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We make a lot of jokes about the lack of value in international breaks. Friendlies can feel forced and showy while the addition of other competitions such as the Nations League feels like a cash grab. But outside of the major tournaments, World Cup Qualifiers are supposed to be the creame de la creme of international soccer. But the new covid world has opened pandora’s box on international fixtures. The divide between club and international has never been larger with the situation that red list countries have put leagues in.
It’s fair that clubs want to protect their players due to quarantine rules that apply to everyone, and you shouldn’t get the special privilege to break those rules just because you kick a soccer ball well. It’s fair that teams want their best players available as making the World Cup is of the utmost importance. But a compromise needs to be found between the two as at the time of writing we don’t know if the Brazilians who were called up will be available this weekend as Brazil has requested that since they didn’t report to international duty that they shouldn’t be able to play this week. The list includes Roberto Firmino, Fabinho. Alisson, Ederson, Gabriel Jesus, Raphinha, Fred and Thiago Silva.
Due to good relations between Brazil and Everton due to Richarlison taking part in the Olympics, he is exempt from the ban. The Premier League and FIFA are now attempting to find a solution but it’s a mess that no one needs. Mexico considered doing the same but opted not to.
Along with the bans, the international break also took a toll as Heung Min Son was injured on international duty and plenty of other players also picked up knocks which could make lineups quite interesting this weekend.
Looking at the NBC Sports League last week, congratulations to Daniel Ruiz who rode his bench boost to a 111 point week.
I’m not sure if he saw the future with Ferran Torres leading the charge via an 18 point output but between that and handing Son the armband, the side would’ve been in for a banner week even without using bench boost. There will be some transfer worries coming following the form of Harvey Barnes and Jack Harrison so hopefully, Daniel can mitigate those to improve his rank.
Top Transfer Targets will take a look at the roster tiers in FPL breaking down the best options in each. The tiers will be broken down as 25-40 percent owned, 15-24 percent, 10-15 percent, under 10 percent which also includes my favorite punt of the week. The 40 percent club includes players who I won’t be writing about as how many teams they are selected in speaks for itself.
Let’s take a look at this week’s schedule:
Saturday 11 September
Crystal Palace v Tottenham
Brentford v Brighton
Manchester United v Newcastle
Leicester City v Manchester City
Watford v Wolves
Arsenal v Norwich City
Southampton v West Ham
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Sunday 12 September
Leeds United v Liverpool
Monday 13 September
Everton v Burnley
Worth your consideration (16-24 percent rostered):
Cristiano Ronaldo (FWD Manchester United 12.5, 22.6%): No one needs a story on why Ronaldo should be transferred into their side. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Ronaldo will play on Saturday it just isn’t confirmed that he will start. Considering that it is versus a Newcastle side without Callum Wilson even if Ronaldo features off the bench, he’ll have a great shot at a return. Looking at Manchester United’s upcoming fixtures, his first hard match will be Liverpool in game week nine. But a player of Ronaldo’s quality is also as close as they come to being fixture proof and could be a perma-captain option.
Diogo Jota (MID Liverpool 7.6m, 18.2%): While we don’t know how long Roberto Firminio’s hamstring injury will keep him out, Jota being nailed in Liverpool’s lineup for any period of time elevates him from a good fantasy asset into an excellent one overnight. He already has two goals in the first three matches and feasibly could face Leeds, Crystal Palace, and Brentford. Even if Jota isn’t able to start one of the games due to Champions League obligations, since he’s the sparkplug to the Liverpool attack, he will make noise even from the bench.
Solid if not Steller (10-15 percent rostered):
Lucas Digne (DEF Everton 5.4m, 13.5%): Everton has gotten off to a good start to the season but that hasn’t spread to the defense with only one clean sheet in their first three games. But allowing one goal per game, you can safely assume that the cleans will come facing Burnley, Aston Villa, and Norwich. Digne hasn’t been as prolific with his passing but he has still been in the top third of chances created for Everton so far this season with four key passes so far.
Rolling the dice (under 10 percent rostered):
Raúl Jiménez (FWD Wolves 7.4m, 3.4%): We all know that Wolves are unlucky to not have scored now but Raul is unlucky to not have scored or assisted a goal as he has been in the middle of everything so far this season. Key passes, check. Shots in the box, check. Expected goals plus assists, check. While Adama Traoré does have better underlying stats, Raul has a history of being a prolific scorer and Wolves’ talisman. While away to Watford is a tougher fixture than it looks like on paper, I think it’s one where Raul will break his duck before going on a run.