3 weeks ago
I can’t remember a Gameweek with 4 or less matches before. Let’s be frank – it is going to be dull but this is still a valuable Gameweek. Every point counts so we need to milk this Gameweek for what it is worth. In a week where few will have 11 playing players, a 2 point blank is not to be scoffed at. Given how narrow this Gameweek is, I will discuss some big topics below, as little elaboration is required for the discussion points.
While the likes of Brighton players are good short-term bets, it is comforting to see some teams playing this Gameweek have good fixtures the following week. With Aston Villa (Fulham (H)), Leeds (Sheffield Utd (H)) and Tottenham (Newcastle (A)) assets providing more appeal than just simply have a game this week like other clubs (sorry Newcastle fans…).
Raphinha (£5.6m) is 1st in the league in the last 6 matches for chances created and goal attempts (combined). Although Fulham have improved significantly defensively, the Brazilian is in fine form and is one of the few must-haves this Gameweek for me. While Fulham have improved defensively, their attack is still inconsistent which may play into the hands of out of position Dallas (£5.1m). No defender has scored more than his 5 this year.
Kane (11.5m) is a must and requires little discussion. Mourinho lets Spurs play a bit more freely at home and Villa’s defence has dropped off a bit of late which should help the talisman. He is 1st for shots and xGI in the league in the last 6 matches. While we may only be getting 60mins appearances for Bale (£9.6m), he is a great option for these two games. Particularly when Newcastle could be any score, Bale does love the bully the minnows. While I don’t greatly admire the Spurs defence, Regulion (£5.5m) gets into good positions and could fill in for Son’s assists in his absence.
I am not so high on Villa assets for this Gameweek but the Fulham fixture is still good the following Gameweek. Grealish’s (£7.5m) impending return should help Watkins (£6.6m) no end. While their defence is starting to give way, a clean sheet against Fulham is highly likely.
Although West Ham’s fixtures after this Gameweek are mixed (Wolves, Leicester, Newcastle and Chelsea) their form is far from it. A win against Arsenal and they are even on points with Chelsea for the last Champions League spot, which I think they will contest until the end of the season.
Given this I think the likes of Cresswell (£5.9), Lingard (£6.1m) and Antonio (£6.6m) are great long-term options. Cresswell has both 10 assists and clean sheets for the season making him the top-point scoring defender. He plays in the blank and West Ham have some peachy fixtures from Gameweek 34, he is a great season keeper. Lingard’s arrival has really got their attack ticking. 4 goals and 2 assists from 6 games, he too provides cracking value. While Antonio is benefitting too, being 2nd in the xG charts among strikers in the last 4 matches.
Brighton are very short term options in my view, but those with a wildcard in their pocket can easily invest for this great fixture before dumping them.
Despite Dunk scoring the weekend the cheaper Veltman (£4.3m) still provides more attacking potential. In the last 6 matches he has had 7 shots in the box and 2 big chances, making him my preferred choice. Trossard (£5.7m) also takes my fancy as a short term punt. Returning his 3rd double digit haul last week and racking up a modest 8 shots in the box and 4 chances created in his last 6 gives me confidence heading into the Newcastle game.
On a final note, if you don’t have a starting XI taking a hit is effectively only a -2 this week which is more palatable. But just make sure you are not putting your team in a bad shape for weeks to come.
I am not using a Free Hit but if I was, I would shape up something like the below, playing a 3-4-3.
In goal, I would have Sanchez (£4.5m). The Clean sheet odds for Brighton are 54% with Fulham being next at 33%. That speaks volume – with the bookies indicating Brighton are the only team likely to keep a Clean Sheet.
As a result, I would double up with Veltman (£4.3m) at the back who offers the best attacking potential in the Brighton defence. Given the low clean sheet probabilities, I would focus on attacking fullbacks. Hence why Regulion (£5.5m) is next on my list who gets into good positions and may be more involved in attack if Son is out injured. Dallas (£5.1m) just beats Cresswell into my starting 11 by the fact he is playing in midfield.
While Raphinha (£5.6m) is playing in midfield too, his average positions are just as high as Bamford. I fancy one piece of Brighton attack with Trossard (£5.7m) just getting the nod over Welbeck. I would keep the faith in Bale (£9.6m) and give him a shot. Moura is a nice differential but when Bale plays, he is simply a much better player. While I suspect Arteta will play Aubmeyang (£11.4m) after giving him his slap on the wrist. In the last 6 matches (including the one he was dropped for), he racked up 11 shots in the box and 4 big chances. Back playing as a striker and he also has penalties. If he doesn’t start, Lingard is a nice option from the bench.
Kane (£11.5) doesn’t need to be discussed. Bamford (£6.7m) should be back from his injury and he loves an away game. In the last 6 away matches, he is 1st for shots in the box and big chances created. While Antonio (£6.6m) pips Maja for my final spot. West Ham are more creative team with Lingard in it and Antonio is 4th for xGI among strikers in the last 6 matches.
I still have £6mn in the bank with this team which may be a pre-cursor for the low standard Gameweek we have ahead of us. Nevertheless, appearance points and the odd return goes a long way for managers struggling to field a complete team.
Kane (£11.5) is the obvious choice this week and does not require any over-thinking. Only Bruno can better his ratio of an attacking return every 78mins this season. Recent form is also on his side, sitting 1st for non-penalty xG among all positions the last 4 gameweeks with 3.03. If you don’t have him this could be a long Gameweek for you…
I am not a fan of any other picks but if you are committed to being different or need to climb the ranks by being different, I would suggest Raphinha (£5.6m). His returns have dried up lately but his performances and opportunities haven’t, so it could be that the flood gates open this weekend.
Bamford, Dallas and Cresswell are other bold but notable mentions.
This is a tedious Gameweek to plan for but fortunately, we have a bit of respite afterwards with the International Break! As always, best of luck to everyone, and if you want to reach out to me with any questions DM me on Twitter or leave a comment below.
Sports fan and FPL addict from Ireland (still has not forgiven Thierry Henry). Loves numbers in both studies & profession and has incorporated this into FPL in recent seasons. Has played FPL for 8 seasons, finishing in the top 40k 5 times, with the best finish of 8k. Find on Twitter @FplPup if you have any questions