Julian Alvarez at twenty-three years of age has played a pivotal part in winning the pinnacle of world football for his country.
At his club side, he is part of a treble-winning campaign including a first UEFA Champions League success for Manchester City. That’s a trophy-laden career better than most professionals hope for.
Certainly, had it not been for the presence of Erling Haaland, Alvarez will be starting every week or if he was a part of any other squad. He would probably walk into their starting eleven.
It is what it is, and courtesy of Pep Guardiola, the Argentine has now slowly developed as a more and more versatile player.
Despite Haaland starting most of the games, Alvarez provided excellent more than adequate cover for the struggling fitness issues of Kevin De Bruyne.
His performances in the previous campaign coupled with his price in the Fantasy Premier League had tempted many managers to double up on City’s attack by going with Alvarez from the start.
For most, the presence of De Bruyne had deterred them from taking the plunge into any such adventures.
De Bruyne did start the game against Burnley surprising many, but so did Alvarez alongside the Belgian.
Alvarez practically was deployed as a number 8, followed by post-De Bruyne’s injury, as number 10 and subsequently on the wings by his Spaniard head coach.
He completed ninety minutes against Burnley, with an accuracy stat of 33.3, three shots in the game, with all of them coming from inside the box, and non-penalty xGi of 0.72. This is up there with the stats of the likes of Mo Salah and Bruno Fernandes after the first week.
What tilts the favor more toward Alvarez is his versatility as mentioned combined with goal-scoring prowess. He is after all a striker by first choice.
City’s team this season perhaps lacks a player in their ranks outside of Haaland of course as a natural goal scorer.
None of the likes of Grealish or Bernardo Silva are potent clinical finishers of the ball, perhaps Foden comes close, but Pep hasn’t shown any steady stream of trust toward Phil.
Recently departed Mahrez, was the only player in their ranks to complete seasons with double figures in the goal-scoring charts, but Mahrez lacked the versatility Alvarez provides, a key reason for the Algerian’s lack of consistent starts in the Premier League.
No matter how clinical Haaland is, and he is the best in the world at that, Alvarez sharing the burdens of scoring alongside Haaland this season in the league does make sense.
Guardiola’s tactics in Europe further solidify this notion of Alvarez playing a far more significant part in the league.
In the just concluded Super Cup against Sevilla, Pep seemed to operate with a heavy midfield, leaving Alvarez on the bench, to gain control of the midfield a vital part of the play against Spanish or Italian teams.
Much has already been made about Guardiola’s consistent comment about player injuries and lack of breathing space between schedules.
City’s midfield players at least for now do appear thin in number with Kovacic, Rodri, Foden, Grealish, Silva, and Alvarez as the likely candidates to take up the five spots in midfield.
Thus, if Alvarez doesn’t see many starts in Europe, he will likely be entrusted more in the League. It only seems logical.
Manchester City’s fixtures in the recent run are great as well. After Newcastle, Pep’s men will play against newly promoted Sheffield away, followed by Fulham at home, and including fixtures against Forest at home and Wolves away.
Isak’s brace has made him a much more popular man amongst the Fantasy managers. Likely, the Newcastle forward will be a 60-65 minute man before the inevitable arrival of Wilson.
Isak will be bound to score goals and therefore Fantasy points but given his minutes sharing, it will be hard to predict his point distribution with likely consistent fears of barren spells.
At a million cheaper Alvarez provides the option of doubling up on the best attack of the league. Haaland and Alvarez as the two strikers for Fantasy managers can be gold, particularly owing to the dearth of options in the forward’s department.
The likes of Watkins do appeal but Alvarez is much cheaper than the Villa forward and can match him or better him as a Fantasy asset.
A move for Alvarez from Joao Pedro after game week three seems logical with fixtures turning tough for Brighton.
For Fantasy managers with Mo Salah in their teams, Alvarez provides the option as an enabler to keep the Egyptian for the time.
Other factors have also boded well for Alvarez to become a second option from Manchester City. City’s defensive unit is a minefield, with Stones, recently arrived, Gvardiol, Ake, Akanji, Dias, and Walker all fighting for places.
There is no assurance of regular starts from any of them. Even Manchester City predictors are throwing their towel in this regard of predicting the defense, while in midfield neither Foden inspires confidence nor is any other players a Fantasy asset.
Alvarez at only 5.3% ownership provides an excellent differential option for tapping into Manchester City. He is the second asset he doesn’t take up the space of a second or third asset as at the moment as discussed there is not a stand-out second or third asset from City.
Haaland’s 90% plus EO means he is a neutral player providing no value in Fantasy terms, no matter how many points he provides.
For all the goals in the world he scores someone will deliver him the assists or score a few alongside him. Alvarez might be that man. He is the best standout differential playing for the treble winners of Europe.