FPL

2 weeks ago

GW38+: Free Hit Player Tips

Just shy of a year after the 2019/20 Premier League season launched we are now pushing one last time to try win our mini-leagues, achieve overall rank targets or simply attempting to finish with a bang.

Similarly as our own FPL goals are different, some wanting to attack while others want to defend their positions, numerous teams will be fighting for their lives in the relegation zone or hoping to hold that luxurious Champions League spot. Others will be chilling on the beach and slugging through 90mins one last time. All this makes for an uncertain GW. Fortunately, I have my Free Hit card at hand to help me over the line. Many will be in the same situation as me, so in this article I will discuss the best teams and players to target.

 

Fixtures

Below are the final GW38+ fixtures:

Home Time Away
Arsenal 16:00 Watford
Burnley 16:00 Brighton
Chelsea 16:00 Wolves
Crystal Palace 16:00 Spurs
Everton 16:00 Bournemouth
Leicester 16:00 Manchester United
Manchester City 16:00 Norwich
Newcastle 16:00 Liverpool
Southampton 16:00 Sheffield United
West Ham 16:00 Aston Villa
 

Manchester City have the standout fixture of the GW. Three players from them is a must, preferably attackers. If possible, try hold out for some early team news given Pep Roulette can make fools of us all.

Arsenal face Watford who sit in the bottom three, just conceded 4 goals against Manchester City and bizarrely sacked their manager. This looks like a good fixture as Watford may open up at the back as they will have to get a result in order to stay up.

Chelsea, Manchester Utd and Leicester will be pushing for Champions League spot but have tough fixtures. Interest in these teams will be limited, but should not be completely avoided given they will need a result.

Burnley face a toothless Brighton which looks encouraging for their defence. Similarly Spurs face a poor Crystal Palace. Finally, Liverpool are up against Newcastle’s defence which is plagued with injuries.

These are the teams I would encourage you to focus on for your Free Hit.

Read more: FPL Free Hit rules & strategy. Learn everything you wanted to know

 

Goalkeepers

Pope (£5.1m) is the standout pick. He is on 15 clean sheets for the season and will be going for the Golden Glove. Something the whole team is aware of and pushing for, with Chris Wood saying after the Norwich match: 

We’ll be fighting like hell for him, he’s the best in the country.

Those looking for a budget option should consider Arsenal’s Martinez (£4.4m) who has been collecting clean sheets and save points since Leno’s injury.

Alternatively, those simply looking for a likely clean sheet the best options seem to be Ederson (£6.0m) and Lloris (£5.3m).

 

Defenders

Given Burnley’s defensive performances of late and push for the Golden Glove, I believe doubling or tripling up on them this week is a good option. Pieters (£4.3m), Long (£4.3m) and Bardsley (£4.4m) provide great value for your starting XI. While those looking for something a bit more premium Tarkowski (£5.5m) may complement a clean sheet with an attacking return, although I don’t believe he is worth the extra outlay.

After his 13 point haul against Chelsea, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.7m) has broken the 200 point barrier. He is now on 4 goals and 15 assists for the season and will likely add to this if he starts against Newcastle. For those whose budgets can’t stretch that far, Robertson at £7.0m provides similar attacking threat. He actually created more chances with 3 (1 big chance) against Chelsea compared to TAA’s 2 (1 big chance). In the last 4 GWs, he has scored once and assisted three times. Not that much of a downgrade, although TAA is preferable.

Those looking for something different could do worse than Aurier (£5.1m). Spurs look likely to pick up a clean sheet and Aurier looks most likely to pick up an attacking return out of all the Spurs’ defensive options while also providing the best value. Mendy (£5.5m) should also bank a clean sheet if he starts against Norwich and he also provides attacking threat. Although, I prefer tripling up in their attack.

There are plenty of cheap options and bench fodder to choose from. Stephens (£4.4m), Diop (£4.3m), Thomas (£4.0m), Branthwaite (£4.0m), Rico (£4.2m), Lamptey (£4.1m) and Williams (£3.8m) to name a few! Williams is now the cheapest defender in the game and is likely to start given Shaw’s (£5.4m) injury.

 

Midfielders

One of the first names on the team sheet for me is Salah (£12.5m). He looked electric against Chelsea and he will be raging he did not score! He was tied first for most shots (3) and most shots in the box (3). Who was he tied 1st with? Pulisic (£7.4m), which is incredible given he only played 31mins yet he still managed to get a goal and assist. Lampard surely can’t drop him again as he looked unplayable, but a tricky fixture against Wolves has me veering away from Chelsea assets this GW given there are so many options.

But back to Salah; in any GW Mane (£12.2m) is just as likely to haul as the Egyptian. So if your gut says Mane — go for it. But a word of warning, he didn’t manage a single shot against Chelsea…

The next dead cert is Raheem Sterling (£11.9m). He managed 2 goals and 1 assist in just 63mins against Watford. As well as a staggering 6 shots (4 in the box) of which 5 were on target. Only Foden bettered this with 7 shots (4 in the box) but from a full 90mins. However, I don’t recommend Foden as I believe he will be dropped this GW. But if early team news proves otherwise, he is worth a last-minute change!

I believe Manchester City triple attack is the way to go. Mahrez (£8.6m) and David Silva (£7.4m) were both rested against Watford and look primed to start. This looks like it will be David Silva’s swansong. He provides great value and threat, scoring 17 and 13 points in his last two starts. Over the season Mahrez has scored 10 times and assisted 13 times from 1,889 minutes. When he starts, he is likely to return and he is due a goal. It would be amiss to not mention the tied highest scorer in the game Kevin de Bruyne (£10.7m). However, he has been a bit muted of late. In the last 3 games he played, Manchester City have scored 14 times yet he managed only 2 assists and seems to be off penalties for the remainder of this season at least. Given this, I prefer the other Manchester City options.

Manchester Utd looked tired against West Ham, but this game is their most important of the season so I expect a strong performance. Bruno (£9.1m) looked abject, only managing to create 2 chances and 1 shot against West Ham. But as always his control over set pieces gives him a return likely. Martial (£8.5m) looked fatigued too. Managing 3 shots (2 in the box) but only 1 on target. However, he is facing the slow-moving Morgan (£4.1m) and possibly Bennett (£4.8m) given Leicester’s injury woes. He should take advantage of this with his pace. There’s not much between the two and the extra cash saved from Martial could make the decision easier for you.

Son (£9.7m) looks like his more usual glamorous self, having scored and assisting twice in the last three matches. Joint second worst for big chances conceded in the last 4 GWs with 13, Crystal Palace should afford the South Korean some good opportunities. Those looking for a differential should keep an eye on Moura (£7.0m) who has started the last 3 and managed 2 assists.

Antonio (£7.1m) is still King of the attacking statistical output (alongside Salah).

In the last 4 GWs Antonio has 8 big chances which is joint first with Salah and the 2nd most shots with 20. Salah has the most with 21, but he has only converted 9.5% of these, which pales to Antonio’s 30%. 

The problem for Antonio is that he faces Aston Villa who will be battling for survival and have been more solid at the back of late.

Grealish (£5.9m) will be fighting tooth and nail  to keep Villa up. But no attacking return in his last 11 matches does not bode well for a big return this week. Richarlison (£8.2m) will also interest a few having scored 3 times since the restart. But he faces an improved Bournemouth who need a win to stay up and given the other options in his price bracket, I would recommend looking elsewhere.

 

Forwards

As mentioned, Crystal Palace’s defence has been poor from a statistical standpoint. More simply, they have conceded 9 goals over the last 4 GWs which is joint 3rd worst in the week and looks like they are done with this season. This makes the in-form Kane (£10.9m) with 4 goals in his last 2 matches an excellent option. He looks back to his best showcasing his deadly finishing against Leicester and he is personally a dead cert in my team.

His main challenger for a spot in our teams seems to be Aubameyang (£10.9m). The Golden Boot seems to be out of his reach but he showcased his talent with 2 goals against Manchester City in the FA Cup. Yet against Aston Villa he was well contained, managing 2 shots (both in the box), but neither were a big chance nor managed to hit the target. He also only had 3 penalty box touches. Kane’s numbers were not glamorous either, but this is representative of the counter-attacking setup Mourinho employed where Kane still managed 2 goals. Aubameyang faces a Watford side who must get a result and which may leave them vulnerable at the back. So it is not out of the question that Aubameyang hauls and he still provides a great option. But for this who cannot afford both and must pick between him and Kane, I recommend the Spurs striker.

Jesus (£9.9m) played the full 90mins against Watford but did not manage a single attacking return in the 4-0 romping.  

Jesus has now started the last 6 premier league matches and I would not be surprised if Sterling starts as the striker, but if he starts, he should return by fact of his mere presence up front.

Norwich have the worst defence in the league having conceded 70 goals, have numerous injuries and now suspensions on top of this after the Burnley game. 13 big chances conceded and 9 goals over the last 4 GWs – I would be betting on another 5-0 Man City win. So if he starts, Jesus is a great option.

The only man in touching distance of Vardy (£9.7m) for the Golden Boot is Danny Ings (£7.6m), being 2 goals behind him. He faces one of the most resolute defences in the league in Sheffield Utd. But their thin squad and fatigue is starting to show, losing 1-0 at home to a poor Everton. Conversely, Southampton are looking better each week and Ings looks like scoring any half chance that he is presented with. 6 goals in 8 games since the restart in an improving team, I fancy Ings to get at least 1 more this weekend. He only needs 2 to tie the Golden Boot if Vardy blanks…

Rashford (£8.9m) and Greenwood (£4.8m) will both start in this crunch game. As mentioned earlier, Leicester's injuries should allow the youthful Manchester Utd team to take advantage. Rashford and Greenwood seem to be splitting the goals each GW which makes picking between the two tough. But I prefer the striker options mentioned above and I believe Macnhester Utd’s midfield is more worthy of investment. It would be wrong not to mention the Golden Boot leader and highest FPL scoring striker Vardy (£9.7m). Manchester Utd defensively are a mistake waiting to happen and we know Vardy only needs a sniff at goal in order to score.

A differential pick is Chris Wood (£6.2m) who has scored twice in 3 games since his return from injury. He faces the statistically worst team defensively over the last 4 GWs with Brighton having conceded 16 big chances and 60 shots in the box, both highs in the league by a distance. Those looking for a budget-friendly and differential 3rd striker, Wood is your man!

When it comes to bench fodder, Nkietah (£4.3m) is back in the line-up following his return from suspension. Not a prolific scorer but at this value 2 points and cash to spread elsewhere is invaluable.

 

Wrap-Up

Make sure you are on your toes just before the 15:00 (GMT) deadline in case we hear of any team news leaks. There is no point having £9.9m invested in Jesus, for example, if he is on the bench. Without going overboard, I would map out a few back-up options and transfer strategies ahead of the deadline making these last-minute switches easier and better thought out rather than last-minute rash decisions.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my articles since the restart of the Premier League and I look forward to writing more ahead of the 2020/21 season. In the meantime, best of luck to everyone and I hope you achieve your goals this GW. As always, if you want to reach out to me with any questions DM me on Twitter or create a thread on the website.

FPL_Pup
Author

FPL_Pup

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