Is Ronaldo essential for week four? Fantasy football tips

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September 10, 2021
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    Alistair Bruce-Ball

    We've been trying to teach Chris Sutton a bit of the fantasy football lingo on the Fantasy 606 podcast this season and this week, with the imminent return of Cristiano Ronaldo to the game, we discussed the idea of FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out.

    At the time of writing, more than 1.2m managers have brought Ronaldo into their squads but how many have done that purely because they think their rivals have done the same and they're terrified about not being in on a potential big points haul against Newcastle on Saturday?

    There are obvious arguments for making the move given the Portuguese superstar's astonishingly consistent goalscoring record, which shows no signs of slowing late into his career.

    However, we don't know for certain yet that he's going to start the game, how quickly he's going to settle into this Manchester United team or if he's going to take the penalties off Bruno Fernandes.

    So if you are thinking about playing your wildcard or taking a points hit to get Ronaldo, then ask yourself if you're convinced that he's really going to outscore your other options by a significant margin over the longer term.

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    Lukaku, Kane or Ronaldo?

    Manchester United's Cristiano RonaldoRonaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games in his first spell at Old Trafford

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to put you off going for him and I'm very tempted to jump in myself, but I can get him for nothing this week by using my two free transfers and I'm also thinking I may transfer him out for Romelu Lukaku in gameweek seven.

    Statman Dave was talking about this in the podcast this week, the idea of needing to be more flexible with our premium assets this season and regularly switching between the likes of Ronaldo, Lukaku and Harry Kane up front or Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandes in midfield.

    Salah and Ronaldo look like the best combination for the next few weeks but it does feel incredibly disloyal to be ditching Fernandes who has scored an incredible total of 384 points at an average of just over seven points per game since joining Manchester United in January 2020 – that's basically the equivalent of a goal a game.

    As a midfielder he also gets the bonus of an extra point per goal compared to Ronaldo and a point for every clean sheet. There's definitely an argument for sticking with Fernandes if you can deal with the dreaded FOMO.

    Why can't we have them all? Well I've seen plenty of teams out there where managers have found a way to cram in three or even four premium players but it leaves your squad so threadbare in other areas that I wouldn't advise it as a strategy. Boring I know but true.

    It also ignores the fact that there are so many players in this game that will score you loads of points and provide you great value at the same time. Michail Antonio, Diogo Jota, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Demarai Gray, Sergio Reguilon, Said Benrahma, Paul Pogba, Ferran Torres to name a handful already this season.

    That's why I'm saying don't move heaven and earth just to sign Ronaldo.

    If you are about to rip everything up to do it though you should also ask yourself if you're planning to captain him for the next few weeks.

    That first fixture at home against Newcastle certainly looks a good bet – a game you'll be able to hear exclusively live on BBC Radio 5 live this Saturday afternoon – but there are plenty of other excellent captaincy options in gameweek 4 – Lukaku v Aston Villa (h), Salah v Leeds (a), Antonio v Southampton (a) and Son or Kane v Crystal Palace (a).

    Time for Wolves to come good?

    Away from Ronaldo if you're having a tinker with the team this week then it might be worth considering Arsenal, Watford and Wolves players looking at their upcoming fixtures.

    There's definitely value to be had with Arsenal if you believe they can improve on their awful start to the season – Kieran Tierney (£4.9m) and Emile Smith Rowe (£5.4m) are the ones I'd be looking at right now, or Bukayo Saka (£6.3m) if you can afford to spend a little more. Hold off on spending the big bucks on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang though until we see a marked improvement in form.

    Ismaila Sarr (£6m) is the obvious Watford pick although Emmanuel Dennis (£5.2m) could prove a useful third striker in your squad if you've spent most of the budget in midfield.

    And surely Wolves are going to start scoring some goals soon given the chances they're creating. With Raul Jimenez probably unavailable, Adama Traore (£6m) has shown bursts of his devastating speed and skills without providing the finishing touch as yet, and there are also decent options at the back in Romain Saiss (£5m), Nelson Semedo (£4.9m) and Conor Coady at a budget £4.5m.

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

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