With no top flight action since the August 28, Fantasy Premier League Managers will be glad to see game week 4 get underway with what promises to be an explosive Manchester derby on Saturday lunch time.
During the international break, the transfer window also closed and Premier League clubs were required to submit their final lists of 25 for the season ahead.
Which of the last-minute arrivals will have the biggest impact on the game? Who looks like value for money? Could some of the signings mean existing picks become deadwood?
Interestingly, it was a defender who stole the headlines on deadline day, as Antonio Conte’s pursuit of reinforcements finally ended with the sensational return of David Luiz to Stamford Bridge.
Love him or hate him, the Brazilian certainly gets people talking and as far as fantasy managers are concerned, he always has the possibility of delivering a few extra points by popping up with a goal.
‘I really wanted to come back…’
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 8, 2016
However, Chelsea’s defence has been fairly solid over the first three weeks of the season meaning there is no need for Conte to make immediate changes.
For that reason, managers would be wise to wait and see before adding either Luiz or fellow new arrival Marcus Alonso to their squads. Both are priced at £6 million, which is the same as teammates Gary Cahill or Cesar Azpilicueta – the two most expensive components of the backline prior to their arrival.
After months of what is now seemingly an annual ritual of threatening to make signings without actually following through, Arsenal produced the goods at the 11th hour by landing Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez from La Liga.
Perez, a late developer that had a fine season with Deportivo La Coruna last term, looks a little pricy with an initial value of £8.5m – especially given the fact that Arsene Wenger is likely to use him as back-up for Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) September 9, 2016
Mustafi though at £6m is likely to get a chance immediately due to Wenger’s injury problems at the back. Arsenal’s fixtures in September and October also look fairly kind so the German centre-back could be worth a punt.
Elsewhere, teams have as usual been keen to bolster their attacking ranks in the hope that goals will mean points.
As far as Fantasy Premier League goes, that is definitely the case. Enner Valencia (£5.5m) swapped West Ham for Everton in the final hours of the window but is likely to find himself on the bench in favour of Romelu Lukaku.
Leicester also spent big on Islam Slimani (£8.5m) who, despite his formidable reputation, is likely to be limited to cameo roles as long as Jamie Vardy continues to find the net with regularity. This lack of guaranteed starts makes the new boy looks very overpriced.
Simone Zaza will be remembered for his shocking penalty miss at Euro 2016 but shrewd players might have identified that at £7m he represents a promising calculated risk, especially with Hammers team mates Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho both currently struggling for fitness.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) September 7, 2016
Looking at other areas of the pitch, Moussa Sissoko was a high-profile arrival at Spurs and his initial value of £7m reflects the uncertainty over how exactly his new employers might use him. For the same price, players can purchase Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal who is new to the Premier League but hit 12 goals in Ligue 1 last season from midfield. The Moroccan however, is reportedly lacking match fitness.
Two full-backs that may be worth monitoring are Javier Manquillo (£4.5m) and Alvaro Arbeloa (£5m). Both have just been recruited by managers who like to build from the back and could be fairly inexpensive regular sources of points – if they can establish themselves in the starting lineup.
— FPL (@OfficialFPL) September 8, 2016
Finally, returning to the Manchester derby, the suspension of Sergio Aguero means that players are faced with a decision about whether or not to axe the game’s most-expensive option from their squads.
Perhaps tellingly, he will also miss the home match against Bournemouth – a fixture that Aguero owners would have been eying as a potential opportunity to play the triple captain card.
Even those who choose to retain the Argentine and ride out his suspension will still be left with the dilemma of who should take their captain’s armband during weeks 4 and 5.