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Atsu can be a surprise FPL package

The Scout 8 Aug 2017
Christian Atsu, Newcastle

The Scout selects some attractive Newcastle United options of which Ghanaian midfielder is a stand-out

Christian Atsu (£5.0m) is a new name for Fantasy Premier League managers to consider.

The Newcastle United midfielder boasts an early run of opponents to maintain his exciting pre-season form.

When building an initial squad, it is always wise to look ahead at the next six Gameweeks and consider those handed a favourable run of opponents.

Atsu is part of a Magpies squad handed a kind re-introduction to the Premier League.

An opening fixture with Tottenham Hotspur will be a stern test.

But following that, Rafael Benitez's men have five successive matches which all score only two in the Fixture Difficulty Rankings (FDR).

GW Opponent FDR
1 TOT (h) 4
2 HUD (a) 2
3 WHU (h) 2
4 SWA (a) 2
5 STK (h) 2
6 BHA (a) 2

Striker Dwight Gayle (£6.5m) looked well-placed to attract investment and, with an ownership of 5.5%, remains their most popular outfield player.

But having missed the pre-season victory over Hellas Verona with a hamstring problem, Gayle is an early doubt for Sunday's Spurs encounter.

Meanwhile, FPL managers have flocked to Rob Elliot (£4.0m) as a cheap goalkeeping option.

He is owned by 15.2% and could be the only stopper priced at £4.0m to be named in a Gameweek 1 starting line-up.

In front of Elliot, Florian Lejeune (£4.5m) has emerged as the key target in the Newcastle back four.

The Frenchman has shown imperious form in pre-season and looks set to start the campaign alongside Ciaran Clark (£4.5m).

Matt Ritchie, Newcastle United
Matt Ritchie's prowess at set-pieces make him a worthy target over Newcastle's early run of benign fixtures

But it is in midfield where FPL managers can perhaps find the strongest value.

Matt Ritchie's (£6.0m) set-piece delivery and penalty kicks mark him out as a viable target.

That said, Atsu's form has been eye-catching.

The Ghanaian has produced two goals and four assists over the summer.

Having started the final two pre-season friendlies - scoring in both - he looks set to see off the claim of new signing Jacob Murphy (£5.5m) and feature against Spurs.

If he can establish himself in Benitez's XI, Atsu could be the first big midfield value option to break out in 2017/18.

Reminder - GW1 deadline is Friday 11 August, 18:45 BST

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