Five gameweeks into the 2022/23 season and things are heating up as tables begin to take shape, both in the real world and in the Fantasy Premier League. The fact that Mohamed Salah is not the highest scorer has stunned everyone but the real question is who else is not at the top of their game?
Erling Braut Haaland
Anyone who can ursurp an out of form Mohamed Salah and outscore the Egyptian by more than 20 points in five gameweeks while scoring two consecutive hattricks deserves praise. Yet when it comes to Erling Haaland, this is what we’ve come to expect from the Norwegian especially after he finished his time in Germany with 86 goals in 89 appearances. However, the tag “Bundesliga tax” was placed upon him and after Jadon Sancho and Joelinton’s struggles over the last few years amongst others, few have looked beyond that.
Then, Haaland arrived and scored nine goals in five games. That, normally, tends to throw tags and superlatives out the window especially when he nets six goals in 90 minutes, breaking records and even more records in the process. Ridiculous and while Manchester City do play Champions League football and Pep Guardiola loves a rotation, there’s still a question to be asked. Is dropping Haaland worth losing out on the many many goals he will score?
The love that the new shiny Norwegian has gotten has seen Harry Kane’s form and his usual prolific FPL scoring ability go under the radar which is shocking. The fact that the forward is only in 16.8% of FPL teams around the world, at the time of writing, is even more stunning. This is despite the fact that Kane has only blanked once this season, in his first game, and has since contributed to 5 goals.
That includes three goal contributions in his last two games although Tottenham did look slightly off their usual pace against West Ham but that can be put down to the mid-week schedule. Even then, this is Harry Kane and while Haaland is at the risk of being rotated and benched, Kane doesn’t have that even with Richarlison’s presence in the team. The Englishman is the lynchpin for this Spurs team and Antonio Conte seems to know that, with Kane playing every minute of every game so far.
There’s no denying that Darwin Nunez started his Premier League, and FPL, career superbly with a goal and an assist in just 39 minutes. That alone outdid quite a few players but then the forward went and got sent off against Crystal Palace for a challenge that he should have been sent off for. But during his three game absence, Roberto Firmino has not just stepped up but stepped up big time with the Brazilian scoring thrice and contributing to three assists over the last three matches.
It should see Nunez start off the bench against Everton but more so, the Uruguayan walks into the next few games in no form at all although if he is truly worth his salt, then that should be showcased against the Toffees. Even then, five games into the new season and all Nunez has showed that he’s great at getting into good scoring spots and at losing his temper.
There was once a time when Danny Ings was coveted by all, even his former side Liverpool wanted him and the world clamoured to see the Englishman make the Three Lions squad for the Euros. But fate had other ideas and in the years since the forward has signed for Aston Villa, where he has regressed beyond a measure of a doubt. So much so, that Ings struggled to hit double figures last term, finishing with 12 goals and 4 assists but the problems at Villa go beyond the striker.
This season, the Villians have won just one game, scored four goals with just two in their last three games but the bigger problem is Ings. The £6.8m forward hasn’t scored since Gameweek 2 and has struggled to get into good positions either, taking 8 shots over the last five games at an xG of 0.6. That does put him amongst the top 70 Premier League players albeit at number 69 which is a concern for any FPL owners (1.3% at the time of writing).
Who to stay away from
Had they not sold Wesley Fofana this summer, the Foxes would have ended the summer transfer window as the only side in Europe’s big five leagues to not buy a player. That, when you consider the fact that they let Kasper Schmeichel leave, is a big concern for any fans but for FPL managers, it could have been a boon. However, their opening five games has seen Brendan Rodgers’ side play some of the worst football they have ever managed in his tenure, with the Foxes struggling.
So much so, that they sit bottom of the table with 1 point, have conceded the joint second most goals (11) and have scored the joint seventh-fewest goals. To make matters worse, their stars seem to be struggling to find their footing as Jamie Vardy has just two assists, James Maddison is the top scorer with two goals and an assist with Harvey Barnes close behind with one goal. The only other player to find the net is Timothy Castagne which simply isn't good for any team on the planet.
Not only that, they aren't even average figures by any means and the likelihood that the trend continues is very high, so stay away from Leicester City assets for now. That is at least until the Jamie Vardy party train rolls through but when that may happen, only Vardy knows.
And ones to watch out for
After his mega-money move from Real Sociedad, a lot was expected from Alexander Isak especially when Eddie Howe threw the young Swede into the ring against Liverpool for his Premier League debut. But despite the atmosphere at Anfield and the fact that the occasion could have gotten to him, Isak started off with a bang and scored on his debut. Not only that, in a pre-VAR season, he would have ended his debut game with a brace to his name and culled the celebrations at Anfield.
It's why he has leapfrogged over Bukayo Saka to get onto this list because in a team without Bruno Guimaraes, Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, Isak thrived which means imagine what he can do in a team with them. But more pertinently because Wilson is out injured for at least another nine days, it means that the Swede will most likely start and given Newcastle’s fixtures, it makes him one to watch out for.