1 month ago
No beef here – how can we have beef in a triple gameweek?! After the nightmare of GW34 for many people with the postponement of the Man Utd vs Liverpool game, The Premier League towers decided to ignore the obvious way of restructuring the fixtures and decided instead to throw us a Man Utd triple gameweek! The debate that many FPL managers are now left with is how heavily do they attack the United triple? Fixtures against Aston Villla away (Sunday), Leicester home (Tuesday) and Liverpool home (Thursday) are not fixtures that scream monster hauls, but it's a triple gameweek! We have to attack that, right? Well, that's what I'm going to debate today. I'm going solo because I'm lost in my own thoughts on how to approach this , but hopefully reading it might help you to process your own strategy when it comes to this last-minute FPL shaped grenade.
Firstly, the logic...
There needs to be logic behind whichever strategy you employ. Don't just look at Gameweek 35. It's important to identify and address that Man Utd have no fixture in Gameweek 36, along with Leicester, Chelsea and Arsenal. So if your squad is already heavy on those 3 clubs and you are looking at bringing in United players on top of that, you need to be prepared for a sea of disaster when your Gameweek 36 bus team loads up. (Obviously, this is chip dependant. If you have a free hit or a wildcard in your back pocket, go crazy!) The fixture scheduling also indicates to us that it is hugely unlikely that any of the United players will play all 3 fixtures within the space of 5 days.
The other thing to look at is what the United team is for the fixture with Roma this evening (Thursday). That could give you a good indication of who is likely to play in the Aston Villa fixture on Sunday – and thus may also give you an indication on who is likely to play 2 of the 3 games as a minimum. Obviously, it's guesswork. Is the National Ole-lottery any easier to play than Pep Roulette? We don't know.
If you already have 2 or 3 United, you're fine and golden. If, like me, you have 0 United at all and no chips....well, it's decision time. But at the forefront of my mind is that I don't think any of the United players are likely to play all 3 games.
We've all seen this strategy talked about on Twitter. "You aren't playing FPL right if you aren't having fun and attacking the triple gameweek." But if you have no escape route for Gameweek 36, it's not that easy, is it?
The first thing to say is that if you have a free hit that you are using in either this gameweek or in Gameweek 36, then yes. The all-in strategy is valid and viable. I'd be going with 3 and trying to maximise the minutes as best as I could. The obvious choices remain; Henderson, Maguire, AWB, Shaw, Fernandes, Greenwood, Rashford, Cavani. Look at the minutes in the Europa on Thursday, look at the structure of your existing squad and pick the 3 you feel suit you best.
But if you have no chips, I don't see the all-in strategy as a viable play unless you currently don't have any players that blank in Gameweek 36. You're going to need to take a big hit to get a squad out that you're happy with in Gameweek 36 and so close to the end of the season, you're very unlikely to get the payback you want on your hits.
I have no United personally and already have 2 x Arsenal and 3 x Leicester. I certainly don't want to sell Leicester players before a double that features a care-free Newcastle and a potentially rotated United. And my two Arsenal assets cost a combined £8.4m (Smith Rowe & Holding) so moving either of them to United players isn't a straightforward move.
The other thing to make sure is in your mind is that it feels hugely unlikely any of the players play 3 games. While there might be one or two, you need to look at the likelihood being that the players will play 2 games across the gameweek and therefore play 2 games across GW35 and GW36. So anybody you sell that has a fixture in GW36 is likely to match their minutes across the 2 gameweeks anyway.
So for me - the all-in strategy works beautifully if you have chips to help you correct and navigate. But otherwise, probably not the way I'd recommend anyone to go.
Is there a viable argument to say that you shouldn't buy any United players at all if you don't have the means to escape afterwards painlessly? There could be.
As I've touched on, I'm currently in a position where I have no United players. After the initial panic of seeing the 3 fixtures and trying to find a way to cram in as many as possible, its important to take a step back and look at the full picture. The three fixtures aren't great. Rotation is inevitable. Champions League football is almost secured. No fixture in Gameweek 36.
Unless you are awash with money in the bank, getting the assets that are the most secure isn't easy. My only route to Fernandes is Salah, who has a double gameweek himself and also has a plum fixture in GW36. I would have to take a hit to get from Son to Fernandes, which I would immediately want to undo in Gameweek 36. Rashford has had struggles with injuries and again doesn't feel like he's immediately worth the move from Son unless I can reverse it immediately. Son is one of those players that I feel like I've been burned selling before in these situations. Mason Greenwood is an interesting option if he doesn't play against Roma and could be a move away from someone like Jesse Lingard. But West Ham have a perfectly fine run of fixtures and it could backfire.
Defensively, Shaw is surely sure to share minutes with Alex Telles (try saying that quickly). I'd expect rotation for Lindelof. Wan-Bissaka seems to play every minute of every game but even he seems likely to miss some minutes with Tuanzebe potentially taking some time. Harry Maguire feels potentially the most likely player to appear 3 times (even Henderson is sure to miss 1 game for De Gea, right?) and his price point is awkward. I can just afford to go from Holding to Maguire but with Luiz injured, they could even end up on similar minutes.
Swinging against it is going to mean a lot of time hiding behind sofas as you see the United team news coming in, there's no doubt about that. But I've seen plenty of experienced and well-ranked FPL managers suggesting that the only player worth a hit is Fernandes. I'm less experienced and less well-ranked, but I think I agree.
This leads me to the approach that I'm likely to take...
There is no doubting that United are likely to hurt those that aren't in a position to attack them. This is about as good an opportunity to free hit as you can ever get – congrats to those that still have it in hand. But I don't feel able to attack it and I'm sure many others are the same. If you can get to Bruno in one move, then it's probably the safest play to make. If I was going to pick one player for United that I think may play all 3 games, its Harry Maguire. So bringing him in if you can get there comfortably also makes sense.
I think a -4 to bring in and potentially captain Bruno is probably worthwhile, particularly if you are happy with your rank and defending.
This is a huge challenge for those without chips and if United perform well, then its going to do major damage. But I don't see any situation where a -8 to get 3 United players if you have no chips left is the correct way to play it. I'll eat my words if they all haul and the -8 to remove them the subsequent week pays off.
Good luck with your United decisions. My likely move is to get 1, hide and pray. But for free hitters, you'll never have a more beautiful situation to attack!
Congratulations to Manchester City & Chelsea on reaching the Champions League final. The question it raises for FPL managers is what will become of their team in the Premier League. Chelsea have Champions League football to secure and that might mean less rotation for them, although I'm sure there will still be some.
With City, it's much more difficult. You'd assume that players like Aguero, Torres and Laporte will see increased minutes, but Pep has also spoken in the past about liking his team to have rhythm when approaching finals. Does it make City a stayaway? It definitely feels like points are there to be had if you can find and pick the correct assets. My current plan is a swansong for Aguero in the last three gameweeks, but could it blow up in your face massively to try and take on Pep at his own game again?
Wilfried Zaha feels like an FPL asset that hurts you whenever you take the gamble on buying him. But four lovely fixtures for Palace start in Gameweek 35. Is it time to take a gamble on Wilf? He seemed like the most talked-about asset in FPL until the TGW dropped for United which may steer plenty away. Also, can we realistically take the gamble after the quotes from Hodgson in the aftermath of the City game regarding potential injury? If you buy him, he'll hurt you. If you don't...he'll probably still hurt you.
Ignoring Liverpool who can't be debated and you'll see below, who are the best players to target that double in Gameweek 35 and don't blank in Gameweek 36? At Everton, it's the usual suspects with Lucas Digne, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. At Aston Villa, the best options seem to remain Emi Martinez and Ollie Watkins. With Crystal Palace if you aren't brave enough to make a play for Zaha, then it might mean looking defensively at options like Joel Ward, or a gamble on Eze. Southampton could also be interesting with the likes of Kyle Walker-Peters and James Ward-Prowse. The reality is that the Man Utd bonanza may steer people away from targeting these players at least until Gameweek 36.
Liverpool seem like an inevitable triple-up regardless of your chip position. With a double gameweek against Southampton and a potentially tired or rotated United followed by a game in GW36 against West Brom, which seems the best fixture for captaincy, having three Liverpool players feels like an inevitable and undebatable decision.
Let's continue to commend Luke Ayling. He's now only 2 points behind David McGoldrick. What an asset. (34 Gameweeks with no attacking returns. THIRTY. FOUR.)
It feels like there will be FPL assets amongst the teams coming up from the Championship this season. With Norwich and Watford confirmed and returning the likes of Emiliano Buendia, Teemu Pukki and Ismaila Sarr to the table, who will join them through the playoffs? Players like Ivan Toney will be sought after if Brentford finally achieve their dream. At Swansea, Connor Roberts has been the TAA of the Championship, while Bournemouth have potential options with Arnaut Danjuma the main man to watch. And then there's my club Barnsley.... no, on second thoughts, there's absolutely nobody at Barnsley that you'd buy in FPL. Target the Tykes could be all the rage in August!
Thank you for reading. Please, let us know how many United you are targeting this week - particularly if you are chipless!
The latest addition to the DraftGym crew, FPL veteran and the Debate grandmaster.