A solid if unspectacular GW23 when it came to GW23’s differential picks, with my tips scoring 67 points. In comparison, my actual team scored 75 points, leading to a slight ranking increase to 171st, with 14 transfers remaining.
My top differential scorer was Cardiff stopper Neil Etheridge, matching pricier pick Allison’s straightforward clean sheet and nine points.
Spurs’ Son waved a temporary farewell to the Premier League for the Asian Cup with a disappointing two points, thanks in part to a sterling performance from David de Gea – but ever-reliable David Luiz repaid my faith in handing him the captain’s armband to score a total of 16 points.
How the XI performed: GW20 (two games)
Key: G = goal, A = assist, CS = clean sheet, MOTM = man of the match, T1T/T2T = tier-one/two tackles, T2P = tier-one/two passing, TI/2S = tier-one/two shots, TI/2SA = tier-one/two saves (c) = captain YC = yellow card, RC = red card
Neil Etheridge – 9 – CS
David Luiz (c) – 16 – A, T2P
Antonio Rudiger – 5 – T2P
Ricardo Pereira – 4 – A
Gerard Deulofeu – 7 – MOTM
Ryan Fraser – 2
Kevin de Bruyne (c) – 8 – A
Victor Camarasa – 2
Son Heung-Min (c) – 4
Marcus Rashford – 7 – G
Roberto Firmino – 2
When Lucas Digne (£8.2m/1.64%) returned an impressive 17-point tally last weekend, I was delighted, having been sure I selected him in my XI.
Turns out that was a fantasy – and instead I’d only put him in my cup team, so writing about his assist, clean sheet, MOTM and tackle bonus is a case of what could have been rather than differential masterstroke.
But as we approach the overhaul, there’s plenty to love about Lucas. It was his second double-digit score, following on from a 21-pointer against Burnley in GW20.
As last week’s total shows, he looks a decent bet at £8.2m, with potential to score in a variety of ways. I wouldn’t bank on too many clean sheets from Everton – but the Frenchman is in a similar mould to another of our favourites, Ricardo Pereira (£7.6m/3.86%), whose attacking potential more than makes up for the unexpected shutout.
Digne sits in less than two per cent of squads currently. If that’s not significantly higher after the overhaul, I’ll be astonished. Before that, though, it’s Southampton, Huddersfield, Wolves and Watford offering plenty of promising returns.
Who to pick from City?
Ederson (£7.9m/7.81%) looks like the pick of the premium keepers which fall within my differential criteria this week.
The Premier League’s basement side, Huddersfield, have scored the fewest goals of any side to date. In the reverse fixture all the way back in GW2, City romped to a 6-1 victory – and now the Terriers’ manager has departed, I can’t see them being full of the feelgood factor.
The only sign that investing in City attacking assets might not be a must is that typically Huddersfield have kept things tight. By my reckoning, you have to go all the way back to GW12 to find them losing by more than two goals. Having said that, if there is a game to break the chain, City are probably the side to do it.
I’ve gone for Kevin de Bruyne (£12m/7.97%) again, given Sterling, Sane and Aguero are out of reach. I think he will be in for a shout of a starting place this week – and despite being a sub last week he still managed an assist. I don’t think Gabriel Jesus (£12.2m/4.5%) will see as many minutes as he did in GW23 but the Brazilian can still score plenty of points if given half-hour or so of pitch time.
Spurs without Son or Kane
I’m backing Christian Eriksen (£11.2m/5.87%) to come up with the goods in the absence of two of his key teammates. His side will need his creative flair if they are to retain any hope of mounting a title challenge.
He blanked in GW23 but previously managed 15, 4, 11, 9 and 7-point weeks, outscoring Kane in the process.
On Sunday, the Dane and co. will travel across London to Craven Cottage, with Fulham await. The newly signed Ryan Babel isn’t in my thoughts just yet…
Differential XI (Under 10% ownership at the time of writing, not team’s most popular player)
David Luiz (£8.8m/7.44%)
Luke Shaw (£7.8m/4.5%)
Lucas Digne (£8.2m/1.64%)
Ricardo Pereira (£7.6m/3.86%)
Ryan Fraser (£8.3m/7.4%)
Gerard Deulofeu (£7.7m/3.76%)
Christian Eriksen (£11.2m/5.87%)
Kevin de Bruyne (£12m/7.97%) (c)
Marcus Rashford (£10.4m/6.48%) (c)
Gabriel Jesus (£12.2m/4.5%)
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