Dugout Decisions - Gameweek 3 - Keep Kane and carry on
Welcome to a new feature. Here, I tackle the key questions bouncing around our minds ahead of the upcoming Gameweek.
These are just my opinions, so don’t take them as gospel. But I hope they help guide your decision making in some way.
Let’s start with a certain Golden Boot winner…
Should we sell Kane?
Give him one more chance, at least.
I believe better days are coming for Kane, despite a measly 2 points accrued over the opening two Gameweeks.
Kane has been far from anonymous – he fired more efforts on goal than anyone in Gameweek 2, and has already rattled the woodwork twice.
The goals are coming.
The fixtures are also on his side, with home encounters against Burnley, Swansea and Bournemouth in the next six, along with a trip to Huddersfield.
I don’t buy into the August goal drought theory, or that Spurs can’t do well at Wembley. Spurs and Kane showed enough against Chelsea to suggest positive results will come sooner rather than later.
Burnley rock up at the hallowed turf on Sunday, and I expect Kane to finally put his August hoodoo to bed.
Is Alonso a must have?
He’s a brilliant option, but he’s not a must have yet.
Chelsea’s next five fixtures (EVE, lei, ARS, sto, MCI) are difficult, so I still think Alonso is a luxury at 7m.
All five of those opponents have goals in them, and Alonso cannot be expected to score or assist every game.
I’d love to have him in my team, but I’m not willing to take crucial funds out of my attack just yet.
We also need to be wary of Chelsea’s pursuit of highly rated left-backs in the transfer market, and the expected rotation around Champions League matches, which get underway prior to Gameweek 5.
As the transfer deadline approaches, the Blues are still being linked with bids for Juventus’s Alex Sandro, while Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand have been linked with moves too.
Alonso’s lack of pace and vulnerability in one-on-one situations have been reported as concerns for Conte.
So while it’s hard to comprehend, Alonso’s place in Chelsea’s first XI could still be at risk.
Looking ahead, Gameweeks 14-21 (SWA, NEW, whm, hud, SOT, eve, BHA, STO) look like the perfect window to invest in Chelsea assets.
And we should have a much clearer picture of Alonso’s standing in Chelsea’s squad by then.
Time up for De Bruyne and co?
I don’t think so.
Man City’s next opponent – Bournemouth – is key to my thinking here.
The Cherries have started the campaign terribly, and they are giving opponents a huge amount of chances (only Swansea have conceded more shots in the box in the opening two matches).
And unlike Brighton and Everton, Bournemouth aren’t capable of parking the bus – they don’t have the personnel, and it’s not in their DNA.
I can only see goals for City and would be uncomfortable approaching this weekend without a member of their attack.
De Bruyne, Aguero and Jesus have all shown glimpses of promise over the opening matches.
Granted, De Bruyne has been reluctant to venture into the box, but his set piece delivery, incisive through balls and long range efforts have worried me as a non owner. Points are probably not far away.
As for Aguero, he’s already off the mark and was heavily involved against Everton.
Jesus less so, but his close range menace against Brighton was hugely encouraging.
Pogba or Mkhitaryan?
Perhaps the most difficult quandary to call – but I’m going for Mkhitaryan – just.
While Pogba will see more minutes, the Armenian is playing further up the pitch, in the number ten role – so I expect him to get more chances in the attacking third.
This hasn’t been the case so far, though, with Pogba threatening the goal on more occasions.
But Mkhitaryan’s more advanced role has seen him create four more chances than the Frenchman.
Both midfielders look exceptional value, and I’d recommend signing one of them, if you haven’t already.
Chicharito, Gabbiadini, or Mounie?
A popular question in our live chat.
I’m plumping for Chicharito – he’s a goalscoring machine whose Premier League pedigree is unquestioned.
West Ham’s next two fixtures against Newcastle (A) and Huddersfield (H) should provide the Mexican poacher with plenty of opportunities, especially with fit again Antonio and Lanzini increasing the supply line from midfield.
Gabbiadini still hasn’t convinced me, despite opening his account against West Ham at the weekend.
The Italian has yet to prove he’s a consistent goalscorer on these shores, and we have to factor in Charlie Austin, who will surely eat into his game time.
I’d also like to see more from Mounie before investing.
His performance against Newcastle was concerning – zero efforts on goal in such a plum tie is far from ideal.
But he warrants a place on our watchlists following his opening day brace at Palace and goalscoring exploits in France (14 goals for Montpellier last season).