Written by @IamtheMarkus. Follow him on twitter for regular FPL insights!
Plenty of talking points this week with the action kicking-off on Friday night again at Leicester.
- Relegation looks a bit more likely for WBA with points dropped against Wolves.
- Antonio bagged a brace after Wood added yet another goal to continue his recent rise in form as West Ham strengthened their hold on 5th spot with an eye on stealing one of the CL spots. Should Antonio remain injury free he is always a solid pick with decent fixtures upcoming.
- Aubameyang (remember him!?) nabbed a goal and an assist as Arsenal eased past Newcastle.
- Villa too picked up a good win as Watkins picked up another welcome goal and two bonus points for his owners – a return in each of his last five fixtures.
- Despite my worries that their focus would be on the CL, both Chelsea and Man City made efficient work of their previous weeks wins with Havertz continuing to impress and improve in the final parts of the season and Aguero finally getting some pitch time and a goal to remind everyone of what could have been in his final season. Though these two forces now face off in the CL final, so he could well end up leaving on a pretty major high.
- Leeds were subject to a pretty tough loss at Brighton, after putting in some great work against the so-called bigger teams in the league. A few injuries seem to have hampered them at both ends of the pitch with both attacking and defensive solidity dropping somewhat.
- Bale’s hat-trick was no doubt a delight for the owners who kept the faith in recent weeks.
- The major headache many managers faced last week of which Manchester United or Liverpool assets to bench/play/transfer was rather moot in the end with the fixture being postponed after protests against the owners. As such, many scores were pretty low across the boards.
In terms of our own selection, it was another decent week with Son grabbing a goal and an assist was certainly enough to be deemed a success. Our initial fear of not owning Kane was a worry and although Spurs won by four, Kane came away with zero FPL returns.
Due to the fallout of the Manchester/Liverpool game, this has led to a further rearrangement, so now with a few doubles in play we now have a triple gameweek for our Manchester United players. There will be more headaches the week after this as we have blanks to contend with as well so transfers will have to be somewhat thought out.
- Man Utd – (Villa / Leicester / Liverpool) – three mixed games in a very short space of time.
- Leicester (Newcastle/Man Utd) will see these both as winnable games.
- Southampton (Liverpool/Palace) & Everton (West Ham / Villa) arguably have a decent double – facing defenses that have been typically porous this year.
- Liverpool (Southampton / Man Utd) could be worth a roll of the dice as their form continues to improve as they chase an unlikely CL spot with Southampton being poor defensively and Man Utd perhaps having fatigue after three quickfire fixtures.
- Palace (Sheffield/Southampton) in theory could be a shrewd pick but I just don’t trust the attacking players of Palace this year
- Chelsea (Man City / Arsenal) is less inspiring with another couple of tough outings.
- Arsenal assets (WBA / Chelsea) don’t appear appealing on initial glance
My © will be Salah.
Vice – Bruno.
Bruno is likely to be the top pick but his fpl points form has been poor, so you’re relying on the hope of attacking returns at some point in the run of three. I think my view may change depending on Thursday night’s Europa minutes but for now, I’m locked in with my gut which says Salah will edge it even with one less fixture. I could well flip before Friday night.
Bruno -TSB ~ 55% – Villa / Leicester / Liverpool
A triple-header for the top points scorer & the sheer number of owners will likely mean that Bruno will be the top pick for the gameweek ahead. Fixtures on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday may mean he won’t get three sets of 90, but it is hard to see any attacking United asset playing all three full games but if anyone can it’s likely this man. Often one goal is enough for the bonus to go in his favour and so this is something to consider over the trio of fixtures.
Pogba’s return to form has brought with it lesser returns for Bruno, just one assist back in GW30 and his last goal back in GW27 it’s difficult to see goals the current way he is playing without the referee pointing to the penalty spot. Outside of the PL he did score twice against Roma and had two assists there too.
In earlier parts of the season, there was something to be said about him having a lesser impact in big games but I think this was more coincidental.
I can still see most managers going for him as their pick due to already owning him plus the hope of returns in all three games. A bit of a shield pick against the masses really but could so easily do the damage.
Pogba – 2% – Three assists in the last four means he carries a bit more momentum than his counterpart but the last outing was a 14-minute cameo against Leeds. Typically a 90 minute man but with some injury niggles the full games have been sandwiched around bigger breaks. Great as a differential and a little more form than Bruno.
Iheanacho – TSB ~ 25% – Newcastle / Manchester United
The most in-form forward with a double. Newcastle are now safe and dry and it showed against Arsenal last week whilst Manchester United may be forced to rotate with this fixture falling in the middle of their run of three.
Even without rotation or a beach mentality, Leicester sit high in the table on merit and recent victories have come through this man’s attacking form. With Maddison back and Vardy contributing to goals as well, Rodgers’ men will be looking for the consistency they will want to bring into next season’s CL.
Salah – TSB ~ 35.3% – Southampton / Man Utd
Salah has knocked in 20 goals during the PL campaign but captaining him this year has proven a fraught affair with bonus points often heading elsewhere. He was a consideration of ours even when playing only United last week but with the addition of the Southampton fixture, this improves to another level.
Southampton carry enough attacking threat to worry this years’ Liverpool backline so Liverpool will have to ensure to put the ball in the net more than once. Southampton’s backline have been pretty languid this season and will afford Liverpool plenty of opportunity to score. I can’t say the red card rescinded for Vestergaard helps matters much.
Manchester United will visit at the end of their triple-header so fatigue may be a factor over the 90 minutes, but pride will mean they want to win it and this could well be their undoing against a fresher Liverpool squad.
Liverpool must endeavour to finish on a high, as much as for themselves and their fans even if the European CL berths seem out of reach at the moment. The attacking play of Liverpool in recent weeks has improved and so I’d expect him to notch over these games. Surely they can’t be anywhere near as wasteful this time around.
JWP – TSB ~ 10% – Liverpool / Crystal Palace
Penalties plus set pieces, Southampton’s chief creator will face Crystal Palace and a Liverpool side neither of whom can say they have been defensively sound this year. With green fixtures after as well, he seems to be a popular/shrewd move as people try to navigate these doubles with the following week’s blank.
Sigurdsson -TSB ~ 3.1% – West Ham / Villa
With James seemingly with another knock, set pieces, penalties and general creativity for the frontline will stem from the Icelandic man who is having somewhat of an improved spell in the Toffee’s shirt.
With DCL and Richarlison showing signs of life upfront, Ancelotti will have high hopes to win against both of these teams who have been shipping goals of late. Some will be gambling on Digne and his attacking exploits but with his clean sheet appeal this year near enough zero, it’s probably a safer play to go with Siggy.