The international break will have seen devastating injuries sweep across a range of fantasy football teams. The likes of Sergio Agüero, David Silva, Branislav Ivanović and Aleksandar Kolarov are all doubts after the fixtures this week, amongst others.
While the raft of red and orange across your team may appear highly problematic, for those with a wildcard it poses a great opportunity to re-work the squad and capitalise on some cheaper players gaining access to first team places. This article looks at a few players who may be shrewd picks in the coming game weeks.
Bring in: Wilfried Bony
Bony has largely been a squad player since his £28 million move from Swansea. Form and lack of minutes have hampered his goal-scoring potential when Manuel Pellegrini has given him pitch time. However, with Agüero out for at least a month, and young Kelechi Iheanacho the only other first choice striker, it looks like Bony will have a run of starts. Coupled with games against Bournemouth and Norwich at home in the next three game weeks, it seems like he may have a few decent opportunities on goal. Another advantage of taking Agüero out is that it will free up a lot of budget for strengthening other areas of your team. Players like Alexis Saanchez, Theo Walcott and Eden Hazard are now possibilities for my team, with a net saving of £5 million gained by this transfer.
Bring in: Raheem Sterling
Another Manchester City player, yes, but it looks as if Sterling will be a central figure in the weeks to come with Yaya Touré and David Silva currently looking unlikely to be fully fit for a couple of weeks. How this will affect City’s line-up is yet to be seen, but there is potential for Sterling to be moved in to a more Liverpool-esque role, with the freedom to roam around Bony. Even if he is deployed out wide, with Yaya Touré out, City should have a more defensively minded midfield partnership of Fernando and Fernandinho and, therefore, again, he may have the ability to remain in a more forward position.
Time to get rid: Branislav Ivanović
Chelsea’s right-back has been a staple for managers during the past few seasons with Chelsea’s solidity under José Mourinho bringing a number of clean sheets and his own penchant for a goal proving profitable. However, this season, Ivanović has been shaky and this injury may be a good time to get rid of the expensive defender. Alternatives do not abound without any side being particularly solid at the back this year (bar West Brom!). Good options to free up a bit of money in the transfer kitty include Pape Souaré (£4.5), the perennial Neil Taylor (£5.0), and Cédric Soares (£5.0).
New Managers: Jürgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce
The return of Premier League football will also see two new managers prowling the touchlines. I wouldn’t bet against an upturn of results for both Liverpool and Sunderland, and so perhaps now is the time to look around for bargains in these two teams. Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson remain absentees for the Merseyside team and, therefore, players such as Adam Lallana, Divock Origi and Jordan Ibe may continue to get a chance to impress, especially under Jürgen Klopp’s brand of attacking football. For Sunderland, Sam Allardyce will bring much-needed stability to a team that has been leaking goals. Patrick van Aanholt at £4.7 may prove good value, especially with West Brom at home first up. Steven Fletcher has scored a lot of goals for Scotland in this year’s qualification campaign, and maybe a new, more direct manager may bring the best of out of the front man. At £5.0, Fletcher could be a good pick for a third striker, especially for managers looking to replace Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson on a similarly shoestring budget.
(Picture courtesy of BBC)