West Ham United return to Premier League action when they travel to Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon – a ground they have, in recent years, recorded strong results at.
Indeed, the Irons are unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions against the Saints – winning six of those – and possess a favourable Premier League record in Hampshire.
With the return of Premier League football after the international break, therefore, comes the return of Fantasy Premier League decisions to make – and several Hammers are flying in terms of points thus far.
Let’s take a look at some of the key FPL talking points ahead of Gameweek Four…
New Hammers on the block
Claret and Blue managers will have three new Hammers to potentially transfer in ahead of our trip to St Mary’s: defender Kurt Zouma, midfielder Alex Král and attacker Nikola Vlašić could all be in line for their debuts after impressing for their countries this week.
For a greater exploration of the value the trio will bring from an FPL perspective, take a look at our article here.
Set up your set-pieces
While the Hammers have yet to plunder a goal from a corner or free-kick so far this season, last year saw David Moyes’ team net 16 times from set pieces, the highest of any Premier League side.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve a set-piece taker or two in your side to pick up those crucial goals and assists on a regular basis throughout the campaign.
So far, West Ham’s corner-kick and indirect free-kick takers have most regularly included Aaron Cresswell and Jarrod Bowen, whilst Cresswell, Declan Rice, Said Benrahma and Manuel Lanzini have all tried their luck from direct free-kicks!
Mich the Fantasy Premier League king so far
After another goal and assist in West Ham United’s 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace two weeks ago, Michail Antonio became only the third player in Premier League history, after Thierry Henry (2004/05) and Didier Drogba (2010/11), to be directly involved in seven goals in a team’s opening three games.
What’s more, the forward’s four goals came from a cumulative 2.1 expected goals (xG) statistic over the three games, meaning the No9’s finishing has been sharper than ever.
The No9 has produced double-digit points hauls for each of the first three Gameweeks, being named the top-scoring player in Gameweek Two – the kind of form which has seen the forward nominated for Premier League Player of the Month award.
When combined with his first two performances, Antonio remains some way ahead of the other Premier League players – his total of 40 points for West Ham is only challenged by Mohamed Salah’s 30 for Liverpool, with fellow Iron Said Benrahma and Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood the third-highest scorers on 26.
Leave him out at your peril!
Opposition FPL report
In the post-Danny Ings era at Southampton, FPL managers might be surprised to learn that the forward’s total of 131 points (12 goals, four assists) was actually bettered by both the Saints’ skipper and his replacement last season.
James Ward-Prowse’s set-piece prowess, solid total of goal contributions (eight goals, seven assists) and general consistency (he was one of only three outfield players to play every single minute of the season) contributed to an impressive haul of 156 points last campaign – and a subsequent price rise of £0.5m.
Fellow forward Che Adams, meanwhile, recovered from a rocky start on the South Coast to score nine goals and record seven assists, bettering Ings’ points total by accumulating 137.
Both players are among the three Saints to stand on double-digits after three Gameweeks; Adams and Ward-Prowse are both on 12 points, with new recruit Adam Armstrong leading the way on 13 after being involved in a goal in each of the three Gameweeks thus far.
Join our league!
In case you hadn’t heard, we’ve been inviting Claret and Blue supporters who enjoy a spot of casual FPL to take FPL to take part in our own mini-league, where the top-scoring players each month could are in with a chance of winning West Ham-themed rewards.
If you’d like to get involved for September, to join, all you need to do is click this link here.