Well, it’s finally here. The beginning of the home stretch is heralded by the arrival of our first proper double game week of the season where we find 8 teams playing twice and points a plenty on offer. I start with good news – I’m back in the top 200,000. Wow, I know right? My score of 44 (40 after a transfer penalty) smashed the average of 32 and saw green arrows a plenty. I bottled it late on Friday night and spent 4 points on Harry Kane as rumours emerged that Firmino would be rested. In the end they actually both got 1 point, despite Kane’s protestations. To be honest I was afraid of the price rise and thankfully I didn’t captain him, allowing me to make a move up the charts. Anyway, let’s focus on this week. I’ve structured the preview differently because of the circumstances.
Who is playing twice?
There are 8 teams playing twice, but before you get really excited only one of those teams play next week (Burnley), which is why I’m playing my Free Hit chip. That allows me to change my team for one week only before it reverts back the following week. With that in mind, here’s a quick preview of those playing twice in order of best to worst (in my opinion)
Man Utd – They’re at home to West Brom and then away to Bournemouth, so you’d expect plenty of points from the first game alone. There is a slight fear that Mourinho will rotate the squad in the second game with an FA Cup final on the horizon, but he’s not going to rest them all, so choose wisely. De Gea should be fine for both games as Romero is injured, whilst Lukaku and Sanchez seem the best options going forward if you can afford them.
Tottenham – At home to Man City is not a nice game by any means but the Citizens are fragile right now and you’d expect Spurs to score, frankly I don’t care if they win, just score. They’re off to Brighton in the week which would have looked a lot tougher a few weeks ago however I get the feeling Brighton know they are safe if their home draw with Huddersfield is anything to go by. This is Harry Kane’s time of year so provided he is fit you’d be insane not to have him, he’ll go to any length to get that golden boot.
Leicester – A vital match away at Burnley might be a nerve jangler if they really want Europa League football but a midweek game at home to Southampton looks promising, especially if Southampton go looking for goals as they chase the points to keep them up. Vardy is in great form and some of Leicester’s defenders are cheap enough to warrant a one week selection.
Chelsea – Two away games against Southampton and Burnley would have been cause for huge optimism in years gone by but they lose a bit of their sparkle here because I don’t know what Conte’s plan is now. They’re so far adrift of 4th they could only muster a single goal and point against West Ham. Will he rest players ahead of the Cup semi-final? Mind you they’re playing Southampton rather than Man Utd or Tottenham, so who really knows.
Burnley – Leicester and Chelsea at home are not easy games, but Burnley defend well so I’d certainly advise getting one of their rearguard in. Ashley Barnes is only £5.3m too if you fancy some goals.
Brighton – Is their season done? They travel to rivals Palace on Saturday and then host Tottenham. They have enough cheap options to make them viable but if I was picking from scratch, which I am this week, there are better options.
Southampton – They haven’t won in forever and they’re playing Chelsea and Leicester. That’s not to say they won’t win either game but their players are overpriced due to their underperformance and you’d be a brave man to take on any of these boys.
Anybody good playing once?
Yes, annoyingly. Liverpool are at home to Bournemouth which could mean another hatful for Salah, assuming Klopp goes back to picking his best 11. Liverpool don’t have a midweek game so I see no reason for him to be rested, he’s also chasing the golden boot. I can’t look past Arnautovic against Stoke either, he seems to love sticking it up former clubs/players/managers/anybody who has crossed him so Monday might be a big night for him. Crystal Palace are in good goalscoring form, or at least Zaha and Milivojevic are, so their home game at Brighton looks like a good opportunity to move towards safety. The same can also be said for Swansea, at home to Everton. Jordan Ayew is back which can only help Swansea’s cause, they’ve really missed their talisman.
There are 5 weeks to go and you can only use one chip per week. A wildcard counts as a chip, so don’t lose them! The deadline this week is 11.30am on Saturday.
The “always captain Salah” rule is on hold this week, I’m leaning towards Lukaku at the moment but my preference is to go with somebody playing twice for sure. There is of course the chance Salah will go mad again but that’s just a risk I’ll have to take. I think. It makes me nervous. Even though Kane is playing Man City there’s still a part of me that wants to captain him. City haven’t exactly been water tight these last few weeks.
I’m playing free hit, my team as it is would actually do ok this week but 2 games are better than one, hopefully, so we’ll just go for it. My original plan was 10 doublers plus Salah but I’m tempted by Arnautovic. I haven’t finalised my team yet but it’ll be something like:
De Gea, K Long, Morgan, Rudiger, Salah, Arnautovic, Alli, Sanchez, Barnes, Vardy, Kane. Subs: The 4 cheapest players I can find.
That will change 100 times between now and the deadline but it’ll be along those lines. Kevin Long is only £4m and Ben Mee has been ruled out. Good times.
That’s all from me this week, we’ll be back to relative normality next week so all that’s left for me to do is wish you good luck and may all your arrows be green. Toodles!