m certain Marcus Rashford will get the nod for this weekend. Their main concern, of course, is replacing the injured Paul Pogba. It seems to be a toss-up between Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, but my main concern is how the absence of the Frenchman will impact on the attacking threat.

Having said that, their opponents for the weekend, Everton, have been so terrible that it might not matter. They have yet to click as a unit, and after the collapse against Spurs last weekend, the 3-0 midweek loss in Europe just showed how bad the problem is. Romelu Lukaku will surely be licking his lips with his old club seemingly at sea. So, hold off on Everton picks until we see some life somewhere, preferably next week, whereupon their schedule gets much easier.

Manchester City are a bit more complicated. Star players Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and David Silva all started in their thumping win against Feyenoord, but I can’t see the entire quartet starting against Watford, especially with Leroy Sane surely securing a spot in the starting line-up after his two-goal showing against the Dutch side.

Finally, we have Liverpool, who once again showed their defending frailties, drawing 2-2 with Sevilla. I wouldn’t recommend any defenders from them for this weekend, but in attack, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are both certain to start against Burnley. Philippe Coutinho came on against Sevilla for the last fifteen minutes or so, which seems to imply that he might start this weekend.
To wrap things up, here’s a couple of picks to look at from the abovementioned teams:

The must pick: Harry Kane (12.4m)
The risky pick: Philippe Coutinho (8.8m)
The wild pick: Alexis Sanchez  (11.9m)
The dark horse pick: Gylfi Sigurdsson (8.4m)

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Azmin Mohd Khalib