Well, la di da, there is finally a captaincy decision to make. Hurrah, it has been a decade since the arrival of a certain Erling Haaland, and only the lord knows when another game week like this will come around again for managers of the Fantasy Premier League.
This week Liverpool takes on Bournemouth at Anfield while Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City plays against Newcastle United. The Magpies will be hoping to perhaps replicate the same model and success of Manchester City in the past decade.
In Fantasy terms, the coming game week is also a week of reminiscence in many unequivocal terms.
Hero of the past, Mo Salah is much obliterated in the recent memory, so much so, he has almost become a differential this season given his low ownership compared to past seasons and in this campaign in comparison to the likes of Saka, or Haaland, of course, or even a Bruno Fernandes.
Salah’s high price meant many managers opting for other options, chiefly the likes of as already written Bruno Fernandes, or even Odegaard, or Watkins.
Those that maintained their faith hoping to spin the wheel against the changing realms of time had this coming fixture against Bournemouth in mind.
This is to be the game when the passing of the mantle will be proven as still some time left to complete.
Liverpool as a team has fallen out of UEFA Champions League places, and rival fans will probably be laughing at the bullish mannerisms displayed in the recently concluded Caicedo and Lavia, transfer sagas.
Liverpool had their tabs on both players and they eventually both went to Chelsea.
In the previous campaign, Liverpool’s opening fixture was against Fulham. Someone with a strong memory will probably argue, Salah was greatly lucky to come out of that match with a goal and an assist both ricocheting from a Fulham defender.
This season in Liverpool’s opening day fixture against Chelsea, hours after Klopp had announced Caicedo to be a done deal followed by the Ecuadorian backtracking on the agreement and expressing his desire to join Chelsea, Salah looked really on it.
He was not playing wide, away from the goal, a continuous theme in the majority half of the previous season, instead cutting in, and getting behind the defenders, like the Mo Salah, fans are familiar with.
His substitution therefore in the seventy-sixth minute with the score level brought a certain bit of dismay from the fans and Fantasy owners of the Egyptian.
Salah too, while coming off didn’t hide his disappointment. In that playing time, he managed an assist, a goal ruled out by VAR, and looked dangerous.
There were hopes of a huge Fantasy haul from him especially in the first half at the Bridge.
Mo created 1.18 chances in the game, along with 2.37 shots in the box/per ninety and had a non-penalty xGi of 0.70. On another day he could have easily had a goal.
Fantasy managers starting this season with Mo in their teams, outside perhaps the Liverpool fans who play Fantasy Premier League as more of a casual, the mentioned lot, the rest starting with Salah are the definition of anti-dullard managers.
Mo’s coming off early against Chelsea can be a one-off tactical decision or a continuous trend that remains to be seen, but for now, in a world of over-content gaining an early advantage is incredibly difficult.
Managers with Mo Salah in their teams will be looking on with the hope of making some serious difference against the more template picks.
There is now no way, Salah should not be captained now, the decision was made before game week one of including Mo in a draft or not. If he was included now is the time to figure out how that decision turns out.
Haaland takes on Newcastle at the Etihad this week.
Despite the Magpies’ growing from strength to strength under Eddie Howe solidified with the arrivals of players like Tonali. Haaland will be expected to still return with a goal or attacking return.
The Norwegian began against Burnley similar to his usual time during his first year in the Premier League, scoring a brace within the first half.
Haaland had a conversion rate of 50 in the first game with 4.6 shots inside the box, including 1.1 big chances created and a non-penalty xGi of 0.71 at Turf Moor.
Haaland has the potential to brush the Newcastle defense aside with his recent show of clinical abilities in the first games. If one of either Salah or Haaland scores big while the other fails to return, there is potential for a huge Fantasy swing in this game week.
This is all shaping up as one of those weeks engaged managers talk about in seasons to come.