Wow it’s Friday again?! These short weeks fly by. We enter week 33 on a moderate high – my score of 65 beat the average of 48 and saw the much sought after green arrows populate my FPL page as I moved up to 221,646th. It’s still pretty poor. It leaves us a lot of work to do in the closing weeks of the season and this week looks like an absolute minefield. Let’s get to it.
We’ll start with the game that could well decide the Premier League title. By “could well” I mean if Man City win they are actually champions, they are going to be champions anyway. It’s not the destination of the title that is in question here, is the gist of this seminar. Anyway, they’re only playing Manchester United. What were the chances? Man City rather got their pants pulled down by Liverpool on Wednesday but I don’t think that will really change Pep’s approach here. City are at home and they usually win at home. Mourinho will probably play on the counter. I don’t think it matters. Aguero is still not fully fit and I can’t see him playing, Sterling was on the bench on Wednesday but I think he’ll be back for this. I’m sticking with De Gea in the hope that he accrues 18 saves.
The pants pullers in chief (that’s Liverpool if you didn’t read the previous paragraph) have the small matter of the Merseyside derby in the lunch time kick off, with many plans being thrown into disarray by Mo Salah’s withdrawal early in the second half with an apparent groin injury. It’s a tough call for Klopp, on the one hand they lead 3-0 going to the Etihad next week but this is the local derby. I guess there’s an argument that Salah will be a sub here and be brought on if needed. I don’t know though, I’m not a doctor nor Jurgen Klopp so keep an eye on the news and make your own mind up. My advice, if anybody actually takes notice, is to probably keep him but don’t captain him. Unless of course he is definitively ruled out between now and Saturday.
Spurs are a further annoyance this week as they travel to struggling Stoke. Struggling, porous Stoke. Kane usually fills his boots against the Potters and as he has super human recovery powers he’ll probably continue his miraculous recovery here. Dele Alli is back in form and Eriksen is Eriksen. Stoke are awful, they gave Arsenal a game without really looking like scoring so the more Spurs players the merrier this weekend. I have none, obviously.
Sunday looks one sided, if nothing else. Arsenal against Southampton is another chance for Auba to stuff a relegation threatened side. He’s probably a captaincy option for many of you, he will be mine. The other is in the 4.30pm game between Chelsea and West Ham. Chelsea looked fairly average against a good Spurs side but you’d have to back them to win here, with Hazard the obvious choice to replace Salah if he is knackered. He would even become a captaincy option, if Chelsea can be bothered anymore.
Brighton at home to Huddersfield looks like a good opportunity to pick up some clean sheet points, Brighton’s form has been pretty good against bottom half sides at home and Huddersfield carry next to no goal threat on the road as exhibited last weekend. Dunk and Duffy both offer a goal threat too, so either or really. Crystal Palace travel to Bournemouth but have a pretty friendly run in, so if you want to ride the Zaha wave now is the time to do it. He has approximately 8000 touches a game and Bournemouth, all but safe, will probably continue to play an open game. Failing that just get Milivojevic. He has considerably less involvement in the game but waits for Zaha to be fouled before stepping up to slap home the penalty and take bonus points. Don’t get me started on the bonus points allocations.
Next week is a double game week. There are matches every night starting Saturday 14th to Thursday 19th. That’s 14 matches and 8 teams playing twice. There are actually more teams playing twice in week 37, but how much will really be up for grabs by then? There’s chance to be a lot of rotation depending on who is still playing for what, so I’ll be leaving that as my triple captain week. Remember your chips can only be used one at a time, including your wildcard, so you can’t, for example, play your wildcard and triple captain in the same week. Time is running out. Oh, also week 35 has a depleted fixture list so if you’re going mad with your wildcard for week 34, a lot of your players might not have a game in week 35. Pesky game.
I’m taking Salah out of the equation, I don’t see a scenario where he plays 90 minutes. If you have gambled on Kane already, I’d probably captain him. he hates Stoke. If you haven’t, Aubameyang has an attractive fixture but the strength of their team might depend on how Thursday’s game panned out, unfortunately I have to write this just as that game is kicking off so we’ll see. Auba will play regardless of course but he needs somebody to give him the ball. Hazard also is a good option, even if Chelsea are a fading force this season he’s still a fantastic player and, perhaps above all else, takes their penalties.
It’s a really awkward week, one I could do without. I’m planning my free hit for week 34 so anybody I bring in this week might not be seen again until week 35, such is my meticulous planning. That makes Liverpool, Watford, Palace and Burnley players fairly attractive options but I’m resigned to having to take a points hit at some point.
All my defenders are away, Ben Mee is a doubt and most of my midfield is doubtful. This will be a rough week. I have £3m in the bank but that’s aside to bring Kane back in for week 36, as my week 34 team will be a free hit and week 35 is back to these idiots. My head hurts.
Basically, I have 6 players who don’t have a game in week 35 – Lingard, Stanislas, De Gea, Vardy, Elliot and Van la Parra. Wimmer never plays anyway. One of them has to go this week. Stanislas is a major doubt so it’ll probably be him. I’m thinking Zaha, but I’ll sleep on it.
De Gea, Dummett, Mee, Van Dijk, Salah, Sterling, Lingard, Zaha?, Aubameyang, Firmino, Vardy. Subs: Elliot, Van La Parra, Ogbonna, Wimmer.
Awful. Anyway, hopefully your FPL picture is clearer than mine. I’ve rambled on for long enough, whatever you decide to do I wish you luck and may all your arrows be green. Toodles for now.