Fantasy football tips: Haaland or Salah? The big Fantasy Football dilemma

Fri, Sep 2, 2022
By editor


Shall we start with Manchester City’s new striker?

THE big question for Erling Haaland owners going into gameweek six is whether to captain him for Manchester City’s trip to Aston Villa, with Champions League football back on the agenda next week.

The big question for non-Erling Haaland owners is whether to try to get him into your team straight away – but with the same factors to consider.

Will Pep Guardiola give his supreme centre-forward a rest before the game in Sevilla on Wednesday or will he start him again and see how much damage he can do in another hour or so of football?

As seasoned fantasy football managers well know, it is impossible to second-guess Guardiola’s team selections. But for what it’s worth, I am actually leaning towards giving the captain’s armband to Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah for the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park this weekend, even though he’s not scored in his past two games.

It feels the safer bet with Guardiola having already warned us this season that Haaland won’t start each game when the fixtures are coming every three or four days. However, Salah also looked the safer bet in gameweek five and got outscored by 14 points if you captained one instead of the other.

Manchester City's Erling Haaland
Can you afford not to pick Erling Haaland?

The bottom line is that you need Haaland in your team whether it’s this week or next week. He can easily score a couple of goals for you in no time at all, even if he’s coming off the bench. If he doesn’t come off the bench as your captain, then the double points will just switch to your vice-captain anyway.

Haaland and Salah aren’t the only captaincy options, but they’ll certainly be the most popular, along with Harry Kane for Tottenham’s home game against Fulham and possibly Kevin de Bruyne after he had most of the night off against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.

It’s probably worth beefing up your squad if you can with the possibility of rotation now increasing. What I mean by that is strengthen your bench and maybe avoid the luxury transfer this week, in favour of the more necessary one.

Last week, I swapped Bukayo Saka for Luis Diaz. Arsenal’s Saka had a home game against Aston Villa and actually outscored Diaz by virtue of his assist. I’m not unhappy with that switch in the long-term but I would describe that as a luxury transfer. If you’ve got an injured player sitting in one of the first two spots on your bench – or one who’s not starting games regularly – then I would deal with that because I think we’re going to need that strength in depth.

Fulham’s Andreas Pereira is proving an excellent first substitute so far this season and it might be worth looking in the Nottingham Forest ranks for another one given that their next four fixtures are against Leeds, Fulham, Leicester and Aston Villa.

Neco Williams (£4.1m) is already owned by more than a quarter of the managers in the game, Jesse Lingard (£5.8m) and Morgan Gibbs-White (£5.5m) look like good, attacking options in midfield but the strikers will probably be too expensive for you if you already own one of Erling Haaland or Harry Kane along with Gabriel Jesus.

Rodrigo owners have a decision to make with the news that he’s going to be out for a few weeks after injuring his shoulder while playing for Leeds against Everton on Tuesday – but the good news is that there are plenty of options, and at many different prices.

If you don’t already own Gabriel Martinelli then that’s the obvious switch at £6.4m. If you’ve got room in the budget to spend a little bit more, then Wilfried Zaha (£7.1m) could be your man even though Crystal Palace’s fixtures aren’t the kindest over the next few weeks. In terms of points scored, it doesn’t seem to matter who Zaha and Palace face at the moment – and he adds value as their penalty taker too.

You could easily find a replacement amongst Rodrigo’s team-mates at Leeds, particularly in Brenden Aaronson, who at just £5.5m is a bit more of a bargain than Jack Harrison (£6.1m) and Luis Sinisterra (£6.5m).

Brighton’s Pascal Gross has seen his price rise to £5.9m after an impressive start to the season – and he’s got games against Leicester and Bournemouth in the next two gameweeks. Don’t forget too that Marcus Rashford is very affordable at £6.3m, and notched up another assist in Manchester United’s win at Leicester on Thursday.

Finally, it feels time to move on from Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, who’s definitely not providing value for money for his owners at the moment. That maybe gives you the opportunity to give a try to Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling, who’s been largely ignored this season, partly due to his slightly tricky price of £10m.

Alistair Bruce-Ball presents the Fantasy 606 podcast alongside former Premier League winner Chris Sutton and Statman Dave. The latest episode previewing gameweek six is available on the BBC Sounds app.

-BBC sport