Fantasy Premier League Tips Gameweek 36
Welcome to Fantasy Premier League Tips Gameweek 36. It is officially silly season.
Alvaro Negredo had a double game-week in which he never scored (despite attracting many a Captain Armband), subsequently he is therefore sold off in his thousands and then scores and assists against Manchester City the very next time out. Huh?
Christian Benteke, who many others captained on the double game-week, does so well against Liverpool to justify the pick and then blanks at home to Burnley who themselves prior to the weekend couldn’t win an argument away from home, nail a clean sheet and a 2-0 win. Double Huh?
Antonio Valencia owners relished the clean sheet he picked up in the Manchester derby but it is sandwiched by two non-appearances due to “resting”. Oh hang on, he came on for Luke Shaw early enough in the Swansea match to pick up clean sheet points so …. , ah Sigurdsson ruins the CS chances. Triple Huh?
Is that the same ’Sigurdsson’ guy who blanked five games in a row? Yup, it is. But, eh, what?
You get the idea.
I’d love to write a book on FPL one day but trying to find a publisher in the land to print it would be troublesome. If it happened, it would be a best-seller. In the fiction category obviously.
Now, as some of you will know, I went early on my WC. January the 2nd. Game-week 20. So these days I’m on site with my nose pressed against the glass watching you guys all activating yours and tinkering away with your squads in preparation of the DGWs 36 & 37. I’m not jealous (much) but for the purposes of this article and to feel a bit more involved, I’m going to pick my ‘money-no-object’ wildcard squad.
We only have three game-weeks left, most clubs have three games left, several have four and a couple have five. So rather than just pick players with the most playing time to go, I’ll look at it objectively. Because if you don’t know by now, the FPL Gods care not about the games you have, more about what you do with what you have. How philosophical is that? That might be a chapter in my book.
Fifteen players, here we go.
Fraser Forster & Willy Caballero
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[/three_fifth]Forster of course is the goalkeeper who can only be matched by Petr Cech for the number of games remaining. This, the optimist says, gives him more chances of clean sheets, save points and penalty saves. He also appears to be safe between the sticks for Southampton and can be picked up for a reasonable £5.0mln. Now I acknowledge fully that three of his five matches are against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United but you aren’t really expecting me to convince any of you to pick up DGW coverage are you? In any case, there is always the chance of a surprise clean sheet or indeed, that golden goose of cleanie and penalty save (sorry Jaku benchers, too soon?). Twelve clean sheets out of 33 so far is hardly worrying.
Bravo for Willy! No not a declaration but a recurring conundrum for Pep Guardiola this season. Well not any more. Chilean Bravo is likely out for the remainder meaning the former Malaga stopper is likely to be fielded in the remaining games for City (against Palace, Leicester and West Brom at home and Watford away) and at just £4.7mln could offer excellent exposure to a not so excellent City rearguard but look at those fixtures once again. It could be well worth picking him up with Forster with Bench Boost in mind.
If you like them, you’ll love these (alternatives):
David de Gea – the safest (and soon to be only) route in to the United defence. The Spaniard is the least likely to league rotation and this will be confirmed surely if Sergio Romero begins the Red Devil’s Europa League semi-final first leg in Spain against Celta on Thursday. Their next three league games are at Arsenal, Spurs and Southampton but if any manager can park the bus etc etc. . .
Hugo Lloris – The Frenchman is the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets this season (15) and although he himself is unquestionably brilliant, he is playing behind an iron curtain of a defence at present. Don’t be put off with the three remaining away trips for the Lillies – they have 5 away clean sheets already and have actually four on the bounce – as they play West Ham, Leicester and Hull on the last day who can all be shut out. The last ever game at the old White Hart Lane takes place not this weekend but next and all being well, Hugo will be the last ever captain at the old ground and I think a clean sheet here as well could underpin the occasion.
Jordan Pickford – Yep, Sunderland I know but this is their only (positive) appearance in this article I promise. Though I’m sure he won’t be short of offers if the Wearsiders make it known he’ll be sold in the summer, I somehow think he’ll experience at least one year of Championship football before moving. In any case, focussing on the present and the FPL angle, JP has been one of only two plusses at the SOL this season along with soon-to-be free agent Jermain Defoe. The young gloveman is priced at £4.2 still and only Tom Heaton has had more saves so far this season. There’ll be more to come I’m sure. Sunderland do have a DGW so a great little wildcard pick-up at his price.
Gary Cahill, Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany, Michael Keane, Jack Stephens
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[/three_fifth]Cahill is in a purple patch scoring wise with two in his last two and six for the season and this has led him to be the top point scoring defender for Chelsea and in the game so far. Like I noted with Phil Jagielka before he scored in his third consecutive game in Gameweek 33, defenders who are in excellent attacking positions at set plays will always be likely to pick up loose balls. Add in the threat of Cahill’s heading ability and the fact Chelsea could close out the season with four consecutive clean sheets, then the England centre back makes my wildcard squad without question.
The Belgian Vertonghen is the cheapest way to reliably cover off Tottenham defensively, save for Lloris and makes the cut here as double Tottenham cover would be advantageous to any team going in to the home straight as the look solid as oak. Jan the Man is little owned compared to both Walker and Alderweireld and the money saved could help elsewhere. Hardly a goalscoring threat this season – he has none and only has one goal in his last four seasons – but they can’t all score and sometimes you need your defenders to pick up the clean sheet and nab a bonus point here and there.
I’m running a bit of a risk here with Kompany due to his obvious injuries and the ever-looming rotational culture at the Etihad but something tells me, and I could be wrong, that Kompany may play most of the rest of the season as a run in the team is clearly what he and City both need. He scored on his return to the side in the recent game at Southampton and is ever-present in the last three with 5 bonus points topping up his points returns in these games. The fixtures look fair-handed for a decent end to the season for the Sky Blues who I must mention have appeared to have broken their new manager as he has never failed to win a single trophy in any of his seasons as a professional manager.
Michael Keane helped the Clarets to their first away win of the season at the weekend (it was almost May!) and the England man is apparently working his notice in Lancashire. Seemingly rumours abound that Manchester United are looking to buy him but I find it hard to believe that they would ever buy back any of their former players (tongue meet cheek, cheek meet tongue). Anyway, Burnley who are practically now safe end the season with lower-to-mid-table derbies with Bournemouth (away) and West Brom & West Ham at home. Keane has two goals and an assist already and I might fancy another clean sheet or two. Keep an eye on him next season.
Southampton’s Stephens has cemented his place in the backline at St Mary’s thanks in combination to Jose Fonte’s sale and the injury to Virgil van Dijk and is excellent value at £4.2mln and has a few games to pick up further bonus points of which he has collected on three separate occasions so far.
If you like them, you’ll love these:
Robert Huth, Christian Fuchs – Leicester coverage may not be a bad idea if you are filling out a wildcard squad. They have a double game-week in 37 where they play Spurs and City – OK so that may not sound so appealing but if you are selecting one of these you would hope for better returns in the games surrounding these – both at home, to Watford and Bournemouth. To save the pennies, £4.9mln on Robert Huth, who knows where the goal is at a set-play, is the selection.
Maya Yoshida – not much separates the Japanese from his colleague Stephens and indeed plenty will have both on a wildcard to max out the ‘double’ double gameweeks.
Kieran Gibbs – I’ve noted that Gibbs has played the last two matches in a more advanced left wing back role and if Wenger persists with his three at the back (after all these years Arsene?) then a sneaky pick on ‘Gibbo’ could pay dividends especially with the number of games remaining for the Gunners who also have an FA Cup Final on the horizon. It’s risky but ya know?
Harry Maguire and Nathan Ake deserve a mention. The ‘Sunderland Theory’ applies to Hull and Maguire this weekend. Harry is just £4.4mln and has a trip to Crystal Palace following the match with Sunderland before a tough final game at home to Spurs but you can bench or transfer him out then if you must. Nathan Ake is £3.8mln and may cover for David Luiz if injured so further news on that is required but if you have him already, you might be in luck!
Alexis Sanchez, Eden Hazard, Dele Alli, Joshua King, Steven Davis
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[/three_fifth]The first four picks here probably need no explanation so this will be a short preview! Sanchez is very attractive not based on his past but on the key FPL ingredient of explosiveness. The Chilean attacker is arguably in a cosy group of two (with Aguero) who on their day and based on nothing gone before, can grab a hat-trick out of nowhere which is why him having two gameweeks of two games make him a very attractive purchase for those non-owners. He could be a brilliant differential in a mini-league and also will be a popular Triple Captain selection for game-week 37.
Eden Hazard has four games ahead which you could conceivably captain him in all of them. The mercurial midfielder is the heartbeat of the Chelsea attack and will be this writer’s main transfer target this week.
Dele Alli completes the trio of PFA Player of the Year nominees, winning the Young Player award for the second season in a row, and incidentally like the two others, he is in the 200+ point scoring midfielders club with 205 FPL points so far. Still at just £9.2mln he is my Spurs midfielder of choice simply due to the fact of the close proximity he plays to the opponent’s goal.
Moving away from the top table of midfield talent for a second, what a remarkable season it has been for the Norwegian Josh King who is now showing some top form and some Premier League performances as an attacker that probably attracted Manchester United in the first place ten years ago. Will they buy him back too? Never say never. He has 15 goals and two assists for Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth and at £6.2mln you could pick him up for two home games against Stoke and Burnley and a trip to Leicester and still feel the benefit of his brilliant season.
Southampton’s Northern Irish midfielder Steven Davis is the midfielder who I would rely most upon if you are looking for Saints coverage from that area of the pitch. He could prove decent filler at his £5.1mln price and offers exposure to Southampton and is a set piece taker to boot. He may share time and duties with James Ward-Prowse though but in all honesty the whole of the Southampton frontline are as prone to rotation as each other. The fact Davis has the big game experience and some of the fixtures ahead are Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United makes me feel the Claude Puel may rely on the County Antrim man yet again as the season closes. He has played the last three matches and has goals and assists to his name in previous seasons despite just the three assists so far this term.
If you like them, you’ll love these:
Christian Eriksen – The Dane is a vital part of this Tottenham machine just now and in FPL terms is proving to be a gold nugget this season helped in no small part to the lethal end product offered to some of the moves he creates by Dele Alli and Harry Kane. It’s little wonder that he has a league leading 17 assists so far this season which is his best yet. He is also just two goals shy of matching his previous best 10 goals.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – The United supporting Swansea maestro is doing everything in his power to get another big move which it seems he is suited for. It’s a wonder why United don’t just buy him and solve the problem of him scoring against them every time he plays (three goals in his last three matches at Old Trafford) and his goals may continue to save the Swans from relegation – Everton and West Brom at home sandwich a home game against the consigned Sunderland.
Pedro is the obvious alternative for those looking for Chelsea cover who can’t afford Hazard. For his price and the opposition, it is worth a punt even if it is for substitute cameos. His goal against Everton on Sunday was a thing of beauty (sorry Toffeemen of FF247.)
Kamil Grosicki of Hull and Wilfrid Ndidi of Leicester are a couple of leftfield selections and each are justified by different means. Hull as we mentioned have a couple of nice fixtures and although Pole Grosicki has yet to score for the Tigers, he did strike the post against Southampton from a direct free-kick. More interestingly, since the departure of Robert Snodgrass in January, the Pole seems to have called his fair share of set plays. He has assisted five times since joining.
The Nigerian international Ndidi is fairly priced at £4.6mln and this may appeal to some who are on the lookout for 15 double gameweek players ahead of their bench boost. Since arriving in the January transfer window from Genk for £17M, the midfielder has scored twice (once in FPL and once with an awesome strike in a cup match against Derby) and assisted twice. The Lagos Man has missed just one league match since arriving and should benefit from full exposure to the Champions’ remaining four matches.
Harry Kane, Jesus, Jamie Vardy
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[/three_fifth]Those on wildcards should really start in attack and work back. They should also select Harry Kane and work back.
Kane is the best English striker around barring none and his record so far this season speaks for itself. Twenty-one goals and six assists so far and he only needs four more gaols to equal last season’s 25 tally. If you are having three Spurs and you probably should, then Kane must be one of these – mainly due to the fact that he is quite often the recipient of the fantasy trio of Alli, Eriksen and Son working gloriously in behind him. He is also on penalties and the fixtures aren’t half bad as they pursue a first league title in 56 years.
Even if you have Sergio Aguero and are sitting tight awaiting injury news on the Argentine, you really should be considering Jesus even if Aguero is declared fit for the match against Crystal Palace on Saturday lunchtime. Why? One word, simply:’ ‘Cash’. What you can get elsewhere for the £4mln difference in the strikers could be turning a Pedro in to a Hazard, a Son to an Alli, an Ozil to a Sanchez. Encouraging it was to see Guardiola pairing his strikers this past weekend at Middlesbrough and pleasing it was to see them combining to grab both goals in the 2-2 draw. Even in a cameo (the Manchester derby I refer) Jesus actually found the net before the goal was correctly ruled out for offside. He looks to my eyes, a proper penalty box finisher and I wonder how many he would have had by now after his opening three goal in two games salvo of weeks 23 and 24. I think on balance and with the time of season we are at, a downgrade of Aguero is definitely worth it when you see what you are getting in return.
For Vardy, he will be looking to follow up his goal at West Brom this past weekend with another couple of strikes in games against Watford and Bournemouth. In fairness, he won’t change his attitude against City or Spurs either and Shakey will tell Leicester and Vardy to revert to type; keep it tight, grab a goal, cup ears to opposition and look like that one horrible guy you had at your school, you know the one! The Foxes striker in fairness to him has only blanked once in his last NINE games so if you are picking on form, he needs to come in. Even if he is not brought in immediately in light of the tricky double gameweek, I can see a lot of last day inspiration and desperation being placed in him particularly as current top scorer and FPL darling, Romelu Lukaku goes to Arsenal on the final afternoon whilst the Vardy Party invites Bournemouth for a chat and a bang, so to speak.
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Diego Costa could come in for those who might want Chelsea cover in attack but can’t get Hazard in midfield because they want Sanchez and can’t accommodate both. If this is you or you have cash on the hip and fancy going the full bhoona on Chelsea with both Hazard and Costa, then the fixtures couldn’t be kinder. Will Middlesbrough, West Brom, Watford and Sunderland be the latest victims of the rather boringly placid Braziliard?
Manolo Gabbiadini seems to be worrying many a manager but that is probably because he is becoming a victim of his own success. He started his Saints career with a wicked number of goals – four in just his first 246 minutes of Premier League action so, just slightly over a goal an hour – obtained from a fantastic shot conversion rate. Widening this out to the League Cup Final and his two strikes there, then you can see that this man was becoming potential FPL gold before he limped off injured at Tottenham in March. Rotation is the Sword of Damacles at Southampton but across their final five matches if I were to pick anyone from their squad, I’d select the Italian.
Romelu Lukaku is the league’s top scorer and has Swansea and Watford next. What’s more to say? The fact he doesn’t have a double gameweek should be no reason to sell him this week – by the last day maybe it could be considered. But, I remember his hat trick for West Brom against Manchester United in the 5-5 draw on the final day of the 2012/13 season? So yeah, maybe don’t sell at all.
There are so many variables at this time of the season for the FPL manager, namely, what each of them has as their main objective and which chips they have remaining at their disposal.
I understand it will be popular that this week will be a ‘Wildcard’ week ahead of a Bench Boost next (as you can’t have to chips activated on the same Game-week remember) and this might mean rather peculiarly, that a wildcard squad is assembled a week in the making. It’s strange stuff indeed but entirely logical.
I can’t cover every scenario obviously but I hope in reading this you can select the player(s) appropriate to you and if not, then at least in reading this you can have a laugh at my expense by my picking a wildcard squad and trying to feel ‘part’ of it!
Whatever you have as your personal situation, I hope you either win your mini-league, improve your personal best or just end this season with some hope for next. Most importantly, stay happy. The summer months are long.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Premier League Tips Gameweek 36. This article was written by The Gallant Pioneer
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