It feels like forever since the last FPL outing, which is probably because we’ve had the longest Saturday in living memory last weekend. It’s over now though and as the Premier League returns so does the brow furrowing that accompanies trying to be good at FPL. Last time out, I scored 87 points which was considerably higher than the average of 61. That saw the green arrows of recovery as I moved up to 169,323rd overall but the problem this season for me has been consistency. Can we follow that up with more green arrows? My money is on no.
We have two top four clashes but they are 4 days apart. How you ask? Well, Man Utd vs Chelsea is at 2.05pm on Sunday, then it’s the Carabao Cup final between Man City and Arsenal. A wonderful twist of fate is that they were supposed to play in the league on Sunday anyway, so that’s been pushed back to Thursday and keeps it in this gameweek. It’s a nightmare though, and means you are relying on players to come through a game that takes place during the game week but doesn’t count. To make matters worse, Gabriel Jesus is approaching a return for Man City, which is lovely for him but less good for us Aguero owners. Arsenal remain a mystery, a mystery I don’t want to touch this week even if it is at the Emirates. Of course we can’t loverlook Man Utd vs Chelsea, where no doubt a lot of camera time will be dedicated to following the life and times of Paul Pogba. Chelsea are all about Eden Hazard from an attacking sense so it’ll be interesting to see how he gets on against the traditionally lean Red Devils.
Seeing as I’ve started this preview in reverse we’ll continue, as Crystal Palace vs Tottenham has been parachuted in to 12pm Sunday on account of Spurs having a cup replay on Wednesday. Palace without Zaha is one thing, but the injury list extends beyond just him and they have a nightmare run of fixtures, so I’m avoiding Roy Hodgson’s lads for a few weeks. Spurs though have a nice run coming up, so now is the time to invest in the Eriksen’s of this world. It remains to be seen if Lucas Moura can get a starting position in the league side.
The only top 6 side in action on Saturday is Liverpool, and they are at home to West Ham. Both sides are rested after having last weekend off and on paper it looks like a good afternoon to have Liverpool players. Always captain Salah?
We’ve got a handful of teams who have back to back home games. Liverpool as mentioned above are probably the most attractive but Leicester have been in good form and face Stoke and Bournemouth, whilst Watford host Everton and West Brom. Burnley have not won in forever but home games against Southampton and Everton are good chances to correct that. We’re also coming up to the first blank game week, where many teams will not play. We’ll cover that in the next section but if you’re considering bargains, you might as well try and get at least 5 or 6 players for week 31. Bournemouth, who host Newcastle this week, have a decent looking run, whilst Huddersfield don’t have the worst fixtures either. Just something else to annoy you.
To put some more meat on the bone, there are four guaranteed fixtures in week 31: Liverpool vs Watford, Bournemouth vs WBA, Stoke vs Everton and Huddersfield vs Crystal Palace. There’s a chance of a 5th game if Spurs go out to Rochdale, but I can’t imagine that will happen. If it does though it’s Tottenham vs Newcastle. Now, depending on how extreme you are, you’re probably not going to have a full 11 players for this weekend. There’s only 4 games and it’s not worth it. If you’re thinking about using your free hit for it, of course it’s an option but in reality there is going to be a future week where 12 teams play twice. I’m planning to save my free hit for that and then my triple captain for a future week where the FA Cup semi-finalists will have their games rearranged and play twice. At least that’s the plan.
This week the deadline is Saturday 24th at 11.30am
I’d say Salah and Firmino will be the best choices this week. With four of the top six facing each other I really don’t want to pick players from those teams as captain, even moreso when you think of the potential rotation issues at Man City – to make matters worse, Pep’s men host Chelsea next Sunday so they face Arsenal twice and then Chelsea in the space of 7 days…there are going to be changes. That turns attention to Spurs, where Kane is always an option as captain and away at injury hit Palace might not be the worst thing.
My team is hanging on after a decent week. As feared though, Atsu has lost his place to Kenedy which may well be a transfer I make in a few weeks, but any transfer I make is going to be getting players involved for week 31. Therefore it’s quite an easy decision this week to do Robertson for Rudiger and what will be will be.
De Gea, Robertson, Mee, Dummett, Dyer, Salah (c), Sterling, Lingard, Vardy, Aguero, Kane. Subs: Elliot, Atsu, T Carroll, Wimmer.
The midfield is awful, Salah aside – Sterling has been brilliant but I am nervous about the Man City selection, whilst Lingard didn’t play for Man Utd on Wednesday night. Nathan Dyer is barely worth comment.
It’s a really awkward week, one I’m relying heavily on Salah for. Vardy might do ok at home to Stoke in the early Saturday game but it’s not brilliant. Cross everything you have. Good luck with whatever you decide to do and may all your arrows be green.