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Written by: Chief @FPLHINTS
Must-have pick – Kevin de Bruyne
Despite failing to score or assist in the first three Premier League games of the season, the Belgium international’s consistent performances have been key to Manchester City’s goal scoring exploits. Unlike most of his other teammates, he has started every league game since August.
This is all the more remarkable, given Pep Guardiola’s frustrating rotation policy, as seen with the in-form Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus being dropped to the bench last weekend. Manchester City also played 120 minutes worth of League Cup football this week, (Sergio Aguero played the full two hours) but De Bruyne played less than 30 minutes, so he should hopefully start against West Brom on Saturday.
Aside from his six assists, he has only scored one goal so far this season. But 13 goals in the last two Premier League seasons indicates that more attacking returns are to come from De Bruyne in a free scoring Manchester City team.
Comeback pick – Mesut Özil
He is often accused of having a lackadaisical football style, but that didn’t stop him from scoring and assisting on Sunday. In doing so, Mesut Özil recorded his first attacking returns in the league this season.
With that said, there are many myths that plague his actual playing stats. You would be forgiven to think that his Arsenal career started with a bang and gradually fizzled out, followed by an alleged desire to move elsewhere.
But the fact remains that he scored 14 goals and assisted 30 in the last two Premier League seasons. These stats comfortably exceed his returns at Arsenal in his first two Premier League seasons when he only scored nine goals and provided 16 assists.
He has only started five league games since August and in that time he has already registered 11 shots on goal and created six big chances. I anticipate that his display against Everton last weekend could be the spark that he needs to kick start his season.
For the skeptics among you, if he was to eventually leave in the summer, surely Mesut Özil would want to put in some stellar performances in order to attract a lucrative offer from elsewhere?
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Differential pick – Pascal Groß
Brighton & Hove Albion have had a better than expected start to the Premier League season. This has been in no small part to their summer signing, Pascal Groß. He has scored two goals and provided four goals from 9 starts.
To be precise, he has had a direct role in two thirds of his team’s league goals since August. This has been aided by the fact that he’s been deployed in an advanced positions, at times almost playing a support striker role.
Groß is unlikely to be rotated in the foreseeable future due to his importance in Brighton & Hove Albion’s attack and he has started all of their nine league games so far. Despite not having many shots on goal – he’s only had two shots on target since August – both of which resulted in him scoring.
This shows that he isn’t wasteful in front of goal. With a few more attacking opportunities he could certainly add to his goals tally.